Five Years Ago
It’s snowing outside. Not much. Some flurries. A younger Douglas Frost is walking down the road, past one streetlight, then onto the next. He walks slowly. He is tall, has dark hair. As we get a closeup of him, we see a drop of blood that has traveled down his cheek. It’s not his. He doesn’t have a scratch on him. A look at his left-hand shows that it’s bloody.
His expression is that of him being in shock.
He continues to walk.
A car slowly drives up behind him and moves past several feet before the brake lights light up. The car is put into reverse and drives backward and then stops. The door opens and Dante Schumer gets out of the car.
He has a dark complexion, bald. As the door of the car closes and he walks towards the other man, he has two glasses in one hand and a bottle of scotch in the other. Douglas Frost stops walking and turns to face Dante.
“They say that when you need to forget, even temporarily, scotch is the key,” says Dante. He appears to be the older of the two. He begins to pour the scotch into the glasses unconcerned when they begin to flow over the top and spill onto the ground.
As he offers one glass to the other, he asks, “Do you regret it?”
Douglas is silent for a long moment. Then, with a shaky, bloody hand, he reaches up and accepts the glass. The older man begins to drink, he doesn’t stop until he empties the liquid from the glass. When finished, he drops the glass onto the ground and it shatters as soon as it hits the pavement.
Douglas still holds his glass, not answering the question, so Dante continues, “Enjoy the moment. You got what you wanted.”
Finally, Douglas glances down at his drink and then slowly looks back up at Dante and as it looks like he might say something, the screen goes black.
Electronic dance music plays as customers are dancing and having a good time. As the camera zooms higher into a balcony area, we see there is a poker table set up and one of the customers sitting at the table is Douglas Frost. He is contemplating his next move. He has a massive amount of chips sitting in front of him and as he’s about to push them all into the center, another man walks up behind him and taps him on the shoulder. He pauses and looks back and then looks down at his hand and sighs.
Moments later, Frost is being driven somewhere. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a sucker, removes the wrapper and places it in his mouth and then looks up towards the driver and asks, “Is she dead?”
The car pulls into the driveway of a fancy hotel and his door is opened and Frost steps out of the limo and drops the sucker stick onto the ground as he walks into the hotel.
We see him enter a room and he gives a nod of approval, “Nice place.” He walks through and we see a couple of males passed out. He ignores them for the time being and walks further into the hotel room and opens a sliding door and sees a girl there. She’s been beaten. She has marks on her face. Her wrists are bruised as if she’d been tied up. She doesn’t move as he looks in on her. He turns away and walks back the way he came, stepping up to one of the men and slapping him in the face. “Get up!”
The young man comes to, “You’re annoying.”
The young man looks at Frost like he’s crazy. “You’re here to prevent me from doing that.”
Frost leans down, “You fucking idiot. Are you trying to get your father, the State Treasurer, thrown out on his ass? Do you want to go to prison for rape and battery? Do what I say and you can save his career and your ass. First, clean this place up. Tell them it was consensual and wasn’t violent. Tell them you got super drunk and you fooled around. When she wakes up, give her money, as much as it takes to keep her quiet…”
“It was rape…” a female voice is heard. “I was raped.”
In the bedroom, Ellen Sinclair is sitting on the floor, leaning up against the bed and is talking on the phone. She is scared and crying as the other two hurry into the room and she hears them. Into the phone, she begs, “Please come quickly.”
The scene opens up inside a courtroom, the judge is hammering his mallet on the desk as the crowd begins to get loud.
“There will be order in this courtroom! If you cannot control yourselves, I will clear my courtroom. I will not say it again. Ms. Prosecutor, you were saying?”
As the room quiets down, Sue Ann Clark looks exasperated as she looks over at the defendant’s attorney, Douglas Frost who has a very smug look on his face right now. “Your honor, the defendant’s attorney has continued to victimize the plaintiff in this case with his derogatory statements…”
The smug Douglas Frost stands up, “I am doing no such thing, your honor. I am trying to get to the truth, something the prosecutor is very afraid of.”
The hammer sounds again and the judge looks like he’s had better days and is starting to nurse a migraine. “Stop. The both of you. Come to the bench right this moment,” he snaps.
The two attorneys exchange glances and slowly walks up to the judge who leans over, “I’m about ready to throw this entire case out and have it retried. Ms. Clark, the defendant is allowed to attempt to impeach the testimony of your witness, victim or not. Mr. Frost, there is a very thin line involved here so ensure you do not cross it. Are we clear?”
Both attorneys nod their head and answers, “Yes, your honor.”
The judge waves them off and they turn around. Clark returns to her seat and Frost approaches Ellen Sinclair on the witness stand. “Ms. Sinclair, do you make it a habit of falsely accusing men of sexual assault?”
Sue Ann is immediately on her feet, “Your honor!! I object!”
An audible sigh comes from the judge, “On what grounds?”
“Council is assuming facts that are not in evidence. There has been no testimony or evidence that Ms. Sinclair, the victim in this assault, has falsely accused anyone at any time.”
A grin appears on the face of Douglas Frost, “I’ll be happy to rephrase my question, your honor.”
Ellen Sinclair sits behind the witness stand looking every bit the victim she’s become. Sad eyes, little makeup, solemn look. She was told to dress very conservatively and so she has, with a simple blouse and skirt. She looks up at the defense counsel who asks, “Let’s be honest here, Ms. Sinclair. Isn’t it true that your entire story here is a crock of shit?”
There’s an uproar in the courtroom and the judge once again begins to hammer his gavel as he tries to get order in this courtroom. He’s finally had enough, “Bailiffs! Clear this courtroom, right now!” As the men in uniform move to comply, the judge stares daggers at Frost, “Counsel, if you pull a stunt like this one more time, I will hold you in contempt and we will proceed without you.”
A look over at Sue Ann Clark shows her leaning over her desk, head in hands.
Frost is once again trying to continue his cross-examination. “Let’s walk through your story, if I may. You claim that you were drugged by the defendant and taken to his hotel room where you were sexually assaulted, without your consent. Is that true?”
Ellen Sinclair nods her head. “That’s true.”
“Ms. Sinclair, you testified earlier that your chosen profession is as an actress. Correct?”
“Have you been in anything I might have seen on TV or in the movies?”
“No. I’m still looking for my break.”
“I see. And how do you provide for yourself financially?”
There’s a pause from Ellen Sinclair as she glances over Sue Ann Clark. Her eyes dart back to Douglas Frost, “I am an escort.”
“So, men pay you for sex?”
“No. For my company.”
“Which includes sex?”
“It never includes sex.”
“You’ve never had sex with someone who hires you as an escort?”
Another pause. “I never said that.”
“So, you have?”
“Never for money.”
“Ms. Sinclair. Let me try and understand what you’re trying to say to me. You work as an escort and get paid to keep company with men. While you may have sex with them, you don’t consider that part of the payment you get?”
Douglas Frost turns and points to his client, sitting over at the defense desk, “Before the night in question, have you ever had sex with my client.”
While the look on Ellen Sinclair’s face tells the story, the look on Sue Ann Clark’s face when she realizes the answer to this question tells the conclusion.
The camera, however, focuses past her on Dante Schumer, sitting at the very back watching on. He’s large, bald and handsome. He seems very pleased with how things went as he stands, grabs his jacket and exits the courtroom.
A press conference outside of the courthouse and Douglas Frost is beaming with pride. “All I can tell you is that justice has prevailed here in this case. My client was found not guilty of assault. Any relations between the two has always been consensual.”
