Dead Center

Dead Center by David Rosenfelt

Book: Dead Center by David Rosenfelt Read Free Book Online
Authors: David Rosenfelt
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either way he’ll be well represented. I owe that to him and Calvin as well, though in truth I’ve done nothing toward advancing my decision-making process. Calvin gives me some papers relating to the case to go over; he’s prepared a brief summary of the events, or at least his knowledge of them. It’s a professional gesture that I appreciate, and I tell him so. He also invites me to come to his house later for a drink so that we can discuss the case further. He even says I can bring Tara, so I agree to come.
    I feel vaguely out of sorts here in Findlay, and I certainly don’t have a feel for the case. It’s disconcerting, though on the positive side I haven’t thought about Laurie for almost an hour, which represents a record for me.
    Right now I just want to go home, and the closest thing to that is Tara, waiting at the hotel. The man behind the desk in the lobby tells me that they have the TV ready to install, but they were afraid to do so with “that dog” in the room. Little do they know that “that dog” is probably smart enough to have installed it herself.
    Tara is beyond thrilled to see me and just about drags me to the elevator. We go for a long walk, maybe an hour, which pretty much covers all of Findlay. I mentally guess which houses could be Laurie’s, but it’s not that challenging a game, and my thoughts switch to the case.
    Jeremy doesn’t seem like a young man capable of slashing two coeds to death, but I certainly can’t be anywhere near sure of that. I’ve never seen him enraged or rejected or distraught, and I have no idea what those powerful emotions might do to him. Or cause him to do.
    The bottom line is that this is probably a case I would take if the murder were committed in North Jersey. It has the elements that can make what’s left of my legal juices flow. But I have to look at this on a personal, perhaps selfish level. A murder case takes an enormous amount of time and energy, and I really don’t want to turn my life upside down for the duration. It’s a good case, but it’s in little danger of being referred to as the trial of the century.
    My level of guilt at the selfishness of my approach is pretty low. Calvin is probably competent to give Jeremy a good defense, but that will be a decision Jeremy and his father can make. If they have the money to hire me, they have the money to hire pretty much anybody they want, so my departure will not mean he will have poor representation.
    Basically, it comes down to this: I want to stay in my own house, I don’t want Tara stuck in a hotel, I want to go to Charlie’s with Vince and Pete when I feel like it, and I don’t want to worry that every time I go somewhere I could run into Laurie. Or worse yet, Laurie and some boyfriend.
    As my mother would have said, “Why do I need the aggravation?”

• • • • •
    O UR WALK ENDS at Calvin’s house, and he’s waiting on the porch for us. He spends some time petting Tara which immediately wins her over. In Tara’s mind petters are good people, nonpetters are not. I pretty much look at life the same way.
    We sit on the porch for a while, with Calvin and me literally in rocking chairs. I keep waiting for Aunt Bea to appear with homemade apple pie and ice cream. But it feels comfortable, and I briefly wonder if I could stay here long-term. There’s no doubt that I couldn’t; I’d go absolutely nuts. But for this moment it’s okay.
    “This is actually a pretty nice town,” I say. It comes out more condescending than I intended.
    “Depends on who you are,” he says with a trace of bitterness.
    “What do you mean?”
    He looks at me with a mixture of disdain and surprise. “You have any idea what it’s like to be the only openly gay person in a town like this?”
    Now it’s my turn to be surprised. “You’re gay?”
    “Nope,” he says, and then laughs at his nailing me with another lie. “Come on in.”
    We go inside, and Calvin takes Tara and me into what he calls

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