McCulloch's Last Stand
Edited by Karen Wilson
Cover by Mark Harrison
Copyright © 2013 by A.M. Sardar v1.2
Appropriate for Adults.
* * *
who wears his many talents lightly
* * *
The pick-up truck raced down the dirt track through the parched fields of South Texas spewing clouds of dust in its wake. It bucked and jumped over the potholes throwing the two occupants from side to side. It seemed a pointless journey to undertake at such a reckless speed through such a desolate place in the noon sun.
The truck raced on over the rise of a small hill and then dipped down into a natural hollow. It followed the snaking track to the end where the old farm house sat in the midst of a grove of wild olive trees.
The two occupants got out and stretched their aching limbs and dusted themselves down. The young man looked around in a slightly worried manner, nervous in these isolated surroundings. The young woman ignored his discomfort and gazed around the place in a bored, irritated manner, it was clear she didn’t want to be here.
The young man surveyed the tidy house looking for a sign of life and occupancy, but he was sadly disappointed. He turned to look at the young woman as she leaned back against the pickup, her arms folded in boredom, and shrugged; she pulled a face and nodded to the side of the house.
He turned and could see what she had been looking at; a simple hand-made chair facing outwards the distant hills with a resting figure turned away from them.
“Excuse me,” he said in a parched soft drawl.
There was no response from the figure.
He approached and tapped it on the shoulder and the head fell off.
“Oh my...” he gasped.
He stopped. The head was just a crudely carved face; he pulled a wry face and stooped to pick it up.
“What’re you doing with my scarecrow?” said a raspy soft voice to his right from the farmhouse porch.
Once again the young man jumped. He turned to see a tall lean figure standing on the porch.
“I’m sorry I thought it was you?” said the young man nervously.
The old man walked slowly and picked up the crude head carving, “Yeah... the resemblance is uncanny! Who are you?”
The young man smoothly reached into his breast pocket and handed over his business card.
The old man took it, gazed at it for a few minutes and then handed it back it with a sly mocking smile “I can’t read for shit without my glasses. What’s it say?”
“It says ‘William Corsair Attorney at Law’ and this is my legal secretary Ally May,” he said indicating the impatient young woman.
The old man’s eyes briefly touched her eyes, like two blades before a dueling contest.
“A lawyer eh? We can never have enough lawyers,” he said walking back towards the porch, “I owe you money?”
“Uhm, no; no you don’t” said the young man.
“Well, you sure don’t owe me none;” he whispered like an old rattler, “so, we got nothin’ to talk about.”
He turned back towards the door.
“You’re Jed McCulloch, right?” shouted the young man.
The old man paused, refused to turn around, cleared his throat and spat over his shoulder onto the ground, “Leave me alone.”
“Come on Bill, you’re wasting your time,” said the woman with a cold sneer.
The old man ignored her, entered the farm house and closed the door to the world.
“There’s a young girl, she’s only seventeen, been charged with murdering her baby,” shouted the young man at the door.
Nothing. No movement.
“They’re going to ask for the death penalty,” he said in frustration.
He turned and looked at the woman but she refused to meet his glance, stubbornly staring into the middle distance.
He sighed and reluctantly walked back to the pickup.
“You all leavin’ without a drink,” said the old man from the porch, holding out a couple of beers.
The young man smiled and nodded in amusement and even the woman gave a wry grin. He took the beers from the old man, handed one to the woman and sat down on the porch step.
“To your health,” said Bill raising his bottle. Jed returned the gesture with a wry smile, threw the scarecrow on the ground and sat down in the chair, “what’s this about?”
“Do you follow the news much Mr. McCulloch?”
“Jed will do fine. No I don’t. No need for it out here. Go ahead.”
“Girl I was telling you (your door) about is Mary Beth Reagan. She’s charged with killing her new born baby. Like I said, she’s seventeen and eligible for the death penalty. I’ve been appointed by the court to defend her. Case comes to court in four weeks time.”
“What’re you doing wasting your time with me? Nothing to defend out here.”
“I’m in a bit of a bind. I... I don’t have much experience of criminal law. I could use an old hand in this.”
“So what did ya specialize in?”
“It’s not important.”
“Go on, spit out!”
“Corporate law, yeah, I know. Not the best training.”
“Can never have enough tax lawyers,” said the old man taking a swig from the bottle.
