The Lies that Bind

The Lies that Bind by Judith Van Gieson Read Free Book Online

Book: The Lies that Bind by Judith Van Gieson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Judith Van Gieson
down Mina Alarid or she’d called the paper herself. The article didn’t say. There wasn’t much I hadn’t already heard from Martha or Saia, except that Mina Alarid was specific about what she’d seen, a late-model gray American car, driving up and down her street the weekend before the accident. She’d be a good witness for the prosecution.
    ******
    When I got to Martha’s town house at five-twenty, Dan Rather was on the TV, trying not to look too pleased that some third-world disaster had upped his ratings. Martha had stuck pink Post-it notes all over the back of the door—her shopping lists. One of them fell to the floor when she opened the door to let me in. I picked it up and handed it to her. Vodka and peas, it said.
    She already had the vodka. It was in the glass in her hand, with two olives and, maybe, a splash of vermouth. It hadn’t made her any happier with her attorney. She still looked at me as though I was a delinquent teenager, although one who’d gotten old enough, at least, to drink. She asked me if I’d like one.
    The answer was yes, but would I accept one? “No,” I said; we had business to discuss.
    Gunga Dan finished the news and signed off with a smarmy smile. Martha hit the remote and got rid of him. I sat down on the chintz sofa, took out my yellow legal pad and prepared to start my interrogatories, but Martha spoke first.
    â€œDid you see the paper?”
    â€œYes.”
    She was still fuming. “It’s outrageous that Mina Alarid is permitted to make statements like that.”
    â€œYour car is a late-model Buick?”
    â€œYes.”
    â€œWhat color is it?”
    â€œGray. That doesn’t mean anything. There must be thousands of late-model gray cars out there.”
    â€œYou didn’t drive by Mina’s house that weekend? Not even once?”
    â€œAbsolutely not.” Martha put her drink down on a coaster, aligned her vertebrae and looked me right in the eye. Her eyes didn’t wander to the left or the right, the way the eyes of a person with a guilty conscience might. Either she was telling the truth and didn’t have a guilty conscience or she lied better than most. “You did talk to the DA’s office, didn’t you?”
    â€œI did.”
    â€œWhat did they say?”
    â€œThe police are investigating. Deputy DA Anthony Saia, who is handling the case, is considering whether to file charges.”
    â€œWhat charges is he talking about?”
    â€œSecond-degree murder or vehicular homicide.”
    â€œWhat are the penalties for those?”
    â€œA maximum of nine years and ten thousand dollars for second-degree, three years and five thousand dollars for vehicular homicide.”
    Martha picked up her drink and took a large sip. “And if I was driving while under the influence?”
    â€œMost likely vehicular homicide. There’s something I need to get straight with you right off,” I said, “and that is I don’t enjoy getting surprises from the DA’s office or from the newspaper either. What I learn about you I want to learn from you, not from somebody else.”
    â€œOh?” Martha said.
    â€œFor starters, Saia told me that your grandson was killed on Halloween three years ago and that Justine Virga was driving the car. You’re the one who should have told me that.”
    â€œI was very close to my grandson. He was living with me when he died. I … I find it difficult to talk about him.”
    â€œSaia also told me that Justine was driving Michael’s Porsche.”
    â€œThat’s right; she was.”
    â€œWhere did Michael get a Porsche?”
    â€œHis father gave it to him.” That didn’t sound like the Emilio Velásquez I’d known, but I let it pass for the moment.
    â€œAbout your Buick—does anyone have access to the keys?”
    â€œNo. I never give the keys to anyone, not even

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