A Suit for Malpractice
“What?” asked Sally. “What did you say?” – even louder this time. Horatio cringed and his coffee cup rattled as he tried to put it carefully back in the saucer. Maybe bringing up his idea at breakfast hadn’t been a good idea. Probably never bringing it up would have been even better.
“I said,” he tried with a tremor; then tried again, “I said I decided I’m going to sue God.”
“Hoooratio,” his shocked wife said, “You are out of your cotton pickin’ mind.” When she drew out his name like that he knew he was in trouble. This was nothing new. Although they loved each other dearly, it seemed like he was almost always in trouble with Sally. She had been disappointed by his apparent lack of progress at the firm although she knew he worked hard but thought he just wasn’t aggressive enough and should stand up for himself more. This time, by God, he was going to stick by an idea he had and make it work.
Horatio Alder had joined a law firm in Brooklyn after getting his degree. In his ten years with them his work had consisted mostly of the small, unimportant cases that came the firm’s way, those that the other lawyers didn’t want to bother with. His competent and sincere effort to do a good job for those clients assigned to him was insufficient to overcome his lackluster performance in bringing in new business and he’d never been asked to become a partner in the firm. He felt that it was because of his stupid name that his career had most suffered. Even as a kid, he’d been made fun of – Horatius was what his father insisted he be named at birth, having in mind the Roman hero who had successfully defended the bridge over the Tiber river outside of Rome in 505 B.C. Tacked on to the family name of Alder didn’t help any, even when he changed the first name to Horatio in later years.
Now, along had come old Mrs. Chappelli who lived in the bungalow next door. Like their own, Mrs. Chappelli’s was a small two bedroom brick house with a front stoop and open porch built during the boom after WWII in a new development on the outskirts of Queens. The neighborhood was populated by lower income families, mostly of the “leave us alone and we’ll do the same with you” attitude. In one of her infrequent “over the fence” visits with Mrs. Chappelli Sally had come away concerned. The next day, at breakfast, she’d said to Horatio, “I think our neighbor, Mrs. Chappelli, is in some sort of trouble. She doesn’t look good, always tired looking and with red eyes like she’s been crying a lot. I know she had a hard time when she lost her husband two years ago but then, after a while, things seemed to be better. I asked her if she was O.K. and she never really gave me a good answer. She did say her daughter was coming to visit her in a couple of days; maybe that will help.”
Horatio got up to get the coffee pot off the stove and poured himself another cup, a little miffed that Sally hadn’t since she was standing right by it, “Well, there’s nothing we can do about it”, he grumbled.
“I didn’t say that we should do anything,” said Sally. “Just wanted to let you know there’s something going on.”
Eventually, through meeting the daughter “over the fence” while doing some gardening on the weekend, Sally had learned what Mrs. Chappelli’s problem was.
“The poor old lady is being robbed blind by a bunch of religious nuts,” she told Horatio one evening. “Shortly before her husband passed away she started listening to this evangelist on local TV. He runs that church downtown, the Church for the Future Redemption I think it’s called. She said he always talks about redemption and how he can save people. She was quite taken by him and, hoping that he could “save” her husband, started sending him donations. Someone at the Church took notice and called her and then the preacher came to visit her with some members of his staff. Her husband was in a hospice facility by then and her family knew nothing about her interest in the church. The preacher talked her into increasing her donations. Now she’s given away almost all their savings to the church and is living on only her Social Security payments which are barely keeping her going. You’re an attorney; can’t you do something about that?”
“I agree, I think that’s terrible,” said Horatio with sincerity. “Let me see what more I can find out about it first before I decide on anything.”
That evening he called next door and offered to come over and visit with his neighbor and her daughter. When Horatio walked over and rang the doorbell it was opened by Mrs. Chappelli and she invited him in. Stepping through the doorway he was met by a very friendly little mongrel dog that made it difficult for him to walk by constantly jumping up against his legs with his tail wagging furiously. “Oh, stop it Corky.” said the widow. “Let Mr. Alder through.”
“I didn’t know you had a dog,” said Horatio. I don’t think we’ve ever heard any barking and we’re right next door.”
“He’s very quiet,” observed Mrs. Chappelli. “And such a dear. He would only bark if there was something really wrong. I’m so glad my daughter got him for me because he’s such a good companion.”
