ROGUE LAWYER JOHN GRISHAM EPUB

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Featuring one of John Grisham’s most colorful, outrageous, and vividly drawn characters yet, Rogue Lawyer showcases the master of the legal thriller at his very best. On the right side of the law—sort of—Sebastian Rudd is not your typical street lawyer. He has no firm, no partners. Read or download Rogue Lawyer (John Grisham) at Shakespir, your free ebook reading partner. Available in TXT,PDB,LRF,RTF,PDF,MOBI. Download pdf Online Rogue Lawyer By John Grisham Epub #Mobi http:// raudone.info?book= #E_books #Mobi.


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1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND NPRFeaturing one of John. Partners: A Rogue Lawyer Short Story by John Grisham. Rogue Lawyer epub mobi ebook download by Grisham John site site edition book.

One case put me on the map. I can't say it made me famous because, seriously, how can you say a lawyer is famous in a city of a million people?

Plenty of local hacks think they're famous. They smile from billboards as they beg for your bankruptcy and swagger in television ads as they seem deeply concerned about your personal injuries, but they're forced to pay for their own publicity. Not me. The cheap motels change each week. I'm in the middle of a trial in a dismal, backwater, redneck town called Milo, two hours from where I live in the City. I am defending a brain-damaged eighteen-year-old dropout who's charged with killing two little girls in one of the most evil crimes I've ever seen, and I've seen plenty.

My clients are almost always guilty, so I don't waste a lot of time wringing my hands about whether they get what they deserve. In this case, though, Gardy is not guilty, not that it matters. It does not. What's important in Milo these days is that Gardy gets convicted and sentenced to death and executed as soon as possible so that the town can feel better about itself and move on.

Move on to where, exactly? Hell if I know, nor do I care. This place has been moving backward for fifty years, and one lousy verdict will not change its course.

I've read and heard it said that Milo needs "closure," whatever that means. You'd have to be an idiot to believe this town will somehow grow and prosper and become more tolerant as soon as Gardy gets the needle. My job is layered and complicated, and at the same time it's quite simple. I'm being paid by the State to provide a first-class defense to a defendant charged with capital murder, and this requires me to fight and claw and raise hell in a courtroom where no one is listening.

Gardy was essentially convicted the day he was arrested, and his trial is only a formality. The dumb and desperate cops trumped up the charges and fabricated the evidence. The prosecutor knows this but has no spine and is up for reelection next year. The judge is asleep. The jurors are basically nice, simple people, wide-eyed at the process and ever so anxious to believe the lies their proud authorities are producing on the witness stand.

Milo has its share of cheap motels but I can't stay there. I would be lynched or flayed or burned at the stake, or if I'm lucky a sniper would hit me between the eyes and it would be over in a flash.

The state police are providing protection during the trial, but I get the clear impression these guys are just not into it. They view me the same way most people do.

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I'm a long-haired roguish zealot sick enough to fight for the rights of child killers and the like. My current motel is a Hampton Inn located twenty-five minutes from Milo. Next door is Partner, a hulking, heavily armed guy who wears black suits and takes me everywhere. Partner is my driver, bodyguard, confidant, paralegal, caddie, and only friend. I earned his loyalty when a jury found him not guilty of killing an undercover narcotics officer. We walked out of the courtroom arm in arm and have been inseparable ever since.

On at least two occasions, off-duty cops have tried to kill him. On one occasion, they came after me. We're still standing. Or perhaps I should say we're still ducking.

At a. Partner knocks on my door. It's time to go. We say our good mornings and climb into my vehicle, which is a large black Ford cargo van, heavily customized for my needs.

Since it doubles as an office, the rear seats have been rearranged around a small table that folds into a wall. There is a sofa where I often spend the night. All windows are shaded and bulletproof. It has a television, stereo system, Internet, refrigerator, bar, a couple of guns, and a change of clothes.

Rogue Lawyer (John Grisham)

I sit in the front with Partner and we unwrap fast-food sausage biscuits as we leave the parking lot. An unmarked state police car moves in front of us for the escort to Milo. There is another one behind us. The last death threat was two days ago and came by e-mail.

Partner does not speak unless spoken to. I didn't make this rule but I adore it. He is not the least bit bothered by long gaps in the conversation, nor am I. After years of saying next to nothing, we have learned to communicate with nods and winks and silence.

