Saturday, July 16, 2005

Chapter 7, Part 1 (v.2)

Danny sat quietly on his bunk, his ankles crossed in front of him and a magazine in his lap; his hair was neatly combed back to fluff out behind his ears, parted on the side with a rakish wave of loose curls over his forehead, his eyes were bright and clear, his cheeks blushed becomingly; his t-shirt glowed white and clean against his pale skin, his orange jumpsuit looked crisply ironed, his blue shoes stood neatly beside his bunk — he presented a picture of such patented innocence that the inmates and deputies who glanced in at him as they passed his windows wondered what kind of cosmic injustice had landed such an angel in the county jail.

But Danny had already tired of thinking through the cosmic injustice of his incarceration, and was now engaged in trying to decide if he were bored, or if it was just his impatience with waiting that was marring an otherwise deliciously relaxing day.

There was a kind of luxury inherent in having no choices: even the smallest decisions require a certain amount of energy and consequence, imagination and responsibility; but Danny hadn't had to make a single decision all morning.

His breakfast was delivered to his cell as his dinner had been, a made-up tray chosen by someone else; and though the morning meal wasn't as well-prepared as the evening meal had been — the scrambled eggs were overcooked, the bacon too thick and hard, the white toast sadly limp, the orange-juice bitter and thin, and the one cup of coffee pitifully weak — it was very pleasant to eat a meal that he'd not had to expend the tiniest effort toward nor take any responsibility for.

After breakfast, a forbiddingly silent deputy named Broussard arrived to take him to the showers; and though he instinctively tried to charm the stone-faced deputy and draw him into conversation, and was a little hurt by his indifference, Danny eventually gave up the effort and adopted the deputy's silence as his own. It was distinctly creepy to do something as intimate as showering while being watched by so disinterested an audience, but it was also very restful to not have to make any kind of social effort, or even pay any attention to anything or anyone around him... all he had to do was wash himself and then dry himself.

Once he was delivered back to his cell, there was no period of wondering what to wear or what to do with his day; he had just the one outfit and absolutely nothing to do until Deputy Broussard returned to take him to court... which would be shortly before eleven, giving him two hours to kill. Danny turned on the television for noise and color, and read the last of his magazines, but he was spared the necessity of actually thinking of a way to kill the two hours — everything was out of his hands.

However, the comfortably structured nature of jail life left one thing to be desired: the knowledge of what came next. Though he knew that he'd be taken to court at eleven, he didn't know what would happen there, what would be required of him or what outcomes were desired, how to prepare or when it would be over. His sense of adventure had waned in the tedium of the uneventful morning, and now he was left with an impatience to get on to the next thing, a need to have something decided.

Eventually the impatience won out over the relaxation, and Danny started to fidget. He still had an hour to kill, and he'd already read every word in every magazine he had, including the advertisements and mastheads. After remaking his bed with military precision, and carefully fanning out his magazines in alphabetical and chronological order, as well as ordering his toiletries from smallest to largest on the little shelf over the multipurpose plumbing fixture, he started doing calisthenics just to work off the pent-up energy.

After the first few sit-ups, Danny realized that he was going to wrinkle his jumpsuit, and that he wouldn't be able to change his t-shirt if he stained it with sweat, so he stripped down to his shorts, feeling self-conscious doing so in the rather public little cell that people invariably looked into when they passed. After warming up with standard exercises like push-ups and squats, he settled down to go through everything he could remember of his Pilates routine.

His body was grateful for the exercise, since he'd missed his workout the day before (Fridays were usually devoted to thighs and pecs, followed by an hour's swim before he went upstairs for pre-weekend grooming), the ensuing endorphin rush improved his mood dramatically, and the hour simply flew by; he even had time to wash up again at the sink/toilet and get himself dressed and primped before Deputy Broussard turned up to take him to court.

