I had met Ron after school. She and I were going to meet Jan for dinner, to celebrate Ron's birthday. Ron was somewhat ambivalent about this; she was always uncomfortable about anything which meant she was the center of attention. But she had agreed, once I had made it clear that it would just be the three of us, and there would be no singing of "Happy Birthday" or party hats or anything like that.
Which was fine with us. We didn't make too big a deal about each other's birthdays, but with Ron it was a real resistance and we had to respect that.
"So," I said, "we spent most of the afternoon making a huge cake. We figured–"
She glanced at me to make sure I was kidding, then she shook her head. She was about to speak when we heard a sound from the doorway next to us. We both stopped, and I put a hand on her shoulder. There was nobody near us on the sidewalk, and I was pretty sure we were the only people who had heard it. And I was pretty sure it had been a gunshot.
The building was a tenement, three stories high, with a shuttered storefront a few steps down from street level. The steel curtain was covered with graffiti, and it seemed that this was where the noise had come from, but it had been muffled and hard to locate.
Ron and I were motionless, waiting to see what would happen next, and then she said, "That was a gun. Wasn't it?"
I was tempted to lie to her, to try to keep her away from whatever it was, but I said, "Yes, I think it was. Please move over there, and I'll–"
I had motioned for her to go to the other side of the stone steps that went up to the front door of the building, but she shook her head. "We should–"
We looked at each other, and there was no point in even starting the argument we were about to have. She knew I would try to get her away from the danger, and I knew she would try to go in with me. So, we just looked at each other, each of us trying to figure out the argument that would convince the other one.
This standoff could have gone on for a while, but then the door opened, causing both of us to jump, and Pete hurried out.
"Marshall," he said, coming over to us, "did you–"
"We heard what sounded like a gunshot. From inside. We were–"
"We need your help. I need your help, and really I need Jan's help." He turned to Ron and held out his hand. "I'm Pete," he said, "and I know you're Ron, Marshall's daughter. I'm pleased to meet you."
"Pleased to meet you, too," she said, looking at him with some surprise.
"Ron, I need a big favor. I have a mystery, and I desperately need your mother's help to solve it. I'm wondering if you can go get her for me? And meanwhile I'll explain some of it to your father. I hate to impose..."
She grinned. "Sure thing," she said. She ran into the street, flagged down a passing runner, terrorized the poor lad into giving up his bicycle, and pedaled off.
Pete gave me a wry look. I didn't bother to ask how he had known who Ron was. It often seemed that Pete knew pretty much everybody in U-town.
I hadn't seen him since the school mystery. During that case, even though someone had tried to kill him, he had been pretty calm throughout. But he was rattled right now. He took off his glasses and wiped his face with a bandanna that seemed far from clean, and then he shook his head. "We do need Jan's help, but I'll confess that the main reason I sent Ron away was so she wouldn't get killed. Ron, I mean."
"Why?" I asked. "What's going on in there? And I appreciate that, by the way."
He shook his head. "I can't take the time to explain it. Do you want to come in with me, or wait out here?"
"If you need to go back in, I guess I will, too."
We went down the few steps and into the building, and Pete closed the thick, padded door behind us. It was like stepping out of a cool, pleasant day and into a fetid swamp. The light was dim, and the air was close and warm. It reeked of beer, and smoke from various kinds of cigarettes. I felt like asking Pete to leave the door open, but that would have meant danger for anybody passing by on the sidewalk, because starling, the internationally known lunatic killer, was standing in the center of the room with a gun in each hand.
There were other people in the room, plus equipment, places to sit, and a door or two, but all I could look at was starling.
I asked, "What's going on here?" It sounded to me like my voice veered from authoritative to idly curious to terrified, all in four words.
"There's been a murder," Pete said. He gestured at the half-open door at the back of the room. "There's another rehearsal room down that hall. Barney, the drummer, he was practicing there. Alone."
"And she shot him," one of the men said, looking at starling. His tone veered a bit, too.
She didn't react.
"I heard a shot from out on the street," I said. "It sounded like it came from closer–"
"That was Katherine," Pete said. "They tried to overpower her." His voice was tense, but he was under control. It was possible that he'd experienced this sort of scene before, because Katherine, also known as "starling," was his girlfriend.
I had seen her around U-town a few times, usually with Pete. She was around Pete's height, about five foot eight. Her light brown hair was shorter than Pete's, and always looked as if she hacked off a hunk with a scissors whenever it got in her way. She was thin, and in the hot and stuffy room she had removed her coat. She wore a T-shirt and jeans, with her sleeves pushed up over her shoulders. Without her coat, the first thing you noticed was her shoulder holster and gunbelt.