Halfway to Milo I open a file and start taking notes. The double murder was so gruesome no local lawyer would touch it. Then Gardy was arrested, and one look at Gardy and you know he's guilty. Long hair dyed jet-black, an astonishing collection of piercings above the neck and tattoos below, matching steel earrings, cold pale eyes, and a smirk that says, "Okay, I did it, now what? He was never a member of a satanic cult and the child molestation thing is not what it seems. But from that moment Gardy was guilty, and I still marvel at the fact that we've made it this far.

They wanted to string him up months ago. Needless to say, every lawyer in Milo locked his door and unplugged her phone. There is no public defender system in the town-it's too small-and the indigent cases are doled out by the judge.

There is an unwritten rule that the younger lawyers in town take these low-paying cases because 1 someone has to and 2 the older lawyers did so when they were younger. But no one would agree to defend Gardy, and, to be honest, I can't really blame them.

It's their town and their lives, and to rub shoulders with such a twisted murderer could do real damage to a career.

The law is my life, always consuming and occasionally fulfilling. These nights I find myself sleeping in cheap motel rooms that change each week. When I finished law school, jobs were scarce. From there I landed in a small, unprofitable firm that handled only criminal defense. After a few years, that firm blew up and I was on my own, out on the street with plenty of others, scrambling to make a buck.

One case put me on the map. Not me. The cheap motels change each week. In this case, though, Gardy is not guilty, not that it matters. It does not. Move on to where, exactly? Hell if I know, nor do I care. This place has been moving backward for fifty years, and one lousy verdict will not change its course.

Gardy was essentially convicted the day he was arrested, and his trial is only a formality. The dumb and desperate cops trumped up the charges and fabricated the evidence. The prosecutor knows this but has no spine and is up for reelection next year. The judge is asleep. The jurors are basically nice, simple people, wide-eyed at the process and ever so anxious to believe the lies their proud authorities are producing on the witness stand.

The state police are providing protection during the trial, but I get the clear impression these guys are just not into it. They view me the same way most people do. My current motel is a Hampton Inn located twenty-five minutes from Milo. Next door is Partner, a hulking, heavily armed guy who wears black suits and takes me everywhere.

Partner is my driver, bodyguard, confidant, paralegal, caddie, and only friend. I earned his loyalty when a jury found him not guilty of killing an undercover narcotics officer.

We walked out of the courtroom arm in arm and have been inseparable ever since. On at least two occasions, off-duty cops have tried to kill him. On one occasion, they came after me. Partner knocks on my door. We say our good mornings and climb into my vehicle, which is a large black Ford cargo van, heavily customized for my needs.

Since it doubles as an office, the rear seats have been rearranged around a small table that folds into a wall. There is a sofa where I often spend the night.

All windows are shaded and bulletproof. It has a television, stereo system, Internet, refrigerator, bar, a couple of guns, and a change of clothes. I sit in the front with Partner and we unwrap fast-food sausage biscuits as we leave the parking lot. An unmarked state police car moves in front of us for the escort to Milo. There is another one behind us.

The last death threat was two days ago and came by e-mail. Partner does not speak unless spoken to. He is not the least bit bothered by long gaps in the conversation, nor am I. After years of saying next to nothing, we have learned to communicate with nods and winks and silence. Halfway to Milo I open a file and start taking notes.

The double murder was so gruesome no local lawyer would touch it. He was never a member of a satanic cult and the child molestation thing is not what it seems. They wanted to string him up months ago. Needless to say, every lawyer in Milo locked his door and unplugged her phone. There is an unwritten rule that the younger lawyers in town take these low-paying cases because 1 someone has to and 2 the older lawyers did so when they were younger.

As a society, we adhere to the belief in a fair trial for a person accused of a serious crime, but some of us struggle when it comes to the business of providing a competent lawyer to guarantee said fair trial. Do we really want fair trials? No, we do not. We want justice, and quickly. And justice is whatever we deem it to be on a case-by-case basis. The presumption of innocence is now the presumption of guilt. The burden of proof is a travesty because the proof is often lies.

At any rate, the lawyers ran for the hills and Gardy had no one. When Gardy was arrested, a mob showed up outside the jail and screamed for justice.

When the police perp-walked him to a van for the ride to the courthouse, the mob cursed him and threw tomatoes and rocks. But we were denied. All of my pretrial motions were denied. There is no mob to greet me and my van as we pull in to a short driveway behind the courthouse, but some of the usual actors are here.

During the early days of the trial, this little crowd attracted cameras and a few of these people made it into the newspapers, along with their signs. Bullet Bob claims to be a relative of one of the dead girls and was quoted as saying something to the effect that a trial was a waste of time. Another safe entry. Nevertheless, I have resigned myself to the likelihood that I could well be the first. A few minutes later, Gardy arrives in one piece. Partner steps outside and closes the door.

