Which is: Ain’t being a dad grand? Ok, maybe that is more a question but anyway. I’m sitting beside the tub while he has his bath and, other then hating having his head washed, he’s having the time of his life. And I get to watch and listen to it all. And tell you guys. Because, ain’t technology grand?
They sued after the criminal case came down. Guilty of failure to yield. Fined $224. Their daughter ran down and killed in a cross-walk and the guilty party only fined a couple hundred bucks? Of course they were outraged. They and everybody else in the city who didn’t understand how a person could run down a kid and only be guilty of a traffic violation.
Of course, not everyone agreed with their decision to sue. Lose your child and go after money? But then it wasn’t their child, was it? Other people didn’t have to worry about breaking down walking past her bedroom. They didn’t have to look at pictures on the wall, look at the daughter who was never going to come walking back inside the house. Who was never going to grow up, get married, have children of her own.
It wasn’t as if they had gone looking for a lawyer. All the big firms had called them. No fees, of course, we want to help you get justice for your daughter. We’ll just collect a percentage when it is all over. The Donaldson’s were under no illusions as to the lawyer’s motives. But that didn’t mean they couldn’t use them.
They won the lawsuit handily. People were still upset over how the criminal case had ended. And most were more then willing to stick it to a big insurance company. They raised rates every year anyway, so why the hell not?
The Donaldson’s said in their one and only television interview that of course it wouldn’t bring their daughter back. But they wanted to do good with it, something in her name. They weren’t sure what, still thinking about it. That was the only lie they told. They knew exactly what they wanted to do and had written a check for fifty thousand dollars to get it started. They had heard rumours of a man who could possibly help and the money was for a private investigator to track this man down and hopefully engage his services.
The search took a month but in the end the man met with the Donaldson’s and agreed to do what they asked. His only condition was anonymity. No one was to ever know his role. That was fine with them and so the strange recluse with long white hair set to work.
It took a month and a half for him to finish and in that time one more person was killed in a cross-walk and another injured. But finally the project was completed , including a webcam to observe the results. They alternated between hoping it would work and hoping it wouldn’t be needed. They know there wasn’t much chance of that, however.
And sure enough, it happened again. A teenage boy hit the button for the cross-walk and, after waiting for the cars to stop, started across. A line of cars was stopped in the outside lane. Further down, an impatient driver switched to the inside lane and sped up. It apparently never occurred to him that the other cars were waiting for a reason, such as the cross-walk at the intersection.
A couple drivers honked their horns as they saw him approach. Then…he just stopped, a few inches from a suddenly terrified teenager. Witnesses told both police and media that the air had shimmered then the car and driver had glowed with an eerie light then just stopped. The driver didn’t even suffer any from the complete and sudden stop.
When the Donaldson’s later watched the footage, they hugged each other tightly, smiling widely with tears streaming down their faces. Then Mr. Donaldson reached for the phone to make arrangements for the magus to protect more cross-walks.
She was on the phone so Kincaid just leaned against the desk. “But I have clearance, this is the DA’s office. What do you mean you can’t, no I don’t need a supervisor…” She growled and very carefully hung up the phone, closed her eyes and took a few breaths.
“Yes. I have the codes, passwords. They always give me grief. It’s just a criminal report.”
“Cheer up, Kate,” Kincaid said, setting a package of maple cookies on her desk.
She grabbed them with a squeal, all ready opening the package. “Where did you get these? I haven’t found them anywhere.”
“I got relatives up north. Might want to hide them, so Elizabeth doesn’t steal them.” He grinned as Elizabeth flipped him off without looking away from her screen.
“God, these are good,” Kate said, munching on one and putting the rest away in a drawer. “Thanks, Kincaid. But you just didn’t come here to give me cookies.”
Kincaid sighed and stood up, shoving his hands in his pockets. “No. I need to talk to the boss. Judge Tyler was killed last night.”
“What?” Her eyes were wide. “I spoke to him just yesterday evening in the courthouse before I went home. What happened?”
“Arson. Somebody burned his house down and he never even got out of bed. Found the firebug in the backyard, next to what was left of a gas can.”
“Oh that is terrible. What about his daughter?”
“Daughter? We didn’t find anyone else,” Kincaid said slowly. “Do you know her?”
“Just to say hi. She’s in university, I think. I met her at a Christmas party.”
“Ok, I’ll make sure she’s being ran down. Make sure no one wants to hit her as well.”
“Kincaid, what are you doing standing here flirting?” The DA stood in the now open door of his office. “If you got nothing to do, we sure as hell do. Kate, you need to go downstairs and meet the investigator. Go get that paperwork sorted out.”
“All right. On my way.” She logged off the computer and pulled out her purse, locking the desk. She patted Kincaid’s arm. “Hope you’re wearing your fireproof undies.”
He stood in front of the large desk, hands clasped behind his back, trying not to fidget. His suit was far more uncomfortable then he was used to. The old man was still on the phone, ten minutes after he had asked Blake to come in. Finally he hung up the phone and turned his chair around.
“So, Blake…”, his voice trailed off and he leaned forward, peering at Blake. “Where did you get that suit?”
“Sears. A bit higher then I like to spend but they had a big sale.” The old man was notorious for his dislike of expensive clothing. He wanted his people to dress like “regular people” in his words. Blake had even heard he’d taken a riding crop to a man who’d shown off his new Italian suit.
“Hmmph. Anyway, how are things going with this trial business? Will my son serve any time?”
“Most definitely, Mr. Shelton.”
“I thought I was paying you to see that he didn’t.”
“And I told you that there was no way that would happen unless he left the country. The feds have done their work too well. The best we can hope for is to get him a smaller sentence.”
