Cory Wade is Missing

by Rick Beck

Chapter 14


Angus met Wes on Monday morning a little after eight. They walked to the YMCA dining room for breakfast and then drank coffee and chatted as the nine o'clock court appearance approached. It was modestly quiet in what was a large dining room with clean white tablecloths on each table; the food was just fine.

Over the years they met there before morning court. They could take their time and relax. Usually the talk was about a case Angus was working on for Wes, but this morning the talk was about a case concerning Angus. Even with right on their side, the concern was obvious in both of their voices, particularly in the words they used.

"Do you really think you can get the charges dropped today?" Angus asked.

"It's my intention to ask for a dismissal. There is no evidence being presented by the state's attorney. It's Tony's word against yours, and who do you believe, the guy who is mobbed up or the man who is a retired police detective? While the answer to that one is simple, anytime you appear in court it's best not to be too certain of anything."

"It's Tony's house," Angus said. "The jury won't know he's mobbed up."

"No jury. It's in front of a judge. We don't want a jury. We want someone who is predictable. Judge Kennedy is eccentric, but he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the law. I've appeared before him several times, and we've talked at cocktail parties a few times. He'll see to it we get the proper outcome, but he likes to hear everything first. He tries to keep an open mind."

"You're the attorney, Wes. I'm just visiting."

"And it's Dolores's house too, or it was at the time of the incident between you and Tony. You were conducting lawful business as my investigator. I can prove Dolores Wade hired us to do what you did."

"Won't that be seen as a conflict, Wes?" Angus asked. "I'm not accustomed to being on this side of a case."

"Who else would be your attorney? I represent you. You work for me, and that automatically makes me your lawyer when something you do comes into question. No conflict. Tell me about what you found out this weekend," Wes said, stirring cream into his coffee.

"It's about what I was expecting. The place where Cory was staying was among the addresses Terry came up with. I went to the front door, identified myself, and Cory went out the back door. I stayed up there until Sunday, but it was a waste of time. Now he knows someone is tracking him. He doesn't know who, and he doesn't know why, but he was expecting someone to come looking for him."

"Where does a kid that age get to on short notice?" Wes asked.

"You can bet he is staying away from the people that we can find using his computer as our guide. No telling where he was off to Friday night, but Mr. Ford, the guy he was staying with, told me, 'A guy who looks like Cory can stick out his thumb and get a ride in two minutes. This is a gay Mecca and good-looking hitchhikers don't stand on the side of the road for very long.'"

"You didn't run down anyone else he contacted on his computer?" Wes asked.

"Useless exercise. I talked to one guy who lived a few miles from where Cory was staying, but he wasn't going to give anything up. If he'd heard from Cory, he wasn't admitting to it. I talked to one of his neighbors. I showed him Cory's picture. He hadn't seen him. He sits on his front porch in the afternoon. Not much of a view but fresh air, and he'd seen guys Cory's age with Mr. Hartnet but not Cory."

"But you did find where Cory was staying?"

"I did. Mr. Ford, the guy who owned the house, said Cory was on edge the entire time he was there. When I came to the door, as soon as I showed him Cory's picture, I knew Cory was there, but Cory was on alert. He heard the conversation at the front door. He went out the back door."

"You didn't chase him?"

"I did what I could. He was long gone. Ford, the owner, said he took Cory all over the Castro the week he was there. If Cory was on the run, he'd go there. On a Friday night it would be crawling with people out on the town. He'd get lost in the crowd."

"What did you do with Saturday and Sunday?"

"Another useless exercise. There was a guy in San Jose. I decided it was far enough away from San Francisco that Cory might go there until he figured out where he was going. It was a dead end."

"What do your instincts tell you?" Wes asked.

"He went to the city to get lost. He decided on a plan once he got there and, whatever that plan is, he's on his own now. He's off the grid, and no one is going to find him until he wants to be found."

"A gay kid that age loose in San Francisco could end up anywhere," Wes said. "One thing is for sure, if he decides he wants company, there will be no shortage of offers -- and that makes finding him a crap shoot."

"We need to wait for a sighting. The computer was a gold mine of information. Terry nailed down where I'd find him, but I'm running on empty now. I had one shot, and I blew it."

