Continuing on with The Posture of Innocence through the "Peak" freewrite ... Captain Lee and Mr. Jetson Black finally meet, and Mr. Black comes offering some information about the Soames case that indeed takes Captain Lee to the peak of his anger!
A little retrospective ... The Posture of Innocence begins with Captain Lee reopening the Soames case and discovering the great injustice done by a lying witness who for 25 years has played innocent while her testimony has attached guilt to an innocent man. To get caught up before the investigation widens out (because it will), here are the prologue, day 1, day 2, day 3, day 3.5, day 4, day 4.5, day 5, day 5.5, day 6, day 7, and day 7.5, day 8, day 9, and day 9.5!
Mr. Black was studying the tall file cabinets he could not get open without leaving a mark by the time the captain and lieutenant returned. Handshakes all around, and a surprise –.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Jetson Black, renowned private investigator. It is a true honor to meet you.”
Lieutenant Jackson's mouth fell open, and Mr. Black was startled as well.
“Lieutenant,” the captain growled, and the lieutenant closed his mouth instantly.
“Yes, sir – sorry, sir.”
“Would you like to stay, Lieutenant? I know I have given you your assignment for the day, but we both stand to learn from Mr. Black.”
“Sir, with all due respect, it's going to take the whole day to get that done.”
“Then, dismissed – go to it, Lieutenant. Call me if you hit any kind of snag.”
The lieutenant went, and Mr. Black smiled.
“I think I accidentally frightened him a little,” he said.
“Perhaps just a little, but we need not try to deceive each other,” Captain Lee said. “There was no accident about any of your coming. I presume my office yielded no secrets to you?”
“None, sir,” Mr. Black said. “If you had known I was coming, I'm sure you would have left me at least one cul-de-sac to wander around.”
“Next time, sir, do me the courtesy of not trying to intimidate by a sudden drop-in, and I'll oblige you.”
“I knew you would forgive me when I gave you the information I have on the Soames case. Look at this.”
Mr. Black opened his briefcase and pulled out a file folder to hand to Captain Lee, who began to read it, and then showed his hidden depths of passion all at once.
“You mean to tell me that someone confessed to the Soames murder 25 years ago, and the state wouldn't even consider prosecution?” he roared.
Mr. Black restrained a smile. Lee was all right, after all -- he did have a heart, and it was basically in the right place.
“The state wouldn't even consider an arrest – he's been out there, walking around loose, for 25 years, enjoying the full freedom he forever denied John Soames and for 25 years has denied Tom Jones and his family. Keep looking through the file.”
Captain Lee kept reading until he was finished, and then put the file down. How different his aspect then – the marble replaced by plum, his dark eyes flashing lightning, his forehead furrowed in the whole storm, the veins standing out in his neck.
Yet Mr. Black knew this was not the worst. There was a note in his files about the modern Lee back to his West Point days and another nickname: “Everest,” because at the peak of his anger, one did not get an explosion. Some peaks were higher than volcanoes, made as continents collided and whose faces forced weather to form on site. The height of Captain Lee's rage was just that high, cold, and utterly deadly when he reached that peak – and he reached it, the light in his eyes suddenly turning to a cold brightness. His voice was calm once again, but ice cold.
“They interviewed him here – Captain Orton Thomas, the late commissioner here, did the interview. The man practically confessed there as well. The file was hidden away from the records of interrogation after the interrogations of Tom Jones, whose story never changed and checks out to the last degree. But they had this on Officer Joe Cadbury a week before they ever brought in Tom Jones. Everybody from Mrs. DeVille to this department just started making up stories, and they have all been lying, lying, lying for 25 solid years.”
It was actually frightening to consider how Captain Lee snatched up the phone receiver. His voice and face were oh, so calm, but his body was ready to snap every bone in a whole bunch of people's bodies. Mr. Black restrained a chuckle. Orton Thomas had certainly found out, at the last possible moment, that Captain Lee could keep calm and blow your brains right out both figuratively and literally. Others were going to find out!
“Commissioner Scott, good afternoon. A citizen has just brought me evidence of who the murderer is in the Soames case, and it ties up with some other things I have discussed with you. Ms. Thornton is coming down? Yes, I will give it to her to bring to you. What I want is permission to get a warrant.”
Captain Lee hung up the phone and went to the door – “Hello, Ms. Thornton, how are you? … please take this to Commissioner Scott … no, I'm not fine at the moment, because there has been a great, great miscarriage of justice, but it will soon be set right, Lord willing … thank you for doing your part … stay untroubled, dear heart … yes, I will drink some mint limeade in a minute … thank you.”