The Case of the Failure to Look Beyond the Obvious
"Well Bob, shall we go face the sharks?" Perry said to his brother. "Or shall we sneak out the back way?"
"Forget it," said Mark. "They have the back covered too."
"Then, we'll just go right out the front door," Ironside said.
Mark stepped behind Ironside's wheel chair and began pushing to him toward the gate. Perry took Della by the elbow. He reached over and held the gate open for Mark to push his boss through. Police immediately began clearing a path for them to get through.
"Come on chief, how about talking to us," yelled a reporter.
"Outside you vultures!" Ironside barked. "We'll talk to you there. Mark pushed Ironside's chair out the door as Perry guided Della through the crowd. When they arrive near the van Mark stopped. Ironside turned his chair to face the mob of reporters. They all began shouting questions all at once.
"One at time, boys!" Ironside spoke to them in a tone a father would scold his child.
"Chief, you must be relieved and happy with the outcome of the trial. Did you ever have any doubts about Commissioner Randall's innocence?"
"You don't have doubts about someone you know is not capable of murder," Ironside said.
"Chief, will Commissioner Randall resume his responsibilities immediately?"
"The city council will take care of that but as far as I am concerned he can have his job back right now. Mine keeps me plenty busy," Ironside answered.
"Mr. Mason, your examination of Sgt. Richards will be the talk of this town for some time to come. Can you explain why you chose to use Chief Ironside as a means of breaking him down?"
Still holding on to Della, Perry answered, "Both Sgt. Richards and District Attorney Richards harbored an extreme hatred for Chief Ironside. They fancied him the enemy. Instead of seeing him as law officer who wanted the truth, they both saw him as someone who stood in their way of their twisted goals. Truth and justice have been lost to both of them for some time."
"Sgt. Richards was determined not to answer my questions. I knew the only way to break him was with the one man he feared and hated the most, Chief Ironside. Fortunately, for Commission Randall the similarities between the chief and I are in abundance. By using the chief's voice, mannerism and phrases he is known for, it confused and upset Sgt. Richards thereby causing him to break down and answer the questions," Mason said.
"But Mr. Mason, the case was actually over the minute you introduced those pictures into evidence. They proved Commission Randall was not the killer. Why was it necessary to call Sgt. Richards as a witness at all?"
"To expose the extent of the corruptions of both the Richards brothers. I felt it was important to hear it directly from him that he murdered those people so there was no doubt remaining that Commissioner Randall had been wrongly accused," Perry replied.
"Chief, what put you on to the governor?"
"I am not going to comment on that right now. The case against him is pending. There will be more on that later," Ironside said.
"Chief Ironside, Mr. Mason mentioned that the similarities between the two of you are in abundance. It has been revealed that you are half-brothers. How long have you known and why the secrecy?"
"I have known for several years. I told Perry when he was here in San Francisco to defend Scott Whitmore. We chose not to make it public. Our reasons are our own and I do not intend to share them with you. Perry and I are not the only ones involved here. Now if you people will excuse us, this has been a long and tiring case. Perry and I are going back to my place for some chili and bourbon with Dennis and the rest of my staff," Ironside wheeled his chair onto the lift and pressed the button. The reporters continued to shoot questions at both of them as Perry and Della climbed into the van. Mark was already behind the wheel.
The reporters watched as Mark pull the van away from the curb and raced from the courthouse.
Ironside popped the cork on another bottle of champagne. "Mark! We need more glasses?" He poured a glass of champagne and handed it to Fran.
The door opened and Commissioner Dennis Randall entered with his wife Patricia. A cheer went up from Ironside's staff. "Welcome home, Dennis," Ironside shouted with a grin that revealed the long dimples along his cheeks.
"It's good to be back, Bob." Randall and his wife walked down the ramp and joined his friends. Ironside handed him and Patricia a glass of champagne. Randall laid a hand on Ironside's shoulder. "I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed."