Shelton grunted. “Fine. Maybe it’ll toughen the little pussy up. So what happens with this judge dead?”
“They pick a new one. He decides if the trail continues or to call a mistrial and start a new one. Which is why we had Tommy’s lawyers make so many motions before the trial started. Chances are the new guy looks at that file and throws his hands up. Start it all over.”
Shelton nodded, tapping a pen against his desk. “How does this help?”
Blake bit back a sigh. He’d told the man all this before several times but Shelton always liked to play the simple country boy. One of the things that had kept him alive and in power but it was infuriating to those who worked for him. “Not every judge is as inflexible as Tyler. We may get someone who is more…friendly to our organization. Maybe we’ll be able to apply leverage. Could get lucky with the jury. However it shakes out, he’ll be better off then he would have been with Tyler on the bench.”
“He better be, Breckinridge. It won’t be so simple as cancelling a check.”
Blake leaned forward, a slight smile tugging at his lips. “Don’t threaten me, Shelton. I took the job, I’ll do the job. You might be the boss here but you ain’t the big boss. You’d be a damn sight easier to kill then a fucking judge.”
The two men stared eye to eye, silent, until Shelton started laughing. “Damn, son, you don’t push easy, do you?” Breckinridge just kept his gaze on the old mans. “Nice to know where I stand. Now, what about the shithead that torched the house?”
“Dead. And burned to a crisp.”
Shelton raised an eyebrow. “I see you are as thorough as promised.” He opened the large checkbook on his desk and ripped out a check all ready filled in. “Or do you prefer cash?”
“Check is fine.”
“What are you doing next?”
“See if I can’t get info from someone at the DA’s office. There’s one or two vulnerable people there.” He stood up, sliding the check into his jacket pocket.
“Call me if you need anything,” Shelton said. “Oh, and Breckinridge? Be careful who you threaten. Lot of hollars you could end up lost in.”
“Shit. No one lives forever.”
“Oh, damn it,” Kate muttered. She knelt down, gathering up the files she had just dropped trying to get her car unlocked.
“Can I help you?”
She looked up, hand darting to her purse and the pepper spray inside. Squinting, she peered at the man. The sun was behind him, making it hard to make out his features. “No, that’s all right. I can get it.”
He crouched down anyway, picking up a few of the folders and holding them out. She sat the stack on the roof of her car and unlocked the door, palming the spray and tossing her purse in the passenger seat. Eyes narrowed, she studied him and finally took the files.
“Do I know you?”
“I did some investigating work for the DA office a while back. Kate, isn’t it?”
“Yeah. I’m sorry, I don’t remember your name.”
“Blake. Blake Breckinridge.”
She frowned, thinking. That name sounded familiar. “Used to be a cop?”
“Wow, you are good,” he grinned. “Yeah, a lifetime ago. Now it’s some of the same work. Pays better though.”
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Breckinridge. But I really got to get going.”
He slipped a card into her hand. “Give me a call sometime. Get a cup of coffee, maybe some dinner?”
“Um, yeah, maybe.”
He gave her a wave and walked across the parking lot, leaving her watching him before looking back down at the card in her hand. She pulled out her phone. “Anita, what can you tell me about a Blake Breckinridge? Besides the way he fills out a pair of jeans.”
Never was much of a beer drinker before moving to Halifax. There was never alcohol in the house growing up and when I started drinking in university it was straight to Jack Daniels. Relatively cheap, and effective. (And a great cold preventative. A pint or so a week and you’ll never be sick.) Went from whiskey to rum and then coconut rum. Could pour it into an empty water bottle and it looked like water. Get it cold and I’d drink it straight. But I still didn’t drink beer. Took a few sips here and there but that was it. Bud, Bud light, Corona, it all just tasted nasty. (If it weren’t for those free straw hats, would anyone ever drink Corona?)
But then I came to Canada and beer is a pretty big thing here. They like their beer and on average they like it stronger then mainstream American beers. Even Budweiser had to strengthen the alcohol content to sell up here. And it tastes better. But I was introduced to beers from smaller breweries first. There was Keith’s India Pale Ale. Alexander Keith made his family a fortune by coming up with a IPA that would travel across the ocean. Although with my subsequent explorations I’ve found it’s not my favourite kind of beer, it’s one of the better IPA’s that I have had. My favourite beer from Keith’s is their Premium White. Now that is some good stuff, specially on a hot day.
Then there is Garrison Brewery. It’s a small brewery near the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market (which is worth a look on it’s own) that has a whole line of various flavoured beer. Ever thought about a raspberry wheat? A jalapeno ale? They have it, and more. Drop by and see them, try some out and take what you like home.
And then there’s Granite Brewery. Oh Granite, you guys are amazing. They use all natural ingredients and do no mechanical filtering. Instead Isinglass finings are put in during the conditioning process. Check out their website, they explain it well. In short, they use no additives or preservatives and make top notch beer. For $19 dollars you get a two litre bottle of beer. Turn the bottle in next time you want some, it’s then only ten bucks. Can’t beat it folks.
And of course, we can’t forget the microbreweries. Halifax is dotted with them. A lot of the pubs will brew a few beers on the premises. The Split Crow, Rogue’s Roost, and the Hart and Thistle to name a few all make at least a few beers. And serve some top notch food. Halifax does have the second highest amount of bars per capita in Canada so you know there will always be something good. I tend to go for the darker beers these days, but whatever you like you will find it. Oh, and the Old Trianglepours a mean Guinness.
Of course, we can’t leave out the liquor store. A great exploration can begin at the Beers of the World shelf. If a country makes a beer, chances are they have it. I like the Erdinger wheat beers from Germany, there’s a Denmark Viking beer that has an alcohol content of 10% and a whole shit ton more. I told you they like their beer here.