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Theodore boone kid lawye.., p.10
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       Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, p.10

         Part #1 of Theodore Boone series by John Grisham  
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  bucket next to the water cooler. My cousin’s job is to empty the trash twice a day. He saw the man and thought it was strange that he was throwing away good gloves.”

  “Did the man see him?”

  “I don’t think so. If he had, I don’t think he would have left the gloves behind.”

  “And this is the man who’s on trial now for the murder?”

  “Yes, I believe so. My cousin is pretty sure. He saw him on television.”

  “Why did he keep the gloves?”

  “The boys out there go through the trash, looking for stuff. My cousin took the gloves, and within a couple of days he was suspicious. I guess there’s a lot of gossip around a golf course and there was talk about the dead woman. So my cousin hid the gloves. Now he’s scared and he thinks the police are watching him. If they find him with the gloves, who knows? He’s afraid he might get in trouble.”

  “The police are not watching him.”

  “I will tell him this.”

  A long pause, then Theo nodded at the gloves, still afraid to touch anything. “And what do we do with these?”

  “I’m not keeping them.”

  “That’s what I was afraid of.”

  “You know what to do, right, Theo?”

  “I have no clue. Right now I’m wondering how I got in the middle of this mess.”

  “Can’t you just drop them off at the police station?”

  Theo bit his tongue, preventing a phrase or two that would certainly be taken as sarcastic or cruel or both. How could Julio be expected to understand the system? Sure, Julio, I’ll just run by the police station, give the receptionist a Ziploc with two golf gloves, explain that they were worn by the nice man who’s now on trial for killing his wife, and who in fact did kill his wife because I, Theo Boone, know the truth because I, for some reason, have talked to a key witness no one else knows about it, and, please, Miss Receptionist, take these to a detective down in Homicide but don’t tell him where they came from.

  Poor Julio.

  “No, that won’t work, Julio. The police will ask too many questions and your cousin could be in trouble. The best thing to do is to take these gloves with you and I’ll pretend I never saw them.”

  “No way, Theo. They now belong to you.” And with that, Julio jumped to his feet, grabbed the doorknob, and had one foot outside when he said, over his shoulder, “And you promised not to tell, Theo.”

  Theo was behind him. “Sure.”

  “You gave me your word.”

  “Sure.”

  Julio disappeared into the darkness.

  Chapter 14

  Judge devoured his bowl of spaghetti, but Theo hardly touched his. He put the dishes in the dishwasher, locked the house, and went to his room, where he changed into his pajamas, grabbed his laptop, and crawled into bed. He found April online and they chatted for a few minutes. She, too, was in bed, but her door was locked, as always. She was feeling much better. She and her mother had gone out for a pizza and even managed to laugh together. Her father was out of town, they thought, and that always made life easier. They said good night, and Theo closed his laptop and found the latest copy of Sports Illustrated. He couldn’t read, couldn’t concentrate. He was sleepy because he had not slept much the night before, and though he was worried and even frightened he soon nodded off.

  Mr. Boone came home first. He crept up the stairs and opened the door to Theo’s room. The door hinges squeaked, as always. He flipped on the light and smiled at the peaceful sight of his son fast asleep. “Good night, Theo,” he whispered, and switched off the light.

  The closing of the door awakened Theo, and within seconds he was lying on his back, staring at the dark ceiling, thinking about the golf gloves hidden in his office. There was something terribly wrong with Ike’s advice to simply butt out, to ignore the existence of an eyewitness, and stand by quietly while the judicial system went haywire.

  Yet, a promise is a promise, and Theo had given his word to Julio and to his cousin that he would keep their secret safe. What if he didn’t? What if he marched into Judge Gantry’s chambers first thing in the morning and flung the gloves on his desk and told everything? The cousin would be toast. He would be chased down by Jack Hogan and the police and hauled into custody. His testimony would save the day for the prosecution. A mistrial would be declared. A new trial would be scheduled. It would be all over the newspapers and television. The cousin would be the hero, but he would also be locked up as an illegal immigrant.

  But couldn’t he, the cousin, make a deal with the police and prosecutors? Wouldn’t they cut him some slack because they needed him? Theo didn’t know. Maybe, maybe not, but it was too risky.

  Then he began thinking about Mrs. Duffy. In his file was a newspaper clipping with a nice photo of her. She was a very pretty woman, blond with dark eyes and perfect teeth. Imagine her final seconds as she realized with horror that her husband—wearing the two golf gloves—had not stopped by the house for some harmless reason, but instead was going for her throat.

