Mark Terry

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Flat-Footed, Part 8

May 19, 2009


Biz had been hanging around with lawyers--including his Mom--for long enough to understand that TV’s notion of the steely-eyed shark was not always the case. If he had been asked to predict what Walter Chang would be like based on his reputation--a top defense attorney who handled generally wealthy clients--he would have suggested a brilliant tactical mind, but more importantly, he would have said, “I bet he’s likable.”

Because in his experience, the jury tended to listen intently to the facts of a case, then vote for the lawyer they liked the most, defense or prosecution.

As a result, when he met Walter Chang he wasn’t entirely surprised to be met by a relaxed-looking Asian guy with an open expression and big, friendly smile. “So, Benjamin Leightner. I’ve heard a lot about you over the years. Come in, have a seat. Can I get you coffee?”

Accepting the coffee and the seat, Biz said, “As you know, I was hired by Del Fontaigne to determine if his wife was having an affair with her assistant.”

Chang’s eyes twinkled. Biz wondered if it came natural or he practiced it in a mirror. “And apparently proved it.”

“Were you surprised?”

“No. But then again, I’ve yet to have a conversation with Mrs. Fontaigne. Charles let me know that I would be handling her defense, should it come to that. Which I do not believe it has. I’ve already contacted the L.A.P.D. and discussed having a meeting with their detectives and my client. Full disclosure and everything.”

On his turf and on his conditions, Biz thought. He sipped his coffee and pointed to the bone china mug it came in. “Wow, that’s excellent. Kona?”

“Very good, Mr. Leightner. The question is, what can I do for you?”

“You’re the council of course, but I wonder if you have considered the ‘alternate story’ yet?”

Chang grinned and pointed a finger at Biz, laughing. “Your mother’s influence, correct? I don’t call it the ‘alternate story,’ Mr. Leightner. I call it the ‘Other Guy Scenario.’”

“The other guy did it.”


“So have you developed an ‘other guy’ for the murder yet?”

“I’m considering options. There is, of course, the ‘random crime’ alternative.”

Biz shook his head. “Nowhere for me to go with that.”

Chang tugged at the lapel of his slightly rumpled brown suit. “My understanding--and this is pending further investigation on my part, of course--is that Del Fontaigne’s business interests were not always successful and as a result he ran up a lot of debt. There are ... rumors ... that his wife had decided to let his businesses succeed or fail without any financial assistance from her.”

“That’s a definite place to start.”

“I thought you might think so. Also, there are also, hmmm .... I’m not sure rumors so much as innuendo, suggestions ... okay, rumors ... gossip ... that Del Fontaigne may have had affairs of his own. That sort of thing can get out of hand, of course. Jealous husbands, that sort of thing.”

“Also a good place to start. Anything else?”

“No, not yet. Things may develop.”

Biz took another sip of the coffee. It really did taste great. “How about, perhaps, Shala Fontaign’s lover hiring someone to have Del murdered so he could become the next Mr. ShalaVu.”

Chang grinned. “I like the way you think, Mr. Leightner. That’s an interesting idea.”

“The ‘Throw Him To The Wolves’ Scenario?”

Chang smiled. “Exactly.”

To be continued...


Blogger Erica Orloff said...

The plot thickens!

8:07 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Indeed, Doctor O. The game is afoot.

9:03 AM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

Lots of fun ways it could develop! I'm excited to read more, Mark!

3:22 PM  
Blogger Richmond Writer said...

I'm lurking

10:14 AM  

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