When they got to the living room he met the daughter who was waiting for them. She was a very pleasant young lady and Horatio felt comfortable with having her present. As their discussion continued he was glad to discover that the daughter had made a lot of headway in convincing her mother to stop all further donations and that she’d made a terrible mistake in putting her trust in an unknown individual. Horatio asked questions that elicited more details on what had happened and was able to add his advice that Mrs. Chappelli should not only stop donating but make an attempt at getting her money back with the result that he was retained by her on a contingency basis to do so. On returning home, he spent the remainder of the evening in researching the internet and giving a lot of thought to what he might do which led to this morning’s reaction from Sally.
“Oh yes,” he told Sally with some newly found conviction, “I’m going to sue God for malpractice. Of course also the Church of Future Redemption and its pastor, The Right Reverend Robert Roberts.”
Sally shook her head, then grinned and said, “Do what you gotta do.”
The first thing he did when he got to the office was to call a friend who was an ADA at the local district attorney's office and ask him if he knew of anything that his department might be looking into regarding the Church of Future Redemption. There was nothing he knew of nor had he heard of any investigations by others such as the FBI or the IRS. It would have been nice if there was because it would add leverage to what Horatio was hoping to accomplish. Then he laid out some research requirements to one of the firm’s paralegals. This included information on other suits that may have been filed against God and for more details on malpractice issues. From this he learned that there had been a number of such suits, none of which had developed into anything – most were thrown out of court as being frivolous – but many had drawn interesting publicity. As for malpractice suits in general, apparently many relied on expert witness testimony and were good fodder for punitive damages.
Of course, the news of what Horiato was looking into quickly became office gossip and, right after lunch, he got the notice he was fully expecting – his presence was required in the conference room. When he entered he saw all the firm’s partners around the table, even old Henry Kissinger (no relation to the well-known one) Henry had been the founder of the firm of Kissinger, Smith and Budinski and rarely appeared at partner meetings and, even when he did, rarely had anything to say. One of the senior partners immediately opened the meeting by questioning Horatio about his case. It quickly became evident that those present were upset with what he was attempting to do and voiced various objections. One of their main objections was the possibility of their firm getting bad publicity if the media considered this law suit a joke. Horatio defended his decision quite eloquently, at one pointed responding with the trite observation, “Well, they say any publicity is better than none”, but he began to feel like a whipped puppy after an hour of listening to them when suddenly a gravelly voice said, “I think he’s got a good idea.” There was sudden silence. Henry had spoken!
“Young man,” Henry said. “It’s obvious to me that you feel strongly about wanting to help your client. That’s the way more of us around here should be acting. So what if we get some attention. And you’re right about even bad publicity being better than none. As far as I’m concerned you should go ahead with your plans but, I’ll tell you this - that God stuff isn’t going to work. You may want to start out that way but it would be best you maneuver it into something that would be more acceptable to a judge and jury.”
Even Henry was shocked. What surprised him even more is that the old man was not being challenged by the others. “I guess,” he thought. “The old geezer still has a lot of pull.”
Then the hard work started. Late hours working with the paralegals to build a case, meetings with the opposing council and the judge and hours spent reading old cases and ruminating over his strategy. His firm’s accountants were able to put together a number of telling exhibits that showed how Roberts was using the church’s assets for his own benefit. As all in the firm knew would happen, his intention came to the attention of the media and, first locally, and then on the wire services the public learned that another lawyer was going to take on God.
At the pre-trial meeting with the judge, The Honorable Jonathan Werent II, a distinguished looking jurist who had a reputation as a curmudgeon, had been especially difficult. It was quickly apparent that the judge was not happy with the naming of God in the suit and most of the argument between Horatio and the opposing attorney, George Willsell and his team, was focused on that issue. It wasn’t long before nerves frayed and tempers rose.
“You can’t go suing God,” said Willsell. “He, if it is a he, had nothing to do with what happened to Mrs. Chappelli.”
“Of course he did,” snapped Horatio. “I’m sure your client would agree, as would millions of Christians that God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. He knows everything and can do anything he wants to at any time and he did nothing to stop Roberts from stealing Mrs. Chappelli’s money.
Willsell, couldn’t contain his anger and rose from his seat to bend across it toward Horatio; “Steal it?" He shouted, “He stole nothing, she gave him her donations of her own free will. Furthermore, God isn’t even a person and can’t be sued. We don’t even know he exists.”
“A corporation isn’t a “person” either,” Horatio shouted back. “And it can be sued. The same goes for a ship which isn’t a person but, under Maritime law, it can be sued. And there are billions of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Wiccans and lots of others who firmly believe there’s a God or maybe a Goddess so he or she sure exists in the minds of a lot of people.”