  Theo’s heart was racing again. He threw the covers back and sat on the edge of his bed. Mrs. Duffy was only a few years younger than his mother. How would he feel if his mom were attacked in some savage manner?

  If the jury found Mr. Duffy not guilty, he would literally get away with murder. And, he could never again be brought to trial for the crime. Theo knew all about double jeopardy—the State can’t try you a second time if the jury finds you not guilty the first time. Since there were no more suspects, the murder would remain unsolved.

  Mr. Duffy would collect his $1 million. Play even more golf. Probably find another pretty young wife.

  Theo crawled back under the covers and tried to close his eyes. He had an idea. After the trial, after Mr. Duffy was acquitted and drove away from the courthouse, Theo would wait a few weeks or months, then he would send the gloves to Mr. Duffy. Ship them in an anonymous package, maybe with a note that would read something like: “We know you killed her. And we’re watching.”

  Why would he do that? He didn’t know. Another foolish idea.

  The thoughts became more random. There was no blood at the scene, right? So there would be no traces of blood on the gloves. But what about hair? What if a tiny strand of Mrs. Duffy’s hair was somehow stuck to one of the gloves. Her hair was not short, certainly long enough to touch her shoulders. Theo had not dared open the plastic bag. He had not touched the gloves, so he didn’t know what might be on them. A strand of hair would be even more proof that her husband killed her.

  He tried to dwell on his spectacular victory in Animal Court on behalf of Hallie, his client and potential girlfriend. But his thoughts swung back to the crime scene. Finally, he grew still and fell asleep.

  Marcella Boone arrived home just before 11:00 p.m. She checked the refrigerator to see what Theo had for dinner. She checked the dishwasher to make sure things were in order. She spoke to Woods, who was reading in the den. She climbed the stairs and woke up Theo for the second time in an hour. But he heard her coming and pretended to sleep through the ritual. She did not turn on the light, never did. She kissed him on the forehead, whispered, “Love you, Teddy,” then left the room.

  An hour later, Theo was wide awake, worrying about the hiding place he’d chosen for the gloves.

  When the alarm on his cell phone buzzed at six thirty, Theo wasn’t sure if he was awake or asleep, or somewhere in between, nor was he convinced he’d slept at all. He was fully aware, though, that he was tired and already irritable and facing another long day. The burden he carried was not normal for a thirteen-year-old.

  His mother was at the stove—a rare spot for her—frying sausage and grilling pancakes, something she did about twice a year. Any other morning, Theo would’ve been starving and ready for a big breakfast. He didn’t have the heart to tell her his appetite was gone.

  “Did you sleep well, Teddy?” she asked as she pecked him on the cheek.

  “Not really,” he said.

  “And why not? You look tired. Are you getting sick?”

  “I’m fine.”

  “You need some orange juice. It’s in the fridge.”

  They ate around the morning paper. “Looks like the trial is just about over,” she said, her reading glasses halfway down her nose. She began most Fridays with a quick trip to the salon for work on her fingernails, so she was still in her bathrobe.

  “I haven’t kept up,” Theo said.

  “I don’t believe that. Your eyes are red, Theo. You look tired.”

  “I said I didn’t sleep well.”

  “Why not?”

  Well, Dad woke me up at ten and you woke me up at eleven. But Theo couldn’t blame his parents. He was losing sleep for other reasons. “A big test today,” he said, and it was sort of true. Miss Garman had threatened them with a quiz in Geometry.

  “You’ll do fine,” she said, and returned to the newspaper. “Eat your sausage.”

  He managed to choke down enough pancakes and sausage to satisfy her. He thanked her for the big breakfast, and as soon as possible he wished her a good day, said good-bye, gave a pat on the head to Judge, and took off on his bike. Ten minutes later he was racing up the steps to Ike’s office, where his cranky uncle was waiting for the second early morning meeting in two days.

  Ike looked even rougher on Friday. His eyes were puffy and redder than Theo’s, and his wild gray hair had not been touched that morning. “This better be good,” he growled.

  “It is,” Theo said as he stood in front of the desk.

  “Have a seat.”

  “I’d rather stand.”

  “Okay. What’s up?”

