Johnny turned the key and the engine kicked over. He revved the engine as the boy side-armed a thin, flat, skipping stone the size of a Ritz cracker through the driver’s window. It hit Johnny in the same ear, in exactly the same place, and the explosion of pain almost made him pass out. The top part of his ear fell over like that of a lop-eared dog. Johnny floored it and the car sent up a scattering of gravel and stones in a long rooster tail.
Johnny didn’t stop until they crossed the international bridge and were in Ojinaga. He parked as soon as they were a block into Mexico. “Jesus Christ,” Johnny said, touching first his ear, then his nose.
Jesse had a pale blue golfball-sized knot in the middle of his forehead and a goofy, glazed look on his face. “Are we in Oklahoma?” he asked.
Johnny wiped the tears from his eyes, trying to make his ear stand up and said, “We are safe in Mexico, no thanks to you.”
“I sure like buffaloes,” Jesse said.
“Shut up,” Johnny said as he drove away from the curb, “You should’ve been watching that kid.” Johnny popped Jesse on the side of the head with his free hand. Jesse quieted down and began humming. “Stay that way ‘till I can get some tequila in you,” Johnny said as they motored through town and turned toward Felipe Godoy's house.
A ringing phone brought Hunter out of her sleep. She fumbled on the nightstand and knocked over her water before finding the cordless and putting it to her ear. As she pushed the hair from her face, she said, “Kincaid.”
“Were you sleeping?” It was Truman.
Hunter looked at the clock and read the green LED: 1 PM. “I worked midnights,” she rubbed her face with the free hand. “What’s going on?”
“Well, tomorrow being our first day in court, I thought I’d call and see if you still want me on your team.”
“What are you talking about?” Truman sounded odd. “What’s wrong?”
“They arrested me last night for possession of cocaine.”
Hunter felt her stomach flip. “Jesus, Truman!”
“It wasn’t mine, Hunter. Somebody’s trying to frame me.”
“Don’t be bullshitting me on this!”
“That’s the truth. I’m clean. Somebody’s trying to get to you through me, can’t you see that?”
Hunter took a deep breath, steadied down and said, “Tell me what happened.”
“I was out last night, relaxing, meeting some friends at a bar downtown-”
“I thought you didn’t drink anymore.”
“I don’t. I drink Seven-Up. Anyway, I was in there until about nine or so, then went out to my car. The cops had been tipped off and arrested me when I opened the car door. They found thirty grams of cocaine in a baggie under the driver’s seat,” He paused, “I drive a convertible and the top was down. It wouldn’t be any big deal for somebody to lean over the driver’s door and slide something under the seat.”
“Did they book you?”
“They took all the data, got my fingerprints and my photo, but I bonded out as soon as they were finished.” Truman paused a moment, then said, “First thing I did when I left was go to the hospital and have them take a blood sample and test it for alcohol and drugs. I promise you the results will come back clean.”
“They can always say you hadn’t used the coke yet.”
“I know, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
“What about Justice? Will they let you keep working?”
“I doubt it. I think they’ll have to either suspend me, or limit me to your case. I think they’ll suspend. Either way I’ll represent you.”
“If you’re suspended?”
“Yep. I’d do it for you. I can be your personal attorney. I’m not going to leave you in a jam, you have my word.”
“Thanks,” Hunter thought a moment, “Have you got any idea of who could have done it? I mean, I can’t see the widow Garcia setting this up, can you?”