3 Chapters
Medium 9780870818400

PART TWO

Marianne Wesson University Press of Colorado ePub

Lincoln liked Cinda, liked her a lot and liked working for her, but found her very confusing. Half the time she didn’t know what she wanted, and then sometimes when it seemed like she did know, she’d change her mind. He’d never known anyone to change her mind so often. Most people these days were so opinionated they wouldn’t change their minds if you washed their brains with extra-strength Clorox, but even without external influences Cinda would zig and zag like a broken-field runner trying to pull away from a tackle, only Linc didn’t think Cinda knew who she was trying to get away from most of the time.

Tory was a lot easier, even if she was a lesbian and all, because she was just as stubborn as everybody else and there was a lot less of the coming and going in her head. Although she did do a 180 about the Grayling case after she saw the tape. Which, if you didn’t change your mind after seeing it, you’d be brain dead anyway. Linc was down with violent movies as much as anyone—Reservoir Dogs was his favorite (Michael Madsen was epic), but he liked Pulp Fiction and Natural Born Killers even. He didn’t mind if the sex was a little edgy and he didn’t believe in censorship, but c’mon! Trying to teach people to get their rocks off about cutting up a little kid? Things like that gave sex a bad name. Not to mention (if Cinda and Tory were right about this one) giving some people who were a few raisins short of a muffin some very bad ideas.

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Medium 9780870818400

PART THREE

Marianne Wesson University Press of Colorado ePub

Constructed in the Seventies after the trial calendar overwhelmed downtown’s lovely old art-deco courthouse, the Boulder County Justice Center zigzags like a blocky snake diagonally along Boulder Creek. The creek itself tumbles past in a roughly parallel course a few hundred feet to the south. From the air the building would resemble several dominoes placed almost corner to corner, with a small overlap. And then one more layer of dominoes on top of that, but only one.

The Justice Center is set low to the ground for reasons of economy and, more fundamentally, aesthetics. The latter are also known in Boulder as politics. People who complain about political apathy should visit Boulder for a while. Citizens have opinions about everything, especially matters that affect what we like to call our quality of life. We are certain, despite evidence to the contrary, that it is deteriorating. Public sentiment about local matters rarely reaches the pleased end of the spectrum; we have more talent for indignation. We are particularly vigilant in the matter of real estate development, tending to believe that all of it in Boulder should have stopped at some point in the past, generally the instant just following the construction or renovation of our own residences.

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Medium 9780870818400

PART ONE

Marianne Wesson University Press of Colorado ePub

It was the ghastliest fax I ever received.

I was alone in the office, sitting at our secretary’s desk, when it arrived. I’d been looking through the jumble of supplies in Beverly’s bottom drawer, hoping to find a new cartridge for my printer, and just as I gave up the search I heard the rattle of the fax machine. It’s an old one, and it groans when summoned into service like an arthritic doorman whose stiff joints protest when he has to get up to admit a visitor.

I watched idly as the first sheet emerged, expecting to see the letterhead of some other law firm, or perhaps a meeting announcement from the Boulder County Bar Association. But as it rolled out I saw that the page was blank, except for the unreadably small source information at the top—and the neat even handwriting, a single line about a third of the way down:

Is this the kind of case you handle? I’ll be calling.

All these months later I can still summon up those tidy letters if I close my eyes and try, but it’s the sheet that followed this one that sometimes still unrolls in the eye of my memory unbidden, and unwelcome. I watched the second page of the fax slide from the machine, so dark in spots that it glistened and curled with the weight of the ink. I pulled it out straight and as the image resolved in my perception I hunched my shoulders, as though by folding up my own body I could protect it from the knowledge of that one, so small, so violated, and even in black and white so obviously dead.

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