Douglas Frost walks into the bar and takes a stool, “Whiskey, double,” he orders from the bartender. He fails to see Sue Ellen Clark sitting at a table finishing her meal, but she certainly sees him as she pushes away her plate in disgust.
She drops some money on the counter and stands up. She starts to walk by him at the bar and leave, but something causes her to stop. “You’re a pig.”
“Nice to see you again, Susie,” he says as his drink is placed in front of him.
“I hate it when you call me that. I always have.” She sits on the stool, leaving an empty one between them. “That was some shit you pulled in there today. I hope you’re proud to have gotten off a rapist.”
“Not guilty. Therefore, he isn’t a rapist.”
“You know that motherfucker was guilty, Doug. You know it.”
“And you know that it’s my job to prove he didn’t, which I did.”
“I can’t believe I ever dated you. What happened to you?”
Douglas turns to her, “I am how I’ve always been, Sue. I do the job I get paid to do. Believe it or not, sometimes you do get it wrong. It’s my job to make sure that doesn’t happen. In fact, we had this very conversation on the day you left me, did we not?”
She rises from her stool, “The best day of my life,” she adds as she turns to leave.
Douglas places the empty glass on the counter and taps it again as the bartender walks over to refill it. “Hey, Suzie…”
Sue Ann turns around with an annoyed look on her face.
With a grin, Douglas accepts the new drink and turns to face her, “I’m sure we’ll be seeing each other again very soon.”
“God, I hope not,” says Sue Ann as she turns and leaves the bar.
The following morning a mini-fridge is delivered to Douglas Frost’s office. He is on the phone with a potential client so directed the movers where to set the fridge down.
As he concludes his conversation, he is handed a clipboard to which he signs his name before hanging up.
The men leave and he walks over and brushes his hand across the shiny surface of the fridge and then squats down and peels some tape from the front that holds the door in place.
He slowly opens the freezer door and inside it is filled with cash. “Beautiful,” he says under his breath. As he pulls a few bills from one of the stacks before returning it to the fridge he recalls a conversation he had outside of the courthouse the day before.
Douglas Frost is walking to his car when he hears a voice.
“You bastard. None of that shit you said in there was true,” screams Ellen Sinclair as she approaches him. “I knew him from college. I knew he could help me get a role. I trusted him because of friendship.”
Douglas turns to look at her and nods, “I know. I’m sure he wanted to sleep with you from the moment he laid eyes on you again. I’m sure he set it all up so he could do just that.”
The confession from the lawyer stuns Ellen as she looks at him with confusion, “You knew all of this and you…”
“So, what if I knew? What did you expect? Do you really expect a sense of justice from a man who defends a sexual predator?”
Ellen is getting angry now, “You saw what that asshole did to me.”
“I saw. What difference does that make? Do you know who his father is? How powerful a man he is? And look at you. Do you not know your place? You see, regardless of what the truth is, the outcome of this trial was set from the start. The world is a shitty place. So, go put yourself together. Forget everything that has happened. And never put yourself in this situation again.”
He starts to turn away when she says, “Asshole.”
He turns back, “If you give up trying to appeal, I may be able to get you a settlement from my client. If you continue to seek justice, you get nothing.”
He finally does turn and walk away, leaving her standing there on the sidewalk. He walks into the parking lot and gets into his car and as he fastens his seatbelt, he sees her still standing there, devastated.
A look crosses his face, perhaps a moment of regret before he starts the engine of his car and drives away before it actually settles into his brain.
Later that evening, Douglas and Dante Schumer sit at a bar. Scotch is poured into two glasses.
“I heard that kid was a real shitbag,” says Schumer as he lifts his glass.
Douglas shrugs, “Shitbag or not, I had to get him off the hook. You gave me that case, after all. Though, I’m not sure I charged him enough to get his creepy ass kid a not guilty verdict. If his kid keeps getting himself into trouble, I’m going to have to start doubling my fee.”
Schumer smirks, “Don’t worry, he’s going to owe us for a very long time.” His phone rings and he reaches for it, but then sets it down.
Douglas notices, “Avoiding someone?”
“A particular political party wants me to join the ranks and run for Governor.”
“Why don’t you?”
A sly grin crosses Dante Schumer’s face, “I have bigger aspirations after all.”
More men join them at the bar and they take it to a booth where the liquor begins to flow more freely now. Toasts and speeches are made as inebriation sets in. Girls join the party. Money is thrown around. Everyone is having a merry time.
The next morning, Douglas wakes up on his couch, still in the clothes he wore the night before. He reaches for his head as he sits up, obviously with a hangover.
He is startled for a moment and we see that sitting in a chair next to him is a collected Dante Schumer, reading a newspaper.
“You startled me!” whines Douglas as he rubs his temples. He slowly gets to his feet and asks, “Why are you here? You’re here more often than you are at your own house.”
“I booked a VIP medical checkup at the hospital,” Dante says as he continues to read. “It’s in two days.”
“Fuck, my health is fine,” says Douglas as he stumbles into the kitchen.
“You slept some this morning after drinking all night? You’ll die if you don’t.”
Douglas walks back with a bottle of water and an apple that he takes a bite out of before sitting back down on the couch. He opens his water and takes a drink. “Good point. So, what do you really need?” he finally asks.
Dante folds up the paper and looks at Douglas for a moment before reaching for a big envelope and sliding it across the coffee table. “I need this thug out of prison. He got himself arrested for assault.”
“Thug? If he’s a thug, he belongs in jail, right? Helps him keep his edge! Get him out too soon and he’ll get spoiled.”
Dante doesn’t answer that as he rises from his seat. He walks over to look out the big series of windows that look out over the city. “I want to build the tallest building this city has ever seen. I want to place it smack dab in the center of the most expensive area in Seattle. I can’t let the company’s reputation get blemished because of a thug. I can’t risk it.”
Douglas looks over at him from the documents he’s reviewing. Dante turns to look back. “He’s just a small fry. He provides me labor.”
Wearily, Douglas rises from his seat and slowly walks over to stand next to Dante in front of those windows. “The tallest building in the most expensive area of Seattle? I was thinking there’s a piece of land that I’m interested in as well.” He holds up the envelope and moves it back and forth as if offering a trade as he grins.
Dante smiles back at him and then turns to look out the window again, the smile disappears.
Douglas Frost is sitting in a small room when the door opens and a prisoner is being led in, handcuffed. The man is a very large man, menacing and wearing a lot of orange. The man pauses as he sees Frost sitting here and Frost motions to the chair across from him.
With some reluctance, the man sits as the guard leaves the room.
“You are Gerald…”
“Twill. I don’t use that other name,” the man says as he leans back in his chair.
“Twill,” Frost corrects himself, “However, they will call you that ‘other name’ in court.
“Your occupation is missing on this document.”
“I do specialized work. You can call me a handy man, if you like.”
“You’ve already been in here twice. Made quite a living for yourself, have you?” Frost says bitingly as he glances up from the paperwork in front of him. “Got into a bar fight, immediately arrested because you violated your parole.”
“So, he sent you to get me out, is that it? He sent his ace attorney. Gonna free my ass from prison.” Twill grins.
“That prison outfit looks good on you, Twill. Almost as if it was made just for you. They must plan on keeping you here for a very long time.” Frost smirks, as he sets the clipboard aside. “I’m glad you know who I am. Here’s how this is going to play. The fight was an unfortunate occurrence, no real damage. You are needed on the outside to provide for your mother, your siblings, your wife or children. Whichever relative fits the bill. You’re gonna have to convince the judge that you’re really a good guy, which means you’ll have to put on the act of your life here. Better start rehearsing your lines.”
“You’re an asshole.”
