After Rosemaria left the apartment Monday morning, Josh’s thoughts returned to Sammy. He was never far from his mind. The joy that Noor and Gilbert now were able to experience away from their cages at the zoo was in direct contrast to the misery Sammy had been forced to endure every day of his life for twenty-five years. But to do something about it, he knew he had to enlist famous people to help him—like Joell. Judging by conversations he’d had with her, she seemed to genuinely care about animals. But first, he needed to figure out how to get Sammy out of the zoo and to a sanctuary. He needed a solid plan, and he didn’t have that yet. He wanted Joell to understand how important ending Sammy’s suffering was to him. In return, he had to be her friend as well. No matter how famous someone may be, they still had fears and insecurities that something unforeseen or the wrong move could destroy their careers. He had intended to call and ask how her concert went, even though he had just heard from Ken this morning that it had been a huge success, with standing ovations and numerous encores that lasted half an hour. He had already decided to thank her for inviting him and Rosemaria to be her guests. Maybe she would appreciate his genuine interest and the implied offer of friendship. His conscience told him he was being awfully self-serving, but that couldn’t be helped. This was not about convincing Joell to record his songs, but rather about something he cared about a lot more.
Karen wasn’t at her desk when Rosemaria came in. That was unusual, but she saw Karen’s computer was on, so she knew she was there. Maybe she was with O’Malley. She walked into her office feeling refreshed and renewed after her most excellent weekend and looked forward to her meeting with a man arrested for assault and battery on his wife. The wife, after years of abuse, had finally gotten up the nerve to press charges, and Rosemaria would do everything in her power to keep him from getting out on bail and going after the wife and possibly killing her. If he did make bail, she would find a safe house for the wife until she could throw his ass back in jail for good.
She was reading through the file when Karen appeared in the doorway. Her face was ashen.
“What’s wrong? You look terrible.”
“Summers has been transferred. He’s going downtown.”
“I like him a lot, and we’ll both miss him, but why are you so upset about that?”
“He’s being replaced by Walter Atkins.”
“Oh, shit.” Walter Atkins was the nephew of Ken Folson, the attorney general of California. Atkins had been working out of Van Nuys and had been the nemesis of her friend, assistant DA Celia Mathison, for two years. While Celia had a perfect conviction rate, Atkins’s was at a dismal forty-five. He annoyed judges, defense attorneys, victims, and other prosecutors. The only reason he hadn’t lost his job was because of his uncle and his uncle’s powerful friends. He was nepotism incarnate.
“Oh, God. Karen, please tell me you’re kidding.”
“Apparently, some of the judges in Van Nuys were so sick of his self-aggrandizement, lack of respect, and all-around bad behavior that they told the attorney general they refused to have him in their courtrooms one more day. So, Summers got promoted to downtown, and somehow Folson got Atkins a job working for his pal Lattimer. If he can’t make it here, he’s gone.”
“Geez, you wouldn’t think that coming here would be a punishment. Look at our beautiful views of freeways and airports.”
“How can you joke? I’ve heard horror stories about how he treats assistants. And I believe them. Oh, and he asked to see you as soon as you come in.”
Rosemaria smiled mischievously, “As soon as I come in, I’ll go see him. And Karen, let’s just take this one day at a time, okay? We’ll do our work and do our best to ignore him.”
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