He smiles and rubs his wrists, unshackled for a few hours. The black dye is slowly leaving his hair and each day it gets lighter, and his skin gets paler. He has an IQ of 70, just barely enough to be prosecuted and put to death. Just more of the same. The State has no physical evidence linking Gardy to the murders.

So, instead of evaluating its lack of evidence and reconsidering its case, the State is doing what it often does. Gardy has spent two weeks in the courtroom, listening to the lies, closing his eyes while slowly shaking his head. But he simply cannot do this and I cannot argue with my client in the courtroom.

Look as sick and creepy and satanic as possible, Gardy, so that your peers will have no trouble with your guilt. I paid for this cheap ensemble. He slowly unzips the orange jail jumpsuit and steps out of it. He does not wear underwear, something I noticed the first day of the trial and have tried to ignore since. He slowly gets dressed. The State has called nineteen witnesses so far and not a single one resisted the temptation to embellish a bit, or to lie outright.

Since the State has no evidence, it is forced to manufacture some. The most outrageous testimony came from a jailhouse snitch they call Smut, an appropriate nickname.

Smut is an accomplished courtroom liar who testifies all the time and will say whatever the prosecutors want him to say. The cops needed some testimony, and, not surprisingly, Smut was at their disposal. They fed him details of the crimes, then transferred Gardy from a regional jail to a county jail where Smut was locked up.

Gardy had no idea why he was being transferred and had no clue that he was walking into a trap. This happened before I got involved. They threw Gardy into a small cell with Smut, who was anxious to talk and wanted to help in any way. He claimed to hate the cops and know some good lawyers. Since Gardy knew nothing about the murders, he had nothing to add to the conversation.

The cops yanked him out of the cell and Gardy never saw him again, until trial. As a witness, Smut cleaned up nicely, wore a shirt and tie and short hair, and hid his tattoos from the jury. It was quite a performance. I knew it was all a lie, as did Gardy and Smut, along with the cops and prosecutors, and I suspect the judge had his doubts too. Nevertheless, the jurors swallowed it in disgust and glared with hatred at my client, who absorbed it with his eyes closed and his head shaking, no, no, no.

No one can lie like that! I hammered at Smut for eight full hours, one long exhausting day. The judge was cranky and the jurors were bleary-eyed, but I could have kept going for a week. He said maybe twice. He said never, so I went through each of the nine cases again. I produced the paperwork. I made it perfectly clear to everyone, especially the jurors, that Smut was a lying, serial snitch who swapped bogus testimony for leniency.

I confess—I get angry in court, and this is often detrimental. I blew my cool with Smut and hammered him so relentlessly that some of the jurors became sympathetic. I hate liars, especially those who swear to tell the truth and then fabricate testimony to convict my client. I yelled at Smut and the judge yelled at me, and at times it seemed as though everyone was yelling.

You would think the prosecutor might break up his parade of liars with a credible witness, but this would require some intelligence. We need to go. A deputy leads us into the courtroom, which is again packed with people and heavy with a layer of tense apprehension. This is the tenth day of testimony, and I now believe there is absolutely nothing else happening in this backwater town.

We are the entertainment! Every capital murder trial requires the presence of at least two lawyers for the defense. Trots volunteered to handle the preliminary matters, intending to jump ship if a trial became a reality. His plans have not worked out to suit him. He screwed up the preliminaries as only a rookie can, then tried to extricate himself. No go, said the judge.

Trots then thought it might be an acceptable idea to sit in the second chair, gain some experience, feel the pressure of a real trial, and so on, but after several death threats he stopped trying. Death threats are just part of the daily grind for me, like the morning coffee and lying cops. Gardy told me months ago that when he was first interviewed by Trots at the county jail the lawyer was shocked when Gardy claimed he was innocent.

They even argued about it. So Trots sits at the end of the table, his head buried in useless note taking, his eyes seeing nothing, his ears hearing nothing, but he feels the stares of all those sitting behind us who hate us and want to string us up with our client. He is wrong. Gardy takes his seat in the middle of our table. Trots does not look at his client, nor does he speak. Huver, the prosecutor, walks over and hands me a sheet of paper.

There are no good mornings or hellos. We are so far beyond even the most benign pleasantries that a civilized grunt from either of us would be a surprise. I loathe this man the way he loathes me, but I have an advantage in the hating game.