Frost pauses at that for a moment and then shakes his head, “You are as stupid as you look. Why do you think someone is trying to get you out of prison? You’re about as useless as you look. Someone’s paying me a lot of money to make sure that happens. Why do you think that is?”
Twill crosses his arms across his chest, but doesn’t respond.
“Because you are connected to something. Something that stinks. I couldn’t give a fuck if you got out of here.”
Twill starts to stand up, “You jerk…”
“Sit down. Do your best. Act your part. If you don’t, if you aren’t convincing enough to the judge then you can expect some sort of accident in here. The people I work for don’t leave loose ends. Do you get my drift?” Frost asks.
Twill slowly sinks back down in his chair but again says nothing as he stares right at Frost.
“Do you understand?” Frost asks again.
Twill finally smiles a creepy smile and nods. “Fine.”
Brenda Wright storms into the office.
At the sight of her, nearly everyone gets up and walks out of the office. Everyone except Sue Ann Clark who knows that she’s the reason Ms. Wright is here. With a sigh, she stands up as Wright walks over and leans against the desk.
“You think I’m a joke?” Wright asks. “I told you not to prosecute this case. Withdraw the indictment. Now.”
Hesitantly, Clark is slow to reply, “I don’t think I can do that.” She gets a little more courageous as her words become a little louder, more confident. “I wasn’t going to go at him full strength. But it’s an assault case. I can’t just make it go away.”
Wright shakes her head, “You said it yourself, no one is pressing charges.”
“The victim is his driver. Certainly, he’s afraid to lose his job if he makes a statement. I can’t just cherry-pick cases. I am a prosecutor.”
Wright starts to say something, then withdraws. When she speaks, her tone is a little softer, “Your father’s hearing is coming up. He very well may become the city’s next Attorney General. We shouldn’t cause him any trouble.”
Clark scoffs a little, “My father will take care of his own business. Even if I go full speed, you and I both know that someone higher than us will put an end to this even if I take it to trial. Even if we go in front of a jury, he will be found innocent.”
Finally, Wright looks up at her, “What is it you want?”
Douglas Frost is standing outside of the courthouse on the phone.
“What do you mean, the prosecutor has been reassigned?” he asks as he seems flustered.
The sound of footsteps on the sidewalk are heard and he turns around to see Sue Ann Clark walking up to him. He hangs up the phone and slides it into his pocket.
“Say it isn’t so?” Clark says. “The top attorney to the top one percent in this city is defending a thug.”
Frost looks annoyed as he reaches up and loosens his collar a little, but otherwise doesn’t respond.
Clark smirks, “Right. He works for Schumer Construction. Dante Schumer is your sugar daddy, right?”
As if on cue, Dante Schumer walks up to the two of them. He offers Clark a smile and a nod to Frost.
Clark returns the smile, “You’ve been well, I assume? It’s been a while.”
Schumer looks at Frost, “I didn’t realize we’d be against such stiff competition. I hope you have done your homework.”
Clark doesn’t let him answer, “I didn’t realize you had such an interest in the law, Mr. Schumer. Why don’t you sell your construction company and start your own law firm? I hear that Mr. Frost will only take cases that come from you anyway. It would surely be more profitable than construction, right?”
Frost looks annoyed at this exchange, but Schumer plays it cool. “It’s not easy to transition from one type of business to another. It’s definitely something to consider. I appreciate your suggestion.”
Clark laughs. “Well, you would be the expert on business, wouldn’t you? You started a company with only a million dollars and now it’s worth 200 million dollars.”
Frost finally interrupts, “We should go inside.”
Schumer and Frost start to leave when Clark speaks up, “By the way, Mr. Frost. I hope you have some actual laws to refer to in your notes this time. You’ll need them more than you’ll need dirty tricks to win this one. But, just in case you don’t, just know I’m willing to play just as dirty as you in there.”
She turns and heads into the building.
Schumer turns to Frost, “She’s still as feisty as ever, isn’t she?”
“So, you held up the construction company in order to make a larger profit, is that right?” Frost asks the man on the stand.
“I wasn’t trying to hold them up…” the man begins.
“Because of your dirty tricks, your stalling tactics just to line your own pockets, the project continued to be delayed, isn’t that right? For your own greed, you kept men and women from making an honest living. These same men and women with mouths to feed, clothes to buy, rent or mortgages to pay. If the project gets canceled, these same men and women are thrown out on the streets with their families with no food. The defendant was one of these people. He has a family that he needs to provide for and you were preventing him from doing so. He had no choice but to get involved.”
Clark stands up, “Your honor, is there a question here? The defense is testifying here.”
Frost holds up a hand, “I’ve nothing further of this witness.”
“Let’s call this what it really is. A fight between two thugs. Schumer Construction didn’t hire Mr. Card, the defendant, to be a laborer but to be a thug and to get rid of any opposition to build in that location. It is well within any property owner’s right to ask for any amount of money they see fit for their property. There is no law that prevents this. The defense counsel would like you to think it’s a dirty trick, but it’s not. Mr. Card already has two assault convictions. His job was not construction but to ensure that every property owner caved into the demands made by Schumer Construction. When one man asked for more than Schumer Construction was willing to pay, they sent Mr. Card to get a different answer from him. And, in case you weren’t aware, he is the key witness to an unsolved murder case.”
That piece of information seems to take Douglas Frost by surprise as he turns to look at Twill, who stares forward without returning the look.
Frost is walking out of the courthouse, he pulls out his phone. “Find out what murder case Twill is a witness for and get me everything you can find on it.”
Later that evening, Sue Ann Clark is meeting with an older man in her office. There are papers laid out all over her desk. The older man looks at her, “It’s always bothered me. So, I pulled out everything and started to investigate this murder once more. I’ve been a police officer for more than forty years. I retire next month and I don’t want to retire without solving this case.”
Clark is looking over everything as well. “It’s an odd case, to be sure.”
Seven Years Ago
A woman receives a text message. She appears to be in her apartment. The text reads, “Bring everything to the police station. Be careful.”
Just then her doorbell rings and it spooks her. She slowly walks towards the door and peeks through the peephole then slowly backs away from the door. She hurries and closes herself in the bathroom.
The front door to the apartment opens up and we see a shadow enter. Then footsteps walk across the floor.
Inside the bathroom, the woman is inside the tub with the shower curtain drawn. She can hear someone rifling through her things out in the other room. He walks over to the bathroom door and opens it up.
Instead of going inside, he turns and walks away. He heads over to the front door, opens it and then shuts it, leaving himself still inside the apartment.
She is starting to do nervous heavy breathing in the bathroom and then her phone begins to vibrate causing her to gasp. It vibrates several times before she is able to make it stop.
She is as quiet as she can be for a few long moments as she listens to ensure that whoever it was really left. She finally exhales. She reaches up to brush her hair back, finally able to relax when suddenly the shower curtain flies over and someone reaches in and she screams as she bumps against the faucet and turns on the shower.
The man grabs her by the hair and forces her down onto her knees and begins to thrust a knife into her over and over and over again. We see her feet, kicking a little, covered in her blood.
Back to the present, Carlos, the private investigator is explaining this case to Douglas Frost. The same case that Sue Ann Clark was being briefed on. “She was a twenty year old actress and just made her TV debut. She was stabbed multiple times but the weapon was never found.”
Frost looks over some of the pictures that he brought over, “Sexual assault?”
“No. Nothing like that at all.”
Sue Ann Clark is reading through a document, “Gerald Card, aka Twill, was the prime suspect. Her estimated time of death and his whereabouts overlap. His prints were even found on her body. But the grand jury refused to indict him without a murder weapon.”
