Once upon a time … there was a magical city, Las Vegas, in a desert valley in the United States of Nevada. Buffets were delicious and inexpensive. If someone didn’t have a job, they didn’t want a job. Hotels, schools, and homes were built and filled, immediately. Cellular telephones were as large as an adult’s forearm and weighed ten pounds. No one had ever heard of a text message. Photographs were developed from film. An hour was the soonest you could see them.
A wonderful new invention, caller ID, stopped crank callers in their tracks. The World Wide Web was just coming onto the scene. Al Gore was still claiming its invention – or was that an urban legend? It was so long ago that the word, windows, referred only to glass encasements in physical structures. Rich kids had Apples and Atari. That is when this story begins, in the last days of the pre-digital world.
You see, before one could sneak a look at a cell phone or emails, Google a name, access cheaters online, or hack a Facebook account, people dared to fall in love, and even then, it often ended badly, and at times, in tragedy. For in that magical land, just as in all the best fairytales, love rarely ended in, “Happily Ever After.”
John walks through our door, grinning through his perfect teeth.
John could not possibly be screwing a woman with the face of a gerbil.
I’m the second, the Las Vegas wife, as his KU friends call me.
The mirage of this afternoon has evaporated along with my husband and his new blue Cadillac.
I think Skip likes easy, sparkly women.
V makes faces at him while Pavao asks questions. They are faces of disdain and disgust. He acts as if Pavao is a giant cockroach that he cannot step on in present company. Pavao cannot take it. His skin seems suddenly rather thin. V just sits there stinking up Pavao’s case with his attitude. His silent reeking message to Pavao hangs in the air, as if he wrote it in smoke with a little, remote-controlled airplane, “I don’t care who you think you are. I know who you are. You are a slimy whoring lawyer who is defending a rotten, dangerous, little bastard. So, you can kiss my ass.”
Gregor Pavao presses V about the missing box of evidence from Justin’s home, which makes me wonder, too. What did they seize? Did they seize it legally? It is distracting to some extent, which is, of course, why Pavao raises the issue. V says there is no record of evidence seized from the Castle home, and he has no recollection of that happening. He suggests that Joey was mistaken. He remembers that the boy was upset and thinks Joey could have an innocent misrecollection.
Pavao presses V about the manner in which V and his partner informed Joey of the shooting. V stresses that he is a homicide detective and does not work for CPS, and tells Pavao that no one meant to leave the youngster with the impression his brother was dead. V stresses they were looking for the father.
As he finishes his last answer, he adds to it that he would never deign to tell Pavao how to practice law, and he would appreciate it if Pavao would stop criticizing him as a detective. He informs Pavao and the rest of us that, and I quote, “Some murder cases, particularly this one, are pretty damn simple, and don’t require Columbo to come out of retirement to solve them.”
I find the camera and snap a picture of John, capturing the easy, happy moment, as a souvenir.
Quaffing the lesson in sorcery, tapping his Cross pen, like a wand.