Danny was handcuffed and led through another maze of corridors and elevator trips, or perhaps the same route he'd come the day before... he couldn't tell. He wondered out loud how the deputy knew one long linoleumed hallway from another, but received no answer, nor even a flicker of emotion, from the stolid Broussard. They finally came to a stop at a little barred window in a short narrow passage, where Danny's wrist-band was read and checked against a clip-boarded list; he was told to sit down, not talk, and wait for his number to be called.

There were eleven other detainees sitting on the plain wooden benches in the small square room, each one in an orange jumpsuit and blue shoes, each one fidgetty and nervous but sitting silent and still. Two deputies stood guard, one by the door Danny had come through and one by the door at the opposite end of the room, their batons at the ready.

After a few minutes, a third deputy came in through the opposite door and called a number, to which a large and ostentatiously ugly Samoan man responded; he was led out of the room, and returned after only five minutes. The next "contestant" (as Danny decided to think of them) was a rickety old man with leathery purple-black skin and whispy white hair, who was gone for more than a quarter of an hour. And then the next, and the next, working through the twelve detainees at an average speed of ten minutes each; when they came back in and resumed their seats, they looked relieved, or angry, or defeated, but no longer nervous and fidgetty.

Danny passed the time by making up stories about his fellow detainees, trying to guess what their names ought to be, whether or not they had jobs or cars or children, and of what crimes they were most likely accused. In his benevolence and optimism, he didn't care to ascribe violent crimes such as murder, battery, or rape; instead he made up stories about minor drug-possession, petty theft, fraud, drunk-and-disorderly, and the like for the ordinary-looking men, and fancifully exotic crimes like operating opium dens, smuggling archaeological artifacts, and unauthorized iguana-farming for the more unusual-looking.

And though this sort of mental game-playing was fairly entertaining, it was simply torture for Danny to sit in the little square room without talking to anybody, with nothing to read, for the better part of two hours. When his number was finally called, he was so stupefied with boredom that the deputy had to repeat it twice before Danny realized they meant him.

After so much stillness and quiet, Danny was staggered by the noise and movement in the courtroom; his entrance was greeted by the sounds and lights of two dozen cameras going off at once, and an excited murmuring could be heard under the cacophanous snapping and clicking. The judge, irritated by the sudden hubbub but immersed in a file he was reading, banged distractedly with his gavel, merely adding to the racket.

Despite the chaos in the courtroom, Danny's eye was immediately drawn to Marquesa and Valerien sitting in the front row on the aisle; even if they weren't directly in the center of his field of vision, he would have been drawn to their bright beauty and radiant glamour... they were dressed in pale brilliant colors with sharply tailored lines and beautifully draped fabrics, and they exuded a sort of expensive aura, almost as if they had their own light-source, that separated them from the dim and uninteresting people around them.

They waved at him discreetly, just a raised hand and a little smile each, and Danny felt overwhelmingly comforted by their presence. Marquesa was dressed in creamy white, a slim jacket and skirt of nubby silk tweed with boots and gloves and a snap-brimmed hat, a rich drape of pearls around his neck and a voluminous scarf of brilliant sky-blue dotted with colorful butterflies around his shoulders; Valerien wore a dove-gray linen suit with a mauve damask waistcoat and a soft silvery tie, with a foppish silver pocket-square and a tiny mauve lily in his buttonhole... they both looked fresh and cool and absurdly young; and though they were obviously out of their element in that dun-colored, over-lit courtroom, they carried a sense of rightness and belonging with them, as if it were the room that was wrong and not themselves.

All the time Danny was studying and taking comfort in Marquesa and Valerien, he was being led through the court to the Defense table, where Rodney Casterman was waiting for him; turning his regard from his glamorous friends, he finally took in the rest of the courtroom and his attorney.

"What a pretty tie!" Danny said to his lawyer, his eyes shying away from the ugly flat panelling and flourescent lighting of the courtroom, and the rather frightening people around him, resting his attention instead on the knot of rich sapphire-blue jaquard silk that plumped forth between the crisp white linen of the lawyer's tall collar and the smooth chalk-striped navy worsted of his high-buttoned suit.