  Theo unloaded the story about Julio and the two golf gloves in a plastic bag, now hidden behind some old Boone & Boone divorce files at the bottom of an old file cabinet in the basement where no one had ventured in at least a decade. He left nothing out of the story, except, of course, the identity of Julio and his cousin. He was finished in minutes.

  Ike listened intently. He scratched his beard, took off his glasses, rubbed his eyes, sipped his coffee, and when Theo went silent Ike managed to mumble, “Unbelievable.”

  “What are we gonna do, Ike?” Theo asked in desperation.

  “I don’t know. The gloves need to be examined by the crime lab. They could have small samples of skin, Mrs. Duffy’s skin, or her hair, or they could even have DNA from Mr. Duffy’s sweat.”

  Theo hadn’t thought about the sweat.

  “The gloves could be crucial evidence,” Ike was saying, thinking out loud, still scratching his beard.

  “We can’t just ignore this, Ike. Come on.”

  “Why did you keep them?”

  “I didn’t really keep them, you know? It was more like my friend just left them. He’s scared. His cousin is really scared. I’m scared. What are we gonna do?”

  Ike stood and stretched and took another gulp of coffee. “Are you going to school?”

  What else would I do on this Friday morning? “Sure. I’m already late.”

  “Go to school. I’ll go watch the courthouse. I’ll figure out something and I’ll text you later.”

  “Thanks, Ike. You’re the greatest.”

  “Don’t know about that.”

  Theo walked into homeroom five minutes late, but Mr. Mount was in a good mood and the class had not exactly come to order. When he saw Theo, he pulled him aside and said, “Say, Theo, I was thinking that you could give us an update on the trial. Later, during Government.”

  The last thing Theo wanted to do was talk about the trial, but he could not say no to Mr. Mount. Plus, Mr. Mount was known to be a bit slack with his class preparations on Fridays, and he needed Theo to help fill in the gaps.

  “Sure,” Theo said.

  “Thanks. Just an update, fifteen minutes or so. It goes to the jury today, right?”

  “Probably so.”

  Theo took his seat. Mr. Mount tapped his desk, then called the roll. Announcements were made, the usual homeroom routine. When the bell for first period rang, the boys headed for the door. A classmate named Woody followed Theo into the hall and grabbed him near the lockers. One look at his face, and Theo knew something was wrong.

  “Theo, I need some help,” Woody said quietly while glancing around. Woody’s home life was chaotic. His parents were on their second or third marriages and there wasn’t much supervision there. He played the electric guitar in a bad garage band, was already smoking, dressed like a runaway, and was rumored to have a small tattoo on his rear end. Theo, like the rest of the boys, was curious about the tattoo, but had no desire to confirm the rumor. In spite of all these distractions, Woody maintained a B average.

  “What’s up?” Theo asked. He really wanted to inform Woody that this was a terrible time to ask for free legal advice. Theo had too much on his mind.

  “You can keep this quiet, right?” Woody asked.

  “Of course.” Great. Just what Theo needed. Another secret.

  Hallie walked by, slowed for a second, flashed a comely smile at Theo, but realized he was busy. She disappeared.

  “My brother got arrested last night, Theo,” Woody said, and his eyes were wet. “The police came to the house after midnight, took him away in handcuffs. It was terrible. He’s in jail.”

  “What’s the charge?”

  “Drugs. Possession of pot, maybe distribution.”

  “There’s a big difference between possession and distribution.”

  “Can you help us?”

  “I doubt it. How old is he?”

  “Seventeen.”

  Theo knew the brother by reputation, and it was not a good one. “First offense?” Theo asked, though he suspected the answer was no.

  “He got busted for possession last year, his first. Slap on the wrist.”

  “Your parents need to hire a lawyer, Woody. It’s that simple.”

  “Nothing’s simple. My parents don’t have the money, and if they did they wouldn’t spend it on a lawyer. There’s a war in my house, Theo. Kids against parents, and nobody’s taking prisoners. My stepfather has been fighting with my brother over the drug thing, and he’s promised a thousand times he will not get involved when the cops bust him.”

  The bell rang. The hall was empty.

  Theo said, “Okay, catch me at recess. I don’t have much advice, but I’ll do what I can.”

  “Thanks, Theo.”

  They hustled into Madame Monique’s class. Theo took his seat, opened his backpack, and realized he had not done his homework. At that moment, he really didn’t care. At that moment, he was thankful he lived in a quiet and cozy home with great parents who seldom raised their voices. Poor Woody.

  Then, he thought about the gloves.

