by Rick Beck

Chapter 20

All Hell Breaks Loose

It took fifteen minutes for everyone to get seated and for quiet to return to the courtroom. Wes called Vince back to the stand, where he continued his testimony. He was a solid witness, sure of his testimony, and he kept his composure.

Ben Green came at Dr. Vincent Parsons with a vengeance, hammering him about his DUI conviction as a teen. He reiterated that Dr. Parsons drank and drove, hitting Sharon and killing her as a result. Wes objected and Judge Hamilton overruled the objection.

Refusing the breathalyzer was Ben Green's main issue. He stressed the importance of the California law that took the right to drive away from anyone who refused this test. Ben Green explained why. He sighted facts about the number of deaths caused each year by drunk drivers. He remarked about the cost to the state.

The jury followed every move the animated Green made. He was a show time attorney. The courtroom was his stage. He paced and waved his arms and emphasized his incredulousness at the doctor's confidence, which Ben Green could not shake. The prosecutor was in command of the courtroom, and he was ruthless, firing questions so fast Vince couldn't answer them all.

There were objections. Some were overruled. Some were sustained. It was choreographed like a prizefight between two heavyweights. The two big hitters jabbed, danced with each others words, using their considerable knowledge to score points. Ben Green was determined to land the knockout blow, but at the end of cross examination Dr. Vincent Parsons still stood. There would be no knockout today.

Wes stood for redirect.

"Did you refuse a breathalyzer test, Dr. Parsons?" Wes asked, knowing the jury was well aware of his refusal.

Wes would shine the best light possible on his refusal.

"I did."

"Do you mind telling the jury why you would refuse a test that would have proved your innocence?"

"I'm a doctor. A breathalyzer is marginally accurate in my opinion. I asked for a blood test, knowing it was accurate without a doubt. I wanted the blood test to prove my innocence."

"Dr. Parsons, there is no record of you ever having had a blood test," Wes said.

"It was never done. I had never been in such a circumstance as that when I was locked up that night. They never called me to take the blood test and by the next morning, when you came to tell me I was going home, it slipped my mind. All I wanted was to get out of there, get home, get a shower, and I never asked for the test again, but I wasn't under the influence."

"Judge Patrick, this is Angus McCoy. I'm sorry, but we're running out of time. It may be over, except for closing arguments today. You mentioned you'd be talking to the head of the local FBI office. Was he able to shine some light on where our witness went, after the FBI engineered his arrest along with the local drug taskforce?"

"Who is Angela, McCoy?" Judge Patrick asked. "She called my offices in the afternoon yesterday. She was in my office this morning, when I came to work."

"I don't know any Angela, Your Honor. Why would you think I sent her?"

"She's looking for Ronnie Haggerty. I figured you sent her to stir the pot with the beautiful damsel in distress? You sure you aren't behind her, Angus?"

"No, sir. What does she want with Ronnie Haggerty?"

"She hasn't said, but I'd say she has some romantic ideas. If I were Mr. Haggerty, I'd never have left her, but I'm a judge and I'm not allowed to have those kinds of thoughts."

"I don't know who she is but if she can sway you into action, I'll vouch for her. I'm getting desperate."

"Well, you should know her. You'd recognize the story she tells. It's why I thought of you, McCoy. Apparently Ronnie was with her just before he returned to San Diego to testify in your case. He was swept up at Plato's, during the drug raid. That's where her 'investigation' loses him. He drops out of sight.

"My investigation has given up a few more facts. The FBI didn't want him. The San Diego authorities asked he be held as a material witness in a case against Plato they planned. The FBI agreed to maintain custody of him as long as he was housed at the San Diego jail. They were told it was for his own protection and he was to be delivered to the jail under an assumed name.

"I'm still getting details from several sources, but that may explain why you couldn't find him. No one is sure why he's still there. It was an order relayed from one agency to another. It sounds quite official. Someone had to be behind it, but no one can give me a name of who was behind the original order to hold him. I have a name in mind.