“I need someone experienced in criminal law, especially homicide, someone like you. Help me prepare a defense. So far I’ve zilch. Nothing.”
“OK, I get the point.”
“Your name was recommended to me. That’s why we’re out here talking to you.”
“You must be desperate to trek out here.”
He looked slowly around the dusty courtyard and gazed into the middle distance, contemplating, and then he spat on the ground, licked his lips and took another slug of beer.
“Everyone else turn you down Bill? That is your name, isn’t it?” he whispered like a parched breeze.
“I’m not going to blow smoke up your ass, nobody wants to touch this.”
“What about you? Why you doin it? Why you even here?” said McCulloch.
A raw nerve had been touched and the woman quickly turned away from the pair.
“I’m here and it is what it is,” he said firmly.
“Look I’ll admit you weren’t my first choice but this goes beyond pride Mr. McCul... Jed. She’s only seventeen and they’re going for the death penalty. I need help to come up with some kind of credible defense.”
The old man took another swig from the beer bottle, rolled the cool beer around his mouth, and then finally spoke, “what’s she gotta say for herself?”
“Who Ally?” he said puzzled. Then it dawned on him, “Oh, I see. You mean Mary Beth. That’s my biggest problem. She’s not said a word to me, or anyone else for that matter. Seems to me she just doesn’t care what happens.”
“Haven’t tackled something this big for a long time, I mostly do some pro bono work for the Catholic charities, some possession stuff, a little childcare, nothing major. Don’t know if I can be of any help.”
“Just come in for a day or so; just have a look at the case. See where I can take it, hmm? What do you say?”
“I appreciate your problem, Bill. But I’m retired now, I like it out here, peace and solitude appeals to me. No one bothers me. I don’t wanna go back to all that.”
“Not askin you to fight the case or anything, just help me mitigate the charges, come up with a defense strategy,” said Bill.
“Mitigate? That’s a real fancy word, definitely a tax lawyer’s word,” smirked McCulloch.
“I’m glad you like my vocabulary, high praise indeed,” said Bill, he raised his bottle to McCulloch in mock salute and took a large swig.
“Don’t knock it. Words and his wits are all that a lawyer can take into court,” replied McCulloch.
“Well? Can I count on you?”
“Let me think on it.”
“If you do come I have an office in the McKinley Building, back on Second...”
“I know where it is,” interrupted McCulloch.
“Well, thanks for considering it. Goodbye.”
Jed nodded at Bill and then at Ally May, “Mam.”
She nodded curtly and walked away.
“Damn, I never thought she’d shut up,” said Jed.
* * *
McCulloch came down from Paducah on route 83 through Anson into Abilene.
The McKinley Building hadn’t seen better days, it was always a depressing featureless office block hurriedly thrown up in the post-war boom, and now it housed various businesses needing cheap temporary office space.
Jed McCulloch stared up and nearly turned back; maybe this wasn’t such a good idea he thought. He checked the hand-written list of businesses at the entrance found Corsair, attorney at law and entered with a little hesitation.
Bill Corsair gripped the phone tightly as he tried to control his temper, “No, no that’s no good! I can’t wait that long. I go to trial in less than three weeks; I need the medical examiners report right now!”
Ally May looked up with concern, she’d never seen Bill so worked up and worried. He was being overwhelmed with the case.
“What the hell do ya mean it’s not typed? Is there something in there the DA doesn’t want me to see?” he asked pointedly.
More talking and explanation at the other end of the line.
“Well, alright, if it’s so straightforward why can’t I get a copy?”
A loud knock on the door interrupted his thoughts, “can ya get that Ally? Yes, I’m still here.”
Ally crossed the room and opened the door to find Jed McCulloch standing there in jeans, an old-fashioned jacket and a baseball cap, “I see you changed your mind,” she said flatly and walked back to her desk.
Jed walked in, closed the door, touched his cap in salutation.
“I got tired of waiting to die; besides, you were so persuasive Miss May.”
She ignored his remark and carried on with her paperwork.
Bill waved his hand in recognition and held up a single finger indicating one minute; Jed waved back and looked around the drab, bare office.
A large table in the middle of the room was piled high with files, two desks faced each other across the room, each with a monitor and keyboard, and on the back wall was a large display. Jed walked over to the display which had a picture of a young girl with her name neatly typed and stuck to the bottom of it, Mary Beth Reagan, and various colored ribbons stretching out to other photographs dotted across the whole wall.