Almost monthly I deal with self-righteous prosecutors who lie, cheat, stonewall, cover up, ignore ethics, and do whatever it takes to get a conviction, even when they know the truth and the truth tells them they are wrong. If he dealt with rabid defense lawyers more regularly, he might be more adept at hating us. He says nothing and walks a few feet back to his table, where his little gang of assistants huddle importantly in their dark suits and ham it up for the home crowd.

The bailiff barks, I stand, Judge Kaufman enters, then we sit. Gardy refuses to stand in homage to the great man. Initially, this really pissed off His Honor. Rudd, would you please ask your client to stand? I did, and he refused. This embarrassed the judge and we discussed it later in his chambers. He threatened to hold my client in contempt and keep him in jail all day long during the trial.

I tried to encourage this but let it slip that such an overreaction would be mentioned repeatedly on appeal. And, like everybody else in the courtroom, he has loathed me from day one. In this line of work you rarely have allies and you quickly make enemies. Based on the calculations I made one day during lunch when the courtroom was empty, there are about people sitting behind me.

This is the judge who has so far allowed every word of bogus testimony offered by the State. When everyone is in place, they bring in the jury. There are fourteen people crammed in the box—the chosen twelve plus a couple of alternates in case someone gets sick or does something wrong. They are not sequestered though I requested this , so they are free to go home at night and trash Gardy and me over dinner.

Late each afternoon, they are warned by His Honor not to utter a single word about the case, but you can almost hear them yakking as they drive away. Their decision has been made. If they voted right now, before we offer a single witness in defense, they would find him guilty and demand his execution.

Then they would return home as heroes and talk about this trial for the rest of their lives. When Gardy gets the needle, they will take special pride in their crucial role in finding justice. They will be elevated in Milo. They will be congratulated, stopped on the streets, recognized at church.

Still sappy, Kaufman welcomes them back, thanks them for their civic service, asks gravely whether anyone tried to contact them in an effort to gain influence. This usually prompts a few looks in my direction, as if I have the time, energy, and stupidity to slink around the streets of Milo at night stalking these same jurors so I can 1 bribe them, 2 intimidate them, or 3 plead with them. When the State, with its limitless resources, commences a fraudulent case and cheats at every turn, then cheating is legitimized.

There is no level playing field. There is no fairness. The only honorable alternative for a lawyer fighting to save an innocent client is to cheat in defense. However, if a defense lawyer is caught cheating, he or she gets nailed with sanctions by the court, reprimanded by the state bar association, maybe even indicted. If a prosecutor gets caught cheating, he either gets reelected or elevated to the bench. Our system never holds a bad prosecutor accountable.

The jurors assure His Honor that all is well. I watched him once on local cable; once is enough. His claim to fame here is that he says he confronted Gardy in the middle of a late-night youth service. According to his version, Gardy was wearing a T-shirt advertising a heavy metal rock group and conveying some vague satanic message, and this T-shirt was allowing the devil to infiltrate the service.

Spiritual warfare was in the air, and God was unhappy with things. With divine direction, the preacher finally located the source of evil in the crowd, stopped the music, stormed back to where Gardy was sitting, and kicked him out of the building. His mother confirms this.

Why this is allowed as testimony in a capital murder case is thoroughly inconceivable. It is ridiculous and borders on stupidity. Assuming there is a conviction, all of this crap will be reviewed in about two years by a dispassionate appellate court two hundred miles away. Those judges, only slightly more intelligent than Kaufman but anything is an improvement, will take a dim view of this redneck preacher telling his trumped-up story about an altercation that supposedly took place some thirteen months before the murders.

I object. I object, angrily. Huver, though, is desperate to keep Satan involved in his theory of the case. Judge Kaufman opened the gates days ago and anything is welcome. The preacher has an unpaid tax bill in another state.

Not that it will matter; it will not. This jury is done. Gardy is a monster who deserves to go to hell.

Their job is to speed him along. I nod and smile because this is all I can do. The preacher has a temper and I soon stoke it. I lead him into arguments over the inerrancy of scripture, the Trinity, the apocalypse, speaking in tongues, playing with snakes, drinking poison, and the pervasiveness of satanic cults in the Milo area.

Huver yells objections and Kaufman sustains them. At one point the preacher, pious and red-faced, closes his eyes and raises both hands as high as possible.

Instinctively, I freeze and cower and look at the ceiling as if a lightning bolt is coming. Two jurors actually chuckle at this. Kaufman has had enough. He raps the gavel and calls for lunch.

The town is filled with wannabe heroes. Lunch is always a treat. They bring in sixteen of them, mix them up, draw ours at random, and take the rest to the jury room. This was my idea because I prefer not to be poisoned. In other words, two box lunches instead of one. So Gardy gets half of my sandwich and all of my kosher dill.