"Me, too, Your Honor. That goes a long way in explaining how he could drop out of sight after the arrest at Plato's. It explains why I couldn't find him. How do I get him for my trial? We're running out of time, Your Honor. His testimony is crucial. Can you help us?"

"Are you at the courthouse, McCoy?" Judge Patrick asked.

"Yes, sir. Right outside the courtroom on the phone."

"I'm sending Angela over to you. Don't leave the hallway outside the courtroom. She's a fifteen minute walk away."

"Your Honor, with all due respect, I've got no time to baby-sit right now. We're coming down to the wire. I don't need more balls to juggle."

"Angus, shut up and listen. You're not the only one I'm trying to please. I'm about to give you a gift if you'll let me finish. Are you listening, Angus?"

"Yes, sir."

"Wait with the girl. I've got two FBI agents at the jail as we speak. They are taking custody of Raymond Donovan. That's the name they've been holding him under. Once Raymond Donovan is in the hands of the FBI, he'll no longer exist, and Ronnie Haggerty will take his place. He'll be delivered to you by whatever deputy is available.

"No wants. No warrants. No holds. The boy is free and clear, Angus. I trust that meets with your approval?" Judge Patrick talked slowly and in precise words. "You can speak now."

"Yes, sir," Angus almost yelled. "I can't tell you how much I appreciate this, Your Honor. Thank you. Thank you."

"Just be where I told you when I send this girl over. She is desperate to see him. I've got to tell you, McCoy, it was a tossup which one of you I'd give him to. Angela is quite a lady and way prettier than you are. You see to it they end up together, after he testifies. You tell her he's a gift to her from Judge Amos T Patrick."

"As good as done, Your Honor. Thanks. I'll get back to the courtroom. One question, judge, how can they get away with this? What happened to habeas corpus, Amos?" he asked.

"Angus, there are things it's better not to know. I'm afraid the federal authorities and state authorities have limitless power in the War on Drugs. They've developed a symbiotic relationship over time. It can lead to wheeling and dealing with one hand not knowing what the other hand is up to.

"It's all done quite innocently enough, or maybe not so innocently in this case. It's meant to get the bad guys where they belong. Then someone uses this complex arrangement to commit a nefarious act for his own purpose.

"I can't document how it was done. There won't be a name on an order somewhere authorizing it. We live in a time when process is secondary to the goal. Much of the drug war is conducted out of sight. Your witness was part of the ends that justify the means, Angus."

"Yes, sir. I figured as much. Thanks for your honesty. I need to get back to the courtroom. Thank you, Your Honor. I owe you one."

Angus did a little jig before going back to the courthouse. After making sure no one was there, he stepped inside the courtroom. Wes was conducting his redirect of Vince and he stopped in mid-sentence to stare at Angus. His presence made Wes speechless, knowing he wouldn't be there without having important news for him.

Judge Hamilton looked where Wes was looking and Angus blushed. Judge Hamilton was also keenly aware that when Angus showed up, things were about to happen. It didn't please him, but his curiosity got the best of him. He felt like the middleman in a mystery.

"Come on up here, McCoy. We're running a special on interruptions today. You may as well tell us what the hell you want this time. I can't have you standing back there looking as if you may burst. Forward," Judge Hamilton ordered, contemplating his options.

Wes met Angus at the railing separating the people from the players. Angus leaned to whisper to Wes.

"We've got him; Ronnie Haggerty. Judge Patrick is having him brought over right now. He'll be in the hall any minute."

Wes leaned hard on the railing between them. He sighed a long sigh of relief. He had no idea how relieved he'd be once the witness was finally located.

"Why, Mr. Mathews, I do believe you are appreciative of my superior investigative skills," Angus said.

"If you're expecting a kiss, not a chance, McCoy. How did you find him? You are a genius."

