Gourdfellas

Gourdfellas by Maggie Bruce Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Gourdfellas by Maggie Bruce Read Free Book Online
Authors: Maggie Bruce
mind, her brown eyes flashing beneath them. Every bit of her moved when she spoke about starting a consortium to support the casino. Now she was dead.
    “Lili? You didn’t touch the rifle. That’s right, isn’t it?” Elizabeth sounded exasperated.
    “I didn’t. I don’t think I did. I was too scared. When it fell out of the ceiling, it scared the crap out of me. What do I do now?”
    “You let them take the rifle, and you let them search your house. They’d get their warrant, so there’s no use appearing uncooperative. Meanwhile, I’ll call B.H., just in case.”
    “B.H.?” Was I supposed to understand, or was this some kind of lawyer code I hadn’t learned?
    “Sorry. B. H. Hovanian, the smartest criminal defense lawyer north of the city. You probably won’t need him, but I want to alert him. Like I said, just in case. And call me when the cops leave.”
    She clicked off before I could say thank you. And before she could say Don’t worry, this will blow over in a couple of hours. But then, Elizabeth wasn’t much of a hand holder. I’d known that for months. Maybe the lawyer, whom I hoped was a combination of Gerry Spence folksy and Alan Dershowitz passionate, was a good idea. It was a stretch to think I’d need his services, but he’d probably be better to work with than Elizabeth, whose clients came to her for wills and pre-nups and business contracts.
    Michele Castro walked towards me, her head tilted in a question.
    “Okay, I’m ready. Let’s go. You can take the rifle and you can search my house.” So, she’d get what she wanted and I’d go on with my life. After I made a couple of important points. “But I didn’t murder Marjorie Mellon. First of all, I hardly know the woman, so why would I kill her? Second of all . . . Oh, hell, you know I didn’t do it.”
    Michele Castro didn’t show a flicker of emotion. “I don’t know anything yet. I need you to come down to the department and get fingerprinted and give a formal statement about the rifle. And I need you to stick around for a couple of days.”
    My throat closed up. “A couple of days? I can’t. I have to go to New Hampshire tomorrow. You know, it’s not so far. I’m in a new show at a prestigious gallery there. My work has to be set up for a show on Saturday afternoon. I’m not going to run away or anything. But I have to be at that opening.”
    She shrugged. “I can’t force you to stay. But I can make sure you have a police escort the whole weekend. And I still need you to come to Hudson and give me a statement and get fingerprinted—after I follow you to your house so we can get that rifle and check things out.”
    I doubted that the sheriff ’s department had the manpower to spare someone to babysit me for a trip to New Hampshire, but even if Michele Castro wasn’t making idle threats, no way would she stop me from going to New Hampshire.
    “Fine. I’ll come by this afternoon. And that escort? You want to try for Officer Garrison? He looks like he’d know how to behave around a bunch of patrons of the arts.”
    Her boyfriend would, in fact, not be bad company for a weekend. She glared at me and then strutted off to her car and gunned the engine while I managed to turn the car without landing in the ditch.
     
    I’d been mugged once on a deserted street on the Lower East Side, and hustled by a couple of would-be thieves on the subway, but I’d never felt as helpless as I did when three members of the Columbia County Sheriff ’s Department tossed my small home. They went through every drawer and closet, every box and bag, impersonally peering beneath T-shirts and under towels. They opened every container in my gourd studio, and pawed through each folder in my file cabinet, until I was ready to scream.
    But they were relatively neat and they were efficient and they made an attempt to be courteous and even apologetic. Nobody answered my questions about how the rifle might have gotten into my attic—they just poked

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