The officer nods, “Plus, they couldn’t determine motive so we were told to shut the case down and as soon as we did, and this is the strange part, everything related to the case was destroyed.”
Frost flips through some more of the papers, “So, he’s locked up for a simple assault, but now she’s looking at this cold case. Sounds just like her.”
“I wanted to continue to investigate, but they’re pressuring me to drop it and since I’m retiring, I don’t want to do anything to put that in jeopardy. So, I brought this to you,” says the detective. “A 20-year old woman died. Even seven years later they are pressuring me to drop this. Something’s not right.”
Sue Ann picks up a photo and looks at it, clearly of Twill, walking away down the street. “There’s someone else behind this.”
Out at the construction site, Dante Schumer is sitting in his car. Someone is standing outside of the car next to him as he reads through some papers.
“The news site wants to dig up this case now that it’s gotten a little attention. The editor has me digging around and it’s gotten quite interesting,” says the reporter as Schumer continues to read. “Oh, there is one other thing,” he says as he hands another piece of paper through the window to Schumer, who takes it and begins to read. “As I was digging, I came across this.”
As he reads, Schumer finally says something, “I hear that online news sites go under very quickly.
The comment makes the reporter a little nervous.
“You’re working very hard and it’s so hot outside,” he continues.
“Oh, thank you, sir,” says the reporter.
Schumer turns to Tenta and nods. Tenda nods back and moves to the back of the car and opens the trunk. He picks up a small plastic bag and walks it to the reporter and hands it to him.
The reporter opens the bag to find a lot of cash inside. “Thank you, sir. If I have any other information come to light, I’ll be sure to bring it your way.”
Schumer continues to read and just politely nods his head.
As the reporter drives off, Schumer picks up the phone and makes a call.
“I didn’t kill her!” Twill screams as he stands up from his seat.
Frost is back at the prison with Twill. He looks up at the man, “Then why are you getting all excited?”
Twill looks around and then slowly sits back down in his seat. “Look, I was told to keep an eye on her. When I arrived that day, she was already dead.”
Unconvinced, Frost smirks, “Already dead? That’s the story you want to stick with?”
“Do you think I’m crazy? Why would I report my own murder? I know there are all those cameras in that building. I was interrogated and acquitted.”
Frost scoffs, “You weren’t acquitted. You just weren’t indicted.”
“Right, right! That,” says Twill with a sigh as he leans back in his chair. “Why are you bringing all this up?
Frost leans onto the table, “Do you think I care about this? I don’t care if a thug like you killed someone.” He stands up and walks to the door, pounding on it. When it opens, he walks out, leaving Twill in the room.
Twill waits until the door is closed and grins, “Fascinating.”
Frost walks into Schumer’s office and sits down on his couch, “That Twill character seems to be involved in some sort of murder. That isn’t related to this case, right?”
Schumer looks up, “What if it is?”
There’s a moment of awkward silence before Frost says, “If it is, you should just forget about it and focus on building the tallest building in Seattle. He’s already been released from that charge, so let me focus on this one. I’ll get him out. There’s no reason to care even if he did commit a murder.”
Schumer looks up at him, “Will you be okay with that? Sue Ann Clark is no joke. You should know that more than anyone.”
Frost laughs. “Don’t be fucking ridiculous.” Though he does appear to be worried, which causes Schumer to look worried. He picks up an envelope and stands up and walks over to sit across from Frost and drops the packet on the table.
“It’s that property you wanted.”
“Dante. I love that you are quick to compensate me.”
They both laugh.
A receptionist walks in with a pastry box and sets it on the table.
Frost looks at it curiously, “What’s the cake for?”
Dante looks at him, “You should go visit him. It’s his birthday.”
Sue Ann Clark is sitting at her desk holding the picture of Twill that she saw earlier.
There’s a knock on her door and it opens, “Ma’am, we’re doing a bit of investigating and came across this. A deliveryman was at the scene of the crime right around the estimated time of death.”
Seven Years Ago
A young man walks up to the door and rings the doorbell.
“Delivery!” he yells.
Back to the present, Clark is going through a few papers as the investigator speaks.
“We found these in another case file which is why they weren’t destroyed with the others.”
She flips the page and there’s a sticky attached that reads, “Cause of Death: DUI.”
Douglas Frost pulls up to a red light. His attention is diverted to a young man delivering boxes to a convenience store. He has a flashback to a car crash.
A car behind him honks as he snaps out of it and drives on.
After he passes the light, he turns into a parking lot and parks his car. He turns and looks at the cake box sitting next to him in the passenger seat. He glances in the rear view and then pulls out into the street.
Douglas is walking down the street. As he passes a playground, he sees a young man sitting on the steps. He slowly walks over and takes a seat next to him. The young man has earbuds in and appears to be lip-syncing along with the song in his ears.
Douglas reaches over and pulls out an earbud and places it in his own ear and we now hear an old R & B style of song. He turns to the boy, “You really are an old soul. You really like this type of music?”
The boy grins, “Dougy, this is the best style of music ever!” he pulls the earbud away from Douglas and places it back in his own ear and begins to actually sing along this time. Douglas watches and laughs as the boy gets up and begins to play an air guitar and dance on the stairs. The laughter turns to just a smile and then slowly the smile fades away as we realize the boy isn’t really there, but this is a memory for Douglas.
His eyes begin to water and as the scene pans back, we see he is sitting all alone.
We next see him at the cemetery as he places flowers in front of the tombstone. “Are you happy now that you’re truly alone, you jerk,” he mutters to the grave. “This is my last visit. I’m not ever coming back. Take care of yourself.” As he stands and starts to walk away, we see the name on the stone, “Justin Frost”.
As he walks down the path of the cemetery, he passes a young woman walking in the opposite direction.
Douglas looks behind him as if he might recognize her, but then shakes his head and continues on, unaware the young woman walks up to the same grave that Douglas just left.
Douglas gets back into his car and lets out a sigh. He reaches for his phone and makes a call. “Where are you?”
A couple of hours later, Dante and Douglas are at a bar. Douglas has gotten sufficiently intoxicated as he rambles about what he’s going to do with the property that Dante secured for him. He suddenly smacks the table, “Can you find me a yacht? Something fancy! You can make a lot of money with yachts, I heard!”
Dante has an amused look on his face. He obviously hasn’t been drinking as much as Douglas has this evening.
Douglas stands up and unsteadily walks to the window that overlooks the city, “This is a great view. Seattle is the best,” he mumbles. “Dante. This is how I want to live. I’m going to have this lousy world at my feet.”
Dante doesn’t respond. Just listens.
Douglas continues to stare out at the city, “I’ve decided I’m not going back to visit that punk. This was my last time. It’s time to put it behind me. I’ve done enough for him.” Douglas turns back to look at Dante, “What do you think?”
Again, Dante doesn’t really respond. He just looks at him so Douglas turns back around, takes another swallow of his drink and continues to look out the window.
Five Years Ago
We hear music as the scene changes. There’s a lamp lying on the ground, flickering on and off. The music is coming from a record player. There are bottles of alcohol lying everywhere with limes and ice all over the table.
We follow a trail of broken glass from both drinking glasses and alcohol bottles with wet spots all over the tile.
The trail leads to another room where we see bloody bodies lying on the floor.
Most of the bodies look like they are dead. However, one may still be alive. His bloody hand is near a knife that is also bloody. His hand begins to twitch and his fingers move.
Walking away from the carnage is Dante Schumer. He walks over and grabs the curtain and slides it open as he looks out the window. He watches as another figure walks down his driveway in the snow.