"I'm not guilty," she rasped. "And I will not surrender my guns."
"Hang on," I said, holding up a hand. "Let's get introductions first. I'm Marshall O'Connor, if you don't know, and I work for Jan Sleet. She's on her way, and she will solve this, but let's at least get each other's names, and then maybe we can start to put this together."
"There isn't anything to 'put together,'" one man said. "This is not some fancy whodunit. She went back there to go to the can. Barney probably said something stupid – he was a jerk around women – and she shot him, without even thinking about it."
"I want to get names," I said, looking around. I caught Pete's eye, hoping he'd back me up, since he obviously wanted to keep this situation under control.
"I'm Pete," he said, attempting a smile, "in case anybody can't recognize me in the gloom." He gestured at starling. "And this is Katherine."
"My name is Lenore," said a throaty voice, "and I'm just sitting in."
She was sitting on the edge of the small platform that held the drums. Her red hair was full, and her expression was somewhat sardonic. She held a cigarette in one hand and a bottle of beer in the other. It was difficult to tell in the dim light and smoke, but she looked to be older than the others, maybe in her late thirties or early forties (which appeared to be starling's age as well, as near as I could tell).
"Lenore and I are not in the band," Pete said. "We just came to jam this afternoon." He smiled a bit. "These guys are really rough on rhythm sections, so they can't hold onto one. Typical guitarists."
The taller man seemed to relax. "I'm Mac," he said. "I sing and play guitar." He was big and solid, with dark, bushy hair and a beard. He moved and spoke slowly, but I could tell he was aware of everything that happened in the room.
I was forcing myself to be calm, with indifferent success. I looked around the small room, slowly and deliberately, noting the drums and guitars and home-made speaker cabinets and so on, including the foam and carpets and perhaps other invisible layers that covered the walls. I hadn't noticed many details until then because it was difficult to take my eyes off starling. My tendency, unless I controlled it, was to glance back at her every second or so.
She hadn't murdered anybody since the founding of U-town, and I knew she was in therapy. I'd even read some reports of Ray's sessions with her, including their disagreement about whether she should continue to carry her guns. I reminded myself that if she should decide to start slaughtering all of us, it wouldn't make much difference how closely I was watching her.
And I reminded myself that they had tried to overpower her, and she had fired a gun to keep control of the situation, but that apparently she had managed to do this without injuring or killing anybody. Given her history, that must have been deliberate.
"I'm Somerset," the other man said, "Lead guitar. And I am very excited to be part of a mystery solved by the famous Jan Sleet, the great detective. But this will not be one of her incredible triumphs, because it's a stupid and obvious crime, and even I know who did it." He looked at starling and winked, but she ignored him. He was smaller than Mac, a bit taller than Pete, with rimless glasses and long, straight hair. "I do think–"
"Pete," I said, "please tell me what happened."
He sighed. "We'd been playing for a couple of hours." He held out his cigarette so starling could take a puff. "We decided to take a break. Lenore went out for a smoke, and Mac went down to the corner to get a couple of sixes. There's only one bathroom, back in the other rehearsal room. Barney was practicing back there, but he's used to people coming through to use the bathroom. Somerset went first, then he came back–"
"And I should mention, for the record," Somerset said, stretching elaborately, "that Barney was alive when I was there. I'd like to see Miss Sherlock Holmes prove–"
"Please proceed, Pete," I said. I was finding Somerset really annoying.
"I think we will all agree that Barney was alive when Somerset came back," Pete said, "since the doors were open and we could still hear him playing."
"Can I go now?" Somerset asked.
"No," starling said.
"Then Katherine went back to use the bathroom," Pete continued. "I was waiting to go after her. While she was in the bathroom, there was a gunshot."
"If she was in the bathroom," Mac said.
"When we got back there," Pete said, "right after the shot, she was standing by the bathroom door–"
"–with a gun in her hand, pulling up her pants," Somerset added.
"Keep it clean," I said, and he made a face.
"I heard the gunshot, very close," starling said suddenly. "I pulled my gun and stepped out of the bathroom. I was more concerned with survival than modesty, but I did not shoot him."
Mac was sitting with a big paper bag between his legs, and he reached in to pull out a can of beer. Lenore caught his eye and he handed one to her. Nobody else asked for one.
I held out my hand to starling. "Let me examine your gun."
"I don't want to answer questions at gunpoint," Mac said suddenly. "This isn't appropriate. It seems to me–"
I held up a hand and turned to starling. "We will figure this out," I said to her. "If you are innocent, I'm sure you want that, too. I think this will go more quickly and smoothly if you..."
It was almost funny. Somerset shifted a fraction of an inch, and starling and I both turned to face him.
