“And Justice For All.”
What the hell did that mean? I didn’t know, but I was damn sure going to find out. I told the coroner that I had changed my mind. I would take the report.
Harville’s words were once again knocking on my brain. “Call me when you figure it out.” I hadn’t figured anything out but I was hell-bent on finding out what those words meant, and how they tied into Parker’s last word. I also knew that Harville was the only person who could help me.
I flew into my office and told my clerk to get Harville on the phone. “What should I say?” she asked. I had to hold my tongue while I was thinking, “you are dumber than a bag of hammers, aren’t you?” I collected myself and calmly asked her to just make the call.
A few minutes later, she knocked on my door and said, “there was no answer.” I shook my head. I knew what the answer to my next question was going to be, but I asked anyway. “Did you leave a message?”
“No,” she said. “You didn’t ask me to.” For a second, I thought I was going to go into orbit and stroke out. I envisioned snapping her useless head off and using it as a bowling ball, but on second thought, hollow bowling balls won’t knock down many, if any, pins.
This gal had been hired because she was the niece of one of the partners. How I got strapped with her, I have no idea, but she sure wasn’t office material. It was like trying to get a first grader to give a soliloquy on the meaning of life. I was sure I was being punished for some reason…maybe for forgetting search warrants.
I emphasized every single word as I said, “call him back and if he doesn’t answer, leave a message and that message should be that I would like for him to return my call at his earliest convenience. Do you think you can handle that?”
She smiled and gave me a cutesy, “of course.” I’m not sure she was even bright enough to understand when she was being insulted, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to talk to Harville.
I didn’t know what I was going to say, if he called back. I hadn’t “figured” anything out but I did believe that there was a connection between the word “tattoo” and the actual tattooed words “and justice for all.” What was she trying to tell me? I was sure that the last word she uttered wasn’t to let me know that she had a tattoo. I just kept asking myself. What does it mean? What does it mean?
I waited all afternoon for Harville’s call. It didn’t come. I had already decided that he wasn’t going to get the autopsy report until he returned my call. It was pure petulance on my part, and if it pissed him off, tough shit. If he wanted the report, he would have to talk to me first.
I left my office feeling a little smug, although I really didn’t know why. Maybe I felt like I had the upper hand because I was holding the autopsy report hostage.
I had a conversation with myself all the way home. Not only was I talking to myself, I was answering myself. “Like Harville is going to fold because you’re pouting like a child. Like he’s going to tell you the answer to what you haven’t yet figured out. Like he’s even going to return your call. You’re a fucking idiot and he knows it.”
I battled myself long enough and decided I would let it go until the next morning. I had it in mind to just barrage him with calls until he responded. Sure…with the clerk I had, that would mean a call every other week maybe, if I was lucky.
I strolled into my office and asked for Harville’s number. My clerk said, “oh. Do you want me to call him?” I told her that I did not. I would just like for her to give me his number.
I called and of course, got no answer. I left a rather hostile, not threatening, but hostile message. I told him that I had the autopsy report, and stopped just short of telling him that I intended to keep it until he returned my call. I stressed the importance of a conversation and told him that I would be anxiously waiting.
I wasn’t listed in The Chamber’s Legal Library but I tried to act like a big shot, you know, like I was someone of substance that warranted a call from the noted Mr. Morgan Ayers Harville, Esquire.
Another call went unanswered, and another and another. I started doodling, “and justice for all.” I was trying to take an analytical approach. “Okay. What is the definition of justice? On one hand it means, fairness and moral rightness. ‘And justice for all’ are the last four words of the Pledge of Allegiance, expressing loyalty to the country and the flag of the United States.” Did Parker Patterson strike me as the loyal type…to her country, or flag, or anything or anyone? No.”
“But on the other hand it means, revenge, retribution, vengeance, retaliation, payback, avengement, getting even, counterbalancing.” Was I on to something?
Those were all strong words. “Revenge. Revenge for what? Retribution. Again, for what? Retaliation, payback, avengement, evening the score, counterbalancing.
Evening the score? What was the game and who were the players? Was the game the trial? Were the players the accused, the victims, or the attorneys, or all of those? What was she counterbalancing? Guilt versus innocence? Righteousness versus evil?”
None of those definitions made sense when it came to her profile. I was still completely in the dark. I still had no answers, but I was beginning to think that the tattoo had something to do with something or someone, seeking, needing, or receiving justice.
The next morning, I decided to make one more call to Harville. Knowing he wouldn’t answer, I put the phone down, threw my feet up on the desk and started drinking my coffee. I almost spit it all over my pant legs when he actually answered the phone.
I had gone over and over in my mind exactly what I was going to say if and when he ever answered, but suddenly my mind went completely blank. It seemed like an hour before I finally blurted out the words, “and justice for all.”
Harville said, “I’ll book you on the next flight to Chicago. Someone will be waiting to pick you up. Plan on spending a few days.” Then I heard the “click.” I have seen movies where the players hear that click and continue to say “hello? Hello? Hello?” I never understood that. I would yell, “you stupid idiot! Why are you still saying hello? They hung up!”
Call me a stupid idiot. I found myself saying, “hello? Hello?”
Oh boy. Obviously Harville thought that I had “figured it out,” but I didn’t have a clue what was going on. I would have to fake it. Maybe I’d pull the ole “what do you think?” hoping he would think I knew what the hell I was talking about and start telling me what I didn’t know. I knew I was going to be intimidated by his “status” but I was determined to act like I wasn’t.
I got to the airport just in time, given the short notice. It was a relatively short flight, and when I walked through the terminal, I saw a well dressed chauffeur, holding a sign bearing my name.
When we got outside, he opened the door to a stretch limousine. Of course. What was I expecting? A ticket for a ride on the city bus? When I got in, that song, “How Do You Like Me Now?” popped into my head. Yep. I wasn’t on the “list” but I was being chauffeured around in a limousine, owned by someone who was. That was class.
I had to snap back into reality because I was about to face Harville and like I said, I knew nothing. I figured the worst that could happen is that he would toss me out, and I would be relegated to fetching a cab back to the airport.
The limousine pulled up to what could only be described as a magnificent, ancestral mansion with a well-groomed lawn, luscious landscaping and a fountain that was as big as my living room. Okay. I was duly impressed. I also hated him.
I got out of the “royal coach,” and rang the doorbell. I kid you not. The classic British butler answered. I told him who I was, and he said, “of course. My name is Mr. Winslow. Mr. Harville is expecting you. Please follow me into the library.”
I looked around the room and felt like I had landed in the middle of a storybook castle. “Please make yourself comfortable,” Mr. Winslow said. “Might I bring you a cup of tea?” I thanked him, but declined. “Oh, yes,” he said. “I forgot. You Yanks prefer coffee. Might I bring you a cup of coffee then?”
To be continued____________________________