By Steve Siciliano
I told Charles Brewster, the young man I had met at Founder’s and whose case I took because I felt sorry for him, that I would meet him that evening at Beason’s. I had told Samantha Lowe to meet me at seven so I told Brewster to come by about six. I don’t have an office so I conduct a lot of business at Beason’s. It’s a tired bar in the middle of dying factories and boarded up warehouses just north of Bridge Street. It’s rarely busy there and the rough clientele, mostly a shot and a beer crowd, have learned to leave me alone. According to Jimmie it was busy once. That was when the factories were running three shifts. Up front by the door there’s one of those old teller windows where Jimmie used to cash paychecks. He likes telling the story about the time someone tried to rob him and he blew the guy away with a shotgun.
I meet with clients in a U-shaped booth with ripped leather seats that is tucked into an alcove next to the front windows. Jimmie doesn’t let anybody sit there but me and if somebody does sit there, whether I’m in the bar or not, Jimmie tells them to move. If someone gives him shit about moving, Jimmie just walks away and comes back with a sawed off pool cue.
After Charles Brewster sat down I pushed a manila envelope across the table and watched his face while he studied the photographs I had taken of his pretty wife and a handsome, well-dressed man. In one of the pictures his wife and that man were holding hands in a fancy restaurant. In another they were doing things in a parked car. In yet another they were leaving a motel room. When Brewster was done looking at the pictures he put his head in his hands and cried. That’s why I don’t like taking those cases.
I looked at the neon Stroh’s clock above the bar and thought about having a beer. Jimmie keeps Two Hearted in one of the coolers behind the bar just for me. I really wanted a Two Hearted but I also wanted to clear my mind so I told Jimmie to make a pot of tea. The tea too he keeps around just for me. While I sipped the tea I smoked my pipe and stared out the front window. I wondered what Brewster was going to do and I hoped that whatever it was wasn’t going to be stupid. “I’m going to kill the son-of-bitch,” he said after he stopped crying. “Don’t be stupid,” I told him. “I’m going to kill them both,” he said. “No you’re not,” I told him. While I knew that Brewster wasn’t the type of man who could kill someone I thought that he was quite capable of roughing up a woman. I also thought it was a distinct possibility that he might fire a bullet into his brain. Some men just do crazy things when a woman betrays them. I know that for a fact. While I was thinking about somebody finding Brewster with a bullet in his head I saw a black Lexus pull up and park and I knew the woman who got out of that car was Samantha Lowe. I told Brewster it was time for him to leave.