Abrams looked out of his floor to ceiling wall window. Manhattan was framed in all of its monstrous beauty and defiant functionality. The new World Trade Center was nearly complete. He remembered standing at this same spot over a decade ago as he watched the old towers collapse. He was stunned by the emotional impact it had on him. Whatever else he was, he was also an American and a New Yorker, and this event hurt him in a way that he did not think was possible. He was not given to patriotism or sentiment. There was a hell of a lot about New York City and America and the world and life in general that appalling and despicable. If we could all just put down our guns for a day and think and talk to each other, try to be a little bit less greedy and a little bit more decent. It was so simple and obvious, but it would never happen. The simplest, most obvious things are the most impossible.
Abrams was embarrassed for thinking these thoughts. He was becoming an old man, a bitter, jaded old fool. This is why people had to age and die, so their stupid old ideas and petty grievances would die with them. It was all so ridiculous, it was insanity, and it took so much effort and grief to keep the insanity going. All we really had to do was stop, and we never would.
He thought he was beginning to understand Collins. By different trains of thought, they had come to the same basic conclusion. The only thing that mattered in this world was whatever mattered to somebody else. For most people that was money. Understanding this had made Abrams a fortune. Catering to others had made him a junior partner, but really he was just another slave. A slave to everyone else. Collins at least was an unwilling slave, a slave primarily to his own wants and laziness. Somewhere along the line he had figured out that most people want to push you around and fighting it only makes things more difficult, you might as well give up and let them do most of the work. Abrams couldn’t imagine Collins caring enough to murder anyone, but he could see him getting fed up enough to allow it to happen. You never knew with heavy drinkers, what they might be capable of at any given moment, what might set them off.
And Collins’ heroin use would have to be further investigated. Lana Parks had had heroin in her system when she was found. Autopsy reports suggested that she was a new user. She didn’t have any track marks and there was some swelling and bruising at her only injection site, in the crook of her left elbow. She was a new, inexperienced user, which was strange. People in their mid-thirties don’t suddenly decide to start shooting heroin. It was like meeting someone who started smoking when he was 23, you’d think he was an idiot because he was old enough to know better. Lana Parks was 34 and had led a relatively clean and unproductive life.
Maybe she had started using to make Collins feel guilty but had no idea what she was getting into. Heroin use wasn’t just another histrionic act you could turn on and off to your advantage. She had started using to manipulate Collins in some way and he knew it. He knew this was one little act that would finally catch up to her, and he had let it happen. Maybe. It was probably a drug dealer that had killed Lana, someone Collins knew and had regularly bought from. Maybe Collins had wanted to get rid of them both, or at least get them both out of his life, and knowing how Lana would play into this, that she would want to make him jealous and get entangled with someone he had to see and deal with on a regular basis, he had simply allowed what he wanted to happen to happen.
Suing Collins was a contingency plan, he would be advised to settle and she knew it. What she really wanted was to marry him. She was going for the jackpot. Collins had a weak spot for her and they both knew it, and Collins was no fool. It was no fairy tale love story, but he’d finally get what he wanted, and he couldn’t blame her for wanting money. Not in this world. But Collins had changed in some way. Now that he could have her he didn’t want her anymore, and this had allowed him or forced him to see what he had always known to begin with. Collins may not have killed her, but he was guilty all right.
Oliver Harris did not know yet it, but he would be Collins’ lead council. He was sharp and young enough to believe in innocence, or at least be sold into it. He would believe in Collins, and that was what mattered most.
TO BE CONTINUED . . . .