Authors: David J. Walker
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To Hugh Holton, an inspiration
â¦ and I should have told him
This book is a work of fiction, and the persons and places it depicts are imaginary or used fictitiously.
One thing that's real, though, is my gratitude to those who helped with the book. These include Sergeant David Case, for police and weapons information; Michele Mellett, M.D., for medical and trauma details; my agent, Jane Jordan Browne, and her staff, for encouragement and advice; and my editor, Kelley Ragland, and her assistant, Ben Sevier, forâwhat else?âinspired editing.
The fact is, in my opinion, that we often buy money very much too dear.
W. M. THACKERAY: BARRY LYNDON XIII
The wages of sin is death.
Marlon, how Mr. Foley here s'posed to help you, you won't tell him where you was?
I can't, Mama. I be sittin' up in the shithouse fifty years or somethin'â¦ they don't kill me first. I can't tell him that part.
Dammit, boy, you like to drive meâ
Sally Rose, please. Let me talk to him, all right?â¦
â¦ Marlon, I believe you when you say you had nothing to do with killing anyone. But you have to tell me what happened.
How I know you ain't gonna jus' tell everyone what I say? Shit. You another one of themâ
Hush up, boy. This here's your lawyer. He can't tell nobody, 'cause o' thatÂ â¦ whatchacallitÂ â¦ priv'lege. Ain't that right, Mr. Foley?
I ain't tellin' where I was. Y'all don'tÂ â¦
You have to speak up, Marlon. MyÂ â¦ uhÂ â¦ my hearing's bad. I didn't hear that last part.
Nothin'. I said I ain't tellin' you where I was.
It's up to you, but what your mother says is true. Anything you say here is privileged. The rules say I can't tell. I could lose my license if I did.
Fuck the rules! Rules don't mean shit whenâ
Marlon! You watch your mouth, boy.
Sorry, Mama, butÂ â¦ but how I knowÂ â¦
â¦ Plus, how I know they ain't gonna change the rules, man? Then they make you tell.
Goddammit, Marlon, I don't care if they erase all the rules, or what they say, or do, orÂ â¦ whatever. I won't tell anyone, that's all. I just won't. Not ever. You have my word on that.
, your law license was suspended because you deliberately ignored a direct order of the Illinois Supreme Court.”
I didn't respond.
“Well?” she said.
“Oh,” I said. “Was that a question? It sounded like a stateâ”
“Very well.” A deep, pseudo-patient sigh. “Isn't it true, sir, that five years ago you deliberately ignored the order of the Illinois Supreme Court requiring you to reveal what Marlon Shades told you?”
“No.” Obviously, I should have said yes and let her get on to her next question, but Stefanie Randle, young and cute and righteous as hell, was getting on my nerves. “No,” I repeated, “that's not true.”
“Well, sir”âanother sighâ“let me show youâfor the third time
I might addâFoley Deposition Exhibit Seven, and ask you whetherâ”
“I've seen that order a thousand times, Ms. Randle,” I said, “and it's not true that I ignored it. The fact is, I flat out disobeyed the damn thing.”
“Stop it, Mal!” Renata Carroway sounded as disgusted as Stefanie, and Renata was my own lawyer. “Would you mindâ”
“Sorry, Renata.” I stood up. “Let's take a break, huh?”
“No,” Ms. Randle said. “The rules don't permit conferences between the deponent and his lawyer during the course of interrogation.” She never even looked up as she spoke, just kept paging through the papers on the table in front of her.
“He didn't ask for a conference,” Renata said. “He asked for a break. But that's moot. Let the record reflect that I'm not feeling well; that it's two-forty-two
. and I'm terminating this session of Mr. Foley's deposition; and that I'll call Ms. Randle tomorrow to schedule a mutually convenient time to resume. Thank you.”
By the time she got to “Thank you,” Renata had her own papers stuffed back in her briefcase and was shoving me out the door of the conference room. She kept on pushing, down the hallway to the reception area and through the glass doors that said:
Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.
I'm sure she'd have pushed me all the way out to Randolph Streetâand then maybe three blocks east, which would have had me treading water in Lake Michiganâexcept we were on the fifteenth floor and we had to wait for an elevator.