The judge interjected, “But what are you going to try and prove this so-called God did?”
“That’s simple, your Honor” answered Horatio. “Our suit is for malpractice. Legitimate suits for malpractice are brought to court all the time. If someone does something to another and causes injury or loss, especially if they profess to be experts in their field, they can be sued. If a manufacturer manufactures a faulty product that causes damage it is considered as products liability, the twin sister of malpractice, and he can be sued. If there is any expert around it’s God and he made man and this man “Roberts” is faulty, in fact he’s a down right crook, and God should be sued.”
And so it went until, finally, the judge had enough and ruled that he would entertain the suit against Roberts and the church but not against God. It was obvious that he was afraid of setting a precedent and all of the things that would ensue were this to happen. Horatio was not all that disturbed over the course things were taking. He still had a lot of options. The first he took when the press descended on him on the courthouse steps and he blithely told them everything that had happened at the hearing. That shifted the news from the local media to the AP and CNN. Mrs. Chappelli had become an overnight cause célèbre!”
Throughout Horatio kept in close contact with Mrs. Chappelli. As they got to know each other better he found she was a tough, old bird, more than ready to do whatever she could to have Horatio help her get her savings back. She had come to full realization that, during a period of weakness generated by grief and confusion, and although a very religious person, she had let herself be swayed by a golden tongued charlatan. Then, at one point she told him the Reverend Roberts called and had asked if he could talk to her. At first Horatio was furious and was about to call the Reverend’s attorney and ask what in the hell were they trying to do. But then he had second thoughts. In deposing Roberts he’d gotten to know him a bit better. On the face of it he was a charming man, handsome and impeccably dressed, with a sonorous voice and cheerful expression. But, Horatio saw something “off” about him. He couldn’t put his finger on it but he felt there was something lingering and explosive below the skin. Maybe another meeting with Mrs. Chappelli present would give him further insights into Roberts’ character.
So he agreed to a meeting but it was to be at Mrs. Chappelli’s house since she had shown reluctance to come to either of their offices. Horatio arrived first and had a visit with the widow while they both sat at her dining room table. Before the Reverend arrived with his attorney Mrs. Chappelli noticed Horatio place a small device next to the papers he’d taken out of his briefcase and laid on the table. She was too shy to ask what it was and forgot about it. Roberts got to the house a few minutes later accompanied by Willsell and a young lady. Willsell; fiftyish, impeccably dressed and exhibiting, in looks and manners, unquestionable confidence, both impressed and intimidated Mrs. Chappelli. The young lady was introduced as one of Willsell’s secretaries and was there to take notes for Willsell.
For the most part, the interrogation, which would be a better description of what Willsell was conducting, was benign and showed respect for the widow’s circumstances. But, as time progressed and Willsell could see he was not developing any information that would help his and the Reverend’s cause his demeanor and the substance of his questions took on a sharper edge and Horatio had to intervene many times to prevent the old lady from falling into a trap or blurting out a damaging statement. When this began to happen too frequently Horatio lost his temper and things devolved into a shouting match between him and Willsell and finally both agreed to call it quits and the meeting came to an end.
By then Horatio was quite upset; he did not like such controversies, and couldn’t wait to say his goodbyes to Mrs. Chappelli. He turned off the gadget in front of him at the table, shoveled all his papers into the briefcase and then rushed for the door. The entourage all tried to leave at the same time through the narrow front hall toward the door and Horatio found himself in the lead. He was part way to his car when he looked back and saw the rest leaving and noticed Roberts stop for a moment and say something to the widow but couldn’t hear what was said. He sat in his car putting away some of the papers he had carried and was watching the car with Willsell’s group depart when he noticed Mrs. Chapppelli standing in her doorway waving for him to come back. When he did she handed him something and he realized he’d forgotten to pick up the item he’d left on the table.
“Gosh, thanks,” he said. “With all he shouting and goings and trying to leave hurriedly, I failed to see I’d left it on the table. I appreciate your noticing it. I hope our argumenting didn’t upset you?”
“Oh no, not at all,” replied the old lady with a smile, “Seemed to me you gave better than you got. As you all were leaving I saw that lying there, picked it up and chased after you here but you were already outside.”
