Mark Terry

Monday, May 18, 2009

Flat-Footed, Part 7

May 18, 2009

Flat-Footed, Part 7

James Q. Buschell was as wide as he was tall, and he was really tall, at least six-foot-two. Biz refrained from referring to him as the Big BOOB, but he thought it. Buschell’s office wasn’t measured in square-feet, but in acres and Biz was pretty sure the Big BOOB’s desk cost more than, well, everything possession he owned combined. It was a deep black and seemed carved of some rare and undoubtedly endangered African wood. His suit was tailored in a failed attempt to make him look thinner than your average rhinoceros. He tapped his fingers together and peered down at Biz.

“Did you know that your mother and I dated for a while in college?”

“No. I don’t know much about my mother’s love life, before or after her tryst with my father.” Or want to know, when you come right down to it.

“The Israeli professor.”

Biz chose not to respond to that. He said, “I’m here to discuss Del Fontaigne. I understand he, as well as his wife, was your client. I’ve read background on him, understand that prior to meeting Shala Fontaigne he was modestly successful real estate developer. What kind of business deals has he been involved in recently?”

Buschell tapped his fingertips together. Biz wondered if there was some music wafting through his head that he was tapping his fingers along with. Perhaps “Beethoven’s 5th Symphony,” “Money” by Pink Floyd or maybe “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.” Or maybe nothing at all.

“I’m an attorney.”

Biz voted on “nothing at all.”

“I sort of figured,” Biz said. “You’re the head of a large law firm. I was under the impression those two things go together.”

“What I mean,” Buschell said with only a small amount of patience in his voice, “is that my communications and dealings with my client are confidential.”

“Even though he is dead.”

“Even then.”

“Even if the L.A. cops come here with a subpoena and demand it?”

“They won’t. No judge will sign that. Trust me on this.”

That and very little else, Biz thought.

“Who do you think murdered Del Fontaigne?”

“I’m sure I have no idea.”

“You’re sure you have no idea.”

“That’s what I said.”

“Let’s speculate.”

“I don’t see why I should.” More finger tapping.

“Because you once dated my mother years ago and because you know her well enough some forty-or-so years later to grant me an audience.”

Buschell grimaced. He gave up the finger tapping and waved a pudgy hand, indicating, Biz was fairly sure, that Biz might speculate away.

“Let’s assume for the moment that Shala Fontaigne had nothing to do with her husband’s murder.”

“A working hypothesis.”

“It gives me a place to plant my flag, Mr. Buschell. Now, familiar as you are with Del Fontaigne’s business dealings, and you were to, say, suggest, oh, in just a purely speculative way, some of Del’s business dealings that went well for him but didn’t go well for them... what names might you speculate about if you were to speculate?” Biz liked the confused expression on Buschell’s face. He barely knew what he’d said himself. He wondered if the $500 an hour Big BOOB could figure it out.

Buschell blinked. Slowly. “So you may...”

“Pursue leads.”

“Pursue leads.”

Biz put a finger in his ear wiggled it around. There seemed to be an echo in the room. “Yes,” Biz said. “Pursue leads that point away from Shala Fontaigne. A long ways a way.” Always good to prime the pump.

“Ah. Yes. Just speculating, I would suggest you look at Williams Enterprises, Bellagna Corporation and, perhaps, mmmm, DHC, Inc.”

“I don’t suppose the D in DHC stands for Daniel?”

Buschell blinked again. Then the hands came up and the fingers started tapping again. Biz thought, Willie Nelson: “If You’ve Got The Money, I’ve Got The Time.” 

Buschell said, “Davenport.”

Damn, thought Biz. It’s never that easy.

To be continued...


Blogger Sandra Leigh said...

The size disparity between the characters in this story makes for some great visuals.

11:01 AM  

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