The Brethren - Page 34

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Chapter Thirty-Four

Treyor's mother arrived from Scranton. She was with her sister, Trevor's aunt Helen. They were both in their seventies and in reasonably good health. They got lost four times between the airport and Neptune Beach, then meandered through the streets for an hour before stumbling on Trevor's house, a place his mother hadn't seen in six years. She hadn'tseen Trevor in two years. Aunt Helen hadn't seen him in at least ten, not that she particularly missed him.


His mother parked the rental car behind his little Beetle, and had a good cry before getting out.


What a dump, Aunt Helen said to herself.


The front door was unlocked. The place had been abandoned, but long before its owner fled the dishes had collected in the sink, the garbage had gone unattended, the vacuum hadn't left the closet.


The odor drove Aunt Helen out first, and Trevor's mother soon followed. They had no clue what to do: His body was still in Jamaica, in a crowded morgue, and according to the unfriendly young man she'd talked to at the State Department it would cost $600 to ship him home. The airlines would cooperate, but the paperwork was tied up in Kingston.


It took a half hour of bad driving to find his office. By then, word was out. Chap the paralegal was waiting at the reception desk, trying to look sad and busy at the same time. Wes the office manager was in a back room, just to listen and observe. The phone had rung constantly the day the news broke, but after a round of condolences from fellow lawyers and a client or two it went silent again.


On the front door was a cheap wreath, paid for by the CIA. "Ain't that nice;" his mother said as they waddled up the sidewalk.


Another dump, thought Aunt Helen.


Chap greeted them and introduced himself as Trevor's paralegal. He was in the process of trying to close the office, a most difficult task.


"Where's the girl?" his mother asked, her eyes red from grieving.


"She left some time back. Trevor caught her stealing,"


"Oh dear."


"Would you like some coffee?" he asked.


"That would be nice, yes." They sat on the dusty and uneven sofa, while Chap fetched three coffees from a pot that just happened to be fresh. He sat across from them in an unstable wicker chair. The mother was bewildered. The aunt was curious, her eyes darting around the office, looking for any sign of prosperity. They were not poor, but at their ages affluence would never be attained.


"I'm very sorry about Trevor," Chap said.


"It's just awful;" Mrs. Carson said, her lip quivering. Her cup shook and coffee splashed onto her dress. She didn't notice it.


"Did he have a lot of clients?" Aunt Helen asked.


"Yes, he was very busy. A good lawyer. One of the best I've ever worked with."


"And you're a secretary?" Mrs. Carson asked.


"No. I'm a paralegal. I go to law school at night"


"Are you handling his affairs?" Aunt Helen asked.


"Well, not really;" Chap said. "I was hoping that's why the two of you were here."


"Oh, we're too old," his mother said.


"How much money did he leave?" asked the aunt.


Chap stepped it up a notch. This old bitch was a bloodhound. "I have no idea. I didn't handle his money.


"Who did?"


"I guess his accountant."


"Who's his accountant?"


"I don't know. Trevor was very private about most things."


"He certainly was," his mother said sadly. "Even as a boy" She splashed her coffee again, this time on the sofa.


"You pay the bills around here, don't you?" asked the aunt.


"No.Trevor took care of his money"


"Well, listen, young man, they, want six hundred dollars to fly him home from down in Jamaica."


"Why was he down there?" his mother interrupted.


"It was a short vacation;" Chap said.


"And she doesn't have six hundred dollars," Helen finished.


"Yes I do."


"Oh, there's some cash here;" Chap said, and Aunt Helen looked satisfied.


"How much?" she asked.


"A little over nine hundred dollars. Trevor liked to keep plenty of petty cash."


"Give it to me,"Aunt Helen demanded.


"Do you think we should?" asked his mother.


"You'd better take it," Chap said gravely. "If not, it will just go into his estate and the IRS will get it all."


"What else will go into his estate?" asked the aunt.


