The second the heel of his shoe came in contact with the concrete in a resounding click, all eyes flew to catch a glimpse of him.
The man had anticipated this. He stood out among the crowd like a gold coin would in a pile of drab, lackluster pennies. While the women around him wore faded, orange jumpsuits, he was adorned in a three piece suit that was the color of the stormy clouds hanging ominously in the sky. While their bare, grimy feet remained unsheltered to the harsh elements, his were encased in expensive dark leather. And while their faces exhibited a distrustful glower, his held a professional smile.
It was fortunate for the man that their had been cell bars between him and the females, or he might find himself in a morgue by the end of the day.
An elderly woman with a golden badge perched on her shoulder hobbled over to him.
“Are you Michelle Anderson’s attorney?”
The man did not even bother verbally responding to her inquiry. Instead, he simply flashed the tiny emblem pinned to his collar. The guard, noting the set of scales etched into the metal, unlocked the fortified door into the interrogation room. As the man entered, he swore her heard the woman mumbling under her raspy breath, though he could only catch the words “audacity” and “whippersnapper”.
As he entered the room composed of four stony slabs of concrete, he heard a perpetual, mechanical ticking. Glancing up at the wall, he noticed that the analog clock on the wall displayed the time 6:30 PM. Normally, when the hands of the clock were in this position, he would be setting the table, greedily awaiting his wife’s cooking.
It was a shame he had to be here when he could be at home with her, but it would be over soon enough.
The man then turned to the woman sitting at the table, eyes flickering to the shiny cuffs on her wrists, connecting her to the table.
Pasty skin framed by wrinkles and furious brown eyes circled by dark rings, she held the atmosphere of a caged predator who was itching for the chance to dig her claws into fresh meat. The way she analyzed his every move with a distasteful glower plastered on her face made him think that he was her next prey.
Though the man did not tremble at this thought, nor did his masterful mask falter. He slid with ease into the chair, noting the way the table wobbled on the shortest leg as he placed his briefcase on the unsteady surface.
“Hello, Mrs. Anderson. Your father had contacted me and requested for me to represent you in court.” He began, his cheery voice not missing a beat as he opened his briefcase and fiddled with its contents. “Now, what were your charges again? Second-degree murder?
The man gave an apologetic smile. “Thats right; it slipped my memory. I apologize for my blunder.”
The woman ignored his polite attempts to converse. “Just get me out of this mess.”
He pulled out a ream of pristine, white paper with her name printed at the top in bolded, black letters.
“Of course, of course, Mrs. Anderson, but I do need to know the circumstances around the crime. I have skimmed through the case files, but,” The lawyer leaned in, resting his chin on his palm.
“I would rather hear the details from you.”
“Well, that sucks for you, Mr. Lawyer,” Michelle sneered, as if she could not think of something more horrendous or slanderous than calling someone an attorney. “Because I just can’t seem to remember.”
The man appeared outwardly unfazed by the prisoner’s ill-mannered comment.
“Well then, I’ll just have to jog your memory, will I not?”
His eyes began skimming through the case files.
“At 6:00 A. M. on a Sunday, a thirty-five year old woman was killed in her apartment building. From the autopsy report, the forensic scientists at the precinct determined that it was blunt trauma from the back of the head that ended her life. I believe the woman name was Katherine? Katrina?”
“Oh, yes. I remember now. Katerina Goodman. I believe in the report it stated that she was recently married?”
The woman rolled her eyes. “Why should I care?”
The man’s demeanor faltered slightly. “Well it always sad when something like‒”
Michelle glared at him.
“Look here Mr. Lawyer. You are supposed to be worrying about me, defending me, not some dead tramp. Got it?
The lawyer’s smile returned, but it seemed almost forced now.
“Yes, of course. I apologize, Mrs. Anderson.”
Michelle scoffed. “How many more question do you got?”
“Just one more, Mrs. Anderson.”
She let out a weary sigh. “Just get on with it.”
“Did you murder Katerina Goodman?”
Michelle facial expression did not change. “I don’t feel like telling you that.”
“Mrs. Anderson, I know this must be difficult for you, but I need for you to tell me the truth. No matter how you respond, I give you my most sincere word that I will be with you in court. So I will repeat my question: Did you murder Katerina Goodman?”
Now, Michelle Anderson has never been a particularly trusting person. She did not trust her father, her mother, her sister. No one. But there was something in the way the lawyer spoke that compelled her to spill everything to him.
But she didn’t. Or at least, not all the gritty details.
At that’s where everying thing changed.
The warmth in the man’s face went cold and the friendliness went hostile.
“That’s all I needed to hear.”
Opening his briefcase, the lawyer pulled out a small, black device.
It was a recorder.
Michelle felt the rage burning up in her as he hit a button, turning off the machine.
“You were recording this?”
The man did bother responding as he slipped the recorder back into his case and swiftly made for the door.
“Wait, wait! What are you doing?”
The man did not even bother turning around. “Isn’t it obvious? I’m going to present this to the police.”
“But you promised. You promised that you would defend me! You promised that you would get me a ‘not guilty’ verdict!”
“I remember no such thing. I said that I would stand by you in court. And I will. On the witness stand.”
The woman felt her body tremble in a mixture of fury and fear. “You’re a liar, Mr. Lawyer. A terrible, filthy liar!”
This time, when the man responded, he whipped around to face her.
“I would rather be branded a liar rather than a defender of a cold-blooded killer.”
Michelle recoiled. There was no love in his eyes; only pure hatred.
The following words passed through her lips without her mind’s consent.
“I trusted you, Mr. Lawyer, so why? Why would you do this?”
The man’s professional smile returned, but, rather than comforting her, it sent chills down Michelle’s spine.
“Mr. Lawyer? Oh, how rude of me! I never introduced myself, did I?”
He extended his hand spitefully, as if taunting her and her restrictions. She had not noticed it before, but there was a gold band resting on his left ring finger.
“My name is Randy Goodman. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”