"Thank you, but please focus," Casterman spoke in an urgent undertone, gently grasping Danny's elbow, "There are some answers you'll need to questions they may ask. In particular, if asked, you have a job. I thought it would look better for your bail if you were employed, so the Baron arranged it."

"I wondered what that was about," Danny admitted, "I heard on the news that I work for a design firm?"

"Specifically, you work for Ermengratz Design Associates, you are Theo Ermengratz's assistant. Can you remember that?"

"Oh! Wow," Danny replied, blinking in surprise; Theo Ermengratz was the most important interior designer in San Francisco, so famous that his work would invariably be featured in Interior Digest (frequently on the cover), and he spent much of his leisure time making proud socialites and would-be celebrities grovel at his feet to obtain his fame-inducing services.

"You didn't tell the police you had a job," Casterman went on when he was sure the information had sunk in, "because you haven't started yet, you were just hired... you interviewed with Mr. Ermengratz on Wednesday of last week, you were hired on Thursday of this week, and you're due to report for duty on Wednesday of next week. Do you know those dates?"

"Yes, the sixteenth, twenty-third, and thirtieth."

"Excellent, my clever child. Other than that, you can just tell the truth. Hopefully they won't ask you any direct questions at all. They shouldn't; bail decisions don't usually require any questioning of the defendant. But you never can tell; this judge is a trifle unpredictable."

"But isn't this where I say 'Not guilty, your honor'?" Danny asked, confused that this didn't jibe with the proceedings he'd seen in movies and TV shows.

"No, that's for your arraignment," Casterman explained patiently, "That won't be for a few more weeks. Today is just for your bail."

"I don't see why they can't do both, it would save time," Danny frowned at this information, then smiled again, trying to lighten the sinking feeling he felt in his chest, "And it's really too bad, I've been practicing 'Not guilty, your honor,' all morning... with and without gestures."

"Silly boy," the attorney smiled back at him and jiggled his elbow, "Don't worry, you'll be out of here today, and then we can deal with arraignment in our own good time."

"Docket number 7144588, the People v. Marcus Daniel Vandervere IV, to set bail," the bailiff called out in an admirably stentorian voice, silencing the room.

"About freakin' time," the judge said under his breath, though loud enough for the microphone to pick up, starting a ripple of supressed giggles in the courtroom. Judge Michael Drummond wasn't one of the socially and politically ambitious judges who'd been dragooned by Marquesa and Valerien into working on a Saturday; he was the judge who usually worked Saturdays, all by himself, and he resented all this brouhaha and press attention.

A thick and florid troll of a man with great spumes of white eyebrow over fearsome coal-black eyes, Judge Drummond was nevertheless amused by the resentable situation, and was ready to have a good laugh at someone else's expense. Staring portentously at the pretty defendant until he shrank fearfully behind his attorney, the judge called out, "Proceed!"

"The People move that the defendant be held without bail," Assistant District Attorney Reese Moon said in a vague and distracted tone that was expertly pitched to reach the farthest corners of the room. He was a very shiny man, his round hairless head, salmon taffeta shirt-and-tie set, and sleek charcoal sharkskin suit reflecting a great deal of light; he also had a lubricious voice and an oily manner that went so well with his overall sheen.

"And the Defense will no doubt move that the defendant be released on his own recognizance?" Judge Drummond peered at Casterman over his rimless reading-glasses.

"Of course. Though accused of a violent crime, Mr. Vandervere is a model citizen," Casterman declaimed with an elegant blend of grandeur and intimacy, like a stage-actor performing a love scene, "A property-owner, gainfully employed, with many ties to the community. He has no criminal record whatever, nor any record of violent or criminal behavior of any kind. He is furthermore a gentlemen, honor-bound to see his trial through. He should be released on his own recognizance."

