[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
For 1-55 (Chapters 1-13), see here.
56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 Chap 14 056-063 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 Chap 15 064-074 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 Chap 16 075-084 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 Chap 17 85-95 96 97 98 99 100
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 101
Chapter 18 (6 of 15): Arrest
The judge is giving him a hard look. “And who might you be, sir?”
“I am Agung,” he answers with an authoritative voice. “I am the owner and CEO of Java-Sultan Incorporated, a holding company based in Indonesia. Aurora-Vesper Imports in the Stoa Mall here in the city is one of our holdings.”
“And you have some business before this court?”
“I do, Your Honor. If the Court would kindly permit me a minute’s conference with the attorney for the defense, all will become clear.”
“Very well. The court has no objection.” The judge is puzzled, but he’s been on the bench many years and few things throw him. “One minute.”
“Thank you very much, Your Honor.”
The man walks lithely to the defense table, leans muscularly across the balustrade and holds a whispered conference with Natalie Siu – who is as astonished as everybody else in the room at this strange interruption. He exudes an unmistakable charisma. Women in the courtroom who are watching him part their lips and draw shallow breaths. Mazarine is crying openly now. My God, she thought, there really is a deus ex machina, and his name is Agung, the Sultan of Java. Good God! For she knows now to a certainty that today at least she will be walking out of this court room and not into some horrendous jail cell. The erstwhile jubilation at the prosecution table has suddenly morphed into a suspicious gloominess.
The tall man’s assistant unlocks his valise and pulls out several envelopes, one of which he selects and hands to his employer. He in turn opens it and pulls out a greenish-red document that he hands to Natalie Siu. Before withdrawing to his seat, he bends quickly towards Mazarine and speaks softly to her. “Do you remember my words to you the last time we … we met, di ajeng? ‘Don’t forget what I said, sweet Mazarine: I am a person you can always count on.’” And as he tells her this he unobtrusively presses a piece of paper into her hand. “This is a local telephone number. You can reach me here anytime. Do not forget this.” And then he swings around and disappears into the roiling crowd behind her.
Natalie now turns to address the court. For once she feels almost at a loss for words, a happy loss for words.
“Yes, Ms. Siu?” the judge prompts her.
“Your Honor … Your Honor, defendant is now prepared to post cash bail in the amount of fifteen million dollars. A cashier’s check drawn on our very own City Federal.”
Pandemonium breaks out in the hall. Reporters have turned on their cell phones and are punching in the numbers to the editorial desks as they rush for the hallway outside the courtroom. Voices are no longer restrained but burst forth in a sharp crescendo. It takes several loud raps of the judge’s gavel for the courtroom to calm down.
“Order in the court,” he yells, “order in the court.” He shakes his head, as much in anger at the unruly mob in his court as at the astonishing turn of events. “Another outburst like this, and I will have this room cleared immediately.”
The riotous hubbub subsides to a low-lever hum.
“Very well, Ms. Siu. Please see the clerk of court for payment. After that the defendant is released on bail. Now, let’s all go have some lunch and calm down.” He shakes his head again and swings the gavel. “This court is adjourned.”
This time it is the D.A. who is shooting Natalie a dirty look, and she smiles sweetly at her adversary, pompous little poseur that he is. “Kill the chicken, scare the monkey,” she says to him. And – she just can’t help herself — winks.
When Mazarine, dressed in her own clothes, emerged onto the courthouse steps with Natalie Siu some forty-five minutes later, Kerzy, flanked by his accolytes, was the self-important cynosure of the world’s media, holding forth at length on the people’s great victory. He was explaining that the high bail was itself an indication of the court’s dubious stance toward the defendant and assured the gathered horde that the people would, in the end, prevail and see this monstrous murderer locked up, where she belonged, to spend the rest of her life. When the reporters who were on the periphery trying to reach the center saw Natalie and Mazarine, they immediately flowed, blob-like, towards the two women and bombarded them with questions, one more inane than the next. Mazarine, mindful of her attorney’s earlier admonishment, kept her mouth resolutely shut and deferred to Natalie. She stonewalled with a dazzling smile.
“You may rest assured we are mounting a vigorous defense and will prove Ms. Cape’s innocence. That is all I have to say at this point.”
Somebody more impudent than the rest shoves a bulbous mike in Mazarine’s face. “Who was the bail money?” he snarled.
Natalie put her hand over the mike and gave it a firm and forceful shove. “We have no more comments at this time. Please let us through.”
They slowly worked their way past the throng, pointedly ignoring repeated requests for more information on the man who, out of the blue, had supplied fifteen million dollars worth of bail money. But they got nothing more from the attorney or her client, and soon the media people drifted off to the nearest restaurant bar.
Natalie and Mazarine drove off in the Wu, Hsien, Blair & Balthazar limousine that had been waiting at the foot of the steps by the curb. On the floor stands a small suitcase. “You’ll be staying anonymously in one of suites the firm maintains at the Momiji for the next week or so. Try to stay inside as much as possible. Read, watch TV, use the gym. Whatever you do, if reporters glom on to you, just refer them to me. Don’t say anything, don’t offer any opinions about anything, and certainly not about your case. And,” here she puts her hand on Mazarine’s arm, “you’re not to work. Understand?”
“Once the interest dies down – and it will, until the trail — you can move back to your own apartment. For now it’s best to take this precaution.”
Mazarine is touched by her concern, even it if is strictly professional. “Thank you, Natalie. Thank you for everything,” she says.
Natalie smiles at her and suggests that in a couple of days after Mazarine has had a chance to deflate somewhat they will meet at her law offices. She will call to set up the first appointment and a limousine will pick Mazarine up. “In the meantime,” she urges, “I want you to think closely about your life and all the people in it for the last few years. One of the specific things I’d like you to be working on is a list of names and addresses of people who have been even remotely involved in your life. The more the better. And I’ll want to hear your thinking about who might be behind Trinh’s murder. Who could have done something like that and why? And you’ll definitely have to fill me in on the gentleman with the bail money. In general, you and I are going to be spending a lot of time going over your life and planning our legal strategy. By July nineteenth we are going to be ready and put this thing to bed for good.”
TO BE CONTINUED