"I'm paid to know everything and to deal with any eventuality," Wes said. "Cory is out there somewhere. I pay you to deal with situations like this. You have a plan. Somewhere to go from here."

"No plan, Wes. I'm going to wait," Angus said. "Until I hear from someone who has seen Cory or until he contacts someone here, I don't have a direction to go in. There is more to the picture than what we've been told. I clearly have no idea of what makes Cory run. Until we find that out, I'm dead in the water. Even when I find out why, the question of where he runs to is still unanswered."

"Waiting is something that I don't do well," Wes said. "We need to get to court. Kennedy doesn't like tardiness," Wes said, pushing a twenty-dollar bill into the middle of the table.

They left for the courthouse.

A few minutes after nine, the Honorable Thomas Kennedy banged his gavel to start the proceedings.

"Any motions before we start, gentlemen?" the judge asked.

Wes stood.

"Defense moves to dismiss, your honor."

"State objects, your honor," the prosecutor said, bouncing back out of his seat.

"Defense," the judge said. "Give me the short version."

"Your honor, I move to dismiss. Mr. McCoy is a private detective, as you know, and it was in the course of his duties that he was in the Wade house with the permission of, and full knowledge of Mrs. Wade."

"State objects, your honor, being a private detective doesn't license him to break and enter and brutalize Mr. Wade. This case demands prosecution for the sake of the overreach Mr. McCoy is responsible for. We have documentation of the assault perpetrated on Mr. Wade by Mr. McCoy. It demands attention."

Angus sprang up, unable to contain his anger.

"I object to you. If your boss wasn't crooked as a dog's hind leg...," Angus said, being cut short by the judge.

"Mr. McCoy, I strongly advise you to sit back down and shut up. You have a lawyer who I assume you are paying good money to represent you. I can't think of any other reason Mr. Matthews would be here on your behalf. You need to stay in your seat and let Mr. Matthews speak for you. I know who you are, and I know what you do. If you don't follow my advice, you'll be spending the night in the pokey," Judge Kennedy said.

"Thank you, your honor. State objects to the motion to dismiss. A private detective needs permission to enter a residence no matter the circumstances," the states attorney said. "I intend to show Mrs. Wade vacated the premises before Mr. McCoy entered. Mrs. Wade's right to allow someone Mr. Wade didn't know into the house was void. He broke in, no matter who told him he could do it."

"Your honor," Wes said. "Mr. McCoy had permission from Mrs. Wade whose belongings are still in her house. There was no breaking. Mr. McCoy had the key Mrs. Wade gave him, as well as the code to disarm the alarm."

"Object, your honor. Same grounds. Mrs. Wade deserted the premises before Mr. McCoy entered. She gave up her right to invite anyone into Anthony Wade's house, when she left him."

"We can clear up this little detail. Is Mrs. Wade available to backup your version of event's, Mr. Matthews?" the judge asked. "And while Mr. Matthews formulates an answer to that question, can I ask why the state isn't charging Mrs. Wade? If your contention is that she has no right to be in her own house holds water, which it doesn't, if Mrs. Wade is taking a break from the marriage. It doesn't nullify her rights as a spouse, as you well know, Mr. Pruett."

"She told Mr. Wade that she did not intend to return to the house," Pruett said. "The state contends it was a declaration by Mrs. Wade telling of her intention to vacate the premises."

"I will suppose, Mr. Wade authored that little tidbit for you."

"Yes, your honor, and his word should be sufficient. He's not on trial. That man is," Mr. Pruett said, as if it was a surprising revelation.

He took that moment to point at Angus McCoy, as if no one knew the man seated at the defense table was the defendant.

"Enough for you maybe, Mr. Pruett, but not nearly enough for this court. Mr. Matthews, have you thought up a good answer to my question?" The judge asked.

"No, your honor, she isn't in court. She could be in the hall. She told me she'd be here, during our last conversation. I told her I was going to make a motion to dismiss, and her presence would be necessary, in case you wanted to speak with her."

"Quit intuitive, Mr. Matthews. You get an A for effort, but Mrs. Wade could clear up the problem of an illegal entry, and then I could seriously consider your motion to dismiss. No Mrs Wade, no dismissal. Some corroboration seems in order. The motion to dismiss is denied. Now, you have incentive to have Mrs. Wade here at prelim. If what the state has to offer rests on hearsay, the preliminary hearing will be short-lived," the Honorable Thomas Kennedy said.