"I dialed every number in the phone book, until he answered. No, I didn't find him. Judge Patrick sent two FBI agents to the jail to get him. They knew where he was the entire time. The right person didn't ask for him."

"Judge Patrick being the right person in this case?" Wes said.

"Exactly," Angus said.

"Thank God," Wes said, taking a deep breath.

"Gentlemen, I'm the judge in case you've forgotten. Maybe you'd like to share Mr. McCoy's information with me? Pretend I'm in charge or something," Judge Hamilton said.

Wes moved to the front of the bench.

"Call a sidebar, Your Honor," Wes advised.

"Mr. Mathews, you telling a judge how to run his court?"

"I've got my witness. He's on his way here. He'll only be a few minutes."

Ben Green was already standing next to Wes.

"Sidebar," Judge Hamilton said for the record.

"I guess my afternoon round of golf is shot all to hell," Ben Green complained. "We were moving along so nicely."

"You all right, Wes?" Judge Hamilton asked, as Wes leaned against the bench, realizing Dr. Parsons' ordeal was over.

"I'm getting better. I was beginning to think we wouldn't find him in time. We've got him now and it's almost over"

"I can recess, Wes. We'll wait for him if you want to let your doctor off the hook. He'd probably like to know someone is on the way to his rescue."

"Yes, I'd like that. I'll send Angus back out to bring him right in."

"There should be a time limit on eyewitnesses. If they don't show up in say …three months, they're disqualified. Go ahead, Your Honor, I won't object," Ben Green said, resigned to the idea they'd hear from someone who actually witnessed the accident.

"We'll have a short recess. No one leave the courtroom," Judge Hamilton said, rapping his gavel. "This shouldn't take long."

The watch was on. Wes, the judge, Vince, and Ben Green took turns looking back at the door, waiting for it to open.

Green was the first to comment, standing to address the judge.

"Your Honor, can I ask how long we're going to be held here?"

"Mr. Green, you may not ask. Take your seat and don't speak again until I tell you to speak. Do you have it?"

"I got it, judge," he said, impatiently taking his seat, after glancing back at the door.

Angus had room to pace and so he paced. He watched the escalator for some sign of a new arrival. A girl in a pink outfit with a pink broad brim hat that had a wide black band around the top came up.

"You're Angela?" Angus asked, knowing by her looks who she was.

"I'm Angela. The judge is saying I am to be waiting with you."

"Ronnie is on his way, Angela. How did you find Judge Patrick?"

"I am going between the jail and the office of your FBI. A man at the FBI, after telling me is not being able to help for the tenth time, his is jotting down the name and address of this judge. The judge seems to know about what I am telling him about my Ronnie. He is sending me to you to find him."

"I work for the attorney of the man Ronnie is trying to help. Judge Patrick is having Ronnie delivered to us any time. He needs to go into court to testify, and then you can have a reunion."

"Oh, my Ronnie has been so long lost," Angela said with tears running down her cheeks.

"You telling me. Way too long. It won't be long."

After ten more minutes a uniformed police officer and a young blond boy in a jailhouse jumpsuit came toward them, after stepping off the escalator. Only their footsteps could be heard in the long empty hall as both Angela and Angus stared at the pair.

"Angus?" the deputy asked. "I'll be damned. They didn't tell me it was you waiting in the hall. I might have hurried a little. I believe he is yours now."

"Officer Holt, right? Yes, if this is Ronnie Haggerty, he's mine and I'm damn glad to get him."

"Oh, my Ronnie, my Ronnie, how my heart has ached for you."

"Mine too, Angela. I'm sorry. They wouldn't let me call anyone."

The two of them hugged and kissed as Angus blushed and Officer Holt looked on as if it went on all the time.

"Why isn't he chained, dare I ask?" Angus said.

"He's not a prisoner. He's a material witness in protective custody. That's what I'm told. My orders are to treat him with kid gloves and make sure he is in your hands before I leave."

