Muppet Contracts 12: The Right to an Attorney
Rated t for teen
twelth in the Muppet Contracts series
Disclaimer: anyone you recognize does not belong to me, though I may not be able to give all the legal who’s that do own them.
Distribution: by permission, and with the previous parts of the series.
Notes: Angel Investigations have been working on discovering the killer of acting agent Kent Lanomer. They had no idea what they'd stumbled onto when they started...
Lindsey McDonald closed the folder, relieved to be finished with the Townsend case. It was supposed to have been a simple matter, just updating the will of Evard Townsend, one of the multitude of sorcerers that had worked for Wolfram & Hart on some occasion. Except that Evard turned out to be half Kipeska demon, and left the room smelling oddly like lemon custard, and was updating his will before marrying his current lover, a tiny Hispanic dancer who looked like she might be legal to marry, and was obviously chosen more for her physical charms than any sort of intellectual capacity. Maybe Evard wanted to sacrifice her to some sort of demon lord - it wouldn't have been the first time. That had been the end of Mrs. Townsend number two, come to think of it...
"McDonald, they've got someone interesting down at the police station. An arrest in the Lannomer murder. Go see if he, she or it needs a lawyer and if they might be of use to the company," Holland Manners didn't make it a request, or wait for questions.
"Of course, sir, right away, sir..." Lindsey grumbled, tucking the Townsend file back into the cabinet and locking it securely - the basic latch, a combination lock, a lock with a key, and a minor locking spell that he'd learned in his second year with the company. Someone highly determined and skilled could probably still get in, but he'd definitely know if his file cabinent was tampered with - a necessity, considering some of the cases and clients. He didn't dare ignore Holland's order, but he didn't have to be happy about it.
The trip to the police station was about as expected, annoying inept drivers, motorcycles darting between lanes, obnoxious teenagers playing what was supposed to be music far too loud, and old people afraid to drive the speed limit, as well as several red lights. Frustrating, but not abnormal. He found a place in the nearby parking garage, and walked over to the police station, pulling out the little wallet that had a copy of his bar certification as well as a duplicate of his driver's license.
"Visiting a client?" the receptionist asked, one eyebrow raised. Her tone was cool but polite, and if she had anything against lawyers, it wasn't obvious.
"Mmmm," Lindsey paused, considering how to answer that without committing himself or getting in trouble. "My boss has been following a few cases, and sent me to see if someone needs a lawyer after being brought in. If I don't go talk to the person and ask a few question, I'm in trouble, but I wouldn't say that I've got a client yet."
"I've had a few demanding bosses myself," she smiled. "I need to have you empty your pockets into the plastic bowl and step through the metal detector. Just a precaution, you understand."
Forcing a smile onto his face, Lindsey pulled out his car keys and a handful of spare change, dropping them into the bowl. They were joined by a half pack of mint gum, a couple paper clips, and his wallet. After a couple moments, he added his watch to the bowl before walking through the metal detector, which only gave a contented hum. "Would the mayor and his secretary have to do that?"
"They'd have to take their shoes off as well, Mr. McDonald," there was a twinkle to her eyes now. "And if they came during certain shifts, they might get a wave over with the wand."
He chuckled, glad that the charming smile was working. It might not be mind control, but if he was careful, he could take bored public officials from slightly hostile to slightly helpful, and maybe willing to bend just a few rules for him, since he was a nice guy...
A quiet officer glanced over the bowl, tilting it a bit to make certain there was nothing sinister lurking below the gum. Passing the bowl back to Lindsey, he asked, "Who were you supposed to speak to?"
"MY boss has an interest in the Lannomer case, he said that someone had been brought in for questioning?" Lindsey hoped that this wouldn't blow his string of small successes.
"Oh, you're not going to want to take him as a client," the uniformed officer shuddered. "But if your boss insists that you talk to him, he's down this way."
Lindsey stuffed his things back into his pockets as he followed the officer. Whoever it was had obviously made quite an impression, and in near-record time. It would be far from the first time he'd worked with someone unsavory for the benefit of the company, but... He couldn't stop himself from wondering just how this individual had made himself unwelcome. "What can you tell me about him?"
"He's about so high, very yellow," the officer paused, "Not oriental yellow, or jaundice yellow, but more of a peach or mango yellow. Big, bulgy eyes, and... well... it won't make sense until you talk to him."
Lindsey nodded, thinking that it definitely sounded like the suspect wasn't human, though that still left hundreds of options. He wondered if it was the inhumanness or something else that was bothering the officer.
"He's in this room. Name's Scooter Dee, he hasn't asked to call anyone or to have anyone called on his behalf. There is someone on the other side of the glass," the officer waved at a door, with the typical interrogation room on the other side. An ugly beige wall, broken only by a vent, the door, and a large one way mirror, brownish tan floor tiles, a steel and brown Formica table, and a small individual handcuffed to a metal chair. "A matter of procedure, until you officially take him as a client, I have to go in with you."
Giving a small shrug, Lindsey reached for the doorknob. "Anything else I should know before I try to talk to him? Any communication barriers, physical or mental impairments?"
"He's got no trouble hearing or talking, and his English is just fine. As for mental issues... I've been told several times that I'm a cop, not a shrink, and therefore not qualified to make that call. But he seemed to follow us just fine earlier when we asked a few very basic things - name, address, if he could tell us the date, who the president and governor are, all that seems just fine."
"Have you taken his fingerprints?" Lindsey asked. Depending on what sort of evidence that had, that could be legally permitted, even expected. Though it sounded like they were being very careful about their legal limits with this one.
