Revenge Should Have No Bounds 108

 [If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
before proceeding.]

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     101     102     103     104     105     106     107

Revenge Should Have No Bounds  108
Chapter 18 (13 of 15): Arrest

Mazarine let her thoughts drift along.  Also of great comfort to her was the extraordinary effort Michelle – and Aspasia’s – had made on her behalf, not only financially, but also in securing the services of Wu, Hsien, Blair & Balthazar, and warning her early last Monday with that phone call.  Indeed, it quite moved her.  And her family had stood behind her solidly the last few days.  Her younger sister, Dr. Valerie, the anesthesiologist in Oakland, had called several times and tried to raise her spirits.  Crispin, her father, had a heavy operating schedule in Akers Pond, and had been able to come down only briefly one afternoon – Tuesday – to visit with her, but her mother had spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday with her in the suite.  The three of them were planning to have dinner Saturday evening at the Moiji restaurant featuring sushi and teppanyaki-style steak;  her parents had a reservation for their own room that evening, and they would join her baby-brother Craig and his wife Lucinda for brunch Sunday morning.  Craig had called her several times and been strongly supportive.  As a corporate attorney in the city he was thoroughly familiar with the legal climate and assured her that, although he had no personal knowledge of Natalie Siu,  she could absolutely not have done better than Wu, Hsien, Blair & Balthazar for the kind of legal talent that she currently needed.  Even Lucinda had called once to chat with her, and had sounded very family!  Mazarine was not sure if either of them really knew how she earned her living.  She had never talked to him about it the way she had with her mother, but she had a general feeling Craig probably had some hazy notion of how it really was.  He never mentioned it when he talked to her on the phone.

She had never been close to her brother, but she loved him, and his support the past few days had moved her deeply.  What if she had gone to law school like Craig?  She had thought about it, but it didn’t appeal to her at the time.  Even less now.  Craig had just made junior partner in a prestigious and stuffy firm that specialized in corporate law.  He worked eighty-hour weeks.  And Lucinda was a tax lawyer in another big firm, on the partnership track but not yet there, and she probably worked a hundred hours a week.  They made the big bucks, for sure, but Craig had an incipient ulcer, Lucinda was shrill and on a hair-trigger, and they’d gone through five nannies in the last two years who could not cope with — or simply would not put up with — their boy, a six-year old tyrant rapidly morphing into a monster.  No, Mazarine thought, I made the right educational choice.

Yes, Mazarine was grateful for her family and for all the other positives in her current predicament.  She drained her snifter and opened the bottle of Grand Marnier to pour another shot.

Now, she thought, frowning, for the down side.  The most obvious horror was the fact that she was staring into the frightening face of a first degree murder conviction.  If she lost at this trial, she’d spend the rest of her life in prison.  The idea numbed her.  She could not in truth grasp the full implications of such a sentence.  She was thirty-two, and she probably had a life expectancy of something like eighty or so.  Say fifty years behind bars.  It was, truly, inconceivable.  The few hours she’d spent sitting in a cell Monday morning were chilling enough.  But fifty years of that?  Women – or men — subject to such draconian conditions must surely go mad long before they died.  And Natalie’s hints about the way the justice system worked did not give Mazarine a great deal of confidence that her innocence would be something a jury would necessarily appreciate.

Like most people who never brushed up against the police and the criminal justice system in this country, she now realized that she had a kind of mindless junior-high civics-class view of criminal justice and its administration in the land of the brave and the home of the free.  The reality, she was beginning to recognize, was the dark side of the moon by comparison.  She knew, after all, with the kind of epistemological certainty – she smiled at the phrase – that Natalie had been talking about, that she did not murder Trinh.  It was as simple as that:  she just didn’t do it.  Why couldn’t the world see that?  The very fact that she was now viscously entangled in a murder rap was, in her own mind, itself a monstrous indictment of the American justice system.  How could that happen to her?  She was innocent!  But, apparently, that didn’t matter all that much.  If she were to believe Natalie, the only things that mattered here were, one, that the district attorney’s office had locked on like a heat-seeking missile to the unshakable belief that she had murdered Trinh, and, two, what the jury — without having all the facts — could be made to believe in the matter.  Pure, unadulterated Kafka!  Just call me Gregora Samsa, she thought wryly.

All right, she knew she hadn’t done it, but Trinh was dead, murdered.  That means that somebody did murder her.  But who?  Who?  Who could have done it?  Who would want to get rid of Trinh and frame her, Mazarine kept asking herself.  Or just frame her?  Maybe the murder had nothing to do with Trinh as such – she was just a convenient vehicle for getting back at Mazarine.  But did Mazarine know anybody who was that heartless, that indifferent to human life?  Her initial thought had of course been Fabian Darling.  There was no love lost there.  But he was a policeman.  True, police do commit murder.  But she had been with him, and for all his surliness about sexual gratification, somehow she just didn’t see him as the killer.  Besides, from what Yukiko had told her, and Trinh herself the few times they had met, he really did love Trinh, and – so she said – Trinh loved him.  What possible reason would he have had to kill her.  There was never any indication from either one of them of any kind of problem.  Her parents weren’t thrilled about the boyfriend, true, but Trinh had loved her parents and they her.  And they were not from one of those grotesque ‘honor-killing’ cultures.  No, the parents were out.  Weren’t they?

TO BE CONTINUED

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