"That's my understanding. I was making sure, Holt."

"He's all yours, McCoy," Holt said back over his shoulder as he headed for the escalator. "If you don't know what to do with him, I'd give him to her. She seems to have some ideas."

"Yes, she does," Angus said, turning his attention to the couple. "Ronnie, I'm Angus McCoy, I need to get you in the courtroom. There are people waiting to hear from you. Then, apparently, he's all yours, Angela. Until he testifies, you can sit in the back of the courtroom. I won't let him get away from you again."

"You won't have to worry about that, mister. I'll never leave her again," Ronnie promised, planting another passionate kiss on Angela.

Reluctantly Ronnie let go of his lover, kissed her twice more, hugged her tightly to his chest again, and finally, when Angus touched his arm, they finished one more embrace. Both Angela and Ronnie had tears streaming down their cheeks.

As the door opened and Angus and Ronnie came into the courtroom, the judge banged his gavel.

"Court is now in session. Mr. Mathews, do you want to call a witness?"

"The defense is happy to call Mr. Ronnie Haggerty. Thank you, Your Honor," Wes said both relieved and pleased. "Thank you, Ben."

Ronnie was escorted to the witness chair where he swore to tell the truth.

"So, you're the mysterious witness I've heard so much about," Judge Hamilton said, addressing only Ronnie.

"Yes, sir. I suppose that's me."

"I see you didn't have time to dress for court."

"It's all I got. They let me wear my own clothes until I started to smell really rank. Then they gave me these."

"They being? Who was so kind to you, son?"

"The deputies." Ronnie advised. "Over at the jailhouse. They were all really nice to me."

Ronnie pointed at the spot where the jail was in relationship to the courtroom.

"Why were they holding you, son? I'm a bit in the dark. There was a considerable attempt made to find you."

"I was at a guy's house, Plato. They busted him for drugs. They told me he was connected to a drug cartel. I didn't think so. He was just a friend. They told me if I didn't agree to be held as a material witness, they'd charge me with possession. Ten years minimum, a guy told me. I agreed to sign whatever they wanted. I didn't have any drugs. I wasn't even high. They tell you to sign or you're going to prison for ten years, you sign."

"Whom, might I ask, made you this once in a lifetime deal, son? A name of any kind would work wonders for my jurisprudence sensibilities. I'm a sucker for detail," Judge Hamilton said hopefully.

"He didn't give me his name. He said sign or else, I signed. They wouldn't let me talk to anyone. I wasn't sure who had me. I was at the FBI office at first."

"Of course he wouldn't tell you his name. You won't be detained any further. Whatever material you are witness to, they'll need to get along without you. You've done your civic duty.

"What have you been doing all this time?"

"Playing hearts mostly. I've gotten pretty damn good at hearts. I mean darn good, sir," Ronnie said. "All the deputies owe me money."

"Gambling in our jail? I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked! The deputies treat you okay?"

"Oh, yea, they were righteous dudes. Brought me pizza. Home cooked meals from home. They all treated me fine. I wasn't locked up mostly. I stayed near the infirmary where the deputies hang on breaks."

"I'm glad they treated you okay, son. You know why you're here?"

"Yes, sir. I came back to San Diego to be here. I left my girlfriend to tell what I saw that night Sharon was killed. I couldn't let that man go to jail for nothing.

"I spent the night at Plato's apartment the day I came back. I intended to look up the doctor's lawyer the next day. I got busted instead. You know the rest."

"Mr. Mathews, your witness," Judge Hamilton said, as Wes stood, glad to have the chance to get Ronnie's testimony on the record.

"Ronnie, we'll cut to the chase. You witnessed an accident in which Sharon Bliss was hit by a silver Mercedes Benz by Balboa Park. Can you describe what you saw the night in question?"

Ronnie spoke clearly as he recalled the event that started the journey he'd been on for what seemed like forever.