Douglas Frost continues to stare out the window of the bar as he says, “I want to forget it all.”
Finally, Dante Schumer speaks, “Everyone in your life vanishes at some point or another. Forget it all. All you need to do, Douglas, is look straight ahead.”
Douglas nods his head several times as he turns around. He walks to the table and refills his glass as Dante looks up at him and they both drink.
Sue Ann Clark has repurposed a portion of her dining room wall as she has begun to place pictures and post-its on the wall regarding the case. She figured it would be better at her place than at the office where anyone can see it. It’s obvious that someone wants to keep this quiet. She places a picture of the delivery driver on the wall along with the death note and recalls the conversation earlier with the detective.
“Do you think this death of this delivery driver is connected to this case?” she asks him.
“I had a feeling it might be. But I couldn’t find any proof,” he responds. “The DUI driver did his time and that was the end of it.”
She continues to stare at the images on her wall.
Douglas Frost walks into the prosecutor’s office and up to Sue Ann’s door and is about to knock when he hears a commotion down the hall. Curious, he follows the sound.
There are people lined up to try and figure out what’s going on and he excuses himself as he walks past them to the source of the sound, it’s then that Frost recognizes the voice of his client.
Inside the room, Twill is on his feet. Sue Ann Clark is still seated, “Sit down or I’ll charge you with obstruction.”
“Why are you doing this to me? Am I responsible for every death in this city now? I am on trial for assault. Not murder! You are violating my rights! Do you understand me?”
Frost opens the door to the room just as Sue Ann finally stands up and shows him a picture, “You want this to be over, answer my question. You met this delivery man on the day she was murdered, yes or no.”
“I have no idea who that is, Miss Prosecutor! Are you happy now?”
Twill’s head slowly turns as he sees his lawyer standing there in the doorway.
Sue Ann notices the shift of attention and turns and sees him as well.
Frost walks over and begins to pick up the pictures on the desk and look them over as if something has caught his eye. He slowly looks up from the pictures to Twill and holds up the picture, “Do you know this man?”
Twill doesn’t answer, instead the two just look at each other.
Frost asks again, “Do you know this guy?”
When he doesn’t answer right away, Frost grabs him by the collar and pushes him against the way. “I asked you if you knew this guy, you son of a bitch!”
Again, Twill doesn’t answer.
The scene changes to outside, it’s raining and there’s a backhoe picking up dirt and dropping it into a hole. Inside the hole is the reporter from earlier, tied and gagged, along with all of his paperwork about the story of the murder. He is slowly covered in dirt as he cries.
Dante Schumer is watching nearby. His phone begins to ring. He lifts it up and he sees that it’s Douglas Frost.
We flashback to 12 years ago when the delivery man is ringing on the apartment door. “Delivery!” he yells a couple of times. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a phone and dials the number listed on the package.
Inside the apartment, the shower is running and blood is mixed with water as the victim sits in the tub. The phone begins to ring on the floor. The killer watches her with a knife in hand. He turns to look at the door and begins to walk towards it.
The delivery man places his hand on the doorknob and considers turning it.
Still in the interrogation room, Douglas Frost and Sue Ann Clark are trying to get answers from Twill. He is shown the picture once more.
“This delivery driver was at the scene of the murder and he died a day later. Are you sure this has nothing to do with you?”
“Are you guys crazy? Does any of what you’re saying make sense?”
Douglas drops the picture and shakes his head, “It doesn’t. Does it?”
As Twill is being loaded back into the transport bus, when he walks by a guard, a slip of paper is passed to him before he walks forward and slides into one of the seats.
He looks up first and then unfolds the paper, looking down to read it as a smile crosses his face.
“Despite all the evidence gathered, it became a cold case,” explains Sue Ann Clark to Douglas Frost. “It’s been seven years. Even now, there is pressure to not investigate this case. There’s nothing simple about this.”
“What does this have to do with me?” asks Douglas Frost, looking disheveled and leaning up against the wall.
Sue Ann Clark remains seated in the chair as she looks up at him, “Your brother may have been a witness to this murder. Is it really a coincidence that he was killed one day after being at that crime scene?”
Douglas shakes his head, “It was an accident. A DUI.” He pushes himself off the wall and grabs his briefcase, walking towards the door.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” she asks. “About your brother?”
“Why would I have to?” he answers before walking out of the interrogation room.
Douglas drives his car through a tunnel and then pulls over to the side of the road. He remembers the trial.
Those bastards got only 2 years in prison for killing his brother. He remembers the anger he felt as he had to sit there in the courtroom to hear the sentence. As he wrings his hands, he speaks out loud in the courtroom.
“Shouldn’t they pay?” he says, then stands up. “Shouldn’t they pay according to what is right? An innocent boy died and you sentenced them to 2 years? You call it accidental but how was this an accident? Tell me?” His voice is getting louder with each word that comes from his mouth.
He turns his attention to one of the accused who has a big smile on his face.
“Are you smiling right now, you self-righteous son of a bitch!” he storms over to him. The crowd is starting to murmur.
Frost grabs the guy’s jacket, “Bring my brother back!”
Suddenly, folks swarm him to pull him off the man.
“I’ll kill you all,” he spits out as they drag him away.
He’s still sitting in his car sometime later when it begins to pour rain.
He picks up the phone and dials Dante Schumer who is standing in the rain as the backhoe covers the reporter and all the evidence. This time as his phone rings, he answers.
Sue Ann walks into an empty apartment. She walks down towards the bathroom and slowly pushes the door open. In her mind, she sees the victim lying on the floor, dead.
Suddenly the light comes on and the vision is gone. Detective Hammer, one month away from retirement, shakes his head. “You aren’t scared to come in here alone? At night? Where a murder was committed?”
Sue Ann smirks, “I’m not scared. Fuck, I wish her ghost would come to me and tell me exactly what happened that night.”
“I guess I chose the right person to hand this case over to.”
“Oh, you were asking about the phone records. The number of the delivery driver is still active. But it’s now registered in his older brother’s name,” he tells her.
She nods, running her hand through her hair as he continues. “We went back two years’ worth of calls to see if there was any sort of connection, but there was nothing.”
Something dawns on her, “What about the victim’s phone?”
“Never found it. We assumed the killer took it. Mysteriously, her number was cancelled within hours of her murder.”
That intrigues Sue Ann, “There has to be something on that phone. The delivery man came to the scene and got into an accident on the day after.”
As the two part ways outside, there’s someone watching Sue Ann from the shadows as she gets into her car and drives away.
“What do you mean?” asks Dante Schumer as he pulls a book from the large collection of books stacked on a shelf.
“This Twill guy of yours. There’s something off about him.”
“What do you mean?”
“My brother visited a crime scene seven years ago where Twill committed the murder. But the next day, my brother got into an accident.”
Dante sets the book down on his desk and turns to look at Douglas, “Are you saying it’s all related to your brother’s accident?”
“It doesn’t make any sense,” Douglas says as he seems deep in thought, “My brother died in a DUI accident. And those pieces of shit who caused the accident they…” he turns to Dante, “You remember?”
Dante shakes his head, “It’s a coincidence.”
Douglas nods his head slowly, “It has to be, but when I asked him about it. He smiled. That fucker smiled. Clear as day. It’s been bothering me ever since.”
Dante nods his head as well, “I’ll look into it.”
“No. I’ll look into it myself.” He finally stands up, “I’ve gotta go.” He starts to walk towards the door.
“What will it change?” asks Dante causing Douglas to stop walking and turn around. “What will it change if you find out more information?”
