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The sun hadn’t fully cleared the horizon and already my phone was ringing. I expected a full ass-reaming for killing the cop, but I thought they would at least have the decency to wait until a civilized hour. I picked up the phone and listened for the noises that indicated the line was being rendered secure.

“Your buddy is about to be in a world of hurt.” She began without prelude once the phone had connected.

“My buddy? What are you talking about? You do realize I’m not even on the clock yet?”

“Word came in from one of our civilian listening posts; the police got approval for a no-knock on the residence of one Thomas A. Shannon, 27, resident of . . .”

I cut her off before she could fill my ears with a bunch of useless information “For what? Did we finally find something on him?”

“According to the affidavit he’s being arrested for three murders he’s believed to have committed. Two of which occurred on a bus and one involving a police officer . . . Stop me when this starts to sound familiar to you.”

“He’s being arrested for what I did? Sweet. Well that works out nicely for you guys doesn’t it? Deniability?” I chuckled.

“It makes no difference to us. We don’t need deniability in the piddly little things you do; we’re the government. We kill people by the city full. I was doing this for you since you seemed to have an interest in him.”

“All right. Is there any chance you can spring him for me?” I asked as I reached for my notepad and began scribbling down a few of the things I had recalled the night before.

“A chance? Sure. No chance is a chance, right?”

I would have sworn at that moment she was making a joke. Can you hear someone smile? She was practically giggling.

“Fine. Where is he?” my pen hovered above the paper waiting for her response.

She hesitated “You can’t go get him. We can’t authorize that.”

“Why? I thought you didn’t need deniability for the piddly little things I did?” Maybe you can’t hear someone smile but I’d bet a gold dollar I could hear her sweat.

“It’s one thing to do what you’ve been doing, but walking into a police station and going Chuck Norris on them is something completely different.  Besides, they’d kill you before you got anywhere near him.”

“All the more reason for you to spring him. Can’t you rendition him or something? Work your government black-ops hoodoo?” Time to turn up the pressure “Oh, and thanks for the reassuring comments on my skill-set. Do you want me to take that as a challenge? Because I will . . .”

“Let me see what we can do. Wait one.”

The line disconnected and I sat there smiling. Nothing like threatening to expose a supremely illegal operation by getting yourself killed in a big bad public way to get the wheels set in motion.


The phone rang again a short time later and I picked up waiting patiently for the clicks and buzzing to end to ensure the line was secure, but there was none of that this time.

“Is this Mr Johnson?” the voice on the other end of the line asked.

“Uh, yes?”  I couldn’t recall if I had been given a cover name, but only two people had this phone number so if someone called it had to be intended for me.

“Mr Johnson, my name is Lena Griffin, from Legal Aid?” she said waiting for me to acknowledge her.


“Yes, well. We were contacted by the police earlier; they have a Mr Thomas Shannon in custody and your name came up as being available to represent him. Is that a possibility?”

“Of course! Where is Mr Shannon being held?”  I smiled into the phone and hurriedly wrote down the address. “Of course, of course. Happy to help. Let Mr Shannon know I’m on my way!”

I hung up the phone and began looking for some clothes that would tell people I was a lawyer who represented the indigent and disenfranchised.  I didn’t have anything that you could call a disguise and I was worried I’d be too recognizable. I looked at myself in the mirror and smiled.

No way would a man who just killed a cop wander into a police station like he just belonged there. Why, that’d be insane!

I smoothed my hair back and checked my reflection in the mirror once more. I gave myself a winning smile then toned it down a bit. I was a lawyer that represented the poor, not a rich criminal defense lawyer. Best to not look too happy.


I paused in front of the doors to the police station to adjust my tie and straighten the reading glasses I’d picked up at the drugstore on my way downtown. I was doing a pretty decent wannabe-scumbag lawyer impression and I thought I might be able to get away with this as long as no one gave me an overlong glance.

I dialed back my ebullience another notch and cleared my throat. Looking in the glass a final time I admonished myself once more to be serious and dour-looking.

A police officer opened the door for me as I entered the foyer and nodded at me as I thanked him. Not even a second glance.  Approaching the desk I reminded myself not to smile at the receptionist there.

“Hello, my name is . . .” the tiny smile I had cooked up died on my lips. I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to be called. I mumbled an approximation of a name and pretended to be looking for something in a pocket “I’m here to see my client, Thomas Shannon. I believe you’re holding him here?”

The receptionist nodded and typed something into a computer. “You’re Johnson, from Legal Aid?”

I smiled “Johnson! That’s me!”

The receptionist gave me an odd look and nodded. “You can wait over there,” she said gesturing to a row of plastic bench seats “an officer will be along in a bit to escort you back to the consultation area.”

I smiled and took a seat opening the empty brief case I’d brought. “Should have put a legal pad in here or something” I muttered under my breath. I looked around trying not to be too obvious about it and was sufficiently assured that I was safe. It was just as I thought; the police didn’t look twice at me. A false sense of security overrode their good sense, safe as they were in their den.

I wasn’t sure if the police station would have metal detectors so I’d left my sidearm at the apartment. I brought a plethora of weapons with me, only one–pepper spray–was immediately recognizable as such. I also carried a tactical pen; a hollow steel tube pointed at one end and currently holding a cheap disposable ink pen. The other weapon I carried wouldn’t even make a TSA agent blink: a set of keys on a solid steel ring with a foot and half length of 550 cord knotted up and worn as a lanyard. I’d added a couple of innocuous looking key fob type things for extra weight. Wearing the lanyard around my neck made me look even more like a low-rent lawyer just out of law school.

I waited for what felt like a day before a dumpy looking police sergeant approached me and crooked one finger at me and grunted “Follow me,” turning away before I had a chance to acknowledge him.

I was escorted down a long hallway to a small, but well lit room with several chairs and cheap industrial carpeting to set off the pale yellow cinder block walls. I set the empty briefcase on the table and nodded politely to the guard who grimaced at me and shut the door.

A few moments later the door opened and the sergeant reappeared shoving his charge through the door. I stood and turned with my hand out to greet my friend.

“Hello, Mr Shannon! I’m your attorney, Jon Thompson!” The guard gave me a look and then pulled the door closed behind him. Shannon stood there, wide eyed before I ushered him to a seat.

I smiled as I took the seat opposite him “Let’s get down to business, shall we?”


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