Marty Jarvis was another of my dad’s friends. He had never been inside but he tended to build innovative security systems for men who had. His dark systems, as he called them, tended not to call the cops, but to get rival bad guys killed.
“Lucy, my god it has been too long,” the old man said. Mr. Jarvis seldom went on a job personally by that time. Now days it was one of his sons.
“What the hell did I do to rate you personally Mr. Jarvis?” I asked.
“You got born to one of the few honorable men in his profession,” he said. “Your daddy has more sand and more honor than any of the so called righteous assholes who put him in prison. This town was a whole lot safer with your dad outside. than it is with him inside.” He paused a long moment then went on, “So what can I do for his beautiful daughter?”
“Mr. Jarvis this little lady here is going to identify a man who killed another man. Ordinarily the cops would protect her. but I was told the cops weren’t sure which cops they could trust right now. So they dumped her on me for a while. I have a pro coming to help, but he won’t be here for a day or so. I need this office and my house secure.”
“How much security do you need?” Jarvis asked.
“Well, if someone wants to break in here at night, a lot of noise would do the trick. We can’t stop the pros, but a horn would work for the kids. To be honest Mr. Jay, I’m really worried about a couple of guys walking in and just gunning us all. We aren’t gun thugs, we are lawyers.”
Let me walk around here a couple of minutes, and don’t sell yourself short, I hear you do alright with a gun. I wouldn’t want to be the man who walks in here. After today it is going to be a death trap,” he said with a lot more confidence than I felt.
“It has to be done quick and the price has to be reasonable, I’m starting over,” I said.
“Your daddy knows people, if you and the kids are on that asshole’s insurance policy?” Jarvis asked smiling.
“I’m not quite that broke, and I never heard you suggest that,” I said with a honest laugh.
I went back to the phone and promising the bondsmen almost anything to get recommendations. The problem was that their clients, who didn’t already have lawyers, would be few. I knew it, but even one was better than none. The court appointed business was still going to be my best bet at first.
“You got a call on line one,” Sam said.
“This is Lucy Avery, can I help you?” I said into the phone.
“This is Tomas Ortega, I got an associate in county lockup. He is coming up for a bond hearing tomorrow. I would like for you to speak for him.”
I began the usual questioning, since I didn’t have an investigator, and barely had time to interview him before the hearing. When I was finished, I told Ortega that I charged a hundred bucks an hour, but he got a first rate defense even though I could not work miracles.
“You get him the best deal he can get, and I will be satisfied. Even better your daddy will be satisfied,” he said.
“Let me tell you something, and you can pass this on to my dad. I will do the same for your client and any others you guys send me, as I would do for the mayor’s son. I can do no more and no less,” I said it all self righteous.
“I will pass it on and as for Cheech, he is guilty as sin. He is guilty of being caught in the act. If you can to keep his time inside down to a minimum, we will be satisfied.”
I could probably get a body guard from this Tomas character, but I didn’t want to get into bed with these guys. I just needed work and it looked as though daddy was going to help. I knew it would be a fine line that I would be required to walk.
“Miss Lucy, I looked around the place. Number one thing we need to do is get a guy with a chainsaw to cut down those bushes around the place. Don’t worry I know a guy, then I’m going to put a dirtbag execution chamber on the front.” Jarvis said grinning like a schoolboy.
“You know I have to ask what is that?” I asked.
“You got an entry way on the front door. So we rig door one with an electric lock. In ordinary mode it will let you open it and walk in, but once you are in it can be electronically locked behind you. On door number two, which opens into the office area, my boys will take out the glass part. They are going to replace it with shatter proof Lexan. Then they are going to coat it with one was see through film. The door there will always be electronically locked. So dirtbag can get through door one but unless Sam trips the switch, his ass is trapped in the space between the doors.
The bad guy has no idea who is on the other side of that glass, or how you are armed. He just knows that you can get to him easily, but he is going to play hell getting to you. I would hate to be in that position.
You are going to get a dummy security camera on the post in the parking lot. It will do just as much good. Anyone who would be run off by a real one, will be run off by the dummy. Then I’m going to install a local alarm system inside the place. Sound detector set for glass break and a motion detector. All of it wired to a siren that makes a hell of a noise. Like you said, it will run the kids off but the pros will come on in and help themselves. If you want, I can have it wired to your cell phone, if you promise not to come down here yourself.”