Jed turned to Ally over his shoulder and asked, “how about some coffee?”
“No, thanks, I’ve just had one. Nice of you to ask though,” she said turning her head to hide the smile.
“I meant one for me,” he said wryly.
Ally nodded towards the pot, “help yourself.”
“OK, well I’m coming over and you’d better have something for me. And if I don’t get it today, you’re screwed!” Bill shouted slamming the phone down.
The violence of his outburst momentarily stunned the room and even he was embarrassed at his actions and responded with a weak, ‘uhm, sorry.”
“Family?” asked Jed.
“Sorry about that Jed, they’ve been jerking me around on the baby’s post-mortem report,” said Bill waving his hand in the general direction of the phone.
He moved forward and shook Jed’s hand warmly, “Good to see you here.”
“Well thanks, but I have to say this is only for a few days. Just so you can get started.”
“That should be a learning experience,” quipped Ally from across the room.
“Ignore her, she thinks I should do this on my own,” said Bill, “here sit down.”
Jed sat down facing Bill, “so, how did you wind up with this?”
“Not my choice, the public defender dropped out two weeks ago after the arraignment.”
“They’ve got a scratch farm over in Marylebone County, not enough to afford an attorney.”
“So you got this after the trial date was set?”
“Ouch! Why you?”
“I just happened to be in the courthouse that day, was sorting out zoning issues for one of my clients. Judge asked if there were any lawyers present; there were four of us.”
“Let’s just say I didn’t decline when asked.”
“Good for you,” said Jed smiling.
“I can’t believe they won’t move the trial date forward.”
“Not unusual, you’re on the county dime now; don’t want you billing for hours they can’t afford.”
“Well, let’s get to it. Have a look at this,” said Bill getting up and gesturing to the large display.
“Go ahead, let’s hear it.”
“This is Mary Beth Regan,” said Bill, pointing to the central picture of a slightly moon-faced girl, “only child of Mathew Regan,” indicating the father. “They live out in Marylebone County. He runs a small farm, nothing much, not poor, not rich, just average. Kid doesn’t go to school; father stopped her about three years ago.”
“Education being a luxury around these parts,” observed Ally May who had wandered over to the display.
“Mother?” asked Jed.
“Name of Abigail, died about four years ago, I don’t know what of, but I can find out if you want?”
“No need at the moment, go on.”
“OK let’s move on. On the fourteenth of July this year, at about two in the afternoon Sally Wesley,” indicating a miserable-looking woman, “was waiting at this bus stop, that’s opposite the Regan property,” he indicated a bus stop on the map separated by a road from the shack, “when she heard a baby crying.”
“A baby fer sure?”
“That’s what she says.”
“Cabe Lassiter,” he pointed to photo of a miserable looking man, “a farm-hand on the Wesley farm, was walking across this top field at about three when he saw smoke rising from the tool shed. He came down this track towards the shed when he saw him,” and he tapped the picture of a sullen young black teenage boy, “Jonas Williams running down this track here away from the tool shed. When Lassiter got there the tool shed was nearly half burnt. He started running towards the Regan farmhouse to tell Mathew Regan that the Williams boy had burnt his shed down. He was coming round the back of the house, about five to six hundred yards off, when he saw Mary Beth lying on the ground.”
“Yes and bleeding profusely. I’ve seen the dress she was wearing and it was completely soaked.”
“Where was the father?”
“Away in town. Well anyway, Lassiter sees Mary Beth, thinks the Williams boys stabbed her or something so he picks her up and takes her down to the road here. Flags down a car driven by,” pointing to a picture of an insanely smiling man, “Mark Dowman. Dowman also confirms that he saw the Williams boy running across this field. Anyway they take her to the County General Hospital.
“She come round or anything during this drive?”
“No, nothing. Out like a light. She’s admitted by Doctor Czudek, and very soon he knows she’s not stabbed or anything, that in fact she’d just given birth.”
“How come she was still bleeding?”
“Doctor reckoned that she pulled the placental cord too hard and ripped her insides. Not only that, there was a piece of the placenta left inside causing toxic shock. She lost nearly four pints of blood and was going into shock. Doctor Czudek managed to save her. She’s very lucky to be alive.”
“I bet that’s not what she thinks. She still in Hospital?”
