Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Blood Cries Chapter 2


Ernie sat handcuffed to a wooden table.  He wore an orange jumpsuit with a number stenciled beneath the left shoulder.  His lawyer sat across from him, thumbing through a legal pad.

“I told you,” Ernie said.  “I didn’t have anything to do with that fire.”

Melvin Little glanced up from his notes.  At thirty years old, he was fifteen years younger than Ernie, but he carried himself like a man who knew things.  

He peered over the pad at his client.  “You owned the property, didn’t you?  You took out the insurance.  You tried to collect the money.  Using another law firm, I might add.”

“Man, is that the problem?  The other lawyer?  What was I supposed to do?  You were trying to rob me.  Fifty percent of the insurance money?  Come on.”

“And now look at you," Melvin said.  "Fifty percent of nothing is nothing.”

“I told you.  I’ve got some money put away.  I’ll get you a retainer.”

“Well, besides the nothing you’ve paid me so far, you haven’t given me a lot to work with, Ernie.  Maybe if you’d stayed with me to begin with instead of going with that country-ass knucklehead, Brady, I could help you more.  Maybe if you'd spoken to me before the police found all those empty gas cans in your garage.”

“What was I supposed to do?  Throw away good gas cans?”

Melvin lowered the pad to his knee.  “Look, you did right by firing Brady and coming to me.  That’s a start anyway.”

“He said I was gonna do thirty years," Ernie said.  A vein bulged near his temple.  "For what?  I didn’t do anything.”

“Well, two little kids died in that fire, Ernie.  And I’m sorry, but you’re gonna have to do some time for that.  Maybe if you’d come to me sooner, I could’ve helped you more.”

“How much time?” Ernie asked.  His eyes narrowed to slivers.

“I worked out a deal for you, Ernie, and it’s a good deal.  It’s the best deal you’re gonna get.”

Ernie stared across the table.

Melvin glanced down at his legal pad.  “Fifteen years,” he said quietly.  He kept his face pointed at the paper, but his eyes darted up in time to see Ernie’s fists crash down on the table. 

“Fifteen years?  That’s the best you can do?”

Melvin set the legal pad on the table, uncrossed his legs, and leaned toward his client.  “Ernie, I’m the best lawyer you’re ever gonna meet.  Fifteen years is the best anyone’s gonna do for you.”

Ernie closed his eyes and breathed in deeply.  Once calm, he nodded his head.

“Hell,” Melvin said, “with good behavior, you’ll be out in seven.”

“Seven,” Ernie said. “I can do seven.”

“You’ll be alright, man.  You got friends in there.”

“Enemies too.”

“Don’t think about that,” Melvin said.  “You’ll be out in a blink of an eye.”

With deliberate slowness, Ernie blinked.

“Well,” Melvin said, “maybe just a tad longer.”

Go to Chapter 3

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