Whitey again demanded that Stanley follow him, and this time she complied. In the car, he insisted that he had already ended the affair. “It’s over between us, and she’s just doing this because I left her for you,” he said.
Stanley wasn’t buying it. She knew that Greig was telling the truth, and she was devastated. She would never feel the same about Whitey, would never get over his betrayal, which quietly continued. A few days after the blowup, Whitey was back at Greig’s door, and Cathy wouldn’t or couldn’t turn him away.
ON DECEMBER 23, 1994, Whitey’s former FBI handler, John Connolly, stopped by Whitey’s South Boston liquor store. The agent, who called Bulger Jimmy, wanted to give the gangster the headstart he had long ago promised.
“They’re gonna indict Jimmy and Stevie [Flemmi] and Frankie Salemme,” Connolly told Weeks, naming Whitey and two of his most dangerous associates. “It’s imminent. They’re trying to put them together over the holidays and grab all three of them at once.”
As soon as Connolly left, Weeks beeped Whitey, who was just heading out with Stanley for some last-minute Christmas shopping. He was still being very solicitous of her. Whitey pulled his car in front of the liquor store, and Weeks climbed into the back seat. Weeks didn’t dare say anything. It wasn’t Stanley he was worried about so much as a bug. In Copley Square, Stanley wanted to go to Neiman Marcus.
“Go ahead,” Whitey told her. “I’ll catch up.” Stanley went to window-shop, and the men walked to the back of the parked car.
“Zip came by,” Weeks said, using Connolly’s nickname. He repeated what Connolly had told him.
“Did you tell Stevie yet?”
“No,” Weeks said. “Not yet.”
Whitey said nothing for a while, then turned and whistled sharply.
“Hey,” he yelled at Stanley, “let’s go.” There would be no last-minute shopping. Whitey had a surprise: They were going to go on a trip.
They spent Christmas Eve in New York and New Year’s Eve in New Orleans — staying at Le Richelieu, a boutique hotel in the French Quarter, under their actual names. Next, they drove to Clearwater, Florida, where Whitey picked up cash and some phony identification he had stashed in a safe-deposit box years earlier.
Whitey was ready to take on his new identity but didn’t want to jump the gun. He checked back every day, and there was still no word of an indictment; maybe it was a false alarm. “Let’s go home,” he told Stanley a few days after New Year’s. They were somewhere on Interstate 95 in Connecticut when the news of Flemmi’s arrest came over the radio. Whitey immediately turned the car around and headed for Manhattan.
In the days to come, Whitey tried to reassure Stanley that they were just on an extended vacation. But after a month on the road, she had had enough. She was homesick and also still miffed over Whitey’s affair with Greig. She had felt flattered, at Christmas, that he had chosen her to accompany him, but now it was February, and a life in hotels and motels and who knew where else was not appealing. “I want to go home,” Stanley said.
Whitey didn’t seem surprised. He didn’t fight with her or browbeat her as he usually did to get his way. Instead, he dropped her off in the parking lot of a Chili’s, less than a mile from her daughter’s house in a suburb south of Boston. Their farewell, the ending of what was essentially a 30-year common-law marriage, was anticlimactic. “See ya,” Whitey said. “See ya,” Stanley replied.
Whitey was soon back on the highway, navigating the 20-minute drive to Malibu Beach in Dorchester. What Stanley had not known, as she stepped out of Whitey’s black sedan with the new-car smell, was that he had arranged for Greig to join him on the run.
Everything had been choreographed. It was almost as if they were eloping. Kevin Weeks drove around for an hour before he picked up Greig in Southie at 7:30 p.m. He repeated the routine before heading over to Malibu Beach. Weeks and Greig were walking toward the prearranged meeting spot when Whitey appeared out of the shadows. He looked like a cowboy: a Stetson, black leather jacket, jeans, and cowboy boots. Greig almost ran to him, throwing herself into his arms. They held the embrace. Weeks stood awkwardly to the side. “It was like something out of Casablanca,” he later recalled.
Greig was glowing as they walked to Whitey’s Mercury Grand Marquis. He had chosen her; when it came down to it, he had chosen her. And he had married her. Not in real life, but in the lives they were about to assume.
SANTA MONICA is a place where some people go to reinvent themselves, and that’s exactly what Whitey and Greig set out to do when they arrived in the fall of 1996. For nearly two hectic years, they had zigzagged the country by car and train, with long stops in Louisiana and short visits to Texas, Arizona, and Wyoming, among other states. But now they were looking to settle down, and the city had everything Whitey wanted: the sun, the ocean, and the anonymity of living in a vibrant place that attracts transients and vacationers. Their distinct Boston accents drew little attention. Being from somewhere else meant little there. The assumption was you had come for the same reasons as everybody else. Continued...