"Are you saying there is something wrong with our hospitality here at police headquarters?" Ed shouted to be heard over the music Eve turned on to add to the atmosphere of the celebration.
"It's a nice place to visit…" Randall began.
"BUT YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO LIVE HERE," everyone shouted at the same time.
Ironside looked around the room at the officers whom he depended on every day of the week. Fine, dedicated young men and women who had been working eighteen hours a day to clear the commissioner of a crime he did not commit. Never once had one of them complained about the hours, not even Ed. He refused to allow a bullet from stopping his contribution. They did everything Ironside had asked of them and more. From the beginning, they had closed ranks around the commissioner to protect him from an injustice forced on him by a corrupt politician, cop and district attorney.
Then there was Perry and Della who dropped everything to join him in his quest to clear Dennis. His talented brother, who awed those in the courtroom that had the opportunity to see the man in action, had not even hesitated to provide his services. Paul Drake did not bother to ask if he would be paid for his time. He joined Perry and Della in taking orders from Ironside and doing his part to help discover the truth.
Ironside thoughts turned to Hamilton Burger who almost lost his life to help a man he barely knew because his friends called upon him to do so. Lt. Tragg handled whatever Ironside asked, throwing his weight around to discover the money trail to Sacramento.
There was an unspoken bond among them, Ironside realized, that brought them all together again. He looked out over them, yes; they were a fine group of people.
There was a knock on the door. Mark hurried up the ramp and opened the door. Caterers brought in hot pans of food and began setting it up. Perry and Paul went over and lifted a couple lids. "Prime rib," Paul said. "The chief sprung for prime rib."
Eve and Della joined Paul and Perry. "He sure went to lot of trouble having Mark make chili to keep us from knowing what we were really having for dinner tonight," Della said.
"Hallelujah! We don't have to eat chili," Carl shouted. "Amen," Fran added.
"Bob, you have out done yourself. I can't believe you bought dinner for all of us," Dennis said for all to hear.
"I didn't. It was my last official act as commissioner. I put it on your bill, Dennis," Ironside said. Everyone in the room roared with laughter.
Randall shook his head and said, "Yes, everything is back to normal."
Ironside grinned as everyone laughed again.
They filled their plates and sat down to the table to eat. "Hamilton and Tragg called," Perry said. Hamilton will be getting out of the hospital in a few days. They both wanted to extend congratulations on cracking the case."
"That's good news," Eve said. "I hope you extended our appreciation for all the help they gave us."
"I did," Perry said.
"Bob, you have not told us what Sen. Whitmore came up with. It must have been substantial for you to issue an arrest warrant," Commissioner Randal observed.
"Jim called. The reason they tried to kill Hamilton was because Steven Ogden Smith and a company called Del-Rich were in the court transcript for the Donald Griffith trial. No one checked on that company. If they had, they would have found out it was a joint venture owned by Governor Dillon Delmont and Damon Richards. It was listed as an antique collectors business to avert suspicion since thousands of dollars was going through the business. It of course was actually used to launder the money that came in from the drugs that were being sold all over the world. The money would be wired to an account under Paul Bridges whose real name, incidentally is Edward Patterson," Ironside said.
"Edward Patterson is chief of staff to Governor Delmont," Della said.
"Exactly," Ironside said. "Jermaine Webb got careless. Damon Richards was worried that we would tie him to the drug ring. Delmont knew I would never stop the investigation so he decided to remove Dennis by framing him for the murder of Webb who he had ordered Richards to kill. Richards paid Webb to taunt Dennis into threatening to kill him. He stole Dennis's gun, went to his apartment and murdered him.
"Who put out the contract to kill you and Perry," Ed asked.
"That was Steven Ogden Smith. He had been told to leave the chief alone but took it on his own to hire the French mafia to kill both Bob and myself. Paul Bridges, that is Edward Patterson decided they had no choice but to go through with it since they found out that the chief would become acting commissioner. Every time we got a little closer Delmont told Patterson and Smith to kill whoever was in the position to hurt them, Jermaine Webb, Mary Galloway, Sgt. Randy Kempt, among them," Perry continued.
