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Blood Money

by Colleen Stewart about a year ago in fiction
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Fran's Retirement

After this one, I decided it was time to retire. I’m sick of what comes through that door.

He was a bastard. A cheap one at that. Everything about him smelled of NEW money. I would bet there were tags still on his underwear. I knew he would not be a good liar. You get a sense for these things. He was more of a weasel: eyes half shut, a glare, and a cheap smirk from the other side of my desk. He was used to throwing his weight around.

“I want a lawyer that will protect my money!” he barked. I wondered what he was doing in a criminal lawyer’s office.

“If you want to sue someone, I can refer to you a colleague. I’m not sure why you think I can protect your money? I only deal with criminal cases.” And even then, I am comfortable in my leather chair. I don’t take just anyone that shows up in the cells Monday morning, or that just walks in off the street.

He sat, stared for a few seconds, and then reached into the large inside pocket of that slime green leather suit jacket and pulled out a small black book – a moleskine. Tucked inside was a wad of money. I could see the edge of a $1000 dollar bill and the yellow cardboard of a charge sheet, crumpled and shoved into the book.

He didn’t hand it to me right away but watched me, still smirking.

I can play.

“Ok...what do they think they have on you and what’s the charge. If you want me to help, I will need to see that charge sheet”.

He handed me a crumpled paper but kept the black book out in his left hand. I could see the edges of the bills peeking out of the book. The charges included theft over $5000 and manslaughter? “Who got you out on bail?” I asked.

“Some young piece” he said... “from legal aid. It was not a big deal. I have a job. I have no record. I now have a house. And I should have a big fat insurance policy payout.”

I played stupid. “You didn’t like the legal aid lawyer assigned to you?” I sat back and watched.

He doubled that smirk and explained, “I want a real lawyer... not some little girl playing pretend”.

I didn’t bother to study the charge sheet. I was more interested in how he handled the next question... “What do they think you did?” I asked. I leaned back, ready for story time to start, or stupidity to show through.

“Can’t you read?” he asked. Now it was my turn to smirk.

“Ya bud... I can read and I don’t give a damn what happened so don’t get all honest with me... I want to know what the police think they have?... I can read that some woman is dead? Who do the police think she was and how do they think she died?

He sat back heavily, glared for a minute, and then admitted... “she was my wife actually. You know her. Fran Jenkins. She lived on Livingstone Road.” He had not said we. ” I ran her over with my car in front of her house....” He had not said our house. He paused... “accidentally mind you”. That smirk again. “I just didn’t see her there”.

He turned the little black book slowly over in his hand and looked up smiling. “This was her diary. It has information that the police don’t need to know, if you get my drift”. If he wanted me to hide it for him, he was about to be sorely disappointed.

“And it contains your fee.”

He suddenly became animated and stood up. “I don’t want to waste more time on this. I have places to be and I would like this wrapped up as quickly as possible. Can you take care of this? And how much do you need?”

I looked at the book. No. I did not need to read it. I know it would have something in it that would justify lots of charges against lots of people. What’s the little black book for? What was he so afraid of? Now I knew because I’d seen Franny many times over the years. Her thing was off-track betting with heavy hitters. “I’m sorry to hear about Franny”.

Nope. After 25 years, I didn’t need this case.

But I was still a bit curious. “Did you get the book before, or after you ran her over”. He stared and didn’t reply. Ok. So, he wasn’t completely stupid. I didn’t really want him to reply. But that finished this in my mind.

“I’m afraid my fees may be beyond your range. I would be looking at a $20,000 retainer and I would not expect to get this resolved within the next 6 months”.

He pulled the stack of bills out of that little black book and counted out 20, $1000 dollar bills.

“There you go. I will expect to have this thing resolved in my favour?” Once more trying to throw that excessive weight around.

I looked down at the bills laying on my desk. “I’m sorry, that just isn’t sufficient”. He squinted “what do you mean?”

I leaned back in my leather chair and stared into his eyes.

“The $1000 dollar bill is no longer legal currency in this country. Not for awhile. This size bill was usually counterfeit or used to launder money or to hide large amounts to move offshore. I guess Fran kept her retirement fund in that little black book a few years too long?”

He started to squirm. “Yes, it was in the book” was his answer.

I had an easy out. “Well, I’m sorry but that is not going to work. Do you have any other source of funds?” I asked.

He got up, frowned, picked up the bills and then turned to walk out without saying another word, as I called out: “Better go back and talk to that nice young lady in Legal Aid”.


About the author

Colleen Stewart

retiring soon...this will be fun

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