"Yes, sir. I was walking up toward Balboa Park. I thought I heard Sharon call me, but I wasn't sure. She was across the street from me. She called my name a second time. That's when I saw her. I saw the car at the same time. It was moving along at a reasonable speed.

"Sharon was looking at me. She walked out from between two parked cars right into the path of the silver Mercedes. He couldn't stop in time. No one could have stopped in time.

"He tried to help her. I was scared. I didn't want to talk to the cops. I left the scene, but I decided I had to come back to tell what I knew, after I saw a news story saying they were charging the doctor in the case. That's when I was locked up. They wouldn't let me talk to anyone. I don't even know what month it is."

"I understand your ordeal. We're going to look into that. You say the doctor tried to help Sharon. Was he intoxicated in your opinion?"

"If that man was drunk he was the coolest drunk I ever seen. He kept doing what he could for her. He was steady and he acted like he knew what he was doing. No, I don't believe he was intoxicated."

"Thank you, Ronnie. That's all I have, Your Honor. Defense rests. Ben, he's yours for cross."

"I have no questions, Your Honor. In view of this witnesses' testimony, prosecution moves to dismiss all charges against Dr. Vincent Parsons. If this witness had been available to me earlier, we could have avoided trial. We thank the witness for his testimony," Ben Green said, having no desire to continue Ronnie's orchestrated ordeal.

"Case dismissed. This court is adjourned," Judge Hamilton said, hammering his gavel with relish. "Thank you, son. You're free to go. Anyone gives you any trouble, you tell them to see Judge Hamilton."

"Yes, sir," Ronnie agreed.

Vince stood to embrace Wes as he returned to the defense table. His nightmare was over. Vince understood if not for the tenaciousness of one of San Diego's premier defense attorneys and the devotion of his chief investigator, who refused to accept defeat, there could have been a very different outcome.

Vince finally had his life back, Ronnie too.


On a sailboat in a marina on San Diego Bay, friends met, drank, and prepared to dine.

"Here's to Dr. Vince Parsons. May you enjoy a fruitful career here on out, Doc," Angus said, as champagne flowed from the magnum in the ice bucket.

"Because of you I will," Vince said, raising his glass to Angus.

"The Champagne is from Ben Green, Vince. The note reads, 'Occasionally justice gets done in spite of the law. Glad it was done in this case. I won't be so easy on you next time. Ben Green,'" Wes read.

"Very un-Ben Green like. He hates losing," Angus said.

"Even a pit bull knows right from wrong," Vince said.

There were chuckles from Wes and Angus.

"He didn't really lose, although throwing in the towel at this late date was admitting defeat. I knew we needed Ronnie's testimony but after all that time, I didn't realize how powerful a few words could be."

"I'll have dinner done in fifteen minutes. I've never cooked for all these people before. I hope it turns out okay," Doug said, holding a spatula in his hand as he eyeballed the champagne. "Cook's thirsty."

"Cook has soda in the ice chest, remember?" Vince reminded him.

"Aw, Vince, I can have just one glass," Doug imagined.

"No, you can't," Vince said firmly.

"Yes, sir," Doug said dejectedly, retreating back to the galley.

"Can I have a glass?" Gary asked from his seat at the rear corner of the sailboat, where he observed the gathering quietly.

"You can have all the soda you want," Vince said. "You want me to get you some soda?"

Gary smiled, having boundaries set for him at last.

"No, thanks. I've got soda."

"I filed the custody papers for the boys on Monday," Wes said. "The living arrangements are unique but they have a clean healthy environment, food, and supervision.

"All the details are included in my filing. I've got copies in my briefcase. You should keep copies in case someone contests it."

"I appreciate that, Wes. I've got Gary enrolled in school and Doug is going to the culinary school up near Hillcrest. I'm helping him study for his GED. They're good kids. I couldn't leave them in the park.

"I've been lucky. I've never given anything back to share my good fortune. Giving a couple of kids a shot in life seems right."

