8.10: Part One
slid the Jeep down the city streets with ease, even though
the 4x4 was probably happier roughing it out in the wilds.
He took a left, spinning the wheel with the palm of his
hand and then letting it straighten out again.
breeze whipped over the windshield, bristling through
his hair and making the early morning sun seem that little
Mac smiled to
himself. It felt good to be heading out to the Santa Luisa
Mission again. He hadn’t been to the homeless center
his late friend Father Jim had set up in quite awhile,
and the place deserved some more of his time.
He was taking
over a trunk full of clothes he’d was donating,
as well as some electrical items for the mission office
that Phoenix had sent along. Setting those up for Doc
would be a pleasant distraction after recent events.
Mac shook his
head, partly in disdain and partly in amazement. His latest
encounter had been with his old nemesis, Murdoc, and although
this time things had been a little different,
MacGyver always came away with a bad taste in his mouth
after dealing with the outrageous Brit.
It was like the
gods had made them in some weird mould that meant they’d
be enemies forever – because to say Murdoc was a
hitman, he never could kill Mac, and no matter how many
times Murdoc appeared to come to a sticky end,
MacGyver never really could foil him, either.
another left turn and was about to accelerate away when
movement on the sidewalk caught his eye. It wasn’t
too difficult to see that some poor soul was getting mugged,
and not even down an alleyway.
Mac hit the brakes,
slid the Jeep up to the curb and was out onto the path
As Mac called
out, the mugger glanced over his shoulder and then bolted,
making a run for the neighboring street. He was fast,
and there was no way to get a good look at him because
he wore a hood low over his face.
wanting to give chase, but quickly realized the victim
was a street person, and he was hurt.
of man mugs a homeless guy? Mac tried not to think
about it too much as he kneeled over to try and help.
They have no money, nothing of value…
The man’s eyes were wide, desperate even, and his
ancient hands clawed at MacGyver’s arms as he blurted
out the name.
Mac gently tried
to push him back down, noting blood pooling on the sidewalk.
He knew the old boy from the mission, but couldn’t
quite remember what people called him.
He was too old
to be out on the streets, too old to be attacked like
Too old to
die like this? As the sobering thought hit home,
MacGyver finally remembered the elderly man’s name.
Everyone called him Old Rob, although his real name could
okay,” he soothed looking for the source of the
blood. “I’m gonna get you some help.”
listening. “Save it…save it for her…”
His frail hands grabbed for Mac’s collar, and it
was then the troubleshooter finally realized the man had
been stabbed and it was bad – what was known as
a sucking chest wound, if he wasn’t mistaken.
Rob’s pleas and looked around for help. It was still
early, but there was the odd person here and there, all
ignoring what was happening and simply walking on by.
Was this what
the world had come to? Were people like Rob really that
invisible, even when they were old and hurt?
Mac picked on a young man with a ghetto blaster on his
shoulder and a lot of very fake jewelry on his hands and
around his neck. The kid turned with a “who me?”
expression. “Yeah, you! Call the police
and an ambulance. NOW!”
Mac watched as
the kid thought about it, then ducked into a nearby convenience
store, hopefully to borrow a phone.
hands tugged on Mac’s collar again, and this time
he couldn’t help but stare back in to the old man’s
eyes. There was something there, in his heart, in his
soul that MacGyver would probably never understand, and
yet would never forget.
Rob in his arms, realizing there was very little weight
to him at all. He was skin and bone, almost skeletal.
“I don’t understand?” He admitted, shaking
his head. “Who is Angelina? Someone I can contact?”
Rob coughed and
a bright red spurt of blood dribbled down his chin. Somehow
he still managed to summon the energy to shake his head,
his dark eyes beseeching Mac to grasp his words. “Angelina…”
His grip slowly
loosened, and his eyelids slid down. Rob let out one long,
rasping breath, and quietly died in MacGyver’s arms.