"All this;" Chap said, waving his arms at the office while he walked to the desk. He removed a wrinkled envelope stuffed with bills of all denominations, money they'd just transferred from the rental across the street. He gave it to Helen, who snatched it and counted the money.


"Nine twenty, and some change;" Chap said.


"Which bank did he use?" Helen asked.


"I have no idea. Like I said, he was very private about his money" And in one respect, Chap was telling the truth. Trevor had wired the $900,000 from the Bahamas to Bermuda, and from there the trail had disappeared. The money was now hidden in a bank somewhere, in a numbered account accessible only by Trevor Carson. They knew he was headed for Grand Cayman, but the bankers there were famous for their secrecy. Two days of intense digging had revealed nothing. The man who shot him took his wallet and room key, and while the police were inspecting the crime scene the gunman searched the hotel room. There was about $8000 in cash hidden in a drawer, and nothing else of any significance. Not a clue as to where Trevor had parked his money.


It was the collective wisdom at Langley that Trevor, for some reason, suspected he was being followed closely. The bulk of the cash was missing, though he could have deposited it in a bank in Bermuda. His hotel room had been secured without a reservation-he simply walked in from the street and paid cash for one night.


A person on the run, chasing $900,000 from one island to the next, would have, somewhere on his body or in his effects, evidence of banking activities. Trevor had none.


While Aunt Helen riffled through what would surely be the only cash they'd net from the estate, Wes thought about the fortune lost somewhere in the Caribbean.


"What do we do now?" Trevor's mother asked.


Chap shrugged and said, "I guess you need to bury him.


"Can you help us?"


"That's not really something I do. I-"


"Should we take him back to Scranton?" Helen asked.


"That's up to you."


"How much would that cost?" Helen asked.


"I have no idea. I've never had to do anything like this...


"But all his friends are here;" his mother said, touching her eyes with a tissue.


"He left Scranton a long time ago," Helen said, her eyes cutting in all directions, as if there was a long story behind Trevor's leaving Scranton. No doubt, thought Chap. ,


"I'm sure his friends here will want a memorial service;" Mrs. Carson said.


"Actually, one is already planned," Chap said.


"It is!" she said, thrilled.


"Yes, it's tomorrow at four o'clock."


"Where?"


"A place called Pete's, just down the street a few blocks."


"Pete's?" Helen said.


"It's, well, it's sort of a restaurant."


"A restaurant. What about a church?"


"I don't think he went."


"He did when he was a boy;" his mother said in defense.


In memory of Trevor, the five o'clock happy hour would begin at four, and run until midnight. Fiftycent longnecks,Trevor's favorite.


"Should we go?" asked Helen, sensing trouble.


"I wouldn't think so."


"Why not?" asked Mrs. Carson.


"It could be a rough crowd.A bunch of lawyers and judges, you know the scene." He frowned at Helen, and she got the message.


They asked about funeral parlors and cemetery lots, and Chap felt himself getting dragged deeper and deeper into their problems. The CIA killed Trevor.Was it expected to send him off with a proper burial?


Klockner thought not.


After the ladies left, Wes and Chap finished the removal of the cameras, wires, mikes, and phone taps. They tidied up the place, and when they locked the doors for the last time Trevor's office had never been so orderly.


Half of Klockner's team had already left town. The other half monitored Wilson Argrow inside Trumble. And they waited.


When the forgers at Langley finished with Argrow's court file it fit in a cardboard box, and was flown to Jacksonville on a small jet along with three agents. It contained, among many other things, a fiftyone-page indictment handed down by a grand jury in Dade County, a correspondence file filled with letters from Argrow's defense lawyer and the US. Attorney's office, a thick file of motions and other pretrial maneuverings, research memos, a list of witnesses and summaries of their testimonies, a trial brief, jury analysis, an abstract of the trial, presentencing reports, and the final sentence itself. It was reasonably well organized, though not too neat to arouse suspicion. Copies were smudged, and pages -were missing, and staples were hanging off, little touches of reality carefully added by the good folks in Documents to create authenticity. Ninety percent of it would not be needed by Beech andYaxber, but its sheer heft made it impressive. Even the cardboard box had some age on it.


