The Anarchist by John Smolens - Excerpt

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  • 8/14/2019 The Anarchist by John Smolens - Excerpt


  • 8/14/2019 The Anarchist by John Smolens - Excerpt



    BA Novelb


    hree Rivers Pre ss

    New York

  • 8/14/2019 The Anarchist by John Smolens - Excerpt


    Copyright 2009 by John Smolens

    Tis is a work o ction. Names, characters, places, and incidents

    either are the product o the authors imagination or are used

    ctitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events,

    or locales is entirely coincidental.

    All rights reserved.

    Published in the United States by Tree Rivers Press,

    an imprint o the Crown Publishing Group, a division o

    Random House, Inc., New York.

    Tree Rivers Press and the ugboat design are registeredtrademarks o Random House, Inc.

    Cataloging-in-Publication data is on le with the Library o Congress.

    ISBN 978-0-307-35189-0

    Printed in the United States o America

    Design by Elizabeth Rendeisch

    1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

    First Edition
  • 8/14/2019 The Anarchist by John Smolens - Excerpt


    To purchase a copy of

    The Anarchistvisit one of these online retailers:
  • 8/14/2019 The Anarchist by John Smolens - Excerpt


    T H E T E M P L E O F M U S I C

    You will never stamp out anarchy any more

    than you can keep down the waves o the sea

    with a broom. You may kil l an anarchist but

    you wil l never ki l l an idea.E m m a G o l d m a n

    C h i c a g o r i b u n e

    S e p t e m b e r ,
  • 8/14/2019 The Anarchist by John Smolens - Excerpt



    AT FIRST LIGHTa carriage stopped on the towpath above

    the Erie Canal. Four men climbed out and walked single

    le across a ootbridge, Captain Lloyd Savin leading two

    uniormed police offi cers and Pinkerton detective Jake Norris,who ollowed a ways behind, his head lowered as he gazed down

    at the water. He had recently arrived rom Washington, D.C., and

    this was the rst time hed seen the canal. He expected it to be

    wider. Tough it was August, a raw wind blew in rom Lake Erie,

    a reminder that in Buffalo winter was never ar off, and an occa-

    sional drop o rain tapped on the hard dome o his bowler. He

    took great pride in his hat, which had white satin lining and cost

    him ve dollars.

    On the ar side o the canal a barge, the Glockenspiel,was tied

    to a pier in ront o a brick warehouse; it was a shallow-draf,

    broad-beamed vessel, a good seventy eet in length, designed to

    negotiate the low bridges that spanned the canal. Te our men

    descended on a narrow plank to the deck and went astern, wheretwo other uniormed policemen stood over the body, which was

    covered by a rayed blanket.

    Savin didnt appear interested in the body; instead, he

    approached the man who was standing in the open pilothouse

    door. Tis your boat?
  • 8/14/2019 The Anarchist by John Smolens - Excerpt


    4 J O H N S M O L E N S

    It is.

    Your name?

    Bruener. Klaus Bruener. He had a heavy German accent and

    was easily over six eet tall. His nose was large and crooked, nodoubt broken several times, and his hands were enormous.

    Savin took a pack o urkish Delights rom the pocket o his

    raincoat and lit a cigarette. He had a perpetual grimace as though

    he were enduring constant pain. Whered you nd her? He

    icked the matchstick into the canal.

    Bruener nodded toward the ootbridge. Floating under there.

    We are just coming in rom Rochester when my son spots some-

    thing rom the bow. So he climbs down and pulls her out. He

    smiled, revealing brown teeth. Dont think the boy ever touched

    a naked woman beore. Kind o upsets himmore n that she be

    dead. I you take my meaning.

    Norris cleared his throat to get Savins attention, and then he

    asked Bruener, Where is your son now?Bruener tugged on his wool cap a moment. He looked like he

    wasnt going to bother to answer, but then something seemed to

    make him reconsider. Below in the cabin.

    Savin went to the blanket now and lifed one corner. Norris

    was trying to determine whether his hesitance was because he

    didnt want to see what was underneath or he wanted to hold the

    moment o anticipation a moment longer. When Savin tossed the

    blanket aside, he glanced down at the womans body, and then

    looked away as he drew on his cigarette.

    It was dark, Bruener said. He might not a seen her i it

    wasnt or the hat.

    She was only wearing a yellow elt hat, pulled down snug on

    her scalp. Her esh was pale blue and bruises stood out on herarms, neck, and ace, which was badly swollen.

    Look at them nipples, one o the policemen whispered. Big

    as ried eggs.

    She called hersel Clementine, Bruener said.

    You knew her? Norris asked.
  • 8/14/2019 The Anarchist by John Smolens - Excerpt


    T H E A N A R C H I S T 5

    Bruener nearly smiled. Worked in the house run by Big


    She come down here a lot to work the barges? Norris said.

    You might say that, Bruener said. She knowed a lot ocanawlers.

    Norris gazed up at the small group o men who had col-

    lected in ront o the warehouse. Tey stood watching, hands

    shoved in the pockets o their jackets and bib overalls. Te

    country was ull o such men, day laborers who laid railroad

    track, constructed buildings, loaded goods on and off boats and

    wagons. Just by looking at them Norris could tell which ones

    had only recently arrived in the United States. Some Washing-

    ton politicians believed that it would take a good war to prune

    the immigrants.

    Savin took off his elt hat and shaped the indented crown with

    his orenger; it was a surprisingly intimate, sensual gesture, and

    when he saw Norris watching his hand he winced. His black hairwas heavily oiled and so smooth against his scalp that it might

    have been painted on. Like Norris, he understood the advantage

    o dressing welltailored suits, a topcoat, and leather shoes that

    take a regular polish. It was the rst thing Norris had noticed

    about him, along with the act that the man smoked cigarettes

    almost constantly. He was several years younger than Norris, who

    was thirty-eight. Looking around at the other policemen, Savin

    said, Anybody here buy sheet time at Big Mauds lately? Te

    men stared off as though they hoped not to be noticed.

    Savin put his hat back on and grimaced around his cigarette.

    Now I want all o you to start knocking on doorsevery house,

    every business rom here down to Black Rock Harbor. Find some-

    body who saw or heard something.Te policemen appeared relieved to get away rom Savin as

    they rushed off the barge. He turned to Norris and said playully,

    Want to go, too, Detective? ry your hand at some mundane

    police work?

    Id rather talk to Brueners son.
  • 8/14/2019 The Anarchist by John Smolens - Excerpt


    6 J O H N S M O L E N S

    Savin looked as though hed been insulted, but then he said to

    Bruener, Get your boy up here.

    Norris went over to the body and leaned down or a closer

    look. In some places the skin was raw and bloody, but there wereno cuts or gashes. Te bruises were purple and black, and her lef

    eye seemed to have collapsed in the socket. Whoever did this

    used something that wouldnt break the skin.

    Like a st? Savin said.

    Norris bent down closer until he was within inches o her

    ace. Look, in her hair.

    Reluctantly, Savin leaned over her as well. I dont know what

    that isthe doctor will tell when he shows up. Its not hair, but

    something else. He straightened up, took Norris by the arm, and

    walked him to the stern o the barge. Quietly, he said, Tis is one?


    She get anything or you?

    Norris shook his head. She only just started working orme.

    Whens the last time you saw her?

    wo days ago, in a ca, the Tree Brothers.

    Savin icked his cigarette butt into the water. So she was

    working or you down hereor was she just providing her usual


    Both, probably. I asked her where she could nd anarchists

    in Buffalo and she said anywherethe saloons, the whorehouses,

    the churches, the slaughterhouses, the actories. But she said to try

    the canal rst. Its how people co