At roughly the same time in an office in the Federal Building a group of thirty FBI agents was collecting in a 24th floor conference room. The recessed fluorescent lighting made them all look slightly green.
At the front of the room stood a man with too much gray hair for someone his age. He was waiting for the arriving people to settle so he could begin. The people upstairs had handed him an assignment.
“OK, everybody. Listen. Hey! The dancing monkey is at the front of the room here. Pay attention, this is important. And even better, it’s something different.”
The room quieted and thirty men and women focused on the man standing in front of the pull-down projection screen. Even though it was not yet two in the afternoon his shirt and tie looked like they had been there for several long days.
Special Agent Lawrence Vandenboom had 19 1/2 years on the job and, the truth be told, his thoughts were now more on his impending retirement than any new assignment. He didn’t relish the idea of another case that would have him dragging luggage through half a dozen airports. His dream was to buy a good sized boat where he could live and just sail away when things got too complicated. But his boat would have to stay a dream until another day. There were still more crimes to be investigated, fugitives to be captured and cases to be cleared.
A second agent sat halfway up the center aisle next to a laptop computer. He would handle the PowerPoint presentation. Vandenboom was computer literate enough to handle his everyday needs, but this was something beyond his comfort level, and always would be.
“Alright folks.” He clapped his hands once more to get the attention of the crowded room. “We are looking for someone, a runner, and possibly a killer.”
With the push of a mouse button the face of a woman appeared on the screen.
“One Mrs. Beverly Deltino nee Montini. Physicals are on the sheets that should be in your hands. Beverly Deltino is wanted because the DOJ suspects that she may be involved in the possible homicide of one Graciella Lucci, her cleaning lady.”
A hand went up near the back of the room.
“Sir, if she just killed her cleaning lady why are we involved?”
“We are involved, Mr. Koberski, because the late Ms. Graciella Lucci was, in reality, one Ms. Michaela Frontieri, a special agent of the DEA who was, after much groundwork laying, infiltrated into the very home of the sought after Mrs. Deltino. We've tried to get bugs planted, but it's swept electronically every week."
"Mrs. Deltino is the wife of – next slide,” old habits die hard, “this man: One Dominic “No colorful nickname” Deltino, a mid-level crew boss and former 'persuader' for the Roncalli Family.
"When Agent Frontieri did not report in on schedule on Monday night, we were asked to send our people out to check on her. She was not in her apartment. We had to assume that she might still be inside the Deltino house.
"When the opportunity presented itself, on Tuesday of this week, yesterday, we went in, but she wasn’t there. Everything was very clean.” His eyes scanned the faces of the young and eager agents in front of him. “The house was clean because it had been ‘cleaned.’ On Monday night the DEA agents spotted a van nearby being driven by one Mr. Tony Nouri, a cleaner. For you newer people, a ‘cleaner’ is a person who goes in and cleans up after violent and bloody crimes have taken place. They are not in our employ. The DEA folks didn't stop Nouri because they didn't have any probable cause. Thank you, Supreme Court.
"We don’t currently know where Agent Frontieri is located. We haven’t found her, or more likely, her body. Coincidentally, we don’t know where Mrs. Deltino is either. She has dropped off the screen as well.
"We do know that Mrs. Deltino can take care of herself and, on occasion, has beaten the crap out of Mr. Deltino.”
Several female Agents in the room let out a small cheer.
"He has returned the favor on many occasions during their years of wedded bliss.”
The cheering stopped.
“It is entirely possible, even likely, that Mr. Deltino is personally responsible for Mrs. Deltino’s sudden disappearance from the sidewalks of the tri-state area. It's been known to happen. But still, we’d like to be sure.
"It is reported that Mr. Deltino did not return from a business trip to Philadelphia until sometime on Monday. Mrs. Deltino and Agent Frontieri were last seen around the time of Dominic’s departure for the City of Brotherly Love on Thursday, give or take a day or so. We do not have the resources to have a 24/7 surveillance of the Deltino house. So, Mr. Deltino may have come home from Philadelphia earlier than we think and found our Agent dead and his wife gone. Maybe, maybe not. We don’t know for sure. We don't know anything for sure here.
"Therefore, we suspect that Mrs. Deltino may have firsthand knowledge about Agent Frontieri’s disappearance and may be in hiding or on the run. Wives are not supposed to kill people. It sets a very bad precedent. However, given her aggressive abilities, there is reason to believe that Mrs. Deltino is the person responsible re Agent Frontieri.
“So, Mrs. Deltino may have killed her, or the lovely Dominic may have killed her or both of them. Somehow, somebody named Deltino killed one of our people and I want whichever one it was."
“Jesus, what a mess” said the man working the computer.
“To be succinct, Agent Ball, ‘Yes, What a mess',” said Vandenboom.
“Scope out all of the wife’s - slide - friends and relatives, the ones not in prison or Hell, and see if she's popped up. If she’s alive – find her. Because, if she is alive, you can be sure that Mr. Deltino - slide - is also looking for her. He punches her out, but he loves her. He will want his little ‘snookums’ back home where he can beat the crap out of her again. Of course, if she’s dead too, we’re all just wasting the taxpayer’s money looking for her.
"So, you can see that we have been handed a real hairball of a situation.
"Agents in a number of other cities around the country are getting this same briefing. The Teflon suits in D.C. want this lady - slide - and they want her bad. They hate it when an Agent is killed, but not as much as I hate it.”
“One last thing,” said Vandenboom.
“If Mrs. Deltino is alive and on the run, she will be very tough to find. She is the daughter of – slide - Giani Montini. She grew up in the Mob. Slide - Carlo Gambino was her Godfather, her real Godfather. Her Daddy told her bedtime stories about – slide - Meyer Lansky. And her three bears all packed heat.
"She’s smart, she knows both worlds, is well connected, and, if cornered, she will put an icepick in your eye.”