They looked up as Marlon Small sauntered in.
He wore a red bandana tied over his shaved head. He had a gold loop in his left ear and a
toothpick in his mouth, which he sucked on noisily. The top of his baggy jeans barely reached the
bottom edge of his buttocks, and his torn, sleeveless basketball jersey exposed a series of explicit
tattoos on his wiry arms.
Bratt thought that as much as Jennifer Campbell could have been the poster child for decent,
hard-working people, her son had chosen to play the role of a bum, copping a hard-case attitude to
cover up for his own probable lack of character. His clothes, his walk, everything about him seemed
to be ripped off from some stereotypical depiction of what a street gang member should look like.
Small sat down across from them, eyeing his new lawyers with a look of suspicious hostility.
“Mr. Small,” Bratt began, smiling his smoothest, silkiest smile, “I’m Robert Bratt, and this is
Peter Kouri. We’re your new lawyers.”
Small just kept on eyeing them and sucking on his toothpick. Finally, he deigned to speak. “Is she
“Uh, is who dead yet?” Bratt responded.
“Lady lawyer; Seven-yee. She dead yet?”
“Oh, Miss Sévigny. No, she’s not. As a matter of fact, the doctors are pretty optimistic that she’ll
make a full recovery.”
“No shit? She look pretty lousy last time I seen her.”
“Well, she’s better now. I’m sure she’ll be touched by your concern-”
“My concern,” Small said, his tone getting louder as he brought his face closer to the glass
partition, “is that my ass is in jail, an’ I was depending on her to get me out. Now I get you two jokers
showing up, saying you’re my new lawyers, an’ my trial’s in less than a month.”
“And I’d be pretty worried if I were in your shoes too, Marlon. But we’re not here to waste your
time or ours-”
“Your time’s paid, man, so you’re not the one wasting time here.”
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