The ride down was about as congenial as I deserved. “I'm sorry you're not feeling well,” I said, and didn't get so much as a dirty look in response.
It wasn't until we were out on the street and I was waving for a cab that Renata spoke. “Forget that. We'll walk to my office.”
“Whatever you say.” We went west on Randolph, toward Michigan Avenue. With the temperature in the seventies, and brilliant sunshine in place of the gray April clouds that had shrouded the city for two days, Renata's scowl looked out of place. I decided to try again. “I'm sorry you're not feelingâ”
“Oh shut up, Mal. The only thing making me sick is you. It's just a deposition and Stefanie is just doing her job, for chrissake. But youÂ â¦ you have to start out uncooperative, and move from there to sullen, and then rude.”
Even though she had no way to know what was really bothering me, she was right and I was a pain in the ass. So, naturally, I didn't admit it. “âStefanie,' is it?” I said. “You're on a first-name basis with the enemy?”
“Listen to me,” she said. She stopped walking, planted her briefcase on the sidewalk, and peered up at me through her round, thick lenses. “I represent people charged with armed robbery, rape, and murder, people nobody else wants to be on the same planet with. And I do a damn good job of it.” Renata understated her genius by a mile. “I fight like hell when I have to, but I don't treat opposing counsel like scum. They're human beings. They have names. Stefanie Randle is one of them. Their office was closed this afternoon, for God's sake. She only scheduled your dep for today to accommodate my schedule.”
“Hell,” I said, “she was happy to do it. Kept her away from some damn training seminar. Anyway, I'm just trying to get back my law license, and she acts like she's Saint Peter and I'm some sleazeball trying to con my way through the gate.”
“She's youngÂ â¦ and nervous around you. You
have a reputation forâ”
“Even the way she spells her name irritates me. There oughta be a âph' in it.” I recognized how stupid that was, though, even with everything else on my mind. I picked up Renata's briefcase. “I need to think. Let's walk this way.” The light changed and we crossed Randolph, staying on the east side of Michigan. “I apologize, Renata. I really do.”
“Thank you.” She obviously took the apology as genuine and I was glad, because it was. “I'm partly to blame,” she said. “I should have talked you out of petitioning for reinstatement to the bar. It wasn't a good idea.”
The east side of Michigan Avenue, from Randolph all the way down to the Art Institute three blocks to the south, had been torn up for years while they rebuilt the underground parking garage. But now it was park again. They say Chicago has fewer acres of park per person than most other major cities, but for those who can haul themselves across town and get close to the lakefront, you can't beat it. In this particular oasis there were people pushing baby strollers, sitting on benches and along the edges of low retaining walls, even some lying on blankets. A hundred yards away a blue and white squad car sat parked in the grass, the only reminder that we weren't in paradise just yet.
To our left a woman with long auburn hair, who should have been staring into her computer monitor over on the business side of Michigan Avenue, was flat on her back working on her tan. Her eyes were closed against the sun, her tailored blouse stretched open at the throat down to bra level, and her skirt hiked at least a foot above her bare knees.
I switched Renata's briefcase to my other hand and twisted my head to keep the sunbather in sight as we passed. “God, this is still a great city.”
“Did you hear what I said?” Renata asked.
“Sure. That you should have talked me out of filing the petition, and that it's not a good idea.”
“No. I mean after that. While you were gawking at that girl.”
“You mean woman,” I said. “And I bet you were just as turned on asâ” I stopped. Renata was gay, and in a relationship more rigorously monogamous than most people I knew. “Sorry.”
“What I said was that you ought to move to dismiss your petition. You're not really interested in practicing law. You can just as easily tilt at windmills with your private detective's licenseÂ â¦ if you can hold on to that.”
“We really need to talk,” I said. “Let's sit down a minute.”
To our left a wiry little ebony-skinned man, wearing dreadlocks down to his shoulders and nothing else but snow white pants cut off mid-calf, was standing on a park bench. But not on the seat. He was balanced motionless on one bare foot like a yogi, up on the back of the bolted-down bench. Arms spread wide, he smiled serenely toward the sky and seemed oblivious of us. As soon as we sat down on his bench, though, he dropped lightly to the ground and ran away.