After being arraigned on charges of B&E and assault, the judge gaveled the court into adjournment. The preliminary hearing would be scheduled in late July. Both the defense and the prosecution would receive notification, once it was placed on the judges calendar.

Before Angus got settled into his office the next morning, Wes called. Angus started out at his office in order to write his report on the Cory Wade affair, including the weekend events in San Francisco.

By the time he went into the reception area for a second cup of coffee, the phone was ringing.

"Angus, Mr. Matthews for you," Judy said, holding out the phone.

"I'll take it in my office," he said.

"What's up, Wes?" Angus asked.

"Angus, are you going to get me a copy of your report on expenses for the weekend in my office by tomorrow. Peg is working up an itemized account of what we're spending."

"Funny you should mention that. It's why I came to the office. As you may remember, I wasn't home until late Sunday, and we were in court yesterday morning. I have the report on my desk."

"Good," Wes said. "I've left messages at the Grant for Dolores. Three since we were in court. She hasn't responded. You seem to know how to handle her. Head over to the Grant this morning. See if Mrs. Wade is home or if she could be away. If she's there, tell her that she needs to be in court for the preliminary hearing in July. It's her duty to explain her roll in sending you into the Wade house. See if she's been away or if she forgot my three reminders to her last week."

"How do you handle a woman who is going to do what she wants to do, regardless of her responsibility to indicted investigators, who worked for her."

"She's probably afraid to face Tony in court. You need to reassure her. Tell her you can protect her," Wes said.

"And where was Mrs. Wade yesterday, Wes?" Angus asked.

"She wasn't in court. You know that," Wes said.

"You told her she needed to be in court yesterday. She wasn't in court. You've tried to contact her without success. I don't know if I can protect her if you can't even find her. I'll go by the Grant on my way to your office with my report," Angus said.

"That's fine. Tell her that she needs to call me," Wes said.

"I don't know her habits. My involvement with her concerns her son's disappearance. Her relationship with her husband goes way beyond my search for Cory. You need to decide how thin you want to spread my investigative abilities. I am equipped to do both, but no matter what we do, Mrs. Wade is going to do what she wants to do."

"Yes, that's my impression to. Check the Grant and we'll figure out how best to deal with Dolores," Wes said.

"The idea protecting Mrs. Wade 24/7 from Mr. Wade, makes me want to hide under my desk. You know as well as I do, if Tony decides to silence his wife, he'll hire men who have no qualms about taking out anyone in her vicinity while doing it."

"Angus, we're working on a simple B&E plus assault. I don't think anyone is going to take anyone out over it," Wes said.

"A man like Tony isn't prone to allowing anyone to disrespect him. We don't know what Mrs. Wade knows about Tony. If she becomes a threat, B&E and assault to one side, he'll deal with it."

"That I do understand. You check on her. I'll take care of the court case against you. That's my major concern. I wasn't hired to get in between Dolores and her husband," Wes said.

"That's a better train of thought. I'll see what I can come up with to shut Tony down. I don't plan to go to jail for something I didn't do." "I'll subpoena her if I must, Angus. She hired us to find Cory. We need her testimony to keep you out of the clink."

"I' don't plan to wait until the prelim to find out she's a no-show. It's my neck hanging out. I have an ace-in-the-hole I might use."

"An ace—in-the-hole?" Wes said. "What do you mean? Are you holding out on me, Angus? Do you mind letting your attorney in on what you're talking about?" Wes asked. "Ace-in-the-hole sounds like a gamble to me."

"I want to hold that card close for now. I can't use it unless Mrs. Wade refuses to cooperate, but I think we'll be OK, Wes."

"Angus, your freedom and your license depend on me being able to prove you were in the Wade house legally."

"I know, Wes. Give me a little wiggle room on this one. I haven't worked it out completely yet, and until I do, anything I tell you will be premature."

"Find Mrs. Wade. Tell her what you have on the effort to find Cory. Let her know I can't afford to have my investigator in jail for a couple of years. She needs to step up."

"You don't want your investigator locked up for two to five. Your investigator doesn't want to be locked up at all," Angus said. "I'll head over to the Grant, when I leave here. Let her have her beauty sleep before rattling her cage."

