District Attorney Doug Fleming’s office…
As Pete was speculating on the possible guilt of his boss, the subject of his speculation, DA Doug Fleming, was sitting behind his desk in his office, thinking over the just-finished meeting. He clasped his hands in front of him on the desk and tightly squeezed and unsqueezed them–just to have something to do, to try to relieve the tension. He talked himself into remaining calm.
Should he be relieved or panicked? Maybe a little of both.
The strong voice of Tammy Wynette resounded in his head as he thought of the confident looks on the faces around the conference table. Those attorneys will stand by their man and never seriously consider the possibility that they may have the wrong one. In a way, they’re like those horses that pull the carriages in Central Park in New York City. The ones with blinders on. All they can see is what’s straight ahead. Not what’s to the left or to the right.
But then these attorneys are new at the job, still green enough to believe in a slam dunk. Thirty plus years of doing this stuff, Doug knew there’s no such thing. He envied them their naiveté.
Whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty” anyway? Oh, the phrase is thrown around a lot. But in some ways, it’s become an anachronism in the Internet age when people blog, tweet, and text about the accused to their heart’s content. Freedom of the press run amok.
Yet he was thinking that there are some surprises in criminal cases. He thought about that LAPD retired female detective who, a few years ago, had been convicted of an old crime, one from 1986. She had murdered the wife of her ex-lover. Many were surprised, but Doug wasn’t. Law enforcement people (police, prosecutors, judges, etc.) are the last to be suspected. Why? He knew from personal experience that they have the same temptations as the next guy. The only difference is, it’s easier for them to elude capture. He and his colleagues know all the ins and outs of the system; and this means that, as far as jail is concerned, most of the time they’ll remain out instead of in. Even if they deserve the opposite.
Doug asked himself whether he regretted the day last year when he had first met his former girlfriend, Allison Drake. Not really. But he guessed that she did. Especially when she saw him pull the Derringer out of his pocket and shoot her in the head.
He was thinking back to the day when he found out that she had another boyfriend while she was seeing him. He had felt hurt and betrayed. When he found out the boyfriend was scumbag Tony Moffat, he was enraged and determined they’d both have to pay–big time. He gave himself an ‘A’ for patience, as he watched and waited, bided his time, and made his plans. Moffat was the perfect patsy; a record of some petty crimes and a conviction for the domestic abuse of a former girlfriend qualified him for that. He thought back to keeping track of Moffat’s schedule and “borrowing” his Derringer to put a hole in Allison’s head. He gave himself credit for making sure that his prints weren’t on it when he returned it to Moffat’s house a few hours later. He didn’t believe in taking things–for keeps, that is–that didn’t belong to him. It’s only justice, he figured, that Moffat would pay the price for taking what belonged to him. He should have known better than to take from a DA the love of his life. The murder of Allison Drake was a twofer. Taking care of his lover and her boyfriend, with one shot. Literally.
He flicked a spot of cinnamon from his cuff. Donuts were good, but they were messy. He thought of that tiny piece of skin forensics had found on the gun that killed Allison Drake. He had a feeling that it was his, although he couldn’t be sure. His one mistake. Bad news.
And there was another thing. At the meeting today, he noticed Pete looking at him in kind of a strange way. There was confusion in his eyes. He didn’t suspect anything, did he? Not to worry. His assistant took orders, he didn’t give them.
Overall, he didn’t think he had a lot to worry about. He was thinking of the advice of that great philosopher, Yogi Berra, “You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.” The law enforcement dolts didn’t have a clue that he was involved. And since they wouldn’t know at all where they’re going, he was sure they’d never get there.
And, even if they happened to find his fingerprints in Allison’s apartment, it wouldn’t be a problem. Since she testified in a trial out of the DA’s office, he could easily explain that he was in her apartment because of work related to trial prep, right? No sweat.
He looked at the pile of work on his desk, unclasped his hands, and opened the top folder. There were lots of other cases to deal with. Time to move on.
Forget about the skin on the gun for now, he told himself. Worry about it some other time. As Scarlett O’Hara said, “…tomorrow is another day.”
END – Part III
For Pete’s Sake – Part IV By GAIL FARRELLY will unfurl next Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 9am DST
Original publication by Kings River Life Magazine.