No one would
remember him or even care what had happened. There would
be no mourners at his grave, and no tombstone to mark
knew, and MacGyver cared – and that meant there
would at least be answers.
* * *
that night at Sam’s Apartment
pacing – no actually, he was storming back
and forth until Sam thought he would most likely need
a new rug before the night was over. Every now and again,
his dad would pause, run a hand through his hair, and
then start all over again.
Sam had seen
Mac like this before, and knew it was best to let his
dad get whatever it was out of his system, even if that
did mean a terminal hole in his carpet.
believe anyone would hurt an old homeless guy like that?
Old Rob was over seventy-years-old for heavens sake! He
wouldn’t have hurt a fly!” Mac was looking
at Sam expectantly.
taking a film out of his camera as he spoke. “What
did the cops say when you made your statement?”
his hands in his pockets and puffed out a breath in exasperation.
“Nothing! They’ve got squat.” He finally
dropped onto the couch, deflated. “And then there’s
all the weird stuff Rob was saying just before he died.”
Sam cocked a
brow, the reporter side of his brain kicking in without
him even realizing. “Weird stuff, huh?”
Mac nodded. “Well,
ya know, some street folks kinda act that way all the
time. But I’ve met Old Rob before in passing and
he always seemed pretty lucid until today…”
Will you just spill what he said?”
“He kept asking me to “Save Angelina’s
Grace,” but what that exactly is…” Mac
paused mid-sentence as Sam almost dropped the camera he’d
been pottering with.
Sam saved the camera – just, and set in on the table
next to the couch. “Angelina’s Grace is an
old Californian urban legend. It’s kinda something
I mess around with when I’m not on assignment.”
He moved to the computer he had set up in the corner and
dropped onto the chair in front of it. “Wanna see
in all that supernatural stuff?” Mac let out a huff
suggesting he wasn’t convinced by any such tales.
Sam shook his
head and laughed. “It’s not that
kind of urban legend. C’mon over here and take a
look.” He tapped on a few keys, scrolling through
several folders until he found the one he was searching
across, settling to view the monitor over his son’s
shoulder. His expression said he was intrigued and slightly
impressed even by what Sam had been up to in his spare
Sam patted the
screen with his forefinger. “See, back in the fifties,
a guy named Bobbi Albini ran a local crime family, and
he was big news. Then one day he fell for a dancer named
Angelina Constanzo, and he reportedly loved her so much
he vowed to give up his mob connections and settle down.”
tells me that didn’t quite go to plan?” MacGyver
legend has it he bought a mansion out of town and had
it filled with the most expensive furniture and jewelry,
including a million dollar necklace named Angelina’s
Grace.” Sam paused and looked at his dad for a reaction,
when he got nothing but a frown, he continued. “Anyway,
the story goes that a rival gang boss named Carl Donati
got wind of what was going down and put a hit out on Angelina
as a way of getting to Bobbi. She was killed in a car
explosion. Instead of seeking revenge, Albini simply vanished,
and some say he turned to the life of a bum, living on
the streets among the homeless without anyone knowing,
his mansion and treasures lost in time somewhere, waiting
to be found…”
Sam was broken
from the depths of his own storytelling by a chuckle from
his father. He looked over his shoulder to see MacGyver
shaking his head. Okay, so at least he’s not
sulking about the old guy dying anymore…
really believe Old Rob could be this Bobbi Albini?”
