Friday, September 22, 2006
If there was moonlight last night I missed it...sitting in that late-night diner on the outskirts of Durham, jumpy as a cat with a coyote on his tail. I had this hearing today on my mind. I'm Sue Rose Higgins, friend of Tony Soprano, and sometime arm piece of Sam Spade himself. I keep myself in lingerie and long gin drinks by freelancing for the local news rags. They call me and I go. No strings...a phrase Sam helped me swallow but never understand.
Lately, life's been keeping Tony and Sam busy, but I still get around. Sleep evades me sometimes, so I drive to that familiar diner and sip a cup of java at my corner booth, and try to keep trouble on the far side of the room. Last night, I wasn't so lucky. I heard a familiar laugh, and looked up to see Linwood Wilson staring at the donuts like a barefoot hiker stares at boots. Our eyes met and he sauntered over to me like a snake covered in salad oil. "Big day in court tomorrow. My man Nifong is going to slap the defense silly with that survey call to the Missus. This new Judge ain't gonna touch my man Nifong. That Cheshire's gonna quake like the San Andreas fault on a seismic afternoon. He won't be calling any press conferences tomorrow." He leaned in a little too close." Too bad, Miss Sue Rose Higgins, you won't be there to see it. Bob Ashley sure ain't gonna send the likes of YOU!" Gleeful satisfaction brought a glint to his eye, and beads of sweat formed on his upper lip. I let him have his moment. But Sue Rose Higgins was coiling her comeback like a snake waking from his siesta."
Actually, Linwood, I will be there," I let my words sink in. "I'm covering the beat for the LieStopper team. If there's a gnat on Nifong's forehead, I'll be there to let the folks know.” I let him wait while I stirred the cream in my still warm Kona. His grin faded like a cheap red shirt at a low-cost laundry. "Folks are gonna hear it ALL from me...the smirks, the snarky comments, the dodges, the defense smack-downs. This ain't gonna be no Herald -Sun sweetheart sonata to Nifong, if you get my drift. LieStoppers want the facts, nothing but the facts. And Sue Rose Higgins is going hand the facts to them like a good natured waitress who can sense a big tip."
The music had stopped playing and the neon lights gave Linwood a greenish glow. We both got up to leave, as the jukebox started to whine again, like a petulant child denied an Almond Joy. "Check in with LieStoppers tomorrow night, Linwood. Sue Rose Higgins, the girl reporter ,has no equal, buddy boy. Tell your friend Bob Ashley to check in too. See you around."
Please Note: Linwood Wilson never actually visited our imaginary diner. He is too busy these days, reading the case notes as Atty. Cheshire wisely suggested.