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Greg Kerrick closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, and says, "Gary home" into his cell phone. The receiver pressed to his ear feels hard and unyielding, and Kerrick's fingers are cold. The courthouse lobby is deserted, as might be expected at half past midnight. White marble walls and polished tile floors reflect every sound. In the darkness beyond the revolving door, rain falls in cold sheets, unusual in Nevada. Flash flood warnings are probably jamming the airwaves by now. Judge Taylor, Kerrick muses, is going to be in a double shit mood when he gets here.
The line rings once, then twice. Pain shoots through the fingers on Kerrick's other hand. He looks down to see what the hell is wrong and realizes he is clutching his briefcase so tightly his fingers are cramping up. Kerrick forces himself to loosen his grip.
The third ring is interrupted by a click, a series of thumps, and silence.
"Uh, Gary?" Kerrick hazards. "You awake?"
"Am I awake?" mumbles the man on the other end. A slight echo tells Kerrick he is on speaker phone. "Yeah. Greg? What the hell -- ?"
Kerrick plunges forward. "There's gonna be a midnight hearing in the Rivers case. The defense found some notebooks misfiled in evidence. They're diaries. Greenfruit argued to the State supremes that we suppressed the stupid things."
A sharp click comes over the line and Gary Bywater's voice snaps into loud clarity. No more speaker phone. Kerrick braces himself. "What the hell are you talking about?" Bywater shouts.
"They punted it to Judge Taylor an hour ago,"
Kerrick says, keeping his voice neutral. "They told him if he wanted Rivers' execution to go forward, he'd have to hold an evidenciary hearing tonight. I'm guessing Taylor will show up in fifteen, twenty minutes."
"This is not happening," Bywater snarls. "No goddammed, shit-assed, fuck-faced way is this happening."
A car screeches up to the curb out front, and the part of Kerrick's mind that isn't dealing with an unhappy, half-past-midnight boss realizes it is an unmarked cop car. A broad, stocky man springs out clutching several folders to his chest in a pathetic attempt to shield them from the rain. He sprints for the revolving door.
"No one's here yet," Kerrick says, hoping this small plus will calm Bywater down. "No cameras or reporters. It all happened under the radar. The transport left Ely State Prison only an hour ago, so there hasn't been time for -- "
"What do you mean 'left Ely'?" Bywater interrupts. "What transport?"
The man with the folders shoves impatiently through the revolving door like a pissed-off kid riding a merry-go-round, and Kerrick recognizes Detective Drew Valrole. Valrole rushes past Kerrick with a hasty nod, leaving a trail of water on the tile floor as he heads for the elevator.
"The diaries gave them an opening, Gary," Kerrick says into the phone. "Defense is arguing insanity again. They said they need Rivers present, so they pumped him up with drugs and put him in a -- "
"This is fucking unheard of!" Bywater bellows. "The night before his execution?"
"It's outrageous," Kerrick agrees.
"Fucking right it is. Rivers is supposed to be on his way to Carson City for an early appointment with the medical goddammed examiner. How the hell could you let this happen, Greg? Jesus fucking Christ. You drop the ball more often than a Chicago Cubs shortstop."
Kerrick's fingers tighten on his briefcase again. It always works this way. An unexpected complication arises in a case and somehow it ends up being Greg Kerrick's fault. "Gary, there was nothing I could -- "
"They can't chauffeur a blue-watch prisoner around the desert in the middle of a fucking hurricane. They're out of their goddam minds!"
"I couldn't stop it, Gary," Kerrick says, unable to keep the pleading note from his voice and hating himself for it. "I tried to call you, but -- "
"Just fix it. You hear me? Fucking fix it!" Bywater booms. "Friday morning if I don't read that cocksucker's obituary, you can write your own!"
Another loud click as Bywater slams down the phone.
Copyright © 2003 by Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.