the college murder case (part fifteen)

This story started here.

Twenty minutes later, Jan, Stu, Christy, and I were in an empty dressing room backstage. It was around a corner from the one where my employer had changed before her speech, and it apparently hadn't been used recently.

There were two police officers with us, but they weren't answering any of our questions, or volunteering any information, so we stopped asking. Stu and Jan sat down on two of the dusty straight-backed chairs, and Christy and I stood.

"Stu," Jan said after a few minutes, "I'm sorry you're stuck here with us."

He shrugged. "Well, this is new for me. I've never been held for a crime before without even knowing what crime it was."

"They must know we didn't have anything to do with it," Christy said. "We were on stage."

My employer shook her head. "That's not why they're holding us." She lit a cigarette. "They think that if they let us go, we'll go home. Which we wouldn't, not without Doug, or at least without knowing what happened to him, but they're afraid that we would, because then we'd be technically outside of their jurisdiction." She smiled at Stu. "At least we're providing you with new experiences."

He laughed. "You always do. That's what keeps me from retiring. U-town is a lawyer's dream. Before I met you, do you know how long it had been since I did something I'd never done before? Every year, the same types of clients, with the same types of cases. Now, I do new things ever day, and often they are things no lawyer in the world has ever done before. That's much more appealing than retirement. Well, that and the fact that my wife has indicated, in no uncertain terms, that she doesn't want me underfoot all the time." He frowned. "Do you think Doug is being held for something? If so, I should–"

She shook her head. "It's possible, logically, but I don't think so. I think he's dead. That's why I'm willing to wait."

He nodded sadly. He had got half out of his chair, but he sat down again. "I think so, too. Unfortunately."

Things were quiet for a few minutes, then I noticed one of the cops talking quietly to Christy. She smiled and excused herself, gesturing that she needed to talk to me about something. She crossed the room, making a face that I could see but he couldn't. I leaned over to listen.

"He's flirting with me!" she whispered. Her back was to the cops, and her expression was furious. "It's like... it's like being a cobra, caught in a trap, and having a mongoose come over to flirt with you. Not even to gloat, which would have been bad enough, but to flirt!"

"Well, come on," I whispered, "have some sympathy. Maybe the poor guy can't get dates any other way."

That got a smile out of her.

Of course, this exchange hadn't gone unnoticed by my employer, and I knew that later, at some quieter moment, she'd tease me about Christy making a beeline for me when she had something to say.

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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