“I appreciate the explanation but you are my daddy’s friend. If you tell me I am going to do it and not worry about the details, I would not have even asked.” It wasn’t true of course, but it did show respect and that was important in the old world.
“I know you need it now, so Bobby and his crew are on the way over,” He said.
“Mr Jarvis, you know I trust you completely, and when my investigator gets here he will be sweeping the office for microphones every week. If you wouldn’t mind, would you sweep it for me the first time. I really would appreciate it.” We both knew that it was my respectful way of telling him I was going to be checking behind him.
“You are a smart, careful girl, just like your daddy said you were. Not to worry it will be as if The Orkin man has visited after we leave,” he informed me with a smile.
“So, how much?” I asked.
“The new electronic door locks for the front, the heavy duty dead bolt double cylinder for the rear, glass change on the front, and the full alarm system should run about $1300 but we got a history. I will do it all for a grand and get it in before we leave for the day. Someone might have to stay a little late while we finish up,” he informed me.
“I can handle all of that,” I said in agreement.
“It’s up to you to arrange their welcome if they bust that door. My job is just to keep the amateurs out. The real pros have to be greeted and thats up to you,” Mr Jarvis said again.
“I’ll see what I can do,” I said
After he had gone and his son Bobby and his men were working all over the place lake a swarm of bees, I spoke to Sam. “Sam tell me now, how are you going to be if someone forces their way inside?”
“Are you asking me if a queer can shoot a man?” he asked.
“I guess so,” I said.
“If it comes to that, I can shoot a man just fine.” he said.
“Do you have a weapon?’ I asked.
“No and I am never going to be a marksman,” he admitted. Most men would never admit that, even if it were true.
“If I get you a shotgun, where the hell are we going to hide it?” I asked myself out loud.
“Can’t we just gas them inside the little holding area,” Sam asked seriously.
“I think that might be hard to arrange quickly, not to mention that it might require a lot of permits. More than for a firearm even,” I said.
“I have lots of bad ass guys around to look after Jane, so you get in your car and drive to the Army-Navy Surplus and Gun Shop. Tell them to fit you up with something, and I will be down to pick it up and pay for it later. Do not let them sell you a pistol. You want something we can pay for and bring back today,” I demanded. “Don’t feel bad about explaining all the problems we are going to encounter concealing it, as well as getting it into the game if push comes to shove.”
“I got it boss, shit working for you is a hell of a lot more fun than your ex. I’ll go to lunch after the gun shop.,” Sam said standing to leave. We had got all that done so far by 2PM. There had to be a glitch on the way for sure.
The glitch was Jane. “Lucy I’m hungry,” she said after Sam left.
“What do you want? I will have it delivered or call Sam and have him pick it up,” I demanded.
“I want to get out of this office and have a meal in a real restaurant,” she demanded.
“What exactly would you like to eat bad enough to die for. Would that be a heroine burger that you have in mind. Get over it Jane. You have three choices as far as I can tell, behind door one you have the slammer for conspiracy to commit murder, behind door two you have executed by the man who shot Lowball, or behind door number three you shut the fuck up and go along with the program,” I had lost my patience with her.
“Could you get Sam to stop by Marie’s for a barbecue sandwich and fries,” she asked. “Could you have him tell her they are for me, so she will put extra sauce on it.”
“I will have Sam stop by and get the sandwich with extra sauce on the side. I will also have him tell her it is for the cops,” I suggested viciously. Then I whispered. inaudibly “Stupid Bitch.” But I did call Sam and ask him to get two of the sandwiches with fries. Marie might have been on the fringes of the bad crowd, but she did make killer barbecue.
“Lucy Ayers attorney at law,” I said into the phone I had answered myself to shut it up.
“Ms Ayers this is Royce Marshal, I am going to be processed out after five tonight, what you want me to do?”
“I guess there is nothing you can do tonight. I am going to hole up at my place till tomorrow. Come to my office at 8:30 AM.” I had tried to think of something on the fly.
“I would come by your place tonight and sit with our friend, but frankly your daddy has that covered,” he said.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Ms Ayers, only a complete fool would try anything in your building right now. Your dad has a couple of guys watching the doors. Once I take over security it will ease off a bit. How much I’m not sure.”