Douglas nods and shoves his hands into his pockets, “You’re probably right. It’s just a coincidence. Just forget about it. Just answer me this. Why are you trying to get him out of jail?”
There’s a long moment of awkward silence as the two stare at each other with no answer coming.
Douglas finally smiles, “Forget I asked. I’ll see you later.”
Dante watches him leave and then lets out a sigh. He looks down as his phone begins to ring.
As Douglas walks into his apartment, he sets his briefcase down on the counter. He lowers himself onto his couch as he remembers…
5 Years Ago
Frost receives a text that he passed the bar exam. He dismisses the alert and reaches into a drawer to pull out a large kitchen knife. He gently places it on a newspaper and begins to roll it up and then he slips it into his jacket pocket.
He walks out of his door and starts to walk off when a voice asks, “Are you going to kill them?”
“At times like this, there are only two options,” Dante continues, “Forgiveness or revenge.”
Douglas looks at the man, “Who are you?”
Dante ignores the question, “After you kill them, are you planning to kill yourself too?”
Douglas begins to walk towards the man, “What choice do I have? I’ve tried everything and nothing has worked. My brother was wrongfully killed. And the laws have only protected his killers. They aren’t even sorry for what they’ve done. What else could I possibly do?”
Dante’s face is stone cold as he answers that question, “You do to them what they did to you. But do it in a way that you don’t have to hurt yourself. That’s how you win.”
Tears begin to run down Douglas’ face.
“I’ve been trying to find a way to help you. And I can, as long as you can give me what I want” says Dante.
A car is parked in a mysterious alley.
A man gets into it and drives away.
We see a sign over a doorway that reads, “Kam Loon Restaurant.”
Inside the restaurant, Dante Schumer is enjoying a meal. The place is small. There are only three tables and an elderly lady that seems to be running the place. From the look of the place, there is no way it can possibly pass any health codes, but still he eats.
Detective Hammer who had obviously been sleeping, walks to his door and opens it up to find young Detective Paul Young standing there.
“Old man!” grins Young as he walks into the apartment.
“If you’re drunk, you should just go home,” says Hammer.
“You’ll let me crash, right?” asks Young.
Hammer closes the door as Young walks over and plops his drunk ass down onto the couch. “You were looking into that unsolved murder, right?” he asks with drunken speech. “It’s so obvious that it was a crime of passion.”
This was not a conversation Hammer wanted at this time of night, “Young, there are no obvious cases in this world. There are only detectives who can’t see the obvious.”
“Lemme give you a piece of advice, old man. Spend your final days on the force in silence. When you’re about to retire, you have to watch out for the tiniest of things.” Young says as he lies back on the couch after kicking off his shoes.
“You’re one to talk. Stop drinking so much. You’re a decent detective when you’re sober. Stop causing trouble,” says Hammer as he walks back into his room, closing the door behind him.
It’s the wee hours of the morning as a guard escorts Twill down the hall of cells. Twill is let into the laundry room where he begins to rifle through a hamper until he finds what he’s looking for.
A cell phone.
He dials the phone.
Scene changes to Tenta walking down the hallway at the Schumer residence. He approaches Dante and hands him the phone.
Dante looks at the phone for a long moment before placing it against his ear.
Young wakes up on Hammer’s couch. There’s a note next to him that tells him to lock up the apartment when he leaves.
A bit later, Young is walking into the precinct and there is murmuring going on that suddenly stops as he approaches.
“What’s going on?”
An assistant barges into Sue Ann’s office.
“Ma’am…” he starts to say but can’t seem to continue.
“What is it?”
“It’s Detective Hammer….”
A crane has lifted a Jeep out of the river and slowly lowers it onto the ground.
A car pulls up, only stopping when police officers get in its way.
Paul Young emerges from the car and sprints towards the scene.
He is stopped by several officers and he screams, “I’m his partner, you assholes! Let me through!”
Another cop yells, “Let him through!”
As they release him, he walks towards the Jeep slowly. He walks up to the side and looks inside to find Detective Hammer bloody, lying against the steering wheel.
Another car pulls up after and Sue Ann Clark rushes towards the scene finding the same thing.
“It looks like he just veered off the road, through the barricade and into the water,” someone says.
Sue Ann ignores it as she takes step after step towards the vehicle, eyes turning red as tears begin to roll down her cheek.
Young is having none of this bullshit as he grabs the detective on the scene, “Are you saying he killed himself?”
“No! I’m not saying that at all. He had an old car. We don’t know anything yet!”
Young grabs him by the collar, “He kept this city safe! He put so many criminals behind bars. He’s a goddamned hero!” he yells as slowly Sue Ann finally reaches the window.
“You do a goddamned proper investigation,” demands Young.
Sue Ann just stares at the lifeless body of Detective Hammer.
Douglas walks into his office and Carlos immediately meets him, “That case you were asking about from seven years ago?”
“What about it?”
“The lead investigator of that case just died in a mysterious car crash.”
Douglas looks confused.
Sue Ann is sitting outside of a bar on patio furniture. In front of her is a bottle of vodka and a shot glass. She brings the glass that’s already filled with liquid and drinks it down. She looks like she’s had quite a few already.
Douglas Frost walks up and spots her. He starts to walk on but with each step he slows down until he finally stops. He turns around and walks back towards her and takes a seat at her table.
She looks up and sees him and then turns away from him.
He reaches over for the bottle and pours her another shot. Then pours one for himself.
“I don’t understand it,” she says though she cannot seem to look him in the face. “You’re defending the guy that may have killed your brother.” He doesn’t answer her. “A good man died today!” she cries out.
Again, he has nothing to say to her.
She stands up, “Fucking idiot,” she mutters as she starts to walk off unsteadily as he sits there, unmoving.
At home, on her crime wall, Sue Ann places a picture of Detective Hammer, adding it to the assortment of pictures already there.
She was told they were closing the case as an accident. Detective Hammer’s family didn’t want an autopsy. It’s over.
The next morning she’s in her office when Twill is led in, handcuffed. He takes a seat.
She removes the badge from around her neck as she says, “A detective died yesterday. He was reinvestigating the murder case from seven years ago.”
Twill scoffs, “I’m a sewer, lady? You just throw shit at me? If you don’t recall, I’ve been in prison. I am currently in prison. Are you shitting me right now?”
Sue Ann looks at him for a moment before she speaks again. “There was a message from you on his phone. You told him that if he continued to dig into the murder case, you’d hire someone to kill him.”
“How many times do I have to say it? I am in prison. How can I call? What you’re saying right now makes no sense.”
“I’m going to start making sense of it starting now,” she responds to him. “You can fabricate all the evidence you want to try and convince me you aren’t the killer but I’ll never believe it.”
Twill sits back in his chair, “Is that really how a prosecutor should act? Aren’t you supposed to follow the evidence or some shit?” He starts looking around. “Am I on camera? Are you trying to coerce a confession?”
“No. There’s no camera. Listen up,” she says, “I am going to charge you with soliciting the murder of the detective who died yesterday. On top of that, I’m going to charge you with the murder seven years ago. We found the weapon. Guess who’s fingerprints we found all over it.”
“This is bullshit,” Twill says. “Are you crazy?”
“Don’t you worry, I hide my crazy well,” she says with a grin. “Unless you want to confess right here and now, of course, I’ll have to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. I will hunt down every crime you’ve ever committed and add them to the list with the hope that you will rot in prison for the rest of your life.”
Carlos walks into Douglas’ office and hands him a report, “I did more digging into this case and it looks for certain that Twill is the murderer from seven years ago.”
Douglas takes the paper and reads over it.