"The People are not prepared to prove anyone's honor or lack thereof; but the facts are that the defendant has lived in San Francisco for less than two years and hasn't even started this new job," ADA Moon rebutted, producing a rattling sheaf of papers from his briefcase and gesturing for the bailiff to convey it to the judge, "Though he is indeed a property-owner; the report I am submitting to the Bench is compiled from the defendant's bank records, city tax rolls, and insurance accounts."

"Mmm-hmmm..." Judge Drummond adjusted his reading-glasses and scowled at the paperwork.

"These figures show that the defendant owns almost five million dollars' worth of rental residential property in the city," the ADA continued, handing another copy to Casterman, "He also has considerable liquid assets, over a hundred thousand in cash accounts as well as jewelry, antiques, and other valuables insured to the sum of four and a half million dollars. He is entitled to a quite considerable income on his family's Trust, which can easily be paid to offshore accounts."

"How do they know so much about me that I didn't know?" Danny whispered to his lawyer in amazement, dazzled by the surprisingly high estimate of his own wealth.

"Shush," Casterman whispered back harshly, dropping the papers on the table in a slightly disdainful manner that was calculated to irritate the ADA.

"The Defendant is furthermore known to enjoy the friendship of a number of wealthy individuals in the international community," Moon went on, "many of whom have diplomatic influence. It would be far too easy for Mr. Vandervere to abscond to, and exist quite comfortably for the rest of his life in, any of several countries without extradition to the United States. He therefore represents a serious flight risk and should be held without bail."

"My client is innocent, and is anxious to clear his name," Casterman sounded hurt and offended, an eloquent hand laid dramatically on his chest, "And though only resident in our fair city for two years, he has lived in California all his life, as have six generations of his ancestors; he has left the state only three times in all his twenty-three years, has never once been out of the country, and does not even own a passport."

"Passports aren't difficult to come by, if you can pay," the ADA shrugged.

"Be that as it may," the defense attorney continued with a fastidious shiver of revulsion, "To incarcerate a young man who is and must be presumed innocent — a young man unaccustomed to hardship and without even a suspicion of a criminal record — for untold months or even years, for no other reason than that he has some property and a few wealthy friends, would be cruelly unjust."

"Mmm-hmmm..." Judge Drummond looked from one attorney to the other, and then to the defendant (who had turned quite white and was trembling a little at the thought of spending months or years in that tiny cell), "I agree, Mr. Casterman, that indefinite incarceration might, in this case, constitute punishment prior to conviction; however, I also agree with Mr. Moon that the defendant could leave the country with greater ease than the average citizen."

The judge leaned back and studied the papers provided by the ADA in silence for some minutes, grunting and huffing as he settled into himself like a sleepy owl. The room started to rustle slightly in the prolonged suspense, but the judge went on reading and thinking as if he were quite alone in the court. Finally, he shuffled the papers together and placed them neatly on the desk, then looked up with dramatic suddenness.

"I think we can strike a compromise: we shall give Mr. Vandervere sufficient material incentive to remain for trial, without having to resort to incarceration. Bail is set at ten million dollars," Judge Drummond banged his gavel and closed the docket folder with a decisive gesture.

"Ten million?!" Danny screamed in disbelief and horror, "I haven't got ten million dollars!"

"Shut up!" Casterman gave Danny a savage pinch on the arm that made him yelp.

"I could make it 'cash, not bond,' if you prefer," Judge Drummond smiled viciously.

"I'm sorry, your honor, I didn't... mean to..." Danny's meek apology petered out in confusion as he tried to puzzle out what 'cash, not bond' meant.

"I didn't think so," Drummond chuckled grimly, "And that makes a nice dozen. Court is in Recess for lunch."

"All rise!" the bailiff bellowed.

"But how am I going to make bail?" Danny sobbed to Casterman under the covering noise of the court shuffling to its collective feet, "I really haven't got ten million dollars! The Trust won't pay that much, and I'll never be able to sell everything to raise the money from in here!"

