Are You Loveable (final)
And the prophecy would be fulfilled.
Her temper would drive her to some act. Daisy Bradshaw would get her comeuppance, be put away for good, just as she deserved. But, the community could not watch and control everything. At the other end of that act, an innocent life would be damaged…if that were all.
And it need not be so.
“It may be,” he’d said, refracting the question as much as he could, “that someone took advantage of you, a vulnerable girl. Someone told you things, gave you ideas…”
The insurance man had documentation to prove attempted fraud. He refused to be pinned down on the question of corporate mechanisms, but Gilbraith thought his client lucky, damned lucky, these had intervened to prevent the fraud’s being consummated. She had, however, tried to insure her husband’s life. With Oland posing as George. Difficult to explain.
“Helpful,” he’d said to her, “having someone like Oland around the house. Reaching things out of the cabinets for you, it might be. George…” He scratched his chin. “Not too much of a go-along guy…? When a wife should have natural concerns about his health?” He tapped a temple, as though pensive. It was further than Gilbraith liked venturing. If he were not leading his client, he was blazing at least a minor trail…then stepping back to show her his handiwork.
A wearisome labor of persuasion he’d dedicated to crafting Daisy’s plea of guilty, as to kicking the sheriff’s deputy. Somewhere she’d picked up the phrase, “mitigating circumstances”. She balked even now, moved by her counsel’s exhaustive eloquence to a begrudging acceptance… Daisy believed, given a trial, she might yet be acquitted. And true enough, juries could produce odd acquittals.
She’d shrugged when Gilbraith suggested this was not exoneration. He did not, in particular, want questions raised before a jury on the insurance fiddle. He did not want Gibbs overruled, apologizing, backing into his chair, smiling across, “Your Honor, I withdraw the question.”
Then calling George to the stand.
But Gibbs would be content with a quick end. He had another fish—a sucker at that—to fry.
“Oland.” Daisy nodded. “How would I know he was a loon?”
It was Oland put these suggestions to her. Prior to meeting him, she’d never had designs against…been unfaithful to, she meant to say…her husband. She loved George.
Gilbraith had gone up Jefferson street, to the Hotel Alexandria, where he thought Petersen, doing pro bono on behalf of Mrs. Coleman, would be found at the bar, upstairs. And the first thing Petersen said, elbowing Alfred Oliver in the ribs, saluting with his ginger ale, was, “Gilbraith! Better reserve the Pioneer room, throw your wife an anniversary dinner. Book yourself a photographer. Keep the revenue circulating.”
Are You Loveable
More of this piece on Are You Loveable page
(2015, 2018, Stephanie Foster)