“What is it?”
“Look,” Mann said with a sigh. “I know you’re still going through a rough time, and I don’t want to get in your business.”
“Then don’t,” Coletti snapped.
“Okay. How ‘bout I just tell you mine?”
Coletti didn’t respond. He didn’t hang up, either, so Mann said his piece.
“Sandy and I lived through a lot in that graveyard, but I learned some things about her and I know what I want now. Hopefully, she wants the same thing. I guess I’ll know soon enough.”
There was a pause as Coletti digested what Mann was trying to tell him.
“I hope it works out for you, Charlie.”
“Yeah, me too,” Mann said. “So you wanna go to dinner with us or what? Have a couple drinks, eat a good steak, have a few laughs. It’ll be fun. And since I know how cheap you are, it’s on me.”
Coletti took another drag of his cigarette. “No, thanks. Tonight should be about the two of you.”
“You sure? Because—”
“I’m positive,” Coletti said. “I’ll talk to you later.”
Before Mann could respond, Coletti slid the phone into the cradle, puffed his cigarette once more, and crushed out the flame in a filthy glass ashtray. He gulped down the rest of his beer. Then he went back to the refrigerator for more.
Sitting down in his ratty armchair, Coletti drank his beer, turned on the TV and began channel surfing. He stopped at NBC 10, where the new redhead on the four o’ clock newscast was just pretty enough to hold his interest.
Standing outside the Criminal Justice Center wearing a practiced grave expression, she spoke with one eye on the camera and another on the building. “This is Crystal Murray reporting live from the Criminal Justice Center, where there were major courtroom fireworks today in the barroom murder trial of Timothy Green.”
As she spoke, a woman came out of the building, and Mike Coletti froze. A flood of memories came rushing back to him; memories that were at once comforting and sad.
The reporter and the camera man caught up with her, and when they did, the questions began. “Ms. Wilson, do you believe your client was best served by what happened in the courtroom today?” the reporter asked.
“I believe my client is best served by a robust defense,” Andrea said, moving quickly so the reporter had to run to keep up.
“Even if he was found with Officer Harris’ money in his hands and the evidence says he’s guilty?”
Andrea stopped and looked at the reporter. “Eye witnesses say a masked gunman shot Officer Harris in a bar. There’s no physical evidence establishing my client as that gunman. That’s why juries determine guilt, not the media.”
Newshounds-turned-novelists Solomon Jones and Karen Quinones Miller encompass the light and darkness of life in the city. Days before their joint book-signing and reading at the Free Library on Nov. 1, Miller and Jones sat down to talk to each other about their lives, their books and the amazing journeys that shaped two of Philadelphia’s most distinctive storytelling voices.
In the first excerpt of Chapter One of Jones' eighth novel, a former figure in Detective Mike Coletti's past makes some interesting moves—in and out of the courtroom.
Gabriel García Márquez, 1927-2014
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