On the way back to the office Horatio stopped at a small computer store. Some years ago, when first starting his lawyering, he had used the help of a neighbor’s son to fix problems he would occasionally have with his computer. The young high school graduate, Billy, was a self-taught electronic nerd and seemed to know how to work and repair just about any electronic device and eventually opened his own store. Horatio had continued to give him all his business and recommended him to many others. He explained to Billy that he had used one of the new, very small mini recorders – the gadget that he’d almost forgotten at Mrs. Chappelli’s – to record a meeting and that he might want to use the recording in a courtroom but knew that the tiny speaker in the gadget wasn’t loud enough for it to be heard by others and asked him if he could enhance the sound. “No problem,” was Billy’s response. “I’ll burn a disk for you that you can play back and make it as loud as necessary.”
During the days leading up to the trial Horatio made an effort, with Mrs. Chappelli’s agreement, to reach a settlement with Willsell but without success. Also, after listening to the recording he’d made he decided to play it in court. It contained no great revelation of any kind but he thought that the tenor of the exchange he’d had with Willsell might work in his favor. Under the circumstances he would have to introduce it as evidence and get Willsell’s approval to do so. He sent it to their office and had it returned shortly after with a note that they had no objection to its use subject to his proving, if he did decide to do so, that it was an accurate copy of the recording he’s made.
When the trial opened the courtroom was filled with interested spectators many of whom represented the media. Although everyone knew there would be no suit brought against God, a great deal of interest had been generated; much of it by the debates contained in internet blogs and the opinion pages of the newspapers. One of the paralegals the firm had assigned to help him was organizing papers at his table when Horatio entered with Mrs. Chappelli. The paralegal was an attractive young girl, Maria, who he had worked with before and liked. She was sharp and worked hard to help him prepare for the trial and he was pleased to note that she was dressed very business-like in a dark, pinstriped pants suit. Mrs. Chappelli, on the other hand, looked as you would expect a widow of her age would, from the no-nonsense black shoes to the hand-knit sweater.
At the table next to then the crew from Willsell’s firm started to arrive. In addition to the Reverend there were two other, younger lawyers and a paralegal to assist him and maintain his ego. Reverend Roberts was wearing a light blue suit with an open necked white shirt and some ornate looking emblem hanging from a gold chain around his neck. His patrician features were topped with a beautifully coifed, stark white hairdo all encompassing a look of haughty distain.
As Horatio looked around he saw a few members of his law firm in the audience and, in a first row, his friendly electronic whiz, Billy. When the bailiff called “All rise” Judge Werent entered with a baleful look and, after everyone got seated again opened the proceedings by first warning the spectators that he would not stand for any noisy behavior or interference and would empty the room and close the doors at the first instance such might occur. Then the jury selection process began and, part way through it, Maria leaned toward Horatio and whispered, “How come you didn’t reject that lady?” He whispered back, “I’ll explain later.” After jury selection was completed the judge announced a break for lunch. Horatio and Maria had a sub at a nearby deli and she asked him, “Some of those jurors admitted they were very religious but you didn’t challenge them and the opposition was quick to have them approved. Isn’t that taking a chance with the defendant being a minister?”
Horatio answered, “I know that’s what Willsell thinks but I’m guessing he’s making a mistake, I’m counting on just the opposite happening. That guy Roberts calls himself a minister and makes a big show of his sectarianism but I’m convinced that’s a lot of hot air and he’s just another crook scamming people out of their savings. If I can prove that, these jurors will turn against him.”
The trial continued in the afternoon and the next morning with all the usual activities – the opening statements and then a parade of witnesses with both sides trying to gain an advantage in the minds of the jury. It seemed to Horatio that it was far from a slam dunk for his side. Willsell was very accomplished at questioning the witnesses Horatio produced and throwing a cloak of doubt over their testimony and, although Horatio felt he’d held his own it didn't see to him that he’d been able to provide enough convincing evidence that showed the true nature of Reverend Roberts. When he realized that he’d used all the options he had and would have to rest his case he remembered the disk – maybe if the jury heard the argument between him and Willsell they would see something in it that would give them a different perspective on the Reverend’s nature. He had asked Billy to stick around in case he needed him and turned to make sure that he was still in the audience then stood and told the judge he had one more piece of evidence to introduce.
On being asked by the judge if he raised any objection, Willsell told him that he had listened to the disk, did not see what more it could add to the facts already considered but had no objection to its being heard, however, since it was a copy of another, original recording he wanted to see proof that it was a true copy and had not been modified. Horatio agreed to produce a witness that would testify to its authenticity and received the judge’s agreement to proceed. Maria set up a small CD player with speakers on their table and Horatio asked Billy to take the stand.
