THE GODS DEFENSE – PART 4

Chapter 2

            “What the hell is this?”

I jumped in my chair, looking up from the notes on my desk. My boss, Mark Filaduchi, waved a folder in the air in the doorway. His usually smiling, wide face was set in hard lines and his eyes were dark brown stones. If looks could kill, I would’ve been pounded into powder.

My office was barely more than a closet in a line of them in the D.A.’s office. My desk occupied the far wall and the rest of the space was taken up by stacks of case folders and a small bookshelf of old law school casebooks and treatises. There was enough room for me to walk between the obstacle course to my desk, but not for my six-three, over two hundred pounds boss to get through easily.

Which was probably the only reason he was staying in the doorway.

“It looks like a file, sir.”

“Don’t be a smart ass.” His Texas twang made his voice gravely usually. Now it was downright threatening. “Tell me you did not subpoena Dionysus.”

“Okay. I did not subpoena Dionysus.”

“Cassandra!”

“Okay.” My hands flew up, swishing in front of me. “No more smart ass. Reily subpoenaed him already, that’s why we had to have a last minute meeting with Spenser today. And if Dionysus ignores it, which I think he will, Reily will say we can’t go forward because he can’t mount a proper defense.”

“So why are you subpoenaing him if you think he’ll just ignore it?”

I pressed my lips together. “Ummmm, because I don’t think he’ll ignore me.”

Filaduchi’s eyebrows went up so fast it was like they were trying to jump off his face. “What makes you say that?”

“I… uhhh… see, it’s… well…”

“Spit it out, Cassandra.”

“Maybe we should talk in your office, sir.” I got up and he nodded. I followed him down the hall to his office and closed the door behind me. It was just as crowded as mine, but bigger so at least someone Filaduchi’s size could get in. He sat at his desk and I took one of the black chairs in front of it.

“Go,” he said, leaning on his desk with clasped hands.

“I want to set a precedent for subpoenaing the gods. If a two bit lawyer like Reily does it, Dionysus will ignore it and it’ll get ugly once we start taking it up the chain of courts and he never shows. It’ll be the U.S. v. Nixon all over again, without the court prevailing in the end. And that would only be if you’d let me take the time to do that. Which we both know we don’t have time for. It will just putter out and then this will get ugly. Defendant’s will be using it all over the place and creating some serious problems.”

“They’re already doing it. It’s already a problem at the trial level, just hasn’t moved up to appeals courts yet.”

I gaped. “More than just that guy in New York?” Way to be off the ball.

“None that were published,” he said with a held up hand. “These are smalltime trial level decisions. I’ll email you the article I read on them. It just came out today, you didn’t miss anything in your research.” He smiled quickly and sobered up even faster. “Back to the question. Why?”

“I want the gods to recognize the legal system, now, before they get used to going around it. Maybe one answering a subpoena will set a precedent with the others. Since everything’s so new, a lot of them are playing follow the leader when something works out in their favor.”

“Same question. Why would they jump just because you tell them to?”

How much did I want to explain?

I looked around. His office wasn’t as nice as Spenser’s, not nearly, but it was… cozy, more human. Dark wood desk, well-worn red carpets, cushy chairs, and personal knickknacks all around. Pictures of his family wife and three boys decorated his desk and walls. A beautiful clay horse his grandson crafted at camp sat on one of the bookshelves.

“Stop with the darting eyes and just tell me.”

I hopped in my seat, eyes snapping back to my boss. “Apollo has… taken a special interest in me. He wants me to work for him. Earlier, Henry Hepner tracked me down at the courthouse. He said Apollo wants to talk to me. Apollo has pull with his brother. I’ll trade Apollo a meeting with me for Dionysus answering the subpoena.”

“You really think he’ll risk setting such a precedent just to talk to you?”

I nodded slowly. “Apollo thinks if he can get me alone in a room with him, he’ll be able to convince me to work for him. That seems to be pretty important to him, and the gods theoretically want to work within the system. I think the gods will see this as an opportunity to establish their good intentions and willingness to integrate into our culture and government.”

“Then why would Dionysus say no?”

“He’s busy and this doesn’t exactly rank high on priorities. I mean, how many witnesses do we subpoena, who aren’t busy gods, that don’t show up? The gods seem to want to work with our system, but only on their terms and when it’s convenient for them. Apollo might, might,” I held up a finger, “take the two birds with one stone approach, talking to me and establishing good relations with government and people.”

“Why does he want you to go work for him?”

That,” I switched the finger at him, “is an excellent question. He wants a personal lawyer, and he likes psychics, but I’m not the only psychic in the country. There’s enough that I’m willing to bet at least a good amount of others are lawyers, too. And what does he need with a criminal attorney working for his business?” I shrugged. “So I don’t know.”

Filaduchi stared at me until the spot between my shoulders started to itch and I wiggled them. “You’re a good liar, Cassandra. But you’re not that good.”

“Please give me some leeway here?”

“Is whatever you don’t want to tell me relevant to the case?”

“No.”

Another long stare down had me wiggling in my seat like a naughty eight year old sent to the principal’s office. Not that I was ever sent to the principal’s office.

“All right,” he finally said. “You’ve got some rope. Don’t hang yourself with it.”

“I’m trying not to, sir.”

He stood and I did, too. “All right. Get back to work.”

“Yes sir.” I went for the door.

“Cassandra?”

“Yes?” I paused mid-opening door and turned back towards him. What was it with him and the last word at the door thing?

“The gods might be petty and foolish in mythology, but from what I’ve seen the last two years, they’re conniving, ruthless and as rational as you or I. Don’t yank Apollo’s chain. Don’t try to play him. Get him to agree if you can, but don’t get yourself involved in anything with him.”

I put on my brightest smile and gave him another, “Yes, sir,” before turning and marching away.

The smile melted off my face like strawberry ice-cream in the sun. It always felt that way when I put on my fake smile, like it needed a moment to tone down before it could turn off. If I could see my own emotions, there’d be a cloud of sickly yellow streaked with pink around my head. Anxiety. An emotional ulcer.

I clenched my fists and drew a deep breath as I sat back down at my desk.

My boss’s words rang through my head.

“That’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid,” I said.

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