In day 10, the "Peak" freewrite of The Posture of Innocence, Mr. Jetson Black and Captain H.F. Lee at last met, and Mr. Black brought to Captain Lee the information about the Soames case withheld from the captain by his own department -- evidence of a massive cover-up originating from within the department itself about the true and known murderer of John Soames. Captain Lee came to the "peak" of his anger -- but now in the second installment, it is time to plan what to do next to make sure justice gets done!
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, day 9.5, and day 10!
After passing the necessary information to Ms. Thornton, Captain Lee returned, took another of the large glasses, and removed from the refrigerator the largest pitcher – strong limeade with two bunches of mint in it. He first offered some to Mr. Black, who said he was perfectly satisfied with his tea. After that, half the pitcher's contents went into that glass, and the contents of the glass went into the captain, in a very slow and measured way. After that, the glass was put aside for washing, and Captain Lee resumed his chair.
“Thank you, Mr. Black. My investigation was leading that way, but it would have taken me much longer because I have only been here seven months, and there are people working against me.”
“My pleasure. That's actually why I came. I work with the Innocence Project now in Charlottesville. We know a lot about your cold cases. We need to know more about your methods. I'm hoping we can do some things together.”
Captain Lee considered this.
“I would think my cousin Captain Hamilton, who already has publicly expressed his desire to work with you, would be a better choice.”
“Oh, we are working with him – I talked to him just yesterday,” he said. “Yet, frankly, he only has 48 cold cases to work with that are of interest to the Innocence Project, and although he does not have your skill with old data sets, he is competent and will get through them relatively quickly. Your department has about 1,700 cold cases of interest. Nine-tenths of them aren't even listed so you can get to them, and the clues are scattered in records nobody is going to tell you about if we don't.”
Captain Lee sat back, and sighed.
Mr. Black leaned back, and smiled slightly.
“We know you know, Captain. I could see it and hear it in how you handled yourself at that press conference, and so carefully and completely crushed Ms. DeVille's posture – not the presence, but the posture – of innocence. But that's the thing, Captain Lee – that posture of innocence that the people descended or least benefiting from those who settled this continent by genocide and slavery want to maintain is why Tom Jones has been away from home for 25 years while the true murderer drew checks from this department for 20 of those years and now is enjoying a plush retirement. Ms. DeVille is among the ones that just get to assume the posture of innocence. You crushed her posturing, Captain Lee. So, I know where you stand.
“Let me say this another way, Captain. We are running out of time for the men and women and families whose lives were sacrificed to the posture of innocence for your section of society. Virginia has known for 25 years that Tom Jones is not a murderer; he is now 45 years old. He almost didn't live to escape. Other men have been sitting in prison for years and decades for crimes they did not commit, to maintain the posture of innocence for someone else. Now you have a bunch of cold cases you're clearing every 10 days, and that's good. But a lot of those are not going to make as much difference in how people live their lives as some of the ones I'm talking about.”
Captain Lee was silent for a long time.
“I want to help you,” he said. “But unlike Captain Hamilton, I don't make all the decisions here.”
Mr. Black smiled.
“You think Commissioner Scott will be willing to see me tomorrow, after y'all go pick up a certain retiree?”
“Let me know, Captain Lee. All I needed to know is that you are willing. I know how to work with your commissioner too. I brought you the Soames solution to get my foot in your door; I just need you to use your foot to get me in his.”
“That, I will do if it can be done. I owe you that, for you do not yet know how much you have helped me.”
“Yes, I do,” Mr. Black said. “You've been away 23 years. I haven't. Your cold cases are pretty much an open book to me and my team, but I had to be sure that you were the kind of man who was worth helping. Black labor has been wasted for 400 years on White Virginians, so far as the needs of Black people are concerned.”
That was harsh – about as harsh as anyone had dared to speak of Virginia's history with Captain Lee. However, he met it calmly.
“I was neither born nor called nor returned to Virginia,” he said, “to keep up my family's portion of that waste, as you put it. I will do all that I can for you, in the interests of justice for all.”
“That's all I need. I'll be waiting for your call. Here is my card, and I'll write my cell phone number on it. Call me anytime, day or night. I'm going to get out of your way and let you do what you need to do with this information, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.”
“I give you my word, Mr. Black.”
“It's generally held in Virginia that the word of a Lee is good.”
“I do strive to hold up the better parts of the legacy, sir.”
“You're doing well, Captain. I want you to be able to do even better. I look forward to your call.”
“Thank you, Mr. Black.”
“Good afternoon, and thank you for the fine hospitality. That tea was perfect.”
“Good afternoon, you're welcome, and I will let the staff know.”
Mr. Black sallied out into the afternoon heat, well pleased. When he had gotten well away from Big Loft's police headquarters, he dialed a number on his phone.
“Hello? Yes, Jimmy [James Varick IV, editor in chief of the Lofton County Free Voice], I'm out of there. You were right. Captain Lee is as reasonable as his Tinyville cousin; there's not a hint of corruption in him, and he is certainly recovering from the bigotry of his class of men. The commissioner may be trickier, but with y'all backing me, I don't think that's going to be a problem … I'd lay you even money there's going to be another press conference because Commissioner Scott is going to show off how his department is willing to rough up retirees that have enjoyed years of the good life just to show he's serious about doing the right thing.
“Yes, send Nathan [Nathan Turner, senior reporter for the Free Voice] to the press conference, and have him arrange to run into and be talking to me where the commissioner can see it … got to do it when Captain Lee has his back turned, though … if he senses a setup he's the kind of fellow who will slam the door and lock it on us. Lee is not to be played with. He is one of those men we need to secure to our cause just to keep him out of the hands of the enemy … if they had tried a little harder on the Union side with his infamous uncle, things would have been different in the war, I tell you … well, there is not a wannabe-Confederate bone in the nephew, so if we don't mess it up, I think we won't have trouble from him.”