It’s time to meet the characters of my new novel, Reasonable Doubt, due to be published in March. First up: Defense Attorney, Franklin Daniel Richardson.
It was only 9:20am, but Franklin Daniel Richardson was already having a shitty day.
Pulling up to his office, his eyes scanned the street looking for a parking spot. He could have parked in the lot back on Hewitt Avenue, but he was boycotting them because he’d gotten in a fight with the lot attendant the previous week.
The lot was supposed to have in and out privileges, and he’d left for lunch. When he returned, a new lot attendant had wanted to charge him for another day, and nobody was going to screw Franklin Daniel Richardson out of eight bucks. He’d gotten in a screaming match with the lot attendant, got back in his car, and threw rocks and gravel at the stupid little shack they stand in as he burned out of there. His current stand was that he wouldn’t be back unless he got a refund of the earlier charge and an apology. If history was any predictor, that stand would not be a lasting one.
Even if he hadn’t been in full boycott mode, the lot was two blocks from his office, and it was currently raining. Of course it was raining, Franklin thought, it was always fucking raining here, especially in January. And naturally, when it wasn’t fucking raining, it was fucking snowing.
Franklin hated the rain and he hated the snow, but what he hated most was when it was fucking raining or fucking snowing and he forgot his fucking umbrella.
His shitty day, of course, had nothing to do with the rain that was drizzling down. If he allowed the weather to significantly affect the quality of his day, he’d have suck-started a shotgun years ago. You don’t decide to live in the western part of Washington State if rain ruins your day, even though you may hate it.
No, his shitty day was a direct result of a conversation he’d been forced to have this morning with his bitch of an ex-wife who was trying to extort more money out of him. That phone call and the screaming match that ensued with the bitch, had made him late getting on the road to his office, which in turn had made him hit horrendous rush-hour traffic, amplified in magnitude by the relentless rain.
Actually, “Bitch” was too nice of a title for Erica. He had a different designation for her… a word he used with nobody else of course, even though he secretly liked the word and mentally used it to describe a lot of people, both men and women, who pissed him off. He would never use the word out loud though. Except maybe on the rare occasion when his law school buddies got together for drinks and he tipped back a few too many. But there was no harm in yelling it out when he was with those guys; they understood him.
So Erica had her own moniker, though he’d never actually worked up the courage to say it directly to her. It gave him great pleasure to sign off all text message conversations to her with, “C U Next Tuesday!!” even using the capital letters in “Next” and “Tuesday” in case she was too dense to understand the hidden context without them.
Erica never replied to those messages; she always let him get the final word in their text message battles, so Franklin couldn’t actually be sure she did understand what he was implying or if she always thought he was trying to meet up with her next Tuesday.
His eyes continued to search for a parking spot as he turned up Oakes Avenue and approached the courthouse. He could have parked in the small lot right in front of his office, but he wouldn’t allow himself that luxury. He was, unfortunately, a little cash tight at the moment, so his current mode of transportation was a thirteen year-old Honda Accord that had seen better days. There was no way he was going to attract the type of clientele he hoped for, and by that he meant the rich kind with a bunch of legal problems, if this piece of shit Accord was the only vehicle parked in the space in front of his office.
As it stood now, Franklin’s standard response to potential clients who asked, “How come there’s no cars in the parking lot?” was to claim that his Tesla was currently charging at the Tesla service center down the street. The fact that there was no Tesla service center down the street didn’t seem to be a point of contention for any of them.
A few months ago, he’d worked out a deal with a doctor who had an office one block over, to let the doctor park his Mercedes in the lot for free. For a few weeks, Franklin had had a great time claiming ownership of that car to anybody who asked. Then one day the doctor saw him pretending to get in the car while one of Franklin’s potential clients took his own goddamn sweet time driving away after an end-of-the-day appointment. Franklin hadn’t wanted to be seen walking up to his piece of shit Accord that he’d parked in a fortuitous spot on the street one door down from his office. The doctor and his Mercedes hadn’t returned.
Franklin was usually in his office by 8:30am, and that meant he usually had a plethora of parking choices. But today he was late thanks to his C U Next Tuesday of an ex-wife, and now he couldn’t find a goddamn parking spot.
Just as he was about to spin a U-turn and drive back to Hewitt Avenue, he saw the sweet sight of white back-up lights come on in one of the spaces reserved for courthouse parking.
Franklin hit the gas and stopped just short of the car preparing to back out. The jackass was taking his fucking sweet time and Franklin impatiently thrummed his fingers on the steering wheel, muttering under his breath. When the car finally moved, Franklin flipped the driver the bird and then whipped into the spot, killing the engine just as his cell phone started to ring…