I sat in my chair after the call with Penny, uncertain what to make of the bizarre encounter with the strange woman.
I just wanted to tell her that I was not going to take the case, but something held me back. I didn’t need to perform any self-introspection to know what it was.
It was the question of who killed Max that I needed to answer. It was an interesting case, if Penny had correctly represented it to me.
What are the chances of that?
I could not think about it much longer because I still had to get that motion filed. I dismissed the matter from my mind and focused instead on my motion. I had just over two hours.
It took every last minute to complete the research and put out a final draft. In the end, I managed to get it filed with the court at precisely 4:59 PM.
I ground my teeth when I noticed a glaring typo on the first page as I was closing down the file on my computer.
Fifteen minutes more and I would have found that, I thought, angrily wishing that I had not agreed to let Penny into my office in the first place.
I walked out of my office while stretching, intending to talk with Ellie, a ritual I usually observed after meeting a deadline. It was not until I saw her empty desk that I remembered she was out sick, and Denise had filled in for her today.
Denise had already left, so I walked around the office, wondering if anybody else was around for a chat, but both of my partners’ doors were shut, and everybody else had gone home.
An unusual occurrence so early in the day.
Ellie usually worked as late as me. Perhaps this was something that occurred all the time, and I had just not noticed because I mainly worked with her, occasionally pulling in a paralegal when I needed additional help.
I had more work to do, but I needed to eat. I had skipped lunch to get the motion done, only to have Penny barge in and steal the time I desperately needed to make sure that I’d got everything done right.
If there’s one typo on the first page, I thought, there are others. This is not up to my usual standard.
I went out, picking up a sandwich at the drive-through at Jimmy John’s before returning to my office to eat. While I inhaled my sandwich, I logged into my computer and did some internet searches.
It did not take me long to find a story about the case.
The victim’s full name was Max Marcus Moyer, and the accused’s full name was Mason Charles Harwood.
Mason Harwood, I leaned back in my chair and wondered if I should even get involved in this case. You pose an intriguing problem, Mason Harwood.
I had never come across a case where the true killer was pulling somebody’s strings behind the scenes, and the person who did the deed was merely a patsy.
Assuming Penny is telling the truth.
I closed down the internet browser and opened up some other paperwork I needed to get done by the end of the week. I tried to work on that but couldn’t get the question out of my mind.
Penny had given me a question, a nagging riddle.
I had to find the answer.
Could somebody else be responsible for Max’s death aside from Mason Harwood?
I drummed my fingers on my desk, slid my keys into my pocket, and went for a drive.