"We printed him when we asked if he could tell us where he lived. The address matches his ID, and we are running them through the database. Standard procedure after a couple teens hot-wiring cars down the coast turned out to have been kidnapped when they were toddlers and they only found out when the prints were run looking for prior convictions."
"And?" Lindsey arched an eyebrow, wondering what else might turn up when they ran this guy's prints.
The officer shrugged, "Guy's in there, why not ask him? You might end up his lawyer, wouldn't it be your job to find that sort of thing out?"
With a sigh and a nod, Lindsey opened the door. "Afternoon, Mr. Dee. My name is Lindsey McDonald, and I'm a lawyer with Wolfram and Hart. I understand that you were brought in with regards to the murder of Kent Lanomer?"
The small yellow man smiled, his skin wrinkling in a way that reminded Lindsey of felt or old puppets. "Call me Scooter, Mr. Dee sounds like you’re from the IRS or something."
"Fair enough. Can you tell me what you know about the Lanomer murder, Scooter?" Lindsey reminded himself to smile and look young, friendly, and overly helpful.
"I know that he was Piggy's agent, and he drove her crazy. Not asylum-crazy, but complain and throw vases at the wall crazy," Scooter began. "I know he was killed in his office one night, carved into one hundred and seven pieces, each packed into a box, tied with a silk ribbon, and closed with a sealing wax made in Bavaria... Anyone can see that the Count did it. Kermit had him keeping the books, years ago when we had a theatre. But the Count got off his medication somehow and killed Kent Lanomer... very messy. Whoever goes after him needs to be careful."
Lindsey felt his ones chill, and that horrible quiver along the back of his neck that told him things were very bad. "Yes, it was a very messy scene, from what I've heard. Could you excuse me for a moment?"
Lindsey stood up, motioning for the officer to step outside with him in what almost looked like a spasm.
As the door closed, the officer tipped his head towards the door, "That's Scooter Dee. I don't have the right words to explain him before you talk to him."
"What's been released to the press about the ribbon and wax? I don't recall any details beyond the number thirteen..." Lindsey shivered again, and glanced through the door's window at the cheerful looking Scooter Dee.
"That is all that's been released to the press. We've got some statements from some of the actors that used to work for Lanomer, apparently this Count person goes by the name Count vonCount, and he used to work someplace called the Muppet Theater, either run by a guy named Kermit or by Kermit and Scooter in there." With a small shrug, the officer admitted, "I don't know if he's right about the wax or not, all I know is it was red, and they all had a seal with the number thirteen, and the ribbons were black. I saw them through a clear plastic evidence bag."
"What else do you know about this Count fellow?" Lindsey hoped that he was wrong. Surely Scooter Dee hadn't tried to frame someone that terrified those uptight Watchers and demon leaders alike. It had to be a coincidence. Some sort of aspiring actor with a publicity stunt...
"Everyone we talked to that had been involved with the Muppet Theater knew who he was and hoped that he was still on his medication, though nobody would say what the medication was supposed to do. Some sort of crazy, no, the word's eccentric accountant, maybe four feet tall, some sort of Eastern European accent, built himself a little castle out past the city limits. The postman said he ends up with a couple bags of letters a month, and half of them seem to be from himself..." the officer shrugged. "That and the idea of him getting off his meds scared everyone half to death."
Lindsey fought chills, wanting to believe that it was just air conditioning. "He does sound eccentric. I don't think I'll be taking Mr. Dee as a client, though someone else from the company might. He scares me - I think this one might be the sort of insane that..."
"That hacks acting agents into little pieces and puts them into boxes?" the officer's voice was dry.
"Yeah," Lindsey nodded. He didn't want to add that if he had tried to frame the Count, it would go very, very badly for anyone who helped him. If demons were scared of this Count, he didn't want to anger him. "It seems like a pretty clear case for insanity, but I'm going to stay out of this one. As far out as possible."
Lindsey made his way back to the Wolfram & hart offices, though he couldn't really remember anything about the trip. He settled back at his desk with a mug of hot coffee and the file on Count vonCount, fighting to stop the shivers along his spine.
"I thought you'd take longer setting up the defense for Mr. Dee," Holland Manners' voice was disapproving.
"After I heard him try to frame Count vonCount for the murder, I decided not to take the case," Lindsey looked up. "Scooter Dee's homicidal, and he's trying to frame the Count, and therefore insane. The Count lives just outside the city limits, he's going to hear about this. He's going to know that Dee's trying to frame him, and he's going to be furious. I refuse to make myself a target of that anger."
"He's trying to frame Count vonCount?" Holland Manners shook his head, "That won't end well. I can see why you refused the case. Though someone willing to do a thing like that... we could find a use for someone like that."
"If he's very lucky, he'll end up in solitary confinement for the rest of his life," Lindsey offered.
"And if he's not so fortunate... I do believe I'll keep a close watch on Mr. Dee," Holland Manners smiled as he walked out of the office. It wasn't a nice smile.
Scooter Dee might find someone to try to defend him, to help him wiggle out of jail. The insanity plea might well work; he did seem to be insane. Not gibbering at the pretty colors and talking to potted plants insane, but completely out of touch with consequences insane. Lindsey wanted nothing to do with that. Especially since escaping jail might be the worst thing that could happen to Scooter Dee.
"Anyone taking this case will lose. Even if they win, they lose. Not me," he sipped at the coffee. Somehow, it didn't make him feel any better.
end Muppet Contracts 12: The Right to an Attorney.