Partner comes and goes throughout the day. He also has a few responsibilities, one of which is to meet occasionally with the Bishop. This contact is always another lawyer, a local who also defends criminals and butts heads weekly with the police and prosecutors. This contact reaches out eventually, quietly, afraid of being exposed as a traitor. He knows the truth, or something close to it. He knows the players, the bad actors, and the occasional good one. Since his survival depends on getting along with the cops and court clerks and assistant prosecutors, he knows the system.

We call him the Bishop. He works through Partner and they meet in strange places. He says there have been whispers from day one about the real killer. I spend an hour haranguing a pimply, stupid little brat who claims he was at the same church service when Gardy called forth the demons and disrupted things. In addition to being false, it is wholly irrelevant. No other prosecutor would bother with it. No other judge would admit it. Kaufman finally announces an adjournment for the weekend.

Gardy and I meet in the holding room, where he changes into his jail uniform while I offer banalities about having a good weekend. I give him ten bucks for the vending machines. He says tomorrow his mother will bring him lemon cookies, his favorite.

Sometimes the guards pass them through; sometimes they keep them for their own nourishment. One never knows. The guards average three hundred pounds each, so I guess they need the stolen calories.

I tell Gardy to take a shower over the weekend and wash his hair. Hell, a blind man could see it. We shake hands and I hurry down the back steps. Partner and the deputies meet me at the rear door and shove me into our vehicle.

Another safe exit. Outside Milo, I begin to nod and soon fall asleep. Ten minutes later, my phone vibrates and I answer it. We follow the state trooper back to our motel, where we grab our luggage and check out. Soon we are alone and headed for the City. So I bought a six-pack and we drove around. The joint is a real dive, out east, just beyond the city limits. He says Peeley is a regular. I sipped it until it was warm.

The Bishop, on the other hand, took his cold. Three of them. I often black out in mid-sentence when Partner drives and the van hums along. At some point, as we head back to our version of civilization, I fade away. It feels more like an appointment for a root canal. But we have a history. We meet at the same bar, in the same booth where we had our first meal together, in another lifetime. Judith Whitly arrives first and gets the booth. She has never been late for anything and views tardiness as a sign of weakness.

In her opinion, I possess many of these signs. She, too, is showing signs of fatigue, though, at thirty-nine, she is still strikingly beautiful. But she has her own clients to fret and lose sleep over. We order drinks—her standard Friday night glass of chardonnay and my whiskey sour. Therefore, Judith had control over the name. Starcher is not being raised the normal way. He spends half his time with Judith and her current partner and the other half with her parents.

From the hospital, she took Starcher to an apartment she shared with Gwyneth, the woman she left me for. They then spent three years trying to legally adopt Starcher, but I fought them like a rabid animal. I have nothing against gay couples adopting kids. And I was right. They split not long afterward in a nasty fight, one I enjoyed immensely from deep in left field. It gets more complicated. We need the alcohol ASAP.

He is, after all, her only grandson. You can do what you want. Truer words were never spoken, and I nod in defeat. It would be a dramatic understatement to say that Judith and my mother hated each other from the opening bell.

So much so that my mother informed me she would cut me out of her last will and testament if I married Judith. At the time, I was secretly having some serious doubts about our romance and our future, but that threat was the last straw.

Though I expect Mom to live to be a hundred, her estate will be a delight. A guy with my income needs a dream. A subplot in this sad story is that my mother often uses her will to bully her children. My sister married a Republican and got herself cut out of the will. Now my sister is back in the will, or so we think. Anyway, I was preparing to break up with Judith when she gave me the crushing news that she was pregnant.

Later I learned the brutal truth that she was already seeing Gwyneth. Talk about a shot to the gut. We got married. Mom said she changed her will and I would get not a penny. We lived together off and on for five wretched months, were technically married for fifteen more, and split to save our sanity.

This ritual of meeting once a month for drinks is our homage to forced civility. She has never been able to resist the little digs, the sophomoric cheap shots. She picks at the scabs, but not even in a clever way. My tongue has scars. What could be wrong with taking a fairly normal seven-year-old boy to the zoo? The first drinks always disappear fast. Judith is one of four partners in a firm of ten women, all militant lesbians.

The firm specializes in gay law—discrimination in employment, housing, education, health care, and the latest: The firm projects an image of being at war with society and never backing down.