"You're a good man, Vince Parsons," Karen said.

"I can't do it for them. They've got to do the work. I'm just giving them a chance."

"Waking up in the middle of the night in the park was scary," Gary said. "It's scary at night. Kinda fun being a normal kid again."

"I have the boys back on track. It's time to get to work on getting me back on track."

"Scripps will take you back?" Wes said.

"I can't leave Father Carroll in the lurch. Lots of folks depend on me," Vince said. "I might open a clinic near St. Vincent DePaul. Have a better place for all my patients to wait. Some seats. I'm not without connections. I'm sure doctors would help if I asked them."

"My check's in the mail for your clinic," Wes said. "You've come a long way. If anyone told me you'd make the indigent your next career move, after I first met you, I'd have called them crazy. "

"Before you start writing checks, I owe you a lot of money. If I wasn't for you and Angus, I'd be eating catered prison food tonight."

"Doing our job, Vince. The clinic is a different deal. I can wait for payment for legal services," Wes said. "Custody of the boys will require some legal motions before it's official."

"What will happen to the DA, speaking of motions?" Vince asked.

"I suspect he's in a world of hurt. Holding that kid for all those months, during the investigation of some minor drug offense, isn't how the law works. Using an assumed name without an attorney advising him violates his Constitutional rights, no matter what he signed," Wes said.

"Unfortunately, as Judge Patrick said, the drug war has taken on a life of its own. In the name of that war, they think they can do anything. I'll bet Wendell Clark signed nothing, communicated directly with none of the players we'll identify, but he got what he wanted. He hurt you and he nearly broke you," Angus said.

"It'll take time and work to dig out how it was done and who is to say the people responsible to see that laws are enforced will want to bust one of their own. With Ronnie and Angela flying to Paris, I doubt any legal action is imminent. Procedurally Wendell is still in jeopardy, but without evidence, we can't bring him up on charges. Donald Rhodes statement ties Wendell to what he regarded as questionable tactics, but Ben Green put it on record, and it isn't enough to prove anything.

"Judge Hamilton is a stickler for detail. He wasn't amused with Ronnie being detained under duress. Whatever happens, you can bet we haven't heard the last of Wendell's shenanigans. He is still the DA," Wes said.

"In spite of it all, he lost," Vince said.

"He wanted to 'break you,' and he came close," Angus reminded Vince. "He didn't know we'd outfox him in the end."

"It was a wonderful thing to see. I've rarely been more brilliant. My cases don't usually end so elegantly. The combatants retreat to neutral corners. Young love triumphs. Case is dismissed, all in a day's work," Wes bragged. "When the day began, I was regretting I didn't ask for a postponement. I might have gone for a mistrial. Genius takes time to materialize some days."

"Yea, and I think I'll take Mildred on a vacation to Paris," Angus said. "I might even take up art as a hobby."

"Mildred will take a piece out of your backside the first time she gets a glimpse of Angela, Angus," Wes said.

"There is that," Angus agreed. "Maybe Buffalo? You can hardly get into trouble with your wife in Buffalo."

"You didn't remember testifying in cases against Wendell Clark, Vince?" Wes asked.

"I did those cases while I was planning my career in San Diego. Studying the facts to use them to favor the defense was all I did. I suppose the prosecutor could have been Wendell Clark. I couldn't swear to it in court. I really don't remember the guy," Vince said.

"He sure as hell remembered you," Angus said.

"Which one of you is Vincent Parsons, a gruff voice asked, as three rather large fellows appeared at the side of the boat. The speaker stepped uninvited onto the deck.

"I'm Vince Parsons," Vince said, moving up to the man.

"You're under arrest. Turn around," the man said.

"I.D.," Wes ordered, moving forward to intercede.

"Look, Dad, don't make me arrest you for interfering with my duty as a law enforcement officer."