Billy testified that he had received a mini recorder from Horatio and had copied its contents to a disk while also increasing and clarifying its sound value but had done nothing to its content. Willsell had no questions to ask and, leaving Billy on the stand in case he still needed him to clarify something, Horatio told Maria to start the disk. From the lack of reaction within the courtroom Horatio, with a sunken feeling, realized it would not be helpful to their cause and when the discussion ended and the only thing coming out of the speakers was the noise of the disk spinning he motioned to Maria to turn it off.
Suddenly Billy said, “Wait, there’s more.” Horatio turned to him with a look of annoyance while Maria let the player continue to run. For a few seconds the courtroom continued to listen to nothing and then the noise of papers shuffling, some distant voices, a loud “Thump!” and then, clear as a bell, a man’s voice shouted, “Jesus Friggen Christ will you get that God damn dog out of here.”
There was no doubt in anyone’s mind but that the voice was that of the Right Reverend Roberts of the Church of Future Redemption.
For a moment there was a dead silence in the courtroom – then bedlam. Simultaneously Roberts jumped to his feet and yelled “What – What –was that. Not me!” Willsell also jumped up and yelled “Objection, objection!” and the judge banged his gavel overriding every one with loud and repeated, “Order in the court!”
The noisy reaction finally died down and in the silence that followed, before either Horatio or the Judge could stop her, Mrs. Chappelli stood up, glared at the Reverend and said “Well, that’s what you yelled when you tripped over my poor dog as you were heading out of the house.”
This caused more furor and the judge again banged his gravel and, after things quieted down, his face red and showing difficulty in controlling his reaction, he said, “Well, it’s obvious we can’t continue after that and I have to declare a mistrial. I’m not sure what happened here – it may be a case of the plaintiff’s counsel acting unethically or it may be something else, but this jury has been exposed to unexpected and, apparently, unknown testimony and I have no choice. However, I see the witness is still in place and may be able to throw some light on this, “So, Billy I believe you’re called, can you explain the contents of that disc?”
“I’m as surprised as you are, your honor,” Billy replied. “Not because of what’s on the disk but because I thought everybody knew what was on it. Here’s what I think happened. The controls on these mini recorders are so small they can be activated by accident. This one has a tiny on – off switch along the top edge that can easily be unintentionally moved without the person holding it realizing. Horatio – er, I mean Mr. Alder, must have turned it off when the meeting ended but he told me he’d forgotten it and Mrs. Chappelli returned it. In doing that she must have inadvertently turned it back on and it recorded what happened in the hallway to the door as the Reverend was leaving. These recorders always start a new “track” when they are turned off and on again and these tracks are numbered. When I started working with it I saw that the recording of the meeting was Track 1 but that there was a second track, Track 2, so when I enhanced the sound for the first track I let the recorder run until it was turned off and continued with Track 2, finally putting both on the disk.”
“But,” asked the judge, “There was a considerable delay until we heard the second track and someone listening to the disk would probably think the recording was over and turn it off. Why didn’t you eliminate that?”
“Ordinarily I would have,” said Billy, “But Mr. Alder was in a rush for the disk so I didn’t bother.”
“Well, I guess that explains why no one was aware of this information other than yourself,” and, with a final bang of the gavel he declared a mistrial.
A few days later Horatio received a call from Willsell asking for a meeting and they set it up for the next day at Horatio’s firm. Henry heard about it through his secretary and asked if he could attend to which he, of course, agreed. Willsell appeared alone and after some pleasantries exchanged between him and Henry, both having known each other from previous encounters, he announced that his client was prepared to settle the claim against him.
“Doesn’t surprise me,” said Henry, “After that circus in court.”
“So, what are you offering,” added Horatio.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” was Horatio’s shocked response. “There’s no way we could accept that. I don’t even have to check with our client.”
“O.K. then, we’ll go to $ 50,000, the original amount claimed.”