The outside fights, though, are far less colorful than the inside brawls. In fact, men avoid them zealously. Mention the name of her firm and men run for the hills. Fine fellows caught screwing around jump off bridges. Do you ever miss sex with the opposite sex?

Did you ever like it? You seemed to. You were pretty wonderful, as I recall. Then she ran to Gwyneth. I doubt it. I must say she has a good eye. I loathed Gwyneth, still do, but the woman could stop traffic on any street in town. And her current partner, Ava, once modeled lingerie for a local department store. I remember her ads in the Sunday newspaper. Look, Judith, every time I see you I think about sex. My problem, not yours. Have another drink. The alcohol kicks in—it takes longer for her because she is naturally wound tighter—and Judith manages a grin, the first of the evening.

Could be the first of the week. There is a long, heavy gap in the conversation as we get bored. We walk together out of the bar, dutifully peck each other on the cheek, and say good-bye.

Another box checked off. I loved her once, then I truly hated her. Now I almost like Judith, and if we can continue these monthly meetings, we might become friends. I live on the twenty-fifth floor of a downtown apartment building, with a partial view of the river. If someone wanted to bomb or burn my apartment, it would be difficult without taking down the entire building. There is some crime downtown, so we live with plenty of video surveillance and guards with guns.

I feel secure. They fired bullets into my old apartment, a duplex on the ground floor, and they firebombed my old office five years ago. Some of these people hide behind badges. Briggs company in Boston. I won it in a lawsuit, had it perfectly restored and then carefully reassembled smack in the middle of my den.

Shooting pool against myself is an escape, a stress reliever, and cheap therapy. When the insomnia hits and my walls are closing in, I can often be found at The Rack at two in the morning playing nine ball alone, in another world and quite happy.

Not tonight, though. I pull my slightly graying hair into a tight ponytail and stuff it under the T-shirt. I change glasses and select a pair rimmed in light blue. I adjust my cap—also a bright yellow that matches the jacket, with the name Zapate across the front. I feel sufficiently disguised and the evening should go well. Partner drives me to the old city auditorium, eight blocks from my apartment, and drops me off in an alley near the building.

A crowd is swarming out front. Loud rap booms across the front plaza. Spotlights sweep maniacally from building to building. Bright digital signs advertise the main event and the undercard. Half of that if he loses.

In a hallway, somewhere deep under the arena, I hear two security guards talking. One is claiming the evening is a sellout. Five thousand fans. I flash my credentials and get waved through another door, then another.

You are here

I enter the dark locker room and the tension hits like a brick. His cousin Leo is massaging his shoulder blades. The lotion makes his light brown skin glisten. I ease around the room and speak to Norberto, his manager, Oscar, his trainer, and Miguel, his brother and workout partner. They smile when they speak to me because I, the lone gringo, am viewed as the man with the money.

They all do. Tadeo has been one of the gang since he was initiated at the age of fifteen but has never aspired to a leadership position. Instead, he found some old boxing gloves, discovered a gym, and then discovered he had freakishly quick hands. His brother Miguel also boxed, but not as well.

Miguel runs the gang and has a nasty reputation on the street. The more Tadeo wins the more he earns, and the more I worry about dealing with his gang. He opens his eyes, looks up, suddenly smiles, and pulls out the earphones.

The massage ends abruptly as he sits on the edge of the table. His prefight ritual includes avoiding a good shave for a week, and with his scraggly beard and mop of black hair he sort of reminds me of the great Roberto Duran. His mother has documents and works in a cafeteria. She also has an apartment full of kids and relatives and I get the impression that whatever Tadeo earns gets divided many ways.

Show me the blood. His voice is low, his words slow, the usual prefight jitters where fear clouds all thoughts and your stomach churns. I know. A long time ago, I had five Golden Gloves boxing matches.

I was 1—4 until my mother found out about my secret career and mercifully brought it to an end. But I did it. I had the guts to step into the ring and get the shit knocked out of me. It takes more courage, more in-your-face raw guts, than any sport since the gladiators battled to the death. Sure, many others are dangerous—downhill skiing, football, hockey, boxing, car racing.

More people die on horses each year than in any other sport. When you walk into the cage, you will get hurt, and it could be ugly, painful, even deadly. The next round could well be your last. The minutes drag by as the fighter fights his nerves, his bowels, his fears.

The waiting is the worst part. I leave after a few minutes so Tadeo can go back into his zone. I weave through the maze of corridors in the depths of the arena, and I can hear the crowd roaring in echoes, thirsting for blood. I find the right door and step inside. We meet before the fights and place our wagers.