"He tried to jump me before," she said. "He'll try it again, if he sees an opening."
I shook my head. "Somerset," I said, "sit up straight. Don't move again, or I will knock you out. Which beats being shot. Or I might tie you up in an uncomfortable and embarrassing position."
Somerset was obviously a smart aleck, a wise guy. Ready to take any opportunity to show off, either verbally or physically. You have to be very firm with people like that, as with some children. I was glad Ron wasn't like that, though at the moment mostly I was glad she wasn't there. If we got out of this alive, I wanted to take Pete out for a drink or dinner or something, to thank him for protecting her.
And it seemed likely that, as much as Somerset didn't like being yelled at by me, he would prefer that to being shot by starling.
"There are two rehearsal rooms," Pete explained as we walked down the hall to the murder room.
"First off, what's behind there?" I said, pointing at a big double door with a hasp and a large padlock.
Pete looked at Mac, who said, "That's where the Blaydz – the other band – that's where they store their equipment, the stuff they don't share."
I nodded as we stepped into the rear practice room. It was larger than the front room, and the equipment looked in somewhat better repair (as far as I could tell with my very limited knowledge). A logo of the name "The Blaydz," with a stylized sword behind the band's name, was stenciled on every piece of equipment.
Barney's body was lying between his drums and the window, which was open about six inches. He was stocky, with short black hair and a big beard.
"Has he been moved?" I asked.
"We rolled him over, to see if he was still alive," Pete said, "but nobody has touched him since. There was no pulse." Mac's expression indicated that even the thought of touching a corpse made him queasy.
I squatted and gave him a quick examination. There was one bullet wound that I could spot. He'd been shot from the back, probably right into his heart. The bullet had not come out.
I had three thoughts.
- starling was on internationally famous homicidal lunatic. Was it really likely that Barney had turned his back on her the minute after she'd unexpectedly entered the room where he was practicing?
- It would be pretty easy to do an autopsy to find out if the bullet matched either of starling's guns. It was not going to be so easy to defuse the situation in the other room so that we could prevent more deaths while waiting for the autopsy results.
- Both of starling's guns, the revolver and the automatic, were pretty big guns. I was no expert on firearms, but I was surprised that the bullet hadn't gone through him. Also, the bullet hole in his back looked smaller than I would have expected. But, of course, she might be carrying other guns.
I turned to Pete and Mac. "Who rents the rooms?" I asked. "The same band?"
Pete looked at Mac, who said, "The whole space is rented by the Blaydz, and they usually practice in here. This is the better room. The PA is better, and there's a bathroom. They rent time in the other room to other bands; and sometimes in this room, too, when they're not using it."
"Was he here alone? What about the rest of the band?"
"He practices in here during the day. I mean, he used to."
I leaned over and looked out the window at a small, scrubby back yard. "They close the window when the whole band practices, and they put up that big baffle thing," he said. "I think Barney usually left it open. He mostly practiced with pads anyway." He gestured at the black rubber pads on the tops of most of the drums.
Barney had had his drums set up with his back to the window, but it was difficult to figure out what direction he'd been facing by the way he'd fallen, even apart from the fact that they'd rolled him over. And, of course, the padded drum stool didn't face in any particular direction. I pressed it with my fingernail and it seemed to spin easily.
So, somebody could have come up to the uncovered window and shot him, but how would you ever figure out who? And how would starling be treated while suspicion fell mostly on her? And how would she react to that?
I thought I knew the answer to the last question.
I looked around. Pete was gone. Mac was still there, watching me, but Pete had apparently returned to the other room. This was fine with me, since I had the idea that he might be helpful in keeping starling calm. The floor was carpeted, like the walls, which must have been why I hadn't heard him go.
I looked around the room again. I wasn't looking for some apparently innocuous clue (a hairpin, a dead ladybug, a tobacco stain, etc.) which might lead us directly to the killer. My employer was on her way, and if there was such a clue she would find it and figure out its significance.
What I wanted was something, some clue that would provide a reasonable doubt that starling had done it. I was confident that my employer would solve the mystery, but we had to break up the standoff in the other room or more people would die, and probably quite soon.
I opened the window all the way and leaned out. Broken concrete. Not even a chance for footprints.
I had one advantage in dealing with starling. She was in therapy, which was more or less an unofficial condition of her remaining free, and I had read some of Ray's reports on their sessions.
I did not believe that she had killed Barney in outrage at some offensive remark he might have made to her. There had been a time when she had killed people over pretty much anything, but that was no longer true. I knew of situations in U-town where she had been confronted and insulted on the street by people who had a grievance against her (real or imagined) and she had either waited patiently or walked away.
However, my tentative belief in her innocence aside, there was a lot of evidence against