“No, they moved her to County Jail about two weeks ago. Anyway Doctor calls the Sheriff about the Regan girl, saying how she’s just given birth but there’s no baby. So the Sheriff goes out to the Regan place with Lassiter who tells him about the Williams boy and the burning tool shed.”
“What’d they find?”
“Once they put the fire out, this is what they got.”
Bill opened a folder and showed Jed the photos of an indistinct burnt lump of flesh.
Jed looked closely and could make out the head, trunk and limbs of a small baby charred black, “this is bad.”
“I know, why do you think I came looking for you? It wasn’t for your warm personality,” replied Bill.
“What about the Williams boy? Is he charged with her?”
“No. He claims he only helped start the fire; said he knew nothing about the baby inside. I reckon he’s going to cut a deal.”
“Didn’t he wonder why she wanted to burn down her own shed?”
“Says,” looking down and reading from a statement, “It’s her shed; she can do what she likes with it. Can you believe that?”
“No! Didn’t he see her bleeding?”
“Claims no, what do you think?”
“Oh, I’ve a few thoughts;” teased Jed with a little smile, “tell me what you think?”
“OK, I think he’s lying through his teeth. I’ve got a witness, James L Roy,” answered Bill pointing at another miserable looking young boy on the display board, “who says Williams used to hang around the Regan place. Father had to chase him off the place, threatened to shoot him if he turned up again.”
“He isn’t the father is he?”
“The Williams boy? No. They did a DNA test, definitely wasn’t his.”
There was a silence as Jed was lost in thought for a moment.
“I wonder how long she’s been doing the deed? Could be three to four years.”
“Are you serious? Since she was twelve?” asked Bill.
“Girls grow up fast around here,” observed Jed.
“No, they grow up same as anywhere else, it’s just the men don’t leave ‘em alone,” interrupted Ally from across the room.
Jed chose to ignore her comment and turned to Bill, “what’s your defence?”
“Not much to go on. Diminished responsibility, giving birth and all. Her keeping quiet would seem to support it,” said Bill, a little nervous under Jed’s intent gaze.
“Naw, too simple. Could be argued she’s keeping quiet ‘cause she know she’s heading for jail, even death row,” replied Jed.
Bill shrugged his shoulders a little showing this was the best he could do, “look, I’ll have to go. Coroner’s office shuts in half an hour.”
Bill pulled on his jacket and headed towards the door, “what do you wanna do first?”
“I wanna see Mary Beth,” replied Jed.
Ally moved across and gave a Jed a cool stare, “it won’t do you any good, she’s not talking to anyone.”
“So you say. I still wanna see her.”
“OK. Ally could you phone over to the jail and let them know Jed’s coming. Gotta go, good to have you with us Jed,” added Bill closing the door behind him.
“Yeah, the excitement is unbearable,” said Ally. The comment had no effect on Jed; he was staring intently at the large display. She ignored him back and phoned the jail.
“It’s all set up, they’re expecting you,” said Ally.
“What do you reckon Miss May, could she have done it? Killed her baby?” said Jed quietly.
“I don’t know, seems hard to imagine.”
“Hmm, I know what you mean.”
“Hard; but not impossible.”
“Honest as ever. You don’t exactly like me do you?”
“What’s there to like? I’ve asked around to see what you were like, ever since Bill got it into his head to ask you for help,” said Ally whilst she sorted out some files.
“And what did you find out?” prodded Jed.
“That you were a miserable drunkard, always blowing up in court and being thrown out. Everyone hated the sight of you. There wasn’t a friend you didn’t betray or let down. That you were lucky to have stayed out of jail yourself.”
Jed raised his eyebrows slightly in disbelief and then replied with a wry smile, “and the bad points?”
“You can mock, but that’s what I was told.”
“So why was I on young Bill’s list? Could you answer me that?”
She paused, stopped playing with the files and drew a deep breath, “in your time you were the best criminal lawyer Abilene has ever had. But I don’t see it. All I see is a doddering old fool who can’t even remember to zip his flies.”
Jed looked down quickly at his trousers and realized she’d been teasing him.
“Made you look,” she said with a giggle.
“Though I’m enjoying the character assassination I have to take my leave. Now where’s my book,” said Jed patting his jacket to find a slim book in an inside pocket.
“What’re you reading?” she asked despite herself.
“Oh, this, Walt Whitman, I find him up-lifting in difficult times,” he said holding up the book.