"Pull yourself together, child," Casterman chucked him lightly on the chin, "It's already taken care of, the Baron and Mr. Willard-Wilkes have arranged your bail."

"What?" Danny's knees buckled from surprise, and he put out his hands to steady himself against the table, "Why?"

"I really couldn't say why," Casterman turned to place his papers into his briefcase, "Except that they like you, they believe in you, and they have the resources to help you. Now don't keep the deputy waiting any longer. You're to be released immediately, I'll meet you at the other end."

Speechless with gratitude, Danny waved weakly at his benefactors as he was led out of the courtroom. Valerien waved back excitedly, and Marquesa blew a big movie-star kiss, before they were lost to view.

The Release process was almost exactly like the Intake process, but in reverse, and Danny met many of the same deputies as he was led back through. And though he tried to be cheerful with them, he had far too much on his mind, and the effort was a little strained; and now that Danny's identity and background were known, the deputies were a little more distant with him as well... a pretty boy is one thing, but a pretty rich-kid is something else altogether, something to instinctively resent and distrust.

His first stop was his cell, to strip his bed for the laundry and retrieve whatever he'd bought from the commissary, then back down to the booking rooms to relinquish his prison clothes and retrieve his own garments. The deputy in charge of Property had rather more to give back than Danny had given up the previous afternoon, as his wallet, keys, and PDA had been entered into property by Detective Spevik while he was being booked; it was the money from his own wallet that had been deposited for his use in jail (though the money from his boots had blood and oil on them and so were still considered evidence).

Danny was also given another brief medical examination to make sure nothing untoward had happened to him in jail; but instead of fresh fingerprinting and DNA-sampling, he was given a multi-page questionnaire to fill out, requiring the addresses at which he could be reached, as well as soliciting his opinion of how he had been treated, whether or not he had been given his proper rights and offered services in a timely manner... he was even invited to share his thoughts on what the San Francisco Sheriffs' Department might have done to make his stay more pleasant. After filling out all the bubbles in glowing affirmatives, Danny was officially released.

Once again dressed comfortably and elegantly in earthtone cashmere and linen, with his belongings in a large paper envelope and the white wristband still attached to his wrist, he wandered dazedly into the Release lobby, where he spotted Casterman waving at him near the door.

"There, now," Casterman greeted him warmly with a handshake and a pat on the head, "That wasn't so bad, was it?"

"No, it was a lot nicer than I expected," Danny allowed with a smiling shrug, "The only really painful experience I've had so far is when you pinched me. You left a bruise!"

"I'm afraid I forgot myself," Casterman laughed, putting his arm paternally around Danny's shoulder and leading him toward the exit, "And you were being a jackass, yelling like that in a court of law. The news media is going to serve your outburst to the hungry millions for dinner tonight. You simply must remember the cameras from now on!"

"I'm so sorry," Danny looked at his feet and blushed, ashamed of his undisciplined behavior; he had completely forgotten about the cameras, and had not considered what effect his perfectly understandable but quite inappropriate reaction might have on his case.

"It's absolutely no fun scolding you, my dear child," Casterman relented, reaching out to tug gently on Danny's forelock, surprised at the warmth he felt for the young man, "You're so charmingly submissive."

He didn't like to get attached to his clients, but Casterman couldn't help falling a little bit in love with this boy. There was something so trusting and beatific about him, something tender and fragile that was neither weak nor insipid. The attorney, accustomed over long years of criminal defense to mankind's turpitude and wickedness, responded to the beauty in Danny's nature that was even greater than his physical beauty; and the thing that separates the civilized man from the barbarian is the desire to adore and protect beauty rather than consume and destroy it.

"Now," Casterman stepped back and straightened Danny's hair and sweater fussily, as he would for his own son, "there will be reporters outside: do not speak to them. Just act confused by all the voices and flashbulbs... which should be easy, as you no doubt will be confused by all the voices and flashbulbs. Any sane person would be. Be careful to not look frightened or guilty; hold a smile, nod graciously, shrug apologetically as required."

