After I spit little pieces of half-chewed pepperoni all over the papers, I quickly wiped it away to reveal what I thought I saw, but wasn’t sure. After a second and third look, clearly, I was right.
I saw MY name. “What the fuck?” I thought. “Why is my name on that list?”
Beside my name was a deposit of one million dollars, every year for the last five years, into the same account from which the check was drawn. An asterisk denoted further information, and referred me to the last page of that particular “sub-part.”
There it was. I was to be given care, custody and control of Parker Patterson’s entire multi-billion dollar fortune, of course with more caveats yet to be spelled out.
Harville had told me there would be demands and instructions and “most importantly,” a code of silence, but I admit that I didn’t think it was going to be on a grand scale such as this. What exactly was I expected to do in exchange for this fortune?
I started reading the last “sub-part.” My new “specialty” was to be a Criminal Defense Attorney, just like Parker. I was to, as she had done and done so effectively, defend and exonerate the worst of the worst with whatever means were required, and then arrange for their “protection.”
Parker had done a good job on that front. All of the scumbags she had so artfully defended, had completely disappeared. Many surviving victims, as well as several judges, feared they would offend again no matter where they had been relocated, and statistically, a killer will kill again. But Parker never seemed concerned.
As I continued reading, I was feeling sick to my stomach. I jumped to my feet and said aloud, “I can’t do this! I won’t do this!”
But then I remembered. Goddammit! I had given my word. I had given my fucking word. Harvilles’ words again came back to haunt me. “Great tragedy can befall a man who breaks his word.”
I decided that I would actually be okay with living in a concrete pillar next to Jimmy Hoffa. It was better than completely deserting my honor and integrity. That kind of unscrupulousness and contempt for the law, the law I had sworn to uphold, was not in my nature.
I was fuming as I kept reading the information in the folder, but the more I read, the more I calmed down, and the more I came to understand Parker Carolina Patterson.
Everything was not as it seemed, and it started coming together. It started making sense. Although not within the parameters of the law as I understood and practiced, Parker had not only sought and delivered justice, she had sought and delivered swift and mighty justice.
I smiled as I realized exactly what she had done. It was nothing that every one of us have most likely fantasized about at one time or another, and I’m not limiting my conjecture to attorneys or law enforcement.
I re-examined the latitude and longitude coordinates noted. They were skillfully portrayed on a map. I sat back in my chair and sighed when I realized that the map was Harville’s property. The count correlated exactly with the number of exonerated defendants. “Hmm,” I thought. No wonder they were never heard from again.”
That was the reason for the code of silence. I now knew what happened to those “defendants.” I now knew how they “disappeared,” and I now knew where they were. I don’t know who actually put them there, be it Parker or Harville or someone yet to be introduced, but they were there, and they would remain nameless for all eternity.
The reason Parker Carolina Patterson chose me, was buried deep in the bowels of that blue folder. When I found it, I smiled. “Of course,” I thought. “Now it makes sense.”
The torch had been passed. I had made a promise to carry it, and I would carry it while seeking my own justice. My day of reckoning might surely come, but until then, there would be, “justice for all.”
Some say Parker Carolina Patterson was a despicable woman. Some hated her. Some admired her. Some, like Harville, loved her. As for me? I came to understand her.
In my younger days, I used to wonder if she had ever lost anything. EVER! I finally realized that, no, she had not lost anything. She had lost everything.
When people asked me about her, I just smiled and said, “God called in the markers, and she arranged the meetings.” I didn’t care if they understood what I meant, and I didn’t care what they thought.
A few months after my practice was up and running, I left my office and walked uptown. I stopped in front of a store, and took a deep breath as I walked in. A friendly girl asked, “what can we help you with today?”
I smiled and said, “I’d like to get a tattoo.” She cheerfully asked, “do you have anything in mind?”
“Just two words,” I said.
Nan Fen An.