Chapter 50 continues

The story so far: The state approaches the defense team with a deal.


They dropped Debs off at the train station. “Give ’em hell!” he yelled as they drove away. Then they rushed to the courthouse, Elizabeth honking her horn and passing buggies on the road. When they arrived, Elizabeth stopped the car. “Can you park it?”

By the time Katka and Old Joe entered the courthouse, Elizabeth was nowhere to be seen. They walked into a foyer and a scholarly looking man with a monocle and a thin tie stopped them. When Katka told him they were with Mrs. Flynn, the man told them she was engaged in an urgent, private meeting. He brought them to a waiting room. “The negotiation room is down a hallway just beyond. I will tell her you are waiting for her here.”

Katka and Old Joe sat. A parade of men in suits filed through the waiting room and into the hallway. Katka recognized Warren H. Greene, the chief prosecutor. His picture had been in all the papers. Then nothing happened for a long time. “Should have brought a deck of cards,” Old Joe said.

“I’m too nervous to do anything but be nervous,” Katka said. “I can’t think straight.”

“Don’t need to think straight to play gin rummy. Maybe I’ll ask that skinny man with the eyeglass. Even learned men play cards.”

Just as Old Joe was getting up, Elizabeth emerged from beyond the door. As usual, she was a blizzard of energy and her words came out like a windstorm. “I think we have something that will work. But it is not our decision to make. Lily and the men are en route from the county jail. Ultimately, it will be their decision.”

“Is it a good deal, Elizabeth? Will they be freed?” Katka asked.

“I hope so. Either way, you’ll be able to see them. They should arrive shortly.”

Katka’s heart was pounding. She felt warm all over. Her brain began to spin. She was excited. She was terrified. Paul was coming. And he might be freed.

She heard the outside door in the foyer open and close. She held her breath and strained to listen. At first, she thought she was imagining things. She heard something. A giggle. Followed by a high-pitched screech. The doors to the waiting room opened and in walked a smartly dressed woman, a secretary perhaps, carrying an infant. The baby reached his arms toward Old Joe. “You family?” the woman asked. When Old Joe nodded, she handed baby Gregor to him.

A moment later, Lily came in, her arms chained, her copper hair a mangled nest. There was a deep abrasion on her cheek. Her nose was misshapen. She walked in a shuffle, her legs enjoined by manacles. She was escorted by a police officer.

“Lily!” Katka cried. She ran toward her teta and threw her arms around her neck.

Lily turned her head and kissed Katka’s cheek. “How’s my little matchka?” she whispered.

“Stand down, ma’am!” the police officer cried. “Do not touch the prisoner! No physical contact!”

Katka held on tightly. “I love you, Lily. I absolutely love you.” By the time the officer pried Katka’s hands off Lily, Katka was sobbing. “Are you all right?”

Lily smiled wanly. “Seen better days. But I guess I’ve seen worse, too.” She glanced over at baby Gregor, who was content with Old Joe. She lowered her voice. “They fixing to kill me today?”

“No, Lily, that’s not it.”


Tomorrow: Chapter 50 continues.