Sunday, November 04, 2007

Chapter Twelve

Harold couldn’t believe what the detective was telling him.

“There has to be some mistake.”

“There’s no mistake. The officer responded to a call about at breaking and entering at a tattoo parlor on 13th Street. When he arrived he found your wife standing over the deceased holding the murder weapon.”

Before Harold could respond Jerry Benson burst in. He was unshaven and uncombed. Obviously Pete had roused him out of bed and Jerry had wasted no time getting to the police station. “Don’t say a word, Harold.” Then, turning to Detective Jacoby he said “suppose you tell me what’s going on here.”

Jacoby had been up all night and he was not in the mood for smart assed defense attorneys. The fact that it was his fifth day without a cigarette did not improve his disposition. “Suppose you start by telling me who you are and why you’re here.”

“I’m Gerald Benson, and I’m here to represent Mr. Britt and his wife.” He fished a card out of his jeans pocket and handed it to Jacoby who dropped it on his desk without looking at it.
“Well, counselor, since you asked, Mrs. Britt is being held on suspicion of the murder of Lillian Petulengro. She was discovered a little after eleven thirty last night standing over a very dead Mrs. Petulengro with a knife in her hand. The same knife that had been used to stab the deceased through both eyes.”

Jerry looked over at his friend Harold who looked like he was going to be sick. “Harold, you’re not looking so good. There has obviously been a terrible mistake. I’ll get to the bottom of it. In the meantime, why don’t you get yourself some fresh air?”

Jerry and Harold had been friends for almost thirty years. They’d met when they were students at Antioch Law School. They had much in common. Both were from New Jersey. Both had backgrounds in social work. And both had decided in the middle of dead end careers to try the law. After school Harold took a job as a staff attorney for the National Labor Relations Board and Jerry went to work as a public defender. In the ensuing years Jerry had started his own law firm and had acquired a reputation as a skilled defense attorney. He’d tried many times to convince his friend to join him but Harold was content at the NLRB.

“I’m okay, Jerry. I want to hear what the detective has to say.”

“Has my client been questioned, Detective Jacoby?”

“We tried, but there’s a problem. Mrs. Britt says she can’t remember anything – not even her own name.”



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