The box was delivered to Trumble by Jack Argrow, a semiretired real estate lawyer in Boca Raton, Florida, and brother of the inmate. Lawyer Argrow's state bar certification had been faxed to the proper bureaucrat at Trumble, and his name was on the approved list of attorneys.


Jack Argrow was Roger Lyter, a thirteen-year man with a law degree from Texas. He'd never met Kenny Sands, who was Wilson Argrow. The two shook hands and said hello while Link looked suspiciously at the cardboard box sitting on the table.


"What's in there?" he asked.


"It's my court records,"Wilson said.


"Just paperwork," Jack said.


Link stuck a hand in the box and moved some files around, and in a few seconds the search was over and he stepped out of the room.


Wilson slid a paper across the desk, and said, "This is the affidavit. Wire the money to the bank in Panama, then get me written verification so I'll have something to show them."


"Less ten percent."


"Yes, that's what they think."


The Geneva Trust Bank in Nassau had not been contacted. To do so would've been futile and risky. No bank would release funds under the circumstances Argrow was creating. And questions would be raised if he tried.


The wire transfer going to Panama was new money.


"Langley is quite anxious;" the lawyer said.


"I'm ahead of schedule," the banker replied.


The box was emptied on a table in the law library. Beech and Yarber began sifting through its contents while Argrow, their new client, watched with feigned interest. Spicer had better things to do. He was in the middle of his weekly poker game.


"Where's the sentencing report?" Beech asked, scratching through the pile.


"I want to see the indictment,"Yarber mumbled to himself.


They found what they wanted, and both settled into their chairs for a long afternoon of reading. Beech's choice was quite dull. Yarber's, however, was not.


The indictment read like a crime narrative. Argrow, along with seven other bankers, five accountants, five securities brokers, two lawyers, eleven men identified only as drug traffickers, and six gentlemen from Colombia, had organized and run an elaborate enterprise designed to take drug proceeds in the form of cash and turn them into respectable deposits. At least $400 million had been laundered before the ring was infiltrated, and it appeared as though their man Argrow was right in the thick of things. Yarber admired him. If half the allegations were true, then Argrow was a very smart and talented financier.


Argrow became bored with the silence, and left to stroll around the prison. When Yarber finished reading the indictment, he interrupted Beech and made him read it. Beech enjoyed it too. "Surely," he said, "he's got some of the loot buried somewhere."


"You know he does;'Yarber agreed. "Four hundred million bucks, and that's just what they could find. What about his appeal?"


"Doesn't look good. The judge followed the guidelines. I see no error."


"Poor guy"


"Poor guy, my ass. He'll be out four years before me."


"I don't think so, Mr. Beech. We've spent our last Christmas in prison."


"Do you really believe that?" Hadee asked.


"Indeed I do."


Beech placed the indictment back on the table, then stood and stretched and paced around the room. "We should've heard something by now," he said, very softly though no one else was there.


"Patience."


"But the primaries are almost over. He's back in Washington most of the time. He's had the letter for a week."


"He can't ignore it, Hadee. He's trying to figure out what to do. That's all."


The latest memo from the Bureau of Prisons in Washington baffled the warden. Who in hell's name up there had nothing better to do than to stare at a map of the federal prisons and decide which one to meddle with that day? He had a brother making $150,000 selling used cars, and there he was making half that much running a prison and reading idiotic memos from pencil-pushers making $100,000 and not doing a productive damned thing. He was so sick of it!


RE: Attorney Visitation, Trumble Federal Prison Disregard prior order, said order restricting attorney visitation to Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Attorneys are now permitted to visit seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.


"It takes a dead lawyer to get the rules changed," he mumbled to himself.


***



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