Mac asked. “And I mean, c’mon, Sam, you can’t
just lose a mansion full of treasure, it would have been
found by now!”
and hit the key to shutdown his computer. Sometimes, his
dad was really stubborn, almost as stubborn as
he was on a good day. “But what if he was
Bobbi and the mansion is out there waiting to
be found? You gotta admit it would make a great story?”
a second. “It’s more likely Old Rob was just
attacked by some kid on drugs who didn’t even realize
he was homeless…”
softened. He could tell his dad was teetering on the brink
of being sucked in to the story. “You want to know
for sure though, right?” He pushed. “So why
don’t you investigate this with me? It would be
a great way to spend some time together, too.”
this crazy legend is the only clue we have,” Mac
conceded, flopping back onto the couch. “But I want
a few more facts rather than hearsay before we do this,
Sam felt all
warm inside. Hook, line and sinker…
He let the thought
remain silent and instead offered, “I can go to
the library after I hand in my current assignment in the
his head. “Nah, I’ll go. I want to look up
the whole crime family story and see where it leads.”
Sam bobbed his
head. It was going to be great having his dad work a story
with him, and if it caught a killer, then even better.
* * *
Kinney Memorial Library
502 S. Venice Blvd
The library in
this part of town wasn’t exactly massive, but it
usually had enough information to get MacGyver what he
needed. Today, however, he was finding it increasingly
difficult to discover anything he didn’t already
know about the west coast mob.
There were a
few old black and white photos of the L.A. syndicate together
back in the fifties, one which actually showed Bobbi with
Angelina and a few other men, but it wasn’t anything
Mac turned the
book that held the picture on its side and read the small
print along the edge. It listed exactly who was in the
Angelina Constanzo, Ricardo Lobina, Ricky Furfaro and
someone MacGyver didn’t instantly recognize as mafia,
named Art Denizen.
focusing on Bobbi. Could the lean, well-dressed man in
this image really be Old Rob? There was a resemblance,
but was that all it was?
Mac flicked over
the page and found a small article to go along with the
photo. It was about the explosion that had killed Angelina.
Apparently, she and the driver, Ricardo Lobina had been
killed instantly when the bomb had torn through the Buick
they were in.
had been so violent and all-consuming that only dismembered
body parts had ever been found. The thought set the hairs
on the back of Mac’s neck tingling, and he quickly
stowed the book back on the shelf where he’d found
searching the Albini legend?”
The voice was
petite and soft, and as MacGyver whirled around he was
faced with a dark-haired young girl with expectant brown
eyes. “Who wants to know?” He answered with
The girl smiled
and patted a small pile of books atop the table where
she was sitting. “I’m doing the whole urban
legend thing as a college project,” she confessed.
“I thought maybe if you were looking into it too,
we could maybe compare notes?”
Mac felt suddenly
sheepish and defenseless. He held up his hands in defeat.
“You got me.” He smiled. “I don’t
have any notes to compare. There isn’t much here
on the whole thing.”
The girl nodded
knowingly. “Tell me about it.” She flicked
her hair absently over her left shoulder. “I’m
Andrea, by the way, but you can call me Andy, on account
that I hate my first name.”
stifle another smile. “That I can relate
to…” He relaxed just a touch more, and pulled
out a chair opposite her.
There was a distinct
possibility Andy might have the information he needed,
but just how much could he tell her about what he was
really doing, and why?
too old for a college project, why are you looking up
the Albini thing?” Andy popped in a stick of gum
and tossed the wrapper on the table.
resist picking it up and toying with it in his fingers.
It was just one of those items there was a plethora of
uses for rather than it going in the trash. “Oh,
just helping my journalist son with a few bits of research.”
It wasn’t a lie, exactly.
Andy seemed to
take it in, and then pushed over the books she’d
already signed out. “This is the most interesting,
and not so widely known piece of the story I’ve
been able to dig up.” She opened the top hardback.
“It’s about the house Albini was supposed
to have bought his girl.”
through what he was being shown. If it was to be believed,
the book suggested that after Angelina was killed, Bobbi
had the house booby trapped, so that no one else could
ever set foot in it except the spirit of his lover.
Mac tapped the
page. “How can they know this as fact, when the
house was never found?”
Andy blew a small
bubble with the gum, let it pop and then shrugged. “I’m
just the researcher, I know nothing,” she joked.