“Really? I always found him a little superficial.”
“No,” said Jed heading out of the door, “you’re thinking of Walt Disney. Good day Miss May.”
* * *
She was a frail, pitiful creature deserving of mercy and not the contempt that had been heaped upon her since the discovery of the burning tool shed. The world had given her nothing and she by turn had accepted this and withdrawn from it. She had the familiar gait of a prison zombie, walking without purpose and going nowhere. McCulloch had the decency not to stare as she stood in the doorway with a detached stare.
The guard nudged her into the room and she resumed her listless walk to the table and chair. Dumb insolence or total detachment, it was difficult to say what made her stand for many minutes until the guard applied pressure to her shoulder and she sat down. A grimace indicated to any casual observer for the first time that the girl was silently suffering her physical pain. The guard gave a cursory glance, left the room and closed the door behind him.
McCulloch casually arranged his jacket on the back of the chair, sat down opposite the pale girl and pulled out his book. He searched and located the page that he was looking for and, taking a deep breath, began to read. This scenario persisted for many minutes and someone looking on would have thought that he would be compelled to acknowledge the girl in some manner, but this he steadfastly refused to do.
The sound of his raspy breathing was barely disturbed by the flutter and soft sighs of the girl’s little breaths but still the pair resolutely ignored each other and persisted in their willful ways.
In time, the light from the window changed to a softer warm glow fusing the dreary room with a beauty ill-deserved but it did not soften or, in any other material way, change the demeanor of the pair.
“Time’s up,” announced the guard from the doorway.
Slowly McCulloch gathered his things, acknowledged the girl with a faint nod of his aged head, thanked the guard and left the room.
The walk across town was uneventful and McCulloch made good time back to the office. He was amused to find all the lights in the office blazing and thought neither of the occupants had ever managed a household on a limited income.
He knocked on the door, as was his habit of many years, walked in without pausing for a welcoming answer and made his way directly to the coffee pot, well aware his every move was being observed.
“You’re back. How did it go? Did she say anything?” asked Bill looking up from the Medical Report.
“No, she didn’t. But then I didn’t expect her to.”
McCulloch sat down wearily and adjusted his collar, his craggy face even more wrinkled and tired than his advancing years would bear witness to, and took a sip of acrid over-brewed coffee before speaking, “She’s totally cut off from the world, doesn’t give a shit! Has she seen a psychiatrist?”
“Yeah, County sent one over, he didn’t do any better than you. Now you can see what I’m up against.”
“Jed, I’ve checked you into the Fairfield Inn, they’re expecting you,” said Ally May from across the room.
“Well, you can check me out again, ‘cause I’m not staying at that dump. Haven’t they got something at the Hilton Garden?”
“Woah, hang on there Jed. I know we haven’t talked about a fee or anything but the Hilton‘s a little pricey,” interrupted Bill.
“Don’t worry counselor, I’ll pay for it,” he said firmly, “Go ahead and call them.”
Further conversation was interrupted by a loud knock; a delivery boy had arrived with an order. Bill opened the door and asked “how much I owe ya?”
“That’s eighteen dollars.”
“Here’s twenty, keep the change.”
The ungrateful look on the young man’s face was garnished with scorn and contempt.
“Food?” asked Jed as Bill started placing the various items on the table
“Mm hm! I thought you might be hungry.”
“What you got?”
Jed started to poke around the assorted cartons when Ally came up to the table and sat down opposite him, “it’s all set, I’ve got you a room at the Hilton.”
A subtle and sly smile twinkled in her green eyes and Jed had momentary cause to be concerned at the significance of such an obvious sign. Before he could question her any further she resumed speaking, “Oh, Chinese again. That’s the third time this week Bill, can’t you think of anything else?”
The trio quickly unpacked their cartons of food, added in whatever Cantonese delicacy took their fancy and slowly ate in peace for a while.
“So what do you reckon? We got a chance or what?” said Bill between mouthfuls.
“Too early to say, but there’s a couple of things we can start on.”
“I wouldn’t mind seeing the DA, see what he’s got.”
“I thought you might. We’ve got a meeting with him tomorrow morning, at 10. What else?”
“It’s been a busy day for me, let me sleep on it. Anything in the ME’s report?”
“The body was pretty badly burned, but she reckons asphyxia. Baby was dead when they started the fire.”