“It’s clear as day he did this, so someone definitely helped him out of this jam,” he continues.
Douglas looks from the paper over to Carlos. He lets out a sigh, “On the day of the murder, there was a delivery man there too. Could you check into that?”
“A delivery man?”
“It’s been seven years. I doubt you’ll find any video footage or documents. Please do what you can,” Douglas says. “I want to know if he met anyone on the way home from the crime scene or stopped anywhere.”
“I don’t understand the connection with the murder case…” Carlos says as Douglas Frost just walks away from him. “He does this every time.”
Carlos walks up to building security and asks, “How many cameras do you have in this building?”
“I have no idea,” is the response.
Meanwhile, Douglas is walking the path from the murder scene to what should be the path his brother took after he attempted to deliver a package to that address.
He walks down the street, following a map in hand and looking around until he spots what he’s looking for.
A mounted video camera.
Carlos is working with building security to go over all the possible video feeds.
Douglas walks down and finds another camera.
He walks into the building.
“They aren’t in any chronological order, but you’re welcome to them,” says the owner of the pawn shop as he hands over some tapes to Douglas, who thanks them. As he exits the building and walks off, someone is watching him very closely from a car.
Back at the office, Carlos is setting up a video player to the television, “You don’t even want to know how old this thing is, but it’s all I could find to play these types of tapes. And there’s no rhyme or reason to how these things are ordered. We’re gonna be here for a while.” He pops in the first tape as Douglas sits back, not saying much of anything.
Dante Schumer is standing at a window, looking outside when his bodyguard Tenta approaches. He delivers a message and then walks away.
The date and time stamp on the recording they’ve put in matches the date and time they need. Douglas and Carlos are watching intently as people are walking down this particular street. He sees his brother come on screen and stand around as if he were waiting.
A woman approaches him from behind and appears to address him and he turns around to face her, though we can’t see her face on the screen. There is a verbal exchange and then Justin hands over the package to the woman.
Carlos looks closer, “Is that…?”
Douglas also takes a keen interest. “Go back.”
Carlos rewinds the tape and plays it again. “I’ve seen her before.”
Carlos and Douglas move closer to the television and he pauses it, “Don’t you recognize her?” Carlos asks. “She’s the one from the trial.”
“What?” asks Douglas as he takes a closer look.
Sure enough, right there on the video with the package is Ellen Sinclair.
“Isn’t there another tape with another angle?”
Carlos digs around in the box of tapes and puts one in. This is from the alley just before the previous intersection. The same woman stands there this time moments after meeting Justin Frost. This time, however, she’s handing the box she just received to Twill.
“Do you still have her address?”
Douglas watches her get out of a car and the car drives off. He hasn’t seen Ellen Sinclair since the day of the trial. She’s dressed in a very elegant gown.
Douglas calls her and her phone vibrates. She glances at the screen and shuts it down and continues to walk when he steps out in front of her.
She glances up at him, pausing in her walk.
“I have a question. You know a man that goes by the name Twill, don’t you?”
She looks at him, then looks down, but doesn’t answer.
Douglas reaches into a pocket and produces a picture, “You met this delivery man seven years ago. He gave you a package and you gave it to Twill. I want to know why?”
“I don’t recall.”
“It’s very important to me, so I’d appreciate an answer,” he says to her. “What was inside the package?”
“Why would I tell you anything after what you did to me? I don’t give a fuck if it’s important to you.” When he doesn’t immediately answer, she starts to go up the steps to her apartment.
“I’ll pay you. I’ll pay you a lot of money.”
The words cause her to stop and turn around. “Fuck off.”
“Tell me why you met Twill? Just answer me this one question.”
“If you want to know so badly, go ask him yourself. I don’t ever want to see you again.” She turns and disappears up the stairs.
Inside her apartment, Ellen paces back and forth. Then, as if suddenly remembering something, she moves to her desk and pulls out a drawer and begins to rifle through it. She closes that one and opens the next and does the same. She pulls out a book that says Journal on it and begins to read through and stops at a certain page.
Twill is being led down the hall. The door is unlocked and they walk through and he’s led into an office where Douglas Frost motions for him to sit down.
“Must be nice being a famous lawyer. You get all kinds of perks, don’t you?” Twill says as he moves into a seat. “You ask for me and I have to come. I get to sit in this nice comfortable chair.” He laughs.
Douglas isn’t laughing. Douglas isn’t smiling. He paces back and forth looking at Twill.
“You must want to know something, just fucking ask already,” says the inmate.
“If I don’t get you out of jail, what do you think will happen to you?” Douglas finally asks. “Will Sue Ann Clark find the evidence she needs to put you away for that murder? I’m curious.”
“What did that crazy bitch say to you? Hm?”
Douglas smirks, “You’re right about one thing. She’s a crazy bitch. Tell me this, why did you meet with Ellen Sinclair on the day of that murder?”
“What does it matter?”
“She also met someone else that day.”
Twill chuckles. “So?”
“Take your time. You’ll remember if I let you rot in prison.”
Twill is no longer smiling, “Schumer wants you to get me out of here.”
“Tell me why you met her that day? What was in the package?”
Twill makes eye contact with him. “I’ve no fucking clue. Perhaps being in jail for so long has weakened my memory.” He begins to laugh again.
Sue Ann Clark stands up in the courtroom as she gives her opening statement, “Gerald Card already has two assault convictions. He’s been implicated in several other crimes. His excuse for this assault was that he didn’t get paid what he was supposed to. I will prove that this wasn’t about money. He is nothing but a thug, a career criminal and it’s time he is put behind bars for good.”
The judge turns to Douglas, “Counsel? The floor is yours.”
Douglas doesn’t say a word. Twill, sitting next to him, leans forward to look at him. Slowly Douglas gets to his feet, “Your honor, I have no opening statement.”
There’s a murmur in the courtroom and even Sue Ann looks bewildered. Twill does not look happy in the least.
Outside the courtroom, Sue Ann stands in front of Douglas, “What the fuck are you doing?”
“Am I obligated to share my strategy to the prosecutor?” he asks.
“Are you not going to prove his innocence? I’m sure he has something to do with your broth—”
“Stop looking into my brother’s case,” he interrupts. “I don’t need you involved. This is an assault case. Not a murder case.”
“Then defend him only for the assault, I don’t give a fuck,” she says back. “I’m going to keep digging into the murder case whether you like it or not.”
They stare at each other for a long moment before she walks off.
Douglas’ phone begins to ring. He looks and sees it’s from a restricted number.
When Douglas walks back into that office, Twill is already there waiting for him.
“I guess you’ve had sudden memory restoration?”
Twill looks at him, “How are the two incidents related? The murder of the actress and the death of the delivery man? Wouldn’t you like to know how your little brother died?”
Douglas can sense he’s being baited, “What do you mean?”
Twill laughs and Douglas gives in and grabs him by the jumper, “I asked you a question, you dick.”
Another laugh, “I can’t believe I got the great Douglas Frost all worked up. I thought it didn’t matter?”
Douglas isn’t playing, “I asked you how you are involved in my brother’s death.”
“I’m not. I couldn’t give two shits about how some delivery driver died.”
Douglas grabs him harder and then after a brief moment, he releases him.
“I’m sure you will rot in this prison for the rest of your life.”
Twill’s smile fades, “You know you have to get me out of here, no matter what.”
Dante Schumer is standing in his lawn. He lives up high enough, he can see out over the city of Seattle. Tenta walks up to him, “Will Douglas Frost play ball? He’s going to find out everything.”
“I knew he was a wild animal when I took him in,” Dante responds. “The wind is coming and things will get shaken up. Even I can’t defy nature.” He turns and walks into the house.