“Kinda romantic if it’s true, though, huh?”
yes,” MacGyver agreed. “But pretty hard to
believe. Then again, legends and tales like this do tend
to snowball as they age.”
but I don’t think you should ever discount anything,
either.” Andy scooped the books back to her side
of the table. “Seeing is believing, and all that.”
up from his chair. While what Andy was saying was true,
it wasn’t helping him get any closer to finding
Rob’s killer just sitting theorizing what might
or might not have happened in a house some thirty five
all pretty interesting for a project, but it isn’t
really what I need to catch a killer.” As soon as
the words had left his mouth he realized he may have said
But then Andy
wasn’t exactly public enemy number one.
She picked up
on the phrase he’d used instantly, and her right
brow ticked up in sudden interest. “Killer? I thought
you were here helping your son?”
Mac stuffed his
hands in his bomber jacket pockets. “I am,”
he answered awkwardly. “But it involves the death
of an old homeless guy. He died in my arms asking me to
“Save Angelina’s Grace”, and I’m
trying to figure out if that’s what got him killed
bottomless hazel eyes widened. “Whoa! That’s
his face now a mask of sadness as he remembered Rob’s
last moments. “Yeah, and so far I’m getting
nowhere. I’d hoped there would be more here at the
I don’t have much to share, either,” Andy
apologized. “Is there anything else I can do to
Mac shook his
head. “There’s not much you can do, but I
have a friend among the homeless people. He knew Rob pretty
well. Maybe Rob opened up to him or even said something
in passing. I guess I should go see him next.”
like a plan.” Andy blew another bubble and gathered
the books under her arm as she stood to leave. “I
hope you find what you’re looking for.”
miss.” MacGyver nodded his head in thanks and then
headed for the exit. Even though he had discovered very
little, he had at least decided that this was one legend
he intended to unfold.
* * *
into Sam’s place around 10p.m. after stopping off
to see Pete at the Phoenix Foundation. He hadn’t
intended to spend too long at work, but then the conversation
had turned to Murdoc’s last escapade, and before
he knew it several hours had vanished.
Now, he was ready
for something to eat, a cold drink and a nice soft bed
– sadly, if he stayed over, he wasn’t going
to get the latter. Sam’s pad was a one bedroom dwelling
that mirrored Mac’s old house boat, meaning someone
had to take the couch.
As he hung up
his leather jacket and entered the living area, he realized
the T.V. was blaring out gunfire. Shaking his head, Mac
slumped down next to Sam on the couch.
Sam was glued
to the set, munching intermittently at a bowl of popcorn.
you’re watching Hunter reruns?” Mac
wasn’t impressed. “Couldn’t you find
something more educating than this cheesy violence?”
As he watched, Fred Dryer dived across the screen sending
a hail of bullets at some unknown bad guy.
works for me!” Sam chuckled. Then slightly more
seriously, he added. “Anyway, what about all those
westerns you watch? Don’t you dare tell me John
Wayne caught the bad guys with duck tape and a penknife…”
his mouth ready to argue, and then realized that Sam kind
of had a point. Hunter was still too much for
his nerves to cope with, however, and he grabbed the remote
and flicked off the T.V.
Sam groused, but then smiled as Mac stuck a hand into
the popcorn and stole a fistful.
you might be onto something with the Albini thing,”
MacGyver admitted between mouthfuls. “Although apart
from some old photos, I haven’t found out very much
more. There’s some story about the house being booby
trapped, but I doubt that’s true.”
Sam put down
the bowl in his hand, suddenly more interested in the
story than food or the T.V. “You really believe
Rob could be Bobbi now?”
MacGyver conceded. “I saw a picture of Albini today
and there was a definite resemblance. I just need to find
someone who knows for sure. Old Rob used to hang out at
the Santa Luisa Mission. Maybe Doc who helps run the place
will have some answers for us. I figure we could drive
down there in the morning?”
creased into a smile. “Does that mean you’ll
the couch, assessing it for comfort. He hadn’t stayed
over since Sam had gotten the place, and maybe it was
time he did. Of course, that probably meant some very
achy limbs the next day, but it was worth it to see the
grin on his son’s face.
