sarah was always on time, and she showed up at lawyer jones’s office just before he opened it in the morning, the morning after louise james had left town.
after the enquiries about each other’s wellbeing, and other courteous preliminaries, they took their seats on opposite sides of lawyer jones’s desk and got down to business.
they were alone. a thick door separated them from the lawyer’s secretary.
“i think you know what i want, jonathon, now that louise is out of the picture. do i have to spell it out for you?”
“you want me to try to get the investigation into old jasper james’s mysterious death reopened.”
“there was nothing mysterious about it. and i don’t want you to try to get the case reopened, i want you to get it reopened.”
lawyer jones smiled. “i am only a lawyer, sarah, not the law. i am not the state supreme court, or the county prosecutor. all i can do is try to persuade them.”
“as far as i am concerned,” sarah replied, “that is just a technicality. and i don’t care for technicalities. just get the case reopened.”
“how do we know that louise might not change her mind and return?”
“do you take me for a complete novice in these matters?” sarah snapped. “she has signed her rights away - or waived them or whatever you want to call it. if - if - she were suddenly to change her mind, she would need to find a lawyer - “. sarah stared intently at jones - “some lawyer not employed by the family - to change things back, but by that time i trust it will be too late. way, way too late if we act expeditiously.”
lawyer jones cleared his throat. “just wanted to get that straight, sarah.” he picked a piece of paper up off his desk. “now, anticipating your instructions, i have had compiled a list of persons we might employ to find something to get the case reopened. do you follow me?”
“now, in this sort of matter, as in most things in this world, we find a range of prices - a surprisingly large one in this case, i must say - and i have ranked them as best i could, from top to bottom, as far as how much they might cost. is there any way you want me to proceed? should i start at the top and work down?”
“what a question! i want you to do things the good old james family way. find the cheapest son of a bitch you can, and see if he can do the job. and then go from there.”
“i thought as much,” lawyer jones smiled. “just wanted to make sure. well, that really should be all, sarah, unless you want to get into the minutiae of the ramifications of louise’s departure, which i think we understand well enough generally.”
“i very much want to get into what you choose to call the min-u-ti-ae of my holdings, jonathon. i always like to know exactly where i stand. exactly where i stand.”
“of course, sarah, of course.” lawyer jones stood up. “just let me get a few things out of my safe.”
jonathon got up and crossed the room. with his back to sarah he allowed himself a small sigh, as it was a nice day, and he had hoped to get some fishing in.