"Like so?" Danny asked, nodding graciously and shrugging apologetically while holding a benign and noncommital smile.

"That's perfect, you're a born actor. If we get separated, just head for the Baron's car, it's that brown-and-gold Rolls parked out on the street, do you see it? Bascombe will let you in and ward off any reporters who get too close. Don't run under any circumstances, just walk steadily and don't talk. Ready? Break!"

The deafening, blinding maelstrom of voices and flashbulbs took Danny by surprise, despite Casterman's warning, and it was very easy for him to not talk to anyone as he was hustled through the clamoring throng to the waiting car... he didn't even understand any of the questions, they came so fast and furious. He felt Casterman's arm slide off his shoulders and heard the attorney's distinctive voice adding itself to the din, but he slipped through the crowd like a greased fish and found himself quite suddenly enveloped in quiet as the car-door closed behind him.

"This is so exciting!" Valerien cried as he pulled Danny down onto the deep divan-like seat between himself and Marquesa, then grabbed his neck and kissed him passionately on the mouth; when Valerien eventually pulled back, he looked up into Danny's eyes with his heart-fluttering worshipful expression, "I've never rescued anyone from prison before!"

"It's just a county jail, you daft frog, not the Château d'If," Marquesa drawled, putting out a gloved hand to touch Danny's cheek gently, "Are you all right, darling? They didn't hurt you in there, did they?"

"I'm fine," Danny said, the tears shining in his eyes again, "I can't thank you both enough for getting me out of there. I mean, ten million dollars! It's so much!"

"Pish-posh," Marquesa dismissed the magnitude of the gesture with an airy wave of his hand and rummaged in his handbag for cigarettes, "It's just a bond, we only had to put ten percent on deposit. We were prepared for worse, Val's bank had everything set up for several contingencies before close-of-business yesterday."

"Still, it's an awful lot," Danny took Marquesa's flashy diamond-crusted platinum lighter and held the flame steady for him, "Taking even a million out of circulation will represent a net loss of tens of thousands of dollars, if this trial drags on."

"Hark at you," Marquesa laughed, blowing out a cloud of smoke, "'Net loss,' indeed... you sound like an accountant! Darling, the amount of money we stand to lose is less than what I spend on cut flowers in a season; it's not that big a deal."

"But you could lose the whole ten million if I skipped bail," Danny reasoned, "I am so grateful I can't even express myself. You have to let me sign over my property, or some kind of promisory note, as security."

"We know perfectly well you'd never skip bail. You're our friend," Valerien turned Danny's face to his, "And we know you're innocent. The money simply isn't important, you're to put it out of your mind this instant. Marquesa, peek outside and see if Casterman's finished with the press yet; I want my lunch."

While Marquesa pulled back the window-shade an inch or so, Danny was able to look around at the car; he hadn't seen it very clearly from outside, but was pretty sure it was a Silver Cloud limousine of 1950s vintage. The interior was cavernous, plush with camel-beige velvet and gold fittings, with a sheepskin rug and two jumpseats facing the deep backseat on either side of a walnut cabinet containing a stereo system and a miniature wet-bar; all the windows were covered in parchment shades, and the driver's seat was sealed off beyond a padded partition inset with an elaborate enamel coat-of-arms.

"Here he comes," Marquesa called out after a few moments of watching, "Bascombe is elbowing out a passageway for him. Where should we have lunch?"

The noise of reporters and cameras exploded into the luxurious cabin as the door opened and the lawyer darted in, and stopped just as suddenly when the door slammed shut. The car rocked a bit as it started up, though no noise of a running engine could be detected, and the chauffeur nudged the great Rolls carefully out of the crowd.

"I was thinking L'Aurente," Valerien answered before turning to the attorney, "You'll join us, Mr. Casterman?"