Up until now,
Mac had done all the entertaining, and it was obvious
Sam was getting a kick out of having “dad”
stay over, rather than him staying over at Mac’s.
so,” MacGyver finally put his son out of his misery.
“Got any blankets to go with this executive bed?”
He patted the couch affectionately.
take the couch!” Sam instantly offered.
never got the bed back on the houseboat. It’ll be
just like old times.” Mac poked the couch, pretending
to look for bad springs. “Maybe too much like old
Sam laughed and
tossed two blankets and a pillow at his dad from the bedroom
doorway. “See you in the morning, bright and early.”
He flicked off the light mischievously and vanished before
Mac could answer.
With a contented
sigh, MacGyver dropped down onto the pillow and pulled
the blankets over him. Was this what family life
was like? Was this what he’d missed for so many
He snuggled deeper
into the pillow and thought about the times he had to
come with Sam, actual quality time that he could share
with someone. The thought brought a small smile to his
face as he slowly drifted off, his mind floating away
on white puffy clouds.
At least, for
all of about twenty seconds.
And then it came
– the noise from hell.
For a moment,
MacGyver thought Sam’s neighbors had taken to drilling
the walls at an unsociable hour. Or maybe it was a sander?
Mac sat up, rubbed
at his eyes and then realized with a not-so-fatherly groan
that the grating, moaning, grinding sound was actually
brow creased as he grimaced. He’d heard Sam snore
like this once before, on the doomed Boeing Flight LA4177,
but given what had followed, he’d forgotten about
it until now.
boy is loud!
snore filtered from Sam’s bedroom and Mac considered
getting up and finding something to stuff in his ears.
Eventually, he exhaled and flopped back down on the couch,
grabbing the pillow and putting it over his head to deaden
the ongoing noise.
In the morning,
he would definitely need to look at fitting soundproofing
to the bedroom if he was ever going to stay over again.
The thought made
him smile even more, and he slowly began to drift back
off into slumber.
This time, the
blissful oblivion lasted around ten minutes before another
noise roused him.
and moved the pillow. That’s it, I’m gonna
put some duck tape over Sam’s mouth, nose, whatever
it takes! His mind griped.
But as Mac’s
senses became accustomed to being fully conscious, he
suddenly realized that this time, what he was hearing
was not Sam. No, his years of experience and training
in the field were warning him of something much more ominous
than his kid snoring.
bolt upright and his eyes darted to the source of the
noise, even though in truth it was too dark to make much
The sound was
unmistakable now Mac knew where it was coming from. Someone
was trying to break in by either forcing or picking the
lock. And they were making far too much noise about it
to be a professional.
his lips and took just milliseconds to react.
Before the would-be
intruder had chance to get through the door, Mac had positioned
himself behind it, his heart beating double time in his
chest as he waited to make his move.
door creaked slowly open, the prowler being suddenly cautious
before stepping inside.
There was a pause,
and then MacGyver saw the silhouette of the man, or maybe
even a woman, as they entered. He guessed they were about
his size, dressed completely in black – and was
that a hoodie, like the one Rob’s killer had worn?
There was no
time to worry about that now, though. Mac had to act.
Sam was still asleep in the bedroom and potentially vulnerable,
so this interloper had to be dealt with.
thinking much beyond protecting his son, Mac made his
move, jumping out from his concealed position to confront
the bad guy. “Hey, I don’t recall giving you
spun on their heels, but it was still too dark to pick
out any features – save one – a shiny, threatening
blade that turned over and over in the person’s
right hand, like it was itching to be used.
Is that what
he used on Old Rob? In MacGyver’s mind, he
somehow already knew it was, and if he wasn’t careful,
he just might be next.