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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Chapter Eighteen

“Go for a walk, Billy.” David scowled through the sea of young hipsters who were standing in line for their coffees. It had taken him all morning to convince Rosie over the phone to meet with him, and even though she had finally agreed, he was almost certain that she wasn’t going to be there.

            Billy smiled at the people in front of them, who had started animatedly pointing at the camera he was lovingly fussing over, “You know I can’t do that. My contract stipulates…”

            David turned and put a hand over the lens, “Let me rephrase: Rosie said she’d only meet with me without cameras, so go for a fucking walk.” Billy stared at David like he was his father who just told him he was adopted. He lowered the camera and started to despondently walking away. “Billy. This is important. I wouldn’t ask you to do this if I didn’t need privacy.” David added.

            Billy looked back over his shoulder and shrugged before he hurried out of the coffee shop and began chatting up an attractive blonde woman outside. David pushed his way past the customers waiting for their vente soy skinny lattes and then the sea of laptops that dominated every table. A few heads popped up and although the young customers wanted to seem cool, he could see the words David Armstrong on a few of their lips. He was already regretting meeting Rosie in such a public place.

            He finally spotted Rosie sitting on an overstuffed chair reading a book entitled, “Fascism and you: the media’s hand in the fall of modern Democracy.”

             “Can I get you a grande chai tea latte?” Rosie snickered as he approached.

            “I’m more of a black coffee guy.” David said as he sat across from her on a matching chair so covered in the stains from hot beverages that it looked like a taupe Dalmatian.

            “Who could guess?” Rosie pushed a cup of black coffee to David. “So, Detective Armstrong, you asked for this meeting.”

            “I saw your father.” David noticed that Rosie’s eyes flashed for a moment, “I was frustrated with the Tucker case and your dad has a unique perspective.”

            “You mean he doesn’t make assumptions and he doesn’t rely on the evidence if the evidence doesn’t lead to a logical conclusion? Yeah, I guess that would be unique.”

            “You may not believe this but I have a lot of respect for your father. Before he was sent away, he helped me break many cases when others gave up.”

            “You put an innocent man in prison.” Rosie set the book down on her lap and curled her lip.

            “I wasn’t the judge and jury. I’m merely an investigator and the evidence was irrefutable.”

            “The last two things you just said are paradoxical.”

            “Excuse me?”

            “They are opposites, like ‘jumbo shrimp.’ You’re arguing that my father was an honorable man and yet, somehow, he decided to fabricate evidence.”

            “Three men died because of the evidence your father fabricated: they were unjustly incarcerated for violent crimes and killed in prison by inmates who didn’t think highly of pedophiles. These men, just normal guys, had no way to protect themselves.”

            “And yet you didn’t stop to think about how out of character that was for my father, a man who you admitted was incredibly fastidious and diligent when it came to evidence.”

            “That’s not true. It always did seem strange to me, but I had no evidence to contradict what was offered by the prosecutors.”

            “You collected the evidence that the prosecutors used.” The sharpness of her eyes was getting uncomfortable, and David was painfully aware that the conversation had strayed dramatically from what he’d intended to talk to her about.

            “What are you saying?”

            “I’m trying to tell you that you didn’t see the whole picture: you weren’t dishonest, but you saw the case from only one perspective.”

            David let out a long breath, “Which is why I wanted to speak to you. Can you help me see the Darcy Tucker case differently?”

            She stared at him for a long moment, the look of profound disdain on her face making him shift awkwardly, “What do I get?”

            “I reopen your father’s case, unofficially. If I find cause for a retrial I will take it to the judge. You have my word.” The anger in Rosie’s eyes alerted David to his mistake. “Go ask your dad if you should trust me. I believe he would give you the green light. Please go see him.”

            “I don’t have to. If all you have to offer me is a weirdly abstract promise to maybe look into a thing if it’s convenient, then you can shove it up your ass. We are done here.”

            David ran his hands over his face in a way that had become his trademark. One of the tables near him erupted into excited chatter of recognition as he did so. Finally, he got up to leave. “We’ll talk again.” He turned back to Rosie. “Could you see if you could talk to him about the fungus thing. It worries me.”

            Rosie blinked, “Fungus thing?”

            “Never mind.”
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