Precisely at 7:16 a.m. (I glanced at my watch, because I had not expected him till 7:30), Trecost rapped sharply at the door of my motel room. I had heard much about him at headquarters in New York. In his very first year with the agency, 1958, he had cracked the Dowdy murder case, in which one J. D. Dowdy, insured for $80,000, had dynamited a male companion to bits, intending that the police and the insurance company mistake the pieces for himself and pay the death claim to his father. Trecost, alert to a plot, had tracked down the identity of the victim and then had obtained one of the poor man's shoes from his landlady. It matched perfectly, right down to the impressions made in the inner sole by calluses, with a foot in the morgue. Throughout the agency Trecost became known as "a hound for details." Now he was head man of the entire Southwest district.
I was ready for him when he stepped across the threshold, a dapper, thickly built man of dark Roman looks, graying at the temples. I had shaved closely and put on my uniform, pleased with the fit. Although there was no call for formality, I instinctively drew to attention as Trecost approached. He frowned at the sight of my brown and oxblood saddle shoes—he would have preferred a simple black pair to suit my powder-blue uniform—but he stepped forward to pin me with a badge.
Suddenly he hesitated.
"What's the matter?" I asked.
"The pin," he said. "I can't get the damn pin out of the catch. It's stuck."
He struggled with the pin for fully five minutes, his shoulders hunched, his brow furrowed and beginning to glisten from the effort. Finally the pin sprang loose. Trecost slipped it through my shirt, and then, still gripping the badge with both hands, he paused again. "What's the matter now?" I asked.
"The pin won't go back into the catch."
For several more minutes Trecost fought the pin. "I don't want to stab you," he said, trying to be patient. The possibility had occurred to me. I was conscious of having grown slightly cockeyed looking anxiously down the tip of my nose.
"There we are!" Trecost exclaimed at last, snapping the pin shut. He stepped back to look me over: Pinkerton guard No. 26250, ready for duty at the $100,000 Memphis Open golf tournament.
To tell the truth, at 5'5" and a somewhat paunchy 142 pounds, I did not feel entirely confident of my ability to protect Jack Nicklaus from troublemakers in the gallery. In fact, I felt like asking Trecost if I could just go away and drive a bus on Fifth Avenue. But I reminded myself that the uniform I wore embodied 117 years of service on the side of law and order. Wearing the Pinkerton badge, men had pursued outlaws across the badlands of the Old West; they had trailed bank robbers from New York to the jungles of Central America; they had spied behind Confederate lines for Lincoln. I squared my shoulders and climbed into Trecost's sedan. He flipped the ignition switch. The motor coughed, then died. On the third try it came to life, and we sped off to the Colonial Country Club to see what we could do for Nicklaus and the others.