Final Exam: A Legal Thriller (67 page)

BOOK: Final Exam: A Legal Thriller

He studied himself again, then readjusted the mirror and looked back out the rear window.
“Dead,” he said aloud before laughing at the irony.
He shook his head back and forth several times like a dog after a good drink from his bowl trying to get his concentration back.
“Got to focus!”
said stifling a yawn.
He had been here so many times he was getting more than a little bored at the surveillance.
Yet it had to be done.
Preparation was the key to everything, he had known for years, from work, to sports to music, and, yes, to even killing a man.
You simply had to prepare, to commit yourself to doing the work necessary to make sure everything went the way it was supposed to.
Due diligence, they called it.
That’s what Rich was doing every Tuesday and Thursday for more than a month now, preparing – planning and preparing.
Due diligence.

Rich centered his attention back on the house across the way, as he had for so many nights in the past few weeks as his plan began to germinate from the seeds of anger and resentments deeply felt for so long.
The painful seeds of yesterday had finally grown into the harsh reality of today and the promise and satisfaction soon to come tomorrow.
Rich grabbed a bottle of water off the front passenger seat, unscrewed the cap and took a long drink.
Back when he smoked, he would have undoubtedly reached for a cigarette right about now and more than ten years after he had quit, he still felt the unmistakable urge for a smoke when he felt tense.
A small trickle of sweat begin
to roll from his hair line down his neck and back.
It tickled and he adjusted himself in the seat in order to scratch the itch and make it go away.
He yawned again.
The Camry was getting stuffy and the windows had even begun to fog so Rich clicked on the engine and rolled down the front windows, letting the fresh air inside.

Rich looked at his watch – 11:45.
If everything held form, the mope would be out within a half hour, 45 minutes tops, just like every other time.
Although he could still feel the heat radiating up from the concrete below, a cool breeze flowed down the boulevard and felt refreshing against his skin.
He leaned back in his seat and tried to get comfortable.
Then he craned his neck out the window and looked back up the block in the general direction of the aroma of garlic, onions and curry carried along by the breeze.
Damn, that smells good, Rich thought.
Must be that Thai place up the street.
Might have to get me some take-out.
Haven’t had Thai food
in a long time.
Can’t get it there though.
Might be seen.
Might be recognized.
Someplace closer to the condo.
Maybe on the way back.

Rich’s Camry was parked along Wilshire Boulevard, two parking spots west of where South Carmelita Avenue formed a T-intersection as it hit Wilshire, a few blocks southeast of the Brentwood Country Club.
The house he was watching was the second one in on the east side of Carmelita, a two-story Spanish job, with white stucco and a red tile roof.
A nice house in a nice, heavily wooded neighborhood.
Rich glanced over at the house once again.
Just then, a young couple in their mid-twenties strolled passed the house holding hands.
Rich sunk down low in the Camry to avoid being noticed, although it appeared that the couple only had eyes for each other.
The man wore khaki pants and a blue print sport shirt, while the woman, a tall blonde with long hair and longer legs, wore a lime green miniskirt with a sheer white blouse that was open at the waist revealing a flat, tan stomach.
Rich let out a silent whistle in admiration.
The man must have said something amusing, for the woman giggled and leaned into him.
He pulled her closer and kissed her on the head.
When they reached the corner, they stopped under a streetlight, paused, and shared a long, passionate kiss, followed by another.
Then Rich remembered that it was Valentine’s Day and he suddenly felt jealous.
After a moment, the couple turned left and headed east along Wilshire until they found their car about half a block up.
Rich watched them until they were in the car, turned away as their car passed by him so that his face couldn’t be seen and then looked back and saw them disappear as they headed west on Wilshire into the night and almost certain sex.

He looked back at the streetlight on the corner.
It bathed the first three houses or so down Carmelita in a nice, warm, yellow glow, the kind of which did not at all fit in with Rich’s plans.
The area along Wilshire was also fairly brightly lit.
However, if he could do something about that streetlight, a strand of mature trees along Carmelita could provide him with just the level of darkness that he needed.
The next streetlight stood pretty far down Carmelita and likely would have little effect on the front of the house.
Surprised that he hadn’t thought of this earlier, Rich made a mental note of the streetlight and wondered whether anything else had failed to occur to him.
He didn’t think so.

Rich spent the next half an hour fantasizing about Thai food, Mexican food and Asian women, not necessarily in that order.
Finally, at twenty minutes past twelve, he heard the click of a gate from across the way and looked up.
An instant later, a boyish-looking, middle-aged man with a mop of brown hair emerged from between two tall rows of hedges and strolled casually down the walk toward the street, a contented smile on his face.
Rich looked at his watch again.
“Just like clockwork,” he said with a laugh, a small smile of his own crossing his features.
The man held his keys in his right hand and his suit jacket slung over his shoulder with his left.
As he approached a shiny, black BMW waiting at the curb, he pointed the keys at the car and the taillights flashed, popping the locks.
The man paused as he opened the driver’s door, looked back at the house and smiled, then climbed in, started the engine and took off.

Rich waited a minute, checked his mirrors,
pulled slowly away from the curb.
He knew from past experience that the man would take side streets up to the Country Club, wind his way over to San Vicente Boulevard, head east at San Vicente until it merged with Wilshire, then take Sepulveda Boulevard north past the UCLA campus and back toward his home in
Air, where the wife and kids waited for him.
Some Valentine’s Day.
Rich drove casually down Wilshire not worrying about the lights.
He grabbed a Dodgers cap off the seat next to him and pulled it on.
The BMW caught up to him just west of Sepulveda and Rich glanced over at the man and grinned.
The man ignored him, oblivious, the contented smile still on his face, and turned left on Sepulveda, while Rich turned right in search of all-night Thai food.
“The fucking mope,” Rich said as he watched the BMW’s taillights disappear in the rearview mirror.
“I certainly hope he enjoyed himself.
One more piece of ass.
Little does he know.”



A Legal Thriller

Terry Huebner


Available Late 2012

For more information on the author and his works visit



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