Melvin Little opened his eyes. What’s happening, he thought. Why am I awake? He glanced over at his wife buried in the covers sleeping soundly. He looked at the clock. It was 3 am.
The telephone bleated again.
He picked up the receiver, but no words came to his mouth. He just slumped there, eyes closed, half asleep.
“Hello,” said the voice on the other end of the line. “Hello, is anyone there?”
Melvin grunted an affirmation.
“Is this Mr. Little, the attorney?”
Melvin summoned the energy needed to speak. “That depends,” he said. “Who is this?”
“This is Reverend Baxter. The police are at my house. They say I murdered my wife.”
Melvin sat up, awake now. “Have you been charged?”
“They say they are going to arrest me.”
“Reverend Baxter, it seems you are in a difficult spot just now, but I have a question I need to ask you. It may sound impertinent.”
Melvin swung his feet over the side of the bed. His feet searched the floor for his slippers. “Do you have any money?”
“There’s an insurance policy,” Reverend Baxter said. “I could pay you that.”
“How much is the policy worth?” Melvin asked. He opened the drawer of his bedside table, looking for a notepad.
Melvin stopped rifling through the drawer. He sat up straight.
“I’ll need to take half of that,” he said, forcing himself to stay calm.
“Half?” The voice on the other end of the phone sounded stunned.
“It’s your choice, Reverend.” Melvin could hear one of the deputies in the room with the Reverend. He was saying something that was taking away the Reverend’s attention.
“Reverend,” Melvin said, “Do we have a deal?”
“Yes,” said the Reverend. “We have a deal.”
“Don’t you say anything,” Melvin ordered. “Do you hear me? I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
“Hang on a second, Reverend.” He noticed his wife leaning on one elbow, trying to keep her eyes open. “Have you seen my notepad? I need to take down some information.”
His wife just stared at him, bleary eyed.
“You may hate me now,” Melvin said, “for receiving calls in the middle of the night, but you’ll thank me tomorrow.”
“Why is that?” His wife asked.
“Because we just stepped in a pile of gold.”
Go to Chapter 6