This is the continuation of a story. You can read the rest here.
Salvation has arrived in the form of Chinese food! That’s the only kind of salvation I’m interested in. It’s not the best Chinese food around, nor is it really even Chinese, if you want to get technical about it, but it is the fastest. Macky eats most of it and even steals my egg roll. I find Macky annoying, but he does have one benefit: he works for food.
I ask, “Don’t you have any parents?”
“Sure,” he says while munching on my fortune cookie. I wait for him to say more, but he doesn’t. My phone startles me by ringing. I forgot that it accepts incoming calls, too. I hate the phone. I take a page from Detective Parsons and answer with “Drake.”
“Mr. Walker Drake?” comes a female voice on the other end.
“Yes?” Suddenly, I’m not so sure.
“My name is Victoria Drucker. I’m a lawyer in Clovis, California.”
Clovis, California rings a bell. “What can I do for you?”
“Mr. Drake, you may have had recent dealings with a client–well, a former client of mine–Mr. Henry Duarte.”
“That may be true.”
“Well, as attorney-client privilege survives the death of the client, I can’t tell you the exact nature of Mr. Duarte’s business, but I am the one who sent him to you based on the recommendation of Ms. Nancy Klein, a friend of mine whom you may remember helping several years ago.”
I find it hard to picture Ms. Professionalism here having any friends, but then I remember the woman she’s talking about who’s a professional at spending her daddy’s money. “Klein? …Oh, yes. I remember her. Something to do with murder or vegetables or murdered vegetables. So, she’s up in farm country now?”
“Yes, she’s quite well and speaks highly of you, which is why I thought to refer Mr. Duarte to you.”
“Tell her I said ‘Bob’s your uncle,’” I still have no idea what that phrase actually means, but I like the sound of it. “Thanks for sending business my way, but I’m still unclear as to why you’re calling. Do you want a finder’s fee?”
“Oh, nothing like that, Mr. Drake. It’s just that Mr. Duarte’s business in Los Angeles was not concluded before his death and I’d like to hire you to help in concluding it on behalf of his estate.”
“Swell. What’s the business?”
“Well, due to attorney-client privilege, which as I said, is still in effect, at the very least through the resolution of his estate, I find myself a little hamstrung in relating the details… Let’s just say that Mr. Duarte was in Los Angeles to find something which belonged to his family. I have the documentation here to prove ownership of the item.”
“Okay, so you want me to find something without actually knowing what it is that I’m looking for?”
“Well, in a way… really what I’d like you to do is follow the trail that Mr. Duarte was following before he died, which may lead to the item, and I’d also like you to discover the true circumstances of his death.”
Ah, now we’re getting somewhere I think. “Ah, now we’re getting somewhere,” I say.
She continues, “The detective in charge of Mr. Duarte’s case called me since I was one of the last numbers Mr. Duarte called. This detective Parsons seems to believe there was no foul play in Mr. Duarte’s death. I do not believe that Mr. Duarte killed himself.” Even through her business-like veneer, I can hear sadness in her voice that’s just a tinge more sad than most lawyers would be for their clients, which is usually not at all. This sounds personal.
“On that, we agree. I don’t believe he offed himself either. Alright, send me a retainer and I’ll figure out who killed him, but as to the other thing, the thing I’m supposed to find, you’re going to have to give me more to go on than ‘I can’t tell you.’”