Some use their real names, others do not. Slide dresses like a street pimp and has served time for murder. Nino is a mid-level meth importer who served time for trafficking. Johnny has no criminal record yet and owns half of the fighter Tadeo will face tonight. Denardo drops hints of Mafia ties, but I doubt his criminal activity is that well organized.

He aspires to promote MMA events and longs to live in Vegas. Frankie is the old guy, a local fixture in the fight scene for decades.

So these are my boys. We go down the card and start the betting. Three thousand, and no takers. I chide them, cuss them, ridicule them, but they know Tadeo is on a roll. We cover the card with all manner of wagers, and Frankie, the scribe, records it all. The fights begin and I roam around the arena, killing time. I know that by now Tadeo is laid out on a table, motionless, covered by a thick quilt, saying his prayers to the Virgin Mary and listening to filthy Latin rap.

There is nothing I can do to help, so I find a spot on an upper level, high above the ring, and take in the show. It is indeed a sellout, and the fans are as loud and crazed as ever. We want to see bleeding eyes, gashes across the forehead, choke holds, bone-ripping submissions, and brutal knockout punches that send the corners scrambling for the doctor. Mix in a flood of cheap beer, and you have five thousand maniacs begging for blood.

I eventually work my way back to the locker room, where things are coming to life. The first two fights ended with early knockouts, so the evening is moving quickly. Norberto, Oscar, and Miguel put on their glowing yellow jackets, same as mine, and Team Zapate is ready for the long walk to the cage. Oscar tends to the facial wounds, if any.

From the moment we hit the floor, everything becomes a blur. Along the tunnel, drunk fans reach for Tadeo and scream his name.

Cops shove people out of our way. They want more, another fight, preferably one to the death. An announcer yells his name over the PA, and our man bounces into the cage in his bright yellow trunks and robe. He plays defense well and looks for a takedown. He wrapped his last opponent into a pretzel and made him scream for mercy. Right now I loathe the Jackal, but deep down I admire the hell out of him.

Any man who can climb into the cage has far more spine than the average guy. The bell rings for round 1, three minutes of fury. Tadeo the boxer bores in straight ahead and immediately has the Jackal backing up. They go down, land hard, and the Jackal has him in a scissors hold. For a long minute, the action dies as Tadeo squirms and wiggles and we hold our breath. The Jackal lost the first round, so, like many fighters, he starts pressing in the second round. He wants to get inside, to get his wiry arms fixed into some manner of vile death grip, but Tadeo reads him perfectly.

Thirty seconds in, Tadeo does a classic left-right-left combo and knocks his opponent squarely onto his butt. Tadeo then makes a common mistake as he attempts to launch himself like an idiot onto the Jackal, much like a manic dive-bomber lunging for the kill. The Jackal manages to kick with his right foot, a brutal blow that hits Tadeo just above the crotch.

He stays on his feet as the Jackal scrambles to his, and for a second or two neither man pushes the action. They finally shake it off and begin circling.

Rogue Lawyer (John Grisham)

He opens a cut above his right eye and widens it with a relentless barrage. The Jackal has the bad habit of throwing a wild fake left hook just before he ducks and comes in low at the knees, and he tries this one time too often. Tadeo reads it, times it perfectly, and executes his finest trick, a blind elbow spin, a move that takes balls because for a split second his back is turned to his opponent.

Lights out. The Jackal is out before he lands on the mat. The rules allow Tadeo to pounce on him for a few shots to the face, to properly finish him off, but why bother?

Tadeo just stands in the center of the ring, hands raised, staring down, admiring his work as the Jackal lies as still as a corpse. The referee is quick to stop it all. Somewhat nervously, we wait a few moments as they try and revive him. The crowd wants a stretcher, a casualty, something to talk about at work, but the Jackal eventually comes to life and starts talking. He sits up, and we relax. Or try to. Tadeo walks over to him, says something nice, and they make peace.

As we leave the cage, I follow Tadeo and smile as he slaps hands with his fans and soaks up another win. He made a couple of boneheaded moves that would get him killed against a ranked opponent, but all in all it was another promising fight.

I try and savor the moment and think about the future and the potential earnings, maybe some sponsorships. It takes a second or two for this to register because no one in this crowd should possibly recognize me. A heavyset woman of twenty-five with purple hair, piercings, enormous boobs exploding from just under a skintight T-shirt, pretty much the typical classy gal at the cage fights.

Rudd, the lawyer? I nod. The Gardy Baker trial. I helped select them. Some I wanted, most I did not. I think I know their politics, religions, biases, and feelings about criminal justice. She could be wearing a mike. Nothing surprises me. I am stunned to hear this. They have no proof. I want to laugh at this. At this precise moment, I am violating the rules of ethics and perhaps a criminal statute as well.

