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there was a body dressed in a suit and tie impaled on a fountain in front of the law firm of Strange and Fowler pumps recycling water from the basin below whispering geysers through the corpse. 20 ft into the air. The water now red from the blood of the unfortunate and illuminated at the precise point of their apogee by perfectly timed spotlights. The sun was not yet high enough to glint off the upper stories of the building. I was an associate at the firm just trying to get a jump on the 18 hour friday that lay ahead of me when chaos intervened and my otherwise orderly life, a right of blue lights hit me in the face as they turned the corner from my condo onto Peachtree Street, dozens of pinging strobes and a mob of cops. MTs tv cameras press and onlookers prevented me from seeing anything more until I got to the doors of the glass and steel tower that housed the firm. After a glance I ducked inside, not succumbing to the curiosity of the crowd creating to see more. After all, dead bodies in midtown Atlanta aren't that rare? It didn't strike me until I walked into the building that he might be one of our own. When I heard indistinct whispers of a familiar name, my eyes darted from one end of the slammed lobby to the other trying to find someone who might know and I saw one of the partners. The blood seemed drained from his face as severely as from the corpse in the fountain. Who? I'm sorry paul. It's Billingsley. Good God What suicide. No, it can't. He was just myself jumped from the observation deck. I turned to a group of passing security guard. I flashed my id. Yes, Mr Mcdaniel. Can you turn off? We're trying. Everything is run by computers. No one can figure out how to turn off the fountain and the corner can't get the body out until we do afraid you might get electrocuted if anything is shorted out. The body's been there over an hour. You can't let his wife see too late, cop saw his wallet in the water fish out and called her. Poor lady lost it. E. M. T. S had to sedate her. They just took her away in an ambulance. Can we at least keep his kids from? He shook his head. Every tv camera in the city is out there. His kids are likely watching it broadcast live on the hall monitors at school. Damn. Damn Billingsley. I had worked with frank Billingsley for the entire six years. I had been at the firm most of that time on just one case. Sycorax limited. The Milano corporation. Sycorax came out of nowhere claimed three key Milano patents and hired Hector Cabrini having recently won the largest judgment in state history against an airplane manufacturer to recover lost profits in the millions and secure intellectual property worth billions. Milano tapped Strange and Fowler Atlanta's most prestigious law firm for its defense, I just started there as an associate right out of Emory law just two weeks before the case was filed. By the time I got back to Fowler Cottage, Fowler had returned. He didn't answer the door. I let myself in. I walked down the hallway and glanced into the darkened study There. He sat, staring at the door, poised for a challenge. No longer the affable law partner, his eyes shining with malevolence in the darkness. His look stopped me short before I entered the room. We have told me you're on your way. What I paid him to assure the judges cause of death is officially an accident was apparently insufficient to secure the silence of his assistance. I chastised him for the indiscretion of his ambulance driver. I'm sure he will be dealt with severely. My only surprises that you made it back so quickly, that new push is rather fast. You are predictable. Mr Mcdaniel, you and your poor boy earnestness, Fowler stood and I took a couple steps into the cramped room toward him, remaining just out of his reach. What the **** is going on? You think I owe? You know very well, what's going on? You and that Milano girl? You both got it figured out last night, didn't you Anthony and I were able to manipulate the results of the Milano trial and get the shares of the corporation in his hands with hardly a wrinkle in our plan and I had every reason to believe you would take your undeserved share in the Partnership and keep your mouth shut, even if you had figured out what happened. But I did not count on Melissa's considerable charms and her ability to convince you to throw it all away for an illusory chance to be with her. I am always amazed how beautiful women can make brilliant man act stupid and you're just another in a long line. His taunting how the desired effect. I clench my fists ready to pummel him. Father looks down at my hands, then locked on my eyes. He didn't flinch. Melissa didn't Melissa is a liar, but now I'm afraid you'll never have the chance to find out just how thoroughly she deceived you. All she really wants is the shares of the Corporation to be returned to her father, so that they can be hers when he dies, preferably sooner rather than later. And she figures you were the only one reckless enough to take on Anthony milano and risk it all on her behalf. You probably should have studied Don Quixote a bit more closely in the end. Things don't go well for the chivalrous knight. How, how did you find out what Tony act so surprised you don't really think you could spend any time in this house where the President of the United States once stayed and make a move, say a word or even think a thought without my knowing about it, do you? This cottage is wired as tight as the white house. As soon as you went out last night. James alerted me from the guardhouse that you had walked out the kitchen door and we're sitting on the loggia. He said a live video feed to my cell phone. He even told me you were drinking san Pellegrino. When you went to the sand and out of range of the surveillance cameras to meet Melissa, The microphones lining the beach picked up every word of your conversation. James sent the audio to me as well. ****, I thought you were going to get lucky both you and that girl would have been better off doing