"Get back to me once you've spoken to her," Wes said. "I need to know what she has to say about skipping her court appearance."

After Wes's morning appearance in court, Angus was back in his office before he had time for lunch.

" You want another cup of coffee, Angus?" Wes asked. "I have one more phone call to make. Then, you can tell me what you found."

"OK. Where is Dolores?" Wes asked. "You could have phoned."

"I would have but I can't find my phone. I thought I left it in the car," Angus said. "Sensa, her personal servant, said that she wasn't in," Angus said.

"This Sensa didn't say where Dolores went?"

"Another cup of coffee and one of those fancy pecan pastries you hide from your clients," Angus said. "I don't think Sensa knows, or if she knew, she's been sworn to secrecy."

Wes gave the order for more coffee to Peg. He leaned back in his chair to think over what Angus said.

"Why is the assault charge looming so large? I didn't touch the guy. I even helped him up. How much trouble am I in on this?" Angus asked. "I disarmed Tony and he threw himself on that table without an assist from me. He didn't need my help. It's hard to relate to mad Tony as a crybaby. Kind of destroys the image of him I had."

"I don't think it's about crying, Angus. It's about getting you off his case," Wes said.

"It could cost me my license," Angus said. "That would certainly hamper the dashing lifestyle of a private detective."

"The medical report shows a few stitches. Judge Kennedy won't get his panties in a twist over it. You were in Wade's house. He was angry enough to pull a gun. You have the right to defend yourself. There's no there there. It's Tony's word against yours. It looks like what it is. I'll get you off on the assault. I can get rid of this entire mess once I get Dolores Wade into court," Wes said. "She is not proving to be reliable."

"She covers my ass on the B&E. You make the assault go away. I like the sounds of it if it didn't include Mrs. Wade."

"You have no history of unnecessary violence, Angus. Tony Wade has a reputation for strong-arming people. Tony and you are the same size. Why didn't you get a scratch? Quit worrying over nothing. They have nothing."

"So, if it's that easy, why am I still charged with a crime?" Angus asked. "Why weren't the charges dismissed on Monday?"

"There's Dolores being absent for one, and there's one aspect I haven't discussed with you, and you aren't going to like it, which is why I haven't discussed it with you."

"I don't like being run around the mulberry bush either, Wes," Angus said.

"Anthony Wade and Wendell Clark have some mutual business interests," Wes said, waiting for the outburst. "You keep running your mouth about Clark, which isn't wise while you're playing on his turf."

"Wendell fucking Clark," Angus growled. "I knew I smelled a rat."

"And it's a name best not uttered in a court of law."

"I didn't mention his name. I made reference to him in relationship to a dog's hind leg," Angus defended.

"Close enough if you're playing with hand grenades. If you keep running your mouth about the district attorney, it will blow up in your face. You are playing on his turf. It's a game you can't win. So you need to shut up about Wendell Clark," Wes said forcefully.

"It pisses me off that he held a witness that could clear Dr. Parsons, because he had a vendetta against him," Angus said.

"Water under the bridge. We got the right outcome. He got reprimanded. I'm not asking you, Angus. Your temper is going to be the death of you. I can handle Wendell fucking Clark if you let me."

"I know. I know. I've got a big mouth," Angus said.

"I've got the judge we need in this case, and we'll cut this prosecution off at the knees, but you've got to allow me to do it by the book. You continue waging war with Wendell Clark, and sooner or later, he'll find a way to bring you down. I practice law in front of these people, and having a loose cannon like you at the defense table is no picnic. You need to shut up. Let your attorney do the talking."

"I thought you never put a defendant on the stand," Angus said.

"You never put a guilty client on the stand. Besides, it's nothing new to you. You've been in courts almost as often as I have. You know how it's done, and you make a good witness. You tell the story, and Dolores backs you up."

"As you wish," Angus said. "How does Clark get reelected?"

"Men like Anthony Wade bankroll men like Wendell Clark. Money may not buy you love, but money talks, and justice is blind to what money buys. Wendell will get his one day, Angus. It's not our job to get him. Do you understand there is a difference?"

"I do, but I'd still like to get the son-of-a-bitch," Angus said.