And Judge Kaufman would blow a gasket. Fat chance. This gal is here for the fights. That jury, along with the rest of the town, convicted my client the day he was arrested.

Her mother, Glynna Roston, gives every indication of being the model Milo citizen—uneducated, narrow-minded, and determined to be a heroine for her community in its time of need. Monday morning will be interesting. So far Glynna has not been afraid to return my looks. I shake it off and return to reality. The heavyweight fight lasts for a full forty seconds with my favorite still standing.

Partners: A Rogue Lawyer Short Story by John Grisham

We meet in the same dark room with the door locked, and the trash talk is brutal. All six of us pull cash from our pockets. Frankie has the notes and keeps it all straight.

That will go on the books for IRS purposes; this cash will not. Partner and I go to a quiet bar and have some drinks. It takes a couple to settle me down. Jack Peeley is a former boyfriend of the mother of the two Fentress girls.

Peeley lasted about a year and got the boot when she met a used-tractor dealer with a little cash and a house without wheels. She moved up and Peeley moved out, with a broken heart. He was the last person seen near the girls when they disappeared.

Early on, I asked the police why they did not treat him as a suspect, or at least investigate him, and their lame response was that they already had their man. Gardy was in custody and confessing right and left. I strongly suspect Jack Peeley killed the girls in some sick act of revenge. And, if the cops had not stumbled onto Gardy, they might have eventually questioned Peeley.

Gardy, though, with his frightening appearance, satanic leanings, and history of sexual perversion, became the clear favorite and Milo has never looked back. On Saturday night, we ease into the gravel parking lot at around ten, and the place is packed, wall-to-wall pickups.

We have our own, a rented Dodge club cab with Ram power and big tires, perhaps a bit too shiny for this joint but then it belongs to Hertz, not me. Behind the wheel, Partner is pretending to be a redneck but is a pathetic excuse for one.

Tadeo and Miguel jump from the rear seat and casually walk through the front door. He looks them over and does not approve. They are, after all, darker-skinned Hispanics.

Such a cracker dive has zero appeal to any sensible black guy. Tadeo and Miguel order a beer at the crowded bar and do a passable job blending in. They get some stares but nothing bad. If these fat, drunk rednecks only knew.

Tadeo could take out any five with his bare hands in less than a minute. Miguel, his brother and sparring partner, could take out four. They order another beer and kill some time. The table is covered with empty beer bottles, and all four are chomping away on roasted peanuts. At the far end a band cranks up and a dozen folks ease that way for a dance.

Evidently, Peeley is not a dancer. Tadeo sends me a text: They kill some more time. Partner and I sit and watch and wait, nervous as hell. Who can predict the outcome of a brawl in a roomful of drunken idiots, half of whom carry NRA membership cards?

Peeley and his buddy head to a pool table and get ready for a game. Their women stay in the booth, eating peanuts, swilling beer. Before he can swing his cue, Tadeo hits him with three punches that no one can possibly see. Left-right-left, each landing on an eyebrow, where the cuts are always easier, each drawing blood.

Peeley goes down hard and it will be a while before he wakes up. Miguel, though, intervenes and lands a hard fist at the base of his skull. A beer bottle cracks and splashes just above his head. Miguel is right behind him, angry voices calling after them. They lock the door, then scramble through a window.

He thrusts his right hand forward and it is indeed covered with blood. We stop at a burger place, and I carefully scrape it clean. The monster who killed the Fentress girls bound their ankles and wrists together with their shoelaces, then threw them in a pond. Both she and Raley had light blond hair. Said it was too expensive.

No one missed it. Partner and I speed away to Milo for another grueling week of lies. Typically, though, things do not go as planned. The courtroom is once again packed and I marvel at the crowd.

Gardy is in relatively good spirits. They keep him locked down in solitary, usually with the lights off because they know he killed the Fentress twins and the harsh punishment should start now. My spirits are better because Gardy took a shower over the weekend. We kill some time waiting for Judge Kaufman.The town is filled with wannabe heroes. Any man who can climb into the cage has far more spine than the average guy. Judge Kaufman is pacing, in his shirt and tie, robe and coat hanging on the door.

I loathe this man the way he loathes me, but I have an advantage in the hating game. I watched him once on local cable; once is enough. So these are my boys. Rudd, would you please ask your client to stand? The Jackal is out before he lands on the mat. We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads.

DIVINA from Canton
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