Some distance away from Police Headquarters in an office in an old high-rise on Harcourt Road in Sheung Wan, Lansard and Baker were having a heated discussion.
“No, I don’t have to pay your full fees! You failed in what should have been a simple case against a young girl with no legal experience!” Said Baker.
“You lied to me!” Said Lansard, equally as angry. “You never told me that you had verbally abused the girl, or, for that matter, any other member of your staff”.
“It makes no difference, you failed and that idiot judge will probably find in her favour. You failed!” Baker was glaring at Lansard. He had never been so humiliated in his life. In truth, Paula’s rebuttal had taken him by surprise. He had expected the girl to fold and beg for mercy. He had no idea that the bitch would be so courageous.
“All right,” said Lansard. “We’ll wait until we get the ruling from Judge Lee”. And then he fixed Baker with a ferocious eye. “But, you will pay the second part of my retainer now, or I’ll withdraw from the case and I’ll make sure that no other solicitor or barrister will have anything to do with you”. It was an empty threat, very few legal firms would have anything to do with Baker.
Baker stood up, picked up his briefcase and walked out without saying a word. Lansard frightened him. He couldn’t put anything into words, but having spent some hours in the lawyer’s presence he knew there was something about the man that screamed danger. He would pay the fees demanded, but he would take his time if only to show that he wasn’t a man to be intimidated. He returned to his office. He had staff to berate.
Lansard watched him leave and swore under his breath. The man would pay, of that, he had no doubt. He was trembling with anger and to calm himself he placed both hands on the desk in front of him. Then all thoughts of Baker and the money were instantly forgotten. He stared at his right hand, the little finger of that hand. The fingernail was deformed, elongated and discoloured. Lansard groaned inwardly and without realising it, spoke aloud, “Not again, not so soon”.
He looked up at a portrait overlooking the office and in a voice that was half fearful and half anguished, said, “Damn you old man, Damn you to hell!”
It was almost 6:00 pm when Peter Leung arrived at Homicide, PHQ. He was tired, irritable and just a bit concerned about why he had been transferred at such short notice. He was heartened when he walked into the squad room and found Jacky Chan. He was seated at one of the desks having just finished the video and partial briefing by Shum and some of his team. They shook hands.
Jacky took him into Shum’s office and introduced him. Shum was brief. He thanked Peter for coming on such short notice. He briefly described the purpose of the task force and asked Peter to prepare a short presentation on his findings for tomorrow at 1100 hours. Then he thanked both of them once again and excused himself. He had much to do before the end of his day.
The two men decided a beer was in order so they went down to the Inspectorate Officer’s Mess. Jacky knew few of the people at the bar so they took their drinks to a table. It was then that Jacky realised he still had his service revolver. Technically he should have returned it to the Armoury at Kowloon City but at this time of the day, he wasn’t going to go from PHQ all the way back to Kowloon City just so that he could turn around and go all the way home to his house in Shatin. He would call the station tomorrow and clear it with his boss.
Jacky and Peter were too professional to discuss the case outside of the confines of the office so they talked generalities. There would be plenty of time to compare notes over the coming days. They finished their drinks and left for home in opposite directions, Jacky to the New Territories and Peter to Quarry Bay. It had been a long day.
(c) Copyright John Stewart Sloan – 2017 – Not for Distribution
The Featured photo is by Mark Dumont – Flickr: There Be Dragons, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25935468