Tenta turns and watches him leave.
Twill is sitting in a holding room. He has a crazy smile on his face, “How’s the chairman doing?” he asks his visitor who turns out to be Dante Schumer’s bodyguard Tenta.
“What chairman are you talking about?” he asks in return.
“God damn, you play it cool,” Twill says as he leans back in his chair. “Things are getting interesting. Douglas Frost is digging into things he shouldn’t be.”
Tenta shakes his head, “Let’s be clear. Don’t fuck this up.”
“Me fuck it up? It’s your boy Frost that needs to be reined in,” Twill says. “Speaking of which, I’m thinking I might need a little more than what we agreed upon now that things are getting dicey. I mean, if you don’t want me to fuck this up.”
Tenta doesn’t seem pleased with this as he just stares at Twill.
Brenda Wright is touching up her makeup in the bathroom when an angry Sue Ann Clark storms in, “Why are you taking me off this case?”
Brenda continues to work on her beautification, “You have other cases that need tending to.”
“I can do those cases and try this assault case too. I don’t need help.”
Brenda finally turns around to face her, “You have an agenda. You talked to Card about the murder seven years ago.”
Sue Ann realizes she’s been caught, “I was simply interrogating him about the assault. I was going over previous convictions.”
“It’s my decision, as your supervisor, that you’ve lost credibility and impartiality in this case.”
“The trial is just around the corner. If you put someone else in charge, they aren’t going to have time to catch up,” pleads Sue Ann.
“Sue Ann. Is this department a joke to you?”
There is a pause before Sue Ann responds, “No. I’m trying to avoid that happening. If you take me off this case, I’ll blow it sky high.” She turns and walks out of the bathroom, leaving Brenda to consider that information.
Brent Koff sits behind his desk, feet propped on top of it. He has a name placard that proclaims him to be the Chief Prosecutor. “Sky high? What does that mean?”
“Why is this department trying to cover up a murder?” Brenda Wright asks.
The feet drop down to the floor and Brent gets to his feet, “You are questioning me now?” He walks over and stands in front of her, “Just do as I say. That’s all I’ve ever asked. You think they’ll promote you to Junior Chief on your merit alone? Don’t make me laugh. You need my recommendation to get that position.” He leans into her ear, “Are you really that stupid?”
Brenda stands there silent, scolded as he walks back around his desk back to his chair. “Make sure you handle Sue Ann Clark. Do not allow her to run roughshod over this department. I don’t care who her father is. Make sure this goes away and I’ll ensure you get that promotion.”
Douglas storms into Dante’s office.
“Are you sure you want me to get that guy released from prison? The more I look into this, the weirder it is. Seven years ago, he was somehow involved in my brother’s death. I think he’s the one who killed him.”
Dante looks up at him.
“Just get him out. We’ll figure out the rest once that’s taken care of.”
Douglas shakes his head, “I don’t think I can do it this time. I don’t think I can help him get free. Something shitty is going on here. Sue Ann Clark has been pulled from the case. This Twill guy has someone backing him up.”
Dante nods his head, thinking about this. “Well, if it doesn’t feel right, let him rot. It’s fine with me. He’s nothing.”
Douglas nods, feeling a bit relieved, “Good. I’ll make sure he stays behind bars someway.”
Dante just nods and goes back to his paperwork.
The replacement prosecutor is reading from a document in the courtroom, “The prosecutor recommends ten months in prison and two years’ probation.”
Sue Ann Clark, seated in the audience, is aghast at that.
Twill on the other hand is very pleased.
Sue Ann suddenly stands up, “He’s a suspect in a murder!”
All eyes turn to her.
“I’m the prosecutor who investigated this case. I would like to testify about everything that was left out. I believe I have the right to speak.”
The judge looks over at the prosecution table then turns back to Sue Ann, “Denied. You have no authority to speak here. You weren’t called as a witness and you are no longer the prosecutor on record for this case. Do not interrupt the court again.”
She turns to look at her replacement, who won’t even meet her gaze. The grin on Twill’s face seems to get wider.
Slowly, Sue Ann Clark sits back down in her seat, devastated.
The judge turns to Frost, “You may make a final statement.”
Douglas slowly rises to his feet. “My client is a suspect in a murder case.”
Twill’s eyes go wide and turns to look at Frost.
“To be more precise, he is under suspicion by the prosecution for a murder that happened seven years ago. However, this trial is not about that. This is about assault. If the prosecution truly believes my client is a suspect for a murder that happened years ago, they should bring evidence to support such a claim. My client deeply regrets the assault and has paid a settlement to the family involved. Please consider all of this when giving your verdict.”
Frost is walking down the steps from the courthouse as Sue Ann rushes down after him.
“Do you realize what you’ve done? He’s the suspect in a murder!”
Douglas sighs, “You’re a broken record. Bring the evidence. Indict him. Try him. You couldn’t even prove a simple assault.”
Sue Ann looks to be in tears, “Why have you changed so much?”
“Everyone changes, Sue Ann.”
“The courthouse isn’t a cheap soap opera, you know.”
“Soap operas get pretty good ratings these days.”
Sue Ann looks at him for a long moment, “I hope this is as ugly as you get.”
She then turns and walks back up the steps.
It’s raining outside when Twill is released from prison. Douglas Frost is waiting with an umbrella. Twill rushes over to get under it.
“I need you to keep your promise,” Frost says to him.
“I will, but not today.”
Frost doesn’t seem pleased with that answer, “Don’t fuck with me.”
“Are you trying to scare me? Look, I just got a text my wife is on her way to the hospital to have my kid.”
Douglas shakes his head, “You have an excuse for everything.”
“I may be a scumbag, but I wouldn’t lie about something like that.”
“Let me ask you one thing. Who’s backing you? No way you got out of this without help.”
Twill gives him a pat, “It was just my luck, I suppose. But I do have something to give to you. An important piece of evidence that involves your brother’s death.”
Douglas’ face gets serious, but Twill just grins widely. “Let’s meet tomorrow.”
Douglas isn’t happy about that, but nods. “Fine. Tomorrow.” He turns and walks away, leaving Twill in the pouring rain.
Dante and Tenta stand under an umbrella as Tenta asks, “How’d you get him to go along with getting Twill out of jail?”
Dante responds, “The most foolish desire of a human soul is the desire to find the truth.”
Tenta turns to him, “Douglas Frost is dangerous.”
Dante turns to look back, “Do you know why I like Douglas? He still has his soul. I am going to ensure he lives his best life.”
Dante’s phone rings, “What is it, Douglas?”
“I think Twill just fled.”
Dante nods to Tenta before answering Douglas, “I’ll find him.” He hangs up.
Inside Dante’s home, he walks into the living room where Twill is seated, “Sorry to make you wait.”
“I almost lost my shit with them bringing up that murder seven years ago.”
Dante shakes his head, “Don’t worry. In two days, you’ll be in the Philippines.”
“Seems like you’re always one step ahead, Mr. Schumer.”
Douglas Frost is parked down the road from Schumer’s place. He recalls after meeting with Twill earlier that he had gotten into a car driven by Tenta. He knows that Dante lied to him. He knows that Twill is just inside. He watches as Tenta and Twill leave Schumer’s and drives away.
He gets out of his car and walks in the pouring rain towards Schumer’s house and walks inside. Schumer is standing at the window watching the rain.
Douglas walks in and wipes the rain off his jacket, “It suddenly down poured outside.”
“What are you doing here?” asks Schumer.
“I can’t find Twill. Where do you think he is?”
As the two standoff, the scene freezes.