Client Privilege

Free Client Privilege by William G. Tapply

Book: Client Privilege by William G. Tapply Read Free Book Online
Authors: William G. Tapply
delicate problem.”
    “Your hemorrhoids kicking up again?”
    “Yeah, but that’s not it. Charlie, you’re sort of a cop.”
    “Coyne, I find the comparison both spurious and odious.”
    “Pardon me. Let me put it this way. You think like a prosecutor.”
    “Hell, I am a prosecutor. What’s this all about?”
    “I think a couple cops are convinced I killed somebody.”
    I heard him chuckle. Good old Charlie. Just that chuckle gave me perspective. Brady Coyne, kill somebody? What a laugh.
    “Did you?” he said. He snickered again.
    “I’m not kidding. The thing is, my alibi, if that’s what you call it, is mixed up with a client.”
    “Aha,” he said. “Client privilege.”
    “Yeah. It makes me sound kind of guilty.”
    “It’s the price we pay sometimes. Generally we are well reimbursed.”
    “Yeah, well, in this case it’s damned awkward.”
    “Your client can release you, you know.”
    “I can’t ask him to. Not under these particular circumstances.”
    “Because he—?”
    “No, nothing like that.” If I told Charlie it was Pops, he’d understand. But I couldn’t tell him that, and I knew he wouldn’t ask.
    “So these cops are on your case,” he said.
    “Yes. And already there’s a television guy who’s got wind of it.”
    “These cops actually tell you they think you did it?”
    “Not in so many words, exactly.”
    “That’s cops for you,” said Charlie. “They accuse enough people enough times, somebody’s gonna cave in. Reminds me of something Burleigh Whitt was telling me recently. You remember Burl?”
    “The game warden?”
    “Right. Tiny Wheeler knows him. Burl’s way up there in the screaming Maine wilderness risking his life trying to track down jacklighters and those dirt-poor folks who shoot themselves a couple cow moose and three or four deer a year to feed the kids. Anyhow, Burl was telling me about this one particular old coot who he knew was poaching deer. Burl pretty well had it figured out that this guy’d get up before dawn and get himself a deer and have it all dragged in and skinned out and butchered before the sun came up, and it was pissing Burl off that he could never seem to nail the guy in the act. Everybody knew he was poaching, and it was bad for Burl’s credibility that he couldn’t catch him.”
    “Charlie—”
    “No, listen. This is relevant. Burl decided he was gonna nab the old geezer red-handed. So he got up at two A.M. one morning and hid himself in the bushes by the old-timer’s cabin. Sure enough, about maybe four the light went on inside the cabin, and a few minutes later wisps of smoke began to come out of the chimney. Then the old guy came out onto the porch. ‘Mr. Warden,’ he called. ‘No sense of you layin’ out there gettin’ all cold and damp in them bushes. Whyn’t you come on in here and get yourself a nice cup of coffee.’ So Burl cussed himself and got up and went in there, had a cup of coffee with the old guy.
    “Burl remembered he’d told a couple guys in his office what he was gonna do. Figured one of them must’ve let it slip. So he waited a few weeks, and this time he didn’t tell anybody what he was up to. Again, got up early and hid outside the cabin while the moon was still high. The cabin was dark. He huddled there, freezing his ass off, and finally a light went on in the cabin. Then smoke appeared from-the chimney. Then the old poacher came out onto his porch. ‘Hey, Mr. Warden,’ he yelled. ‘Don’t go catching cold out there in them bushes. You come on in here, have some coffee and get warm.’ So Burl, very embarrassed, went in and had coffee with the old codger, and after that he gave up trying to catch him. He just admitted to himself that the old guy was too smart for him. You still with me, Brady?”
    I sighed. “I’m with you, Charlie. Is this going someplace?”
    “Course it is. Well, about a year later, Burl hears the old poacher’s had himself a coronary. He’s laid up in the county

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