  Chapter 15

  Halfway through Geometry, with Miss Garman still dropping hints about a quiz, and with Theo staring at the wall and trying to stay awake, the intercom above the door squawked and startled the class.

  “Miss Garman, is Theo Boone in class?” It was the shrieking voice of Miss Gloria, the school’s longtime secretary.

  “He is,” Miss Garman responded.

  “Please send him down. He needs to check out.”

  Theo grabbed his things, stuffed them into his backpack, and as he was hustling toward the door Miss Garman said, “If we have a quiz, Theo, you can make it up on Monday.”

  Well, thanks for nothing, Theo thought, but instead he said, “Can’t wait.”

  “Have a nice weekend, Theo,” she said.

  “You too.”

  He was in the hall before he took a breath and wondered who was checking him out, and for what reason. Maybe his mother had grown concerned about his red eyes and tired face and she had decided to take him to the doctor. Probably not. She was not one to overreact, and as a general rule she did not call the doctor until Theo was half dead. Maybe his father was having second thoughts and had decided to allow Theo to watch the last day of the trial. Probably not. Woods Boone was, as always, in another world.

  Maybe it was something far worse. Some way, somehow, somebody had snitched on him and the police were waiting with a search warrant to find the gloves. The secrets would come out and he, Theo Boone, would find himself in serious trouble.

  He slowed his pace. Where the hallway turned, he peeked through a large window and caught a glimpse of the front of the school. No police cars. Nothing to indicate trouble. He kept walking, even slower.

  Ike was waiting. He was chatting with Miss Gloria when Theo entered the front office.

  “This man says he’s your uncle,” Miss Gloria said with a smile.

  “I’m afraid so,” Theo said.

  “And you have to go to a funeral over in Weeksburg?”

  Ike was saying Come on, Come on with his eyes. Theo hesitated just for a second, then nodded and said, “I hate funerals.”

  “And you won’t be coming back?” she said, reaching for a clipboard.

  “No, the funeral is at one thirty,” Ike said. “It’ll kill the day.”

  “Sign here,” she said.

  Theo signed and they left the office. Ike’s car was a Triumph Spitfire, a two-seater, at least thirty years old and far less than perfectly maintained. Like everything else in Ike’s life, it was barely hanging together and lucky to be running.

  They were a block from the school before Theo spoke. “A funeral, huh? I like it.”

  “It worked.”

  “And where are we going?”

  “You’ve come to me for help. My advice is that we go to the offices of Boone and Boone, get your parents in a room, and tell them everything.”

  Theo took a deep breath. He couldn’t argue. The issues involved were too complicated for him.

  They surprised Elsa when they barged in the front door. She jumped to her feet and said, “Is something wrong?”

  “Good morning, Elsa,” Ike said. “You look exotic as always.” She was wearing an orange sweater the color of a pumpkin with matching glasses and lipstick.

  She ignored Ike, looked at Theo, and said, “What are you doing here?”

  “I’m here for the funeral,” Theo said, and began walking toward the library.

  “Could you please round up Woods and Marcella?” Ike said. “We need to have a family meeting in the library.”

  Normally Elsa would have balked at being told what to do, but she knew this was serious. Luckily, Mrs. Boone was in her office, alone, and Mr. Boone was upstairs shoving paper around his desk. They hurried into the library, one after the other, and as soon as Ike closed the door Mrs. Boone looked at Theo and said, “Are you okay?” Mr. Boone looked at Theo and said, “What’s going on here? Why aren’t you in school?”

  “Relax,” Ike said. “Let’s all have a seat and discuss matters.” They sat down, both parents eyeing Theo as if he’d committed a crime.

  “Now,” Ike continued, “Let me go first, then I’ll shut up and Theo can talk. On Wednesday, just two days ago, Theo had a chat with one of his friends at school. This chat led to another chat, and in the course of these conversations Theo came across some information that could have a dramatic impact on the trial of Mr. Pete Duffy. In short, there’s a witness out there, a witness no one knows
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Comments 1

Sanda-Maria Copotoiu
Sanda-Maria Copotoiu 5 August 2018 21:26
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Another hero, an emerging lawyer with investigator qualities makes the day of a very palatable novel. Since a preadolescent, his bright future mandates us to look forward to the next issues. The tale does not need atrocious murders to be attractive since the charm lies in the characters pictured leaving you with a sense of safety. A book to be read under any circumstances.
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