“At least that’s a small mercy; Jury would’ve been pissed off if they’d burnt the baby alive.”
“Listen, Jed, are you planning to argue in court? Do you want to be second chair?”
The abruptness of the question made the old man pause; it was well intentioned but the implications were far reaching. He had promised himself that he would offer what little assistance he could for a few days to the young man and then return to the sanctuary of his isolated farm. If he accepted this offer he would be here for the duration of the trial and most likely any appeals and follow-ups.
“To be honest I hadn’t thought about it. Do ya really want me to?”
“It’s going be mighty lonely on my own; you can bet the DA’s going to have a table-full of assistants going after that girl.”
“You need to work on your emotional blackmail, if you’re going to succeed as an attorney,” smiled Jed.
Bill blushed a little and even Ally May smiled at their exchange.
“I don’t know if I can. You forget I was barred,” reminded Jed.
“Ally can look into it, maybe we can work something out.”
“Let me think on it and you go ahead and find out where I stand legally on being an attorney.”
“Sure,” replied Ally May as she toyed with her food.
“You don’t seem to be enjoying your food Miss May? You know it’s a sin to waste it.”
“Please, don’t start on that ‘When I was young’ crap.”
“Oh. I wouldn’t presume to lecture you, but you don’t realize what you have. I had a friend once, what you’d call a senior citizen, who was having a hard time. He used to save up and buy a big pizza with loads of different toppings; it was huge, feed a whole family it would. Well, he kept that in his ice box and made it last the whole week.”
“Does this story have a purpose?” asked Ally.
“Oh yes, I’m getting there. Well one time some kids broke into his place, trashed it. Sprayed paint on his walls, ripped up all his stuff, and you know what? They crapped on his pizza. They crapped on it and put it back in the ice box.”
“Oh Lord, that’s disgusting!” said Bill
“Well I asked my friend ‘what didja do?’ You know what he said?”
There was a pause, one that seemed to last an inordinate amount of time, before Ally spoke, “What, what did he say?”
“He said,” replied Jed before pausing to gather his thoughts, “I had to throw some of it away!”
Bill and Ally May exchanged shocked glances, their mouths wide open with half-chewed Cantonese food then, as one, they both started making retching sounds. Their disgust greatly amused the old man and it was all he could do not to choke on his food as he laughed wildly.
* * *
The old pick-up truck raced around the central fountain in front of the hotel, a pillar of local stone surrounded by three audacious flagpoles flying Old Glory, the State flag and the Hilton corporate flag; an equivalence of status that Jed failed to comprehend, and stopped at the covered entrance. The valet parking attendant gave Jed a sneering smirk at the state of his truck which he returned with a ‘fuck-you’ look.
The young woman at the dark blue reception desk gave Jed a welcoming smile which was all teeth and no eyes, “Welcome to the Hilton Gardens Sir, can I help you?”
“Yes, I have a room booked, name of McCulloch,” replied Jed.
She smiled again in response and checked on her terminal for his booking.
“Jed McCulloch?” asked the Receptionist, failing to hide her surprise.
“Yes, is there a problem?”
“No, no problem, it’s just that... we have you down for the Bridal Suite, and”, she looked pointedly behind him; “you appear to be alone.”
“You what?” it was then Jed realized why Ally was smirking when she had made the booking and smiled, “someone’s idea of a joke, could you change it for a normal room?”
“I’m afraid I can’t, the last room just went. “
“OK then, how about a discount for under occupancy?”
Abilene stretched out before Jed as he looked at the town with deeply mixed feelings; once he had owned the town, the most feared and respected lawyer marked for high office, perhaps even State Attorney. But the glory of those days were like ashes in his mouth now, so much promise and potential thrown away, nothing but the slow march to senility. Perhaps it was foolish to have become involved in the case; a last ‘hurrah’ that could fail and condemn the young girl to a lethal injection. But all things considered, he had not felt more alive and juiced up since meeting the girl, her plight and circumstances had touched him and he had resolved to help her in any way he could. He had to do it before the blackness ate him.
There was a knock at the door and Jed tore himself away from the window to answer it.
The hotel attendant smiled standing before a large trolley laden with a bouquet, a magnum of champagne and food, “Room Service, Sir,” he said.
“I didn’t order anything.”
“Compliments of the management Sir, Bridal Suite always gets a late supper.”
“What is it?”
“Champagne and oysters Sir.”
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