"Delmont was getting desperate to stop the chief so when the attempt here in this office and the one at the warehouse failed to take him out, Delmont himself set up the attempt at the airport in Washington DC. The officer that shot the chief in the chest worked for Delmont before he became a cop. They became friends. Delmont knew about his fatal illness and had Smith send him an email offering him the money to kill Chief Ironside with the promise his sick kid would be taken care of." Perry told them.
"Jim Whitmore was able to tie Delmont to that officer. He also helped in getting the federal warrant to check out the Del-Rich company," Ironside said. "At first we were only going to call Delmont to the stand if Jim could get the federal warrant but Perry and I decided we would only call him if we didn't and try to bluff with the information we had. The information came in just after I testified so Perry did not know it when he called Delmont to the stand. Ed and Carl had arrested Delmont as soon as he arrived at the courthouse," Ironside finished.
"Where did John Richards fit in to all this," Della asked.
Perry spoke up "He found out Damon Richards was selling drugs when Mary Galloway was arrested. Damon could not talk Richards into dropping the charges so he contacted Steven Ogden Smith. Edward Patterson convinced the Governor to intervene. Galloway had worked for him. He was the one that actually convinced Richards to drop the charges through Judge Thatcher who thought Delmont was trying to help Galloway. Governor Delmont convinced the judge to leave his name out of the record."
"The more killing that went on the deeper John Richards was involved with no way out. He helped Damon frame the commissioner and watched him murder Webb. His ambitions and his hatred of Chief Ironside was his downfall. He should just have arrested his brother for selling drugs," Perry said.
Commissioner Randall raised his glass. "To all of you, my friends who saved my life. I can never thank you enough."
There was a knock on the door. Eve went to the door and opened it. A silver -haired man in his mid-seventies walked in. He was broad shoulder, broad chested with unmistakable piercing blue eyes. He smiled at Eve revealing dimples that ran the length of his cheeks. "Is Chief Ironside and Perry Mason in?" he asked.
The voice was a dead giveaway. Eve knew instantly who this handsome man was. "Yes, they are. Come in," she told him. William Stacy Mason came down the ramp.
There was not a sole in the room who did not know instantly who this man was. If his physical size and shape had not been enough, his voice and eyes would have identified him. "Commissioner Randall stood up and said, "Well folks I think we should all call it a night." Everyone headed for the door. Mark went into his room.
Perry left Della's side and walked over to his father, "Dad, I would like you to meet Chief Robert T. Ironside. William Mason stepped forward and looked into the blue eyes of the man in front of him in the wheel chair. There was no mistaking this man was his son.
"I never knew you existed. I am so sorry to hear about your mother. She was a wonderful lady. Every time I saw you on television I thought it was amazing how much you looked like Perry. I never dreamed this was the reason. Why didn't you tell me? You should have come to me. I didn't know." William Mason had tears in his eyes. "My wife wants to meet you. I hope you will come to Los Angeles to meet your family."
Ironside smiled, "I would like that Mr. Mason."
"Dad, please call me dad," Mason said. "That is, if you are comfortable with it."
"Dad," Ironside said. William Mason bent down and put his arms around his famous son while his other famous son looked on with his arms around his Della.
Will Perry Mason and Robert Ironside enjoy that vacation they promised one another or will they find themselves in another life-threatening situation?
Watch for Brothers in Arms a new Perry Mason/Ironside Crossover
Disclaimer: I do not own the Perry Mason or Ironside characters. They are the property of Erle Stanley Gardner and Collier Young. All other characters were created in my imagination for the person of telling this story.
No doubt there are legal mistakes in this story as I do not pretend to be a lawyer. Please accept this story for the purpose it was intended…pure entertainment.
Thank you for reading.