[previous chapter] [start from the beginning] Paul Smith had never been to an official undisclosed location before, and it felt kind of weird for him to be there now, on a wonderfully sunny Sunday morning. They were at a safe house outside of town in Mirabel, practically next door to a massive industrial hog farm, and the stench was so thick you could almost see it. Ammonia, Paul thought. That’s what’s in pig shit, right? Or maybe it’s their urine. He couldn’t tell. But it was sure powerful. Nobody would come looking for his client here.

“How are you,” he asked, somewhat unnecessarily. It was obvious from the look on Jeff’s face that he wasn’t doing all that swimmingly.

“It stinks here. All my suits smell. My hair reeks. My skin, too. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel clean again.”

“I know, it’s pretty bad. But they tell me the problem is in your nose, not in your hair or clothes. That once you’re back in the city you’ll feel better. Besides,” Smith added with a smile, “they’re not keeping you here because they enjoy the scenery or the smells. They’re keeping you here because they have a real fear you might be in danger at the jail, after what happened to,” here he paused every so slightly, “the other two.”

“What happened to them? Nobody said anything, beyond the fact that they’d been found dead.”

“Yeah, I don’t have the details either. But it doesn’t take a genius to suspect foul play, especially in the case of Abdul. If someone managed to kill him despite the increased security they’d give him, that probably suggests someone real serious was after his ass, and this in turn suggests organized crime or someone equally bad.”

“But why would these guys have anything against me? I’ve never been near organized crime in my life!”

Paul Smith did the thing with the glasses again, then put them back on his nose.

“Are you sure?”

“What do you mean, are you sure? I’ve never done business with the mob!”

“You never did so knowingly, I’m quite prepared to believe that. But how well do you know all the guys you’ve worked with, all the little odd jobs? It’s not unknown for organized crime to launder money that way. And if Abdul was working with the gangs, then by paying them to perform their services for you, well, you sort of did get close to organized crime.”

“But…”

Paul Smith raised his hand.

“Now I don’t know anything for sure, I’m just suspicious by nature. And it’s my job to be King of Paranoia when it comes to making sure you’re safe and sound. So yeah, when they suggested transferring you to this place I agreed right away. Sorry about the smell, but it works in your favour. Nobody’s going to hang around this place for fun, which makes it easier to guard.”

“OK, OK, I get it.” Stupid lawyers. He’d always hated lawyers, and never more so than at this moment, when he needed this particular lawyer the most. “What do we do now?”

“Well, there’s a special show about your case on CBC News in,” he looked at his phone, “about 15 minutes. I think we should have a look at it.”

“Is this going to be that kid, Jason Whatever?”

“I believe so, yes. An interesting lad, that. Not the brightest, but somehow he manages to get the story out in a way that doesn’t hurt us, so I guess I’ll take it.”

“Boy, you are suspicious.”

Paul afforded himself one round of pure belly laughter, which slowly turned to something more ominous. “Yeah, and maybe that explains why I’m still single.”

[next chapter]