"L'Aurente?" the attorney repeated the name in surprise; it was the most expensive and exclusive French restaurant in town, perched atop a little-known but extremely posh hotel on Geary halfway between Union Square and the Theatre District, a favorite after-shopping or pre-show destination for the see-and-be-seen element of Society, and sure to be crowded on a Saturday afternoon, "Isn't that awfully... public?"

"It would be absolutely fatal to be thought to be hiding at this juncture," Marquesa intoned seriously, gesturing with his cigarette, "Danny must be seen lunching with us quite innocently in order to be believed innocent. The rumor mill must be controlled immediately."

"You don't mind, do you?" Valerien asked Danny, concerned for his feelings.

"Of course not," Danny smiled happily, not understanding why everyone was concerned about it, "I love lunching at L'Aurente!"

"Grenier, we're going to L'Aurente," Valerien spoke into a little gilded microphone he'd plucked off the wall by his arm, "Please call Annalise and let her know there will be four of us for lunch; and a table by the door for yourself and Bascombe, of course."

"Oui, M'sieu," came a crackly voice from the little device, "Merci bien."

"Who is this Bascombe?" Danny wondered about the person he'd heard mentioned so frequently without ever seeing.

"My driver and bodyguard," Marquesa told him, practically whispering the second descriptor as if embarrassed by it, twiddling distractedly with his pearls, "He's following in my car. He goes with me everywhere, especially if I'm wearing good jewels."

"Oh," Danny replied, wondering suddenly where Bascombe had been when they'd all spent the night at Valerien's, and if he'd know anything about who killed Marshall. But he was too overwhelmed with new ideas and worries to really consider this information, so he filed it away for later use.

"What fun!" Casterman enthused, clapping his hands gleefully to mask the strange burning anger he felt at the knowledge that, despite his own hard-earned fame, he'd have had to make reservations at L'Aurente weeks in advance, and would have been given a crappy table by the rear windows if he did get a reservation; while the Baron de Seguemont, twenty-five years his junior and without a single known accomplishment to his name, could just have his chauffeur call in at the last minute and expect two separate and excellent tables, "A Saturday lunch at L'Aurante! I'm thinking of the ris de veaux with a lovely crisp Meyer-Fonné. And I hope you'll let me expense-account this... I love taking things off my taxes!"

"You're very kind," Valerien accepted the offer with a gracious nod.

The rest of the ride was dominated by a discussion of various wines and the practicalities of reds or whites with non-muscle meats. Danny wondered why they were riding with the blinds down, feeling a little claustrophobic (though after his night in jail he no longer feared small spaces with an immediate panic, he still didn't like being closed in) but he didn't dare ask that they be opened... he felt too raw and shaky to talk, and too deeply indebted to ask any further favors, so he just sat quietly and looked at the three people who had taken it upon themselves for their own mysterious reasons to save him from jail.

"You're all so kind," Danny whispered, a grateful tear spilling down his cheek; but nobody heard him, enrapt in a tense argument about the relative adaptibility of French versus Italian whites for fusion cuisines.

***

6 comments:

CarpeDM said...

Wow. This is so much better. The first version wasn't bad, don't get me wrong, but this brings a lot more development and a good flow. It explains how Danny was confused about what was going to happen because really, tv shows do not go into the bail part a lot because it's pretty much boring or they will combine them.

I'm glad that you limited Broussard's role in this. While yes, I felt bad that he lost his brother, it just didn't have much of a place here.

Nice development of the people in the waiting room and how Danny tried to amuse himself. I liked it. And the iguana farming? That is hilarious.

I really like this version.

Anonymous said...

What she said...;-)

Take your pick, the taste, flow, tenor, temperature, the consistancy with previous chapters is better served by your v.2.

(As an aside, I'm sorry you're not feeling well, but your writing is back with a bang!)

We get a taste that all is not wonderful in jail, in the form of the am guard, w/o actually delving too deeply into it. I also agree that Danny's 'Al-anon slip' in the waiting room ;-) was VERY funny and fitting.

Nice work, Robert

Will

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