"You have a sense of honor, Angus. It's one of the features I admire about you, but if your plan is to bring all smug asshole to task, you've got your work cut out for you," Wes said.

"No shortage of those," Angus agreed.

Wes looked at Angus, as he spoke. When he finished, Wes didn't speak. Angus could see Wes's mind working on some theory.

"What?" Angus said.

"You said you used Terry to get into the kid's computer? Terry was in the house with you? She's your ace in the hole."

"I'm proud of you, counselor. She won't appear in court, unless it's the only way to clear me. She's still afraid of going into a courtroom. You can't use her if there's a way to avoid it, which includes a subpoena for Mrs. Wade."

"There's another reason to keep her out of court," Wes said.

"What's that?" Angus asked.

"She was charged with a crime. The state's attorney will go after her. He'll do all he can to dirty her up," Wes said.

"What will you do in that case?" Angus asked.

"Nothing. Judge Kennedy is a great believer in people being rehabilitated. Terry is the poster child for turning the page, coming out the other side a better person for the experience."

"That goes in our favor," Angus said.

"It does, but she'll be forced to listen to the prosecutor calling her ugly names," Wes said.

"If Terry comes to court to testify for me, she's tough enough to handle anything the prosecutor pulls," Angus said.

"We'll see," Wes said.

By Wednesday morning, Angus received another message from Wes, 'Be in my office ASAP. Important for you to sit in on a meeting between me and the elusive Dolores Wade.'

When she answered Wes's phone messages, she insisted on a face-to-face at his earliest convenience. It wasn't convenient, but Peg scheduled a meeting for eleven on Wednesday, and Angus didn't need to be invited to a meeting with Mrs. Wade twice.

Angus arrived at ten forty-five and he was seated in the corner of Wes's office.

"Mrs. Wade for her eleven o'clock, Mr. Mathews," Peg said into the intercom.

"Send her in, Peg. We'll need coffee for three, when you have a minute. Thank you, and hold all of my calls."

Dolores Wade wore a navy-blue dress with pleats and cloth buttons that started at the waist and ran up to near her neck. She sat across from Wes as she nodded at Angus. He nodded back.

"You had a run-in with Mr. Wade. I asked Angus to sit in on the meeting so he knows where we stand with your husband. He'll also brief you on his search for Cory," Wes said.

"You do know he filed a bogus assault charge against me?" Angus asked. "The B&E can be cleared up by you testifying that you sent me into your house to search Cory's computer for contacts."

"No, I didn't," Dolores said. "It's because he caught you in his house. Tony doesn't like people he doesn't know coming into his house. This is his way of getting back at me for giving you the key and the code to the alarm."

"Getting back at you? They charged me," Angus said incredulous.

"We need your testimony, Dolores. You'll need to explain why you hired Angus and that you gave him permission to go into your house in order to check your son's electronics," Wes said. "The incident with Tony isn't what the court case is about."

"I'll need to face Tony in court?" she asked, knowing the answer.

"Yes, you will," Wes said. "He is the one who filed the charges."

"I may as well get used to it. I'm filing for divorce. We had it out last night. He told me Cory wasn't coming back into his house. I told him Cory was going to finish school and go to a prestigious college. I told him, he was going to pay for it. He told me to leave his house and not come back. I told him he'd hear from my lawyer," Dolores Wade said, placing her phone in front of Wes, as Tony appeared on the scree to tell Dolores, "Get out and don't come back."

"Very nice, Dolores. That does solve one problem. May I have Peg copy this?" Wes asked, pressing the intercom button before Dolores answered.

"Peg, I have a message on Dolores' phone. I need a copy."

"Yes, sir," Peg said.

Peg came into the office, leaving with the phone in hand.

"And you want my firm to handle your divorce?"

"I do, and I would like you to handle it for me," she said.

I don't do divorces, but I'll oversee what's being done on your behalf. We have a partner who specializes in separations and divorce work. He's the man you want. I don't know my way around divorce law, and Mr. Abernathy is an expert, Dolores. You'll like him. I'll have Peg set up an appointment after this meeting is over."

"If you think he's the man I need to represent me, I won't argue. I'd appreciate it if you'd keep an eye on how it is going," she said.

"As you wish," Wes said.

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