that instead of talking all night, which is what I was forced to listen to until dawn, neither voluptuous nor skinny. The best way to describe. Rebecca is athletic, solid, but not heavy, thin, but not willowy, feminine and strong. I could see why the trooper backed away from another confrontation with Rebecca. But even though she was in a fish smarter t shirt and ragged jeans, I could tell it will be well worth in a sweeping to see her in your skivvies. She pulled off the full visor helmet, revealing a pleasant suntanned face scattered with freckles, not a hint of makeup, covering lines that radiated from the corners of her eyes and mouth. It was the face of someone who smiled easily and often. Her hair was short, ash blonde streaked with gray. She looked only a bit older than me, but years younger than Agent Gray. She lit up as soon as she saw him on the porch gray and he must be paul, The desperate outlaw, she yelled like we were all old friends. Unhooking the bungee cords to ****. The coolers got a mess of fish and a cooler full of beer. Agent Gray turned to me, paul. Meet Rebecca, the perfect woman. She's beautiful, She fishes, She brings beer, man are pretty damn simple. I don't know what other women have so much trouble with them. Grey shrugged. Domestic relations will be far more amiable all the way around if more women showed up with beer. And have you men got your ***** off the porch and give me a hand with these coolers, what you catch. I was in the mood for a little fly fishing, found a bed of bluegills and wore him out. Greg grabbed one of the coolers and lifted the lid. Sure did. Looks like a couple of dozen nice ones, but a pound each. Perfect. Eaton says you to clean them. I'll cook them. I missed seeing you over the weekend paul. I was busy. Her beautiful face appeared once again, now superimposed over a brief. I was busy on. I want to show you something I did for you this morning for me. Watch a video apparently shot from a tv news chopper. The station's call sign in the corner of the picture appeared. It was a view of biscayne Bay, the unmistakable Miami skyline in the near distance below. All manner of pleasure craft resuming about. But the camera focused on a cigarette boat flashing across the harbor, rooster tail flying, passing everything, heading straight for the massive concrete cruise ship berth on the man made island at the entrance to the bay. I watched as it closed in on the pier, expecting then hoping it would veer at the last second, but it didn't. It hit the pilings without slowing and exploded into a fireball that engulfed the entire doc. It had a full fuel tank. Ariel, what? That was Melissa in Cabrini. No aerial no. Why? Why paul? They hurt you and they hurt Placido and they planned to use Milano Corporation to do all those things. The two of you fought so hard to prevent Placido will now be back in control of Milano. His vision secure. But Ariel, you kill two people just like I killed two people back on the Milano Family island for you for placido. You both approved then. Does he know I showed him the video just before I showed it to you. My cell buzzed. Placido name popped up. Go ahead. Answer it, Placido wants to talk to you placido? I paul, I must stop her. I'm entering the code to placido. Stop. Think I must. Isn't there some other way. Can't you modify? No paul, Ariel can change your own code. I've got to placido. Listen to paul. Don't do that to me. Don't Ariel. I cried out to her. My guardian angel, Now horrified that I was powerless to save her as she had done countless times for me, aerials face distorted, she tried to say something, but the digital signal disrupted, tearing her beautiful face into jumbled lines, random pixels and then she was gone. The screen blank paul. There was no other way. I left the office, stalked the streets of midtown, dazed, hurt, retro placido. Heard for myself at a loss to make any sense of the mess. That was the last couple of months, so many had died sacrificed at the altar of greed and power. The same altar I've found myself before all too often. Was any of it worth it. And now Ariel. I stumbled back to my high rise, noting the grim reality that I had to wait like everyone else for an elevator to appear at my apartment. I crashed on my sofa, too exhausted even to take off my tie. I was awakened by a strange sound disoriented, not recognizing it. Then it was a whistle. The teapot are my stove was boiling, whistling the eye of the electric stove on high. I was sure I hadn't turned it on about the time. I turned off my coffee pot dinged, indicating a full brewed pot, but it wasn't time for that yet, that all the lights in my condo flashed on and off and I knew I opened my laptop and the smiling face of aerial appeared. Still beautiful though now slightly off the lines of signal, not quite aligned giving her eyes a wild, unfocused look. But she was back. Ariel paul. I thought I would never wake you. That teapot boiled for five minutes before you got up. I'm so happy to see so happy that you're that you're alive, you're alive. But I saw Placido tried to encode me. He was right, I can change my code and I stopped him and now he won't be able to do that again. You mean you fixed your code right that positive? I mean that placido will not be able to do that again. You didn't when he stepped into the elevator at his office he was surprised to see my face on a little screen, The one that usually displays meaningless advertisements but there I was. He cried and begged as I took the car to the 40th floor slowly so he could have an opportunity to explain himself. But he did not and he screamed all the way down though the journey was far more rapid than when he went up. The car was so damaged in the fall that the coroner has not yet been able to remove his body. Why why kill could you just, I had to make certain he could not try to encode me again but you can change your so now paul, it's just me and you. I heard the electronic deadbolt on my door slam home locked. Kiss me, paul. Kiss me like you did in the sea paul.