"Youngster, it's my job to interfere with you. It's your misfortune to be arresting a client in front of his attorney. If I were advising you, I'd say don't ever do that. I'll take it upon myself to advise you here, pro bono. Put those cuffs on him and the civil suit I'm drawing up inside my head will have your name right on top.

"I want to know the charges and I want to know who you are? All of you produce some identification," Wes said, pointing one big finger at the two men on the dock to hold them in place.

"I ain't even on the boat. I'm along for the ride," one man said.

"You guys know Sgt. Siegel?" Angus asked, wanting to reduce the tension on the rear of the boat.

"Yea, sure," one of the cops on the dock answered. "He works out of Chula Vista. He's retiring this year. Siegel's a good cop."

"We were on the job together in Chicago," Angus said. "What's up here? This man hasn't done anything. I know as much about him as a cop gets to know about anyone he isn't married to. I can guarantee you he's clean. Why mess with him? Inquiring minds want to know."

"I've got a report he's got under age kids on his boat. You've got liquor open. I'm just doing my job, bud. We get a complaint. I go out."

"Awe, man, I ain't got enough food for all you people," Doug complained, standing in his apron, investigating the noise.

"Who sent you?" Wes asked.

"I just take orders. I'm Detective Delaney. This is Owens and that's Harmon. We just got orders to move on the information."

"I've filed papers for Dr. Parsons to have custody of the two boys. They are on his boat, because they're in his care," Wes explained. "You have a warrant?" Wes asked.

"No, we've got the kids. That's the proof."

"You knew his name," Wes reminded him.

"We were told his name. It was part of the information."

"And who gave you this information?"

"It was an anonymous tip," Delaney said.

"How convenient. You don't know Dr. Parsons?"

"Yea, he owns the boat," Delaney explained.

"What about the boys? What were you told to do with them?" Vince asked.

"Juvenile detention," Delaney said. "It's not my idea."

"Man, that's bogus. He can't do that, can he?" Gary asked, having carefully avoided contact with juvenile services for over a year.

"Not if Mr. Mathews is on the case," Doug said smiling. "We ain't going nowhere."

"So if I wasn't here to advise you, Detective Delaney, you'd be spending the next two years up to your knees in litigation. Does that sound like a good career move to any of you?"

"No, sir." Delaney answered as the other two cops backed off.

"I'll make you a deal, Delaney. Get me a name. There's a judge investigating the prosecutors' office for malicious prosecution of Dr. Parsons. You caught us celebrating our win in that prosecution. So, I'm going to cut you some slack, for the name. I tell no one where I got it."

"Yes, sir," Detective Delaney agreed. "I'll get you the name."

"I'd call that smart police work. I knew you were reasonable when I first saw you, Delaney," Wes said happily, giving him his card.

"Yes, sir, very reasonable. Sorry we bothered you folks. Have a nice evening. We'll see to it you aren't bothered again, doctor. Come on, we've been given a bum steer," Delaney said angrily.

"Hey, Delaney, when you find out whose behind this, tell him to spread the word, Wendell Clark will be hearing footsteps soon. You tell them Angus McCoy told you to say that," Angus said.

"Yes, sir," Delaney said politely. "I'll be glad to."

"I don't believe it. Why would anyone object to my getting the boys off the street? Is this what I have to look forward to, Wes?"

"I don't see any alternative, Vince. We've got to file suit against the city. It's the only thing that will stop this kind of harassment. Maybe we can get the city to fund your new clinic," Wes said.

"No, I'd just as soon stay clear of the city. I have no desire to have anything to do with people who are determined to destroy me."

"Dinner's ready. Someone help me carry it out," Doug yelled from the galley.

Everyone marveled at Doug's culinary skills. He stood nearby beaming once the verdict was rendered.

It was another perfect day in paradise and Ronnie and Angela flew overhead on their way to Paris. The pleasant slight breeze jangled the brass mountings against the metal on the mast. The quiet balmy night brought in the smell of the fresh Pacific air.

The End

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead