Exclusive PW Excerpt, Part II: Solomon Jones' "The Dead Man's Wife"

By Solomon Jones
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Oct. 22, 2012

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The judge shot a disapproving glance in Andrea’s direction. “Ms. Wilson I’m not going to warn you again.”

“I apologize, your honor, but if it pleases the court I do have one more question. Ms. Reyes, you testified that there was nothing else for sale in the bar, but are you aware that the bar’s been cited five times in the past year for prostitution, and several bar maids were involved?”

“Objection!” the prosecutor shouted. “Ms. Reyes has no arrest record, and neither she nor the bar is on trial here!” 

“Well, maybe they should be!” Andrea retorted.

“And maybe you should know where to draw the line!” the prosecutor yelled.
“I draw it at the truth!”

“Order!” The judge banged his gavel as the people in the gallery murmured loudly. “I will have order in this court, or I swear I’ll lock both of you up for contempt.”

Andrea apologized profusely, knowing that her comments would remain in the jurors’ minds. Memory was funny that way. It retained whatever it wanted, and disregarded whatever it didn’t.
Andrea knew that creating memories could produce doubt. Doubt, after all, was at the core of her job, and she did her job better than most.

When the lunch recess arrived, Andrea pushed her way through the crush of media who were there to cover the trial of yet another accused cop killer. As she uttered “No comment” to the questions they hurled at her, Prosecutor Derrick Bell followed her through the crowd, catching up as the cameras rolled.

“What the hell was that in there?” he asked when he was close enough for her to hear. 
“It’s called practicing law,” Andrea said, rushing toward the elevator and pushing the down button.

“Practicing law is one thing,” he said through clenched teeth. “Putting a cop killer back on the streets is another.”

“My client pleaded not guilty. Until a jury says different, he’s not a cop killer.”

As she spoke, the digital cameras recorded every syllable, and cops who were gathered in the hallway grew quiet. They all wanted to see what the assistant D.A. would say to the defense lawyer they all loved to hate.

Andrea saw the cameras and the eyes that were trained on them. Derrick Bell did, too. That’s why he got even louder.

“You’re an ex-cop, Andrea. I don’t see how you can defend this guy. But I’m gonna make sure he pays for what he did!”

Andrea almost responded, but decided against it. Instead she stared him down as they stood eye to eye. His hair was thick and curly, and his brown eyes shone brightly against his olive skin. He reminded Andrea of a detective she’d dated twenty years before. She hated that about him. 

“I’m gonna get this,” she said, boarding the elevator when it arrived. “Do us both a favor and wait for the next one.”

He yelled something as the elevator doors closed, but Andrea couldn’t hear him. No matter. She’d hear plenty from him later. She knew she didn’t have long to get to her destination. 
Exiting the Criminal Justice Center, she walked down Thirteenth Street to Market, her mind racing and her stomach churning as she anticipated her next appointment.

Meetings like this weren’t the reason she’d left the police department all those years ago to become a criminal defense lawyer. She’d left to make a difference in other people’s lives. Instead, she was making a mess of her own.

Andrea couldn’t stop herself, though. As badly as she wanted to turn around and go back, she was too close now. Her heart fluttered as she thought about all that could go wrong. Her mouth watered as she anticipated what would go right.

Like a woman possessed, she walked through the glass doors of the Loews hotel and made her way to the elevators. As she got off on the fifth floor, a light in the hallway reflected against the diamonds in her wedding ring, creating a brilliant flash of blue.

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