Natural Suspect (2001)

Natural Suspect (2001) by Phillip Margolin Read Free Book Online

Book: Natural Suspect (2001) by Phillip Margolin Read Free Book Online
Authors: Phillip Margolin
equal to, and certainly no higher than, a cockroach. "Well, dear," she said bitingly, "it may be outside the realm of your experience, but sometimes when people make love they also make, well, noise."
    Back at the door, a short, gray-haired man appeared in the hallway. Over his black socks, he sported a potbelly and nothing else. He waved sheepishly to Devin, who raised a hand awkwardly, returning the greeting. Marilyn turned, saw the man, looked back at Devin, and smiled icily. "That phenomenal male specimen is Georges Franco, our gardener. Georges, this is Mummy's lawyer, Devin McGee. Now be a dear and go back into the bedroom, would you?"
    Marilyn waited until he'd disappeared, then gave her full attention to Devin. "I'm going way out on a limb here and guessing that you're not inclined to join us. No? Well, then, drive carefully and be sure to close the door on your way out."
    And I thought I was depressed before, Devin mused. Here it is, nine-thirty, I'm stuck in traffic with twenty more miles to drive, they haven't plowed the road yet, I've got to go to the bathroom, and I need to be up by six in the morning to prep for the trial. How could things get any worse?
    At that moment, her right front tire hit a brick that had fallen off a truck directly in front of her. The tire blew with a sound like a gunshot and Devin's old trusty Toyota began a slow pirouette that ended in a shallow ditch just off the Long Island Expressway. The car turned a full hundred and eighty degrees around before coming to a stop.
    Devin cried. The snow fell and the wind howled and she waited and waited, watching the miles of headlights creep past her, not one of her famously sympathetic New York neighbors giving even a moment's thought to the disabled wreck on the side of the road.
    All of them, she was sure, hated her. And she didn't blame them.
    "Come on, Buck , come on."
    Trent Ballard was trudging in the wind and snow with his boss, District Attorney Aaron McCandliss. Trent had his pet, a twenty-pound giant rabbit named Buck, on a leash, and the two humans waited impatiently for the animal to "do its business."
    "Come on, Buck," Trent repeated. "There's a good boy."
    McCandliss spoke through gritted, chattering teeth. "I cannot believe this. I cannot believe it."
    Trent looked over at him. "Normally, he's much better--"
    "Damn it, Ballard. Why don't you keep your rabbit in a cage like everybody else?"
    "Well, Aaron, in the first place I don't think everybody else has a rabbit." Trent pulled Buck along to a new space a few hops away. "That's why I got Buck. I didn't want to be like everyone else. Besides, it took me months to get him house-trained, and now if I let him go in the house, even in his cage, he'd get confused and revert to bad habits."
    "I'm not sure that confused is a word that applies to rabbits, Ballard."
    "Oh, they're a lot smarter than people give them credit for, sir. Sometimes I think Buck has thoughts, I swear."
    "Don't go there, Ballard."
    "It's true. And I've taught him some great tricks."
    A fresh gust of wind hit them. McCandliss hunched down into his greatcoat. He didn't want to give Ballard any opportunity to describe Bucks fascinating tricks. "I don't care if you've taught him to fly. I care that now were out in a blizzard in the middle of the night, two grow n m en, walking a rabbit , for God's sake. If anyone from a newspaper sees us . . .
    "It won't happen, sir. Reporters don't like to go out on nights like this."
    "Who does? Why are we--oh, never mind."
    Trent Ballard shrugged. "Anyway, Buck's almost--ah, there you go. Good boy."
    "Is that it? We came out here for that?"
    "Well, he is only a rabbit, sir. And usually we do make a couple of stops."
    "How about if we don't tonight, okay? How about instead if we go back inside and discuss what seems to be the weakening case against Julia Hightower."
    "It's not weakening, sir."
    McCandliss shook his head. "Well, it sure as perdition isn't getting any stronger, Ballard.

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