“Mr. Willsell, your client is apparently not aware of the position he’s been placed in,” Horatio started to respond with obvious annoyance. “First of all, this was a malpractice case and I was going to shoot for punitive damages. As things turned out, I could have won and there’s no doubt in my mind those would have been awarded. Secondly, I took the case on contingency which would reduce my client’s net return considerably. Finally, and most importantly, if we retry this case again I am absolutely positive we will win. Although we may not be able to use the disk as evidence at the new trial, I don’t think there’s anyone in the country who hasn’t heard about it. A YouTube video has the whole episode captured by a spectator in the courtroom and has already had over 200,000 hits. The only way your client might stand a chance is if you could empanel a jury consisting of all atheists and that is impossible. The standard religions compose the bulk of our population and the in-betweeners such as agnostics, deists, Christian Scientists, wiccas, and the like; most of the remainder. Your defense has not changed in context or strength while our action has gained a huge advantage not even considering the additional information we’ve been able to garner in the meantime on the financial chicanery of the Church of Future Redemption. Get real, Mr. Willsell, you don’t stand a chance.”
Willsell was silent for a minute, and then asked “O.K. What do you want?”
Horatio stated a figure and, for the first time, saw Willsell blink. He also noted that even Henry was startled.
“I’ll have to get back to you,” Willsell quietly replied, getting up and walking out.
Horatio was sitting in his new office a few weeks later. It wasn’t very large but a huge improvement over the cubicle he’d had before. He looked around admiring the window that looked out over the adjacent park, his oak bookcase and desk with its attached computer console, the credenza with the picture of his family, his framed law degree on the wall and his small conference table and chairs. Yeah, quite an improvement.
There was a knock on the jamb of his open door and he looked up to see Henry.
“Can I come in?”
“Of course, Mr. Kissinger.”
“It’s Henry, Horatio”
“Yes sir, please come in.”
“And sir isn’t necessary either.”
After Henry had settled down Horatio said, “I want to thank you for the promotion. I really hadn’t expected to ever make junior partner, in fact, maybe never, and I’m sure you had something to do with it Henry. I must admit, however, that I have concern over being able to meet the requirements of the firm. I don’t have the connections and contacts that the other partners have developed”
“I can’t deny I spoke in your favor,” responded Henry, “But I can assure you the senior partners were all in agreement with no reservations. As for your concern, don’t worry about it. You’ll be surprised at how many people now know about you. Things will fall into place with no effort on you part. In any event, the firm has a proposal we’d like to run by you but, before doing so, have you heard anything more about Reverend Roberts and his church?”
“Nothing more than what I’ve read in the papers and the usual office gossip,” Henry said. “I do understand that donations to the church have dwindled to virtually nothing but they had built up such wealth it won’t affect him too much personally.”
“Well that may not last long,” said Henry. “There’s talk of a class action suit,”
“Oh no, is that what you want to talk to me about?” asked a concerned Horatio. “They are very difficult to create and I really have no experience with them and, to be honest, I don’t like them.”
“No. no,” Henry assured him. “We have a couple of partners who are experts in that field and they are only discussing it as a possibility. I doubt they’ll go ahead with such a suit but even if they did you would not be involved. What I wanted to talk to you about is a suggestion the partners discussed at their last meeting that they would like you to consider. Our firm has not done enough pro bono work. I guess, to be frank, there’s been too much focus on the almighty buck and not enough to offering to help those who really need help and can’t afford it. You’ve shown yourself to be not only a savvy trial attorney but also one with real empathy for his client and this combination can be a great asset to the firm. We would like to establish a small department in the firm that would focus on pro bono work and for you to be its head. You’ll still have freedom to handle cases of your own but you would be mentoring a staff of young, new attorneys and paralegals. You’ll not have to concern yourself with working to bring business into the firm although I have no doubt there will be sufficient of that without any effort on your part. What do you think?”
Horatio was stunned. This was not something he had ever expected. “I think it’s a great idea,” he finally managed to get out. “I feel really honored to be offered such an assignment and want to thank you especially since I know you were behind it and convinced the other.”
“As a matter of fact, no” replied Henry. "They thought of it themselves and ran it by me and I, of course, endorsed it wholeheartedly. It’s only fair to mention, however,” he added with a grin, “They also recognized the value of the favorable publicity that would flow from this type of activity on our part.”
“So, that’s it then,” he continued. “I’ll let you get to work on your new assignment.”
As he started to leave the office he suddenly stopped. “Oh, by the way, I’ve been meaning to ask you a question but, if you don’t want to answer it I will understand.”
“What might that be?” asked Horatio.
“Did you know everything that was on that disk?”
As he wondered how to answer, a picture flashed though his mind. Just as the furor started in the courtroom after the playing of Track 2 he was looking directly at Billy and Billy winked at him.
“I will answer and it’s this, God works in mysterious ways.”
Henry shook his head and walked out laughing.