“And you are adamant that you fired the shot’s from exactly here... and Torrington was there?”
David was standing on the precise spot, with his knees bent to bring his line of sight onto the same elevation as Nancy’s. With his fingers he mimicked a gun, sighting the bullet’s strike marks down the length of the imagined weapon.
“Yes,” Nancy stated unwaveringly, they’d already been through this rigmarole a dozen times. He moved the tripod onto the spot and orientated the laser point in its clasp until it sat in the middle of the circled area on the distant wall.
“I’m sorry that I have to do this to you,” the giant coaxed her gently, “but you’ve got to understand, Nancy, the way you’re telling it, it’s not going to look good to a court.”
David would much prefer if Nancy would claim to be a poor shot, that way she could also claim to have fired wildly.
Instead, she remained tenacious in her determination to stick to the unbending truth of the matter—the fact that, where the three tightly grouped projectiles had punched holes into the plaster, had been exactly where she had intended them to strike—because that’s precisely the direction in which Ken had fled.
“Nancy, that is a recess in the landing that doesn’t lead anywhere,” David had argued, “The only way Torrington could have escaped, lies ninety degrees to your claim, if he’d fled in that direction,” he pointed into the bedroom.
The house had been built to massive proportions with several recessed areas leading off of the main living space, creating the impression that the open-plan interior had more rooms leading away than it had.
To make the prosecution’s case stronger, David needed Ken running toward the bedroom, where at least there had been a window through which to abscond.
During the previous days, while Nancy had acted as Catherine’s voice, David had instinctively come to like and trust her.
“Nancy, I must tell you something. I absolutely believe your version of the events... then again, I’m on your side and it really doesn’t matter what I believe. To make a case work properly sometimes takes a little bending of truth. Now that’s not the same as lying... In this case your life had been in danger, so you have the opportunity to claim you fired wildly. It won’t detract from you or this case, whereas to get a court to believe that Ken ran into that recess… into a dead end and not re-emerge... well, it’s handing him an acquittal on a plate! It’ll fatally injure your credibility as a witness. The defense will crucify you, their lawyers will character assassinate you in ways that you couldn’t imagine possible. They’ll nail us to a wall...” David needed to harangue the point so she understood, because he had much, much worse news for her.
It was already late morning and the fatigue from her sleepless night and roller coaster of events had sapped Nancy’s energy. She’d willed her mind to be lucid. What David had just said was horrifyingly true. Fortunately she’d held off making a statement to the police, insisting that she’d only do so through her lawyer; and with all David had detailed, it proved to have been the prudent choice;
“When will Jacky be back?” David asked.
Nancy checked her watch, “She should be landing about now. I’ve left a message for her to contact me urgently. I’d rather tell her what’s happened in person, I don’t think it’s a good idea to give the news over the phone.”
David checked his own watch, “Ok, I’ll wait with you.”
“Thanks, I could do with the support. You want a coffee?”
“Is the Pope Catholic?”
They settled down on opposite sides of the open plan kitchen’s central counter, and David dropped the rest of his bombshell.
“Nancy, I must level with you on something... This will be a bitter pill to swallow but it’s better that I’m straight with you,” He cleared his throat, “Don’t take this personally please, but you’re going to make a poor witness.”
In spite of David’s caution, Nancy leapt to defend herself.
David cut her short, “Hang on... hang on. Don’t jump to conclusions. Listen to the facts. Firstly, you’ve just walked out of the employ of the same man that you’re now alleging made this attack. Your relationship with this man is what? Good? Indifferent?” David shrugged.
“Not the best,” Nancy admitted.
It was obvious where his argument would lead.
“Ok, now you’re a woman over-nighting with your friend, near naked and alone in this room with this woman who is... She’s a…?”
“Indeed... and she trips and falls down the stairs...”
Nancy was aghast; this was a line of argument that in her wildest dreams she hadn’t anticipated.
David pressed relentlessly on;
“She’s wet from a shower, and there are signs of a struggle upstairs. A lover’s quarrel? Possibly. There’s water on the floor, the bed is ruffled.”
“Oh Christ David, come off of it! She’s in a relationship—her girlfriend knew I’m staying over... What are you suggesting?”
“It’s not what I suggest Nancy, it’s what the defense will suggest. Ken knows that Catherine’s gay. Her girlfriend is out of town... even if Jacky swears on a stack of bibles this high,” he held his hand to his waist—it was closer to her shoulder height, “Even if she says it’s sanctioned... If, and God forbid it doesn’t happen, Catherine is in a coma the defense will make a mess out of it. They’ll try to get under Jacky’s skin.”
“You are kidding me...”
“No... this is my world. How’s the relationship between Catherine and Jacky generally perceived? Morally, I mean... ethically?”
“Do you mean that they’ll try to swing this whole thing on me? That I’m trying to make mileage out of it to frame Ken?” Nancy was flabbergasted.
“Right...” David nodded.
“Catherine and I were lover’s on the side... we got into an argument, she took a shower and I maybe hit her? We struggled through the room?”
David was still nodding in agreement.
“I ran down here with a gun and when she showed herself I shot at her and.”
“Not the gun Nancy, your gun!” David corrected her.
His comment drove the wind out of her sails, and a smirk of disbelief ticked the corners of her mouth.
“This time you’re joking with me, right? That would wash? I mean, if Catherine recovers and she testifies against that argument?”
“Is Catherine currently trying to nail Torrington? Would she like Jacky to find out about your little secret affair? I mean, you’re not currently in any other relationship, are you? Is it less plausible than the statement that you’re going to make?”
Tears of frustration washed away Nancy’s vision. How could people twist the plain truth so far? How?
Her mind raced and crammed with violent rage.
David had no option but to keep pressing on, it would be far less painful for Nancy to hear this spoken in private, than before a packed court and baying media;
“There was no sign of entry... none. The house was locked tight as a nun’s do-wattie... There’s no sign of an escape. And...” He paused dramatically, “...I haven’t had a chance to tell you this yet, but Torrington is in Hawaii, that has been confirmed,” David could see the genuine shock frozen in chalky terror on her face.
“Hawaii, what’s in Hawaii? He wasn’t scheduled to go to Hawaii,” Nancy thought out aloud, looking for a reason to discount the evidence.
“You mean he wasn’t scheduled on the day that you were fired, which was…?” David pointed out.
“I resigned!! It was Monday.”
“Well Thursday morning the company jet touched down in Washington, he took a party of friends with him.”
“Let me guess, he’s buying support from some of his high-placed political clients.”
“Exactly! He flew out, and they are only scheduled back next Monday, the police have the flight logs.”
“But Jacky will be able to corroborate that he has been here, or at least an apparition which resembles him has been here, when he was abroad before.”
“What does that sound like in court...? ‘Your honor... one of the lesbians says that the man’s ghost was previously here... Oh... okay then, he must be guilty’.”
She started crying, crying in earnest.
“I’m not being cruel, I’m helping steer you... don’t fret about proving things to me, honey, you’re not on trial,” David omitted to add “yet”, then continued; “Even if you’re right, it’s still going to make it impossible for us to book the bastard, the courts don’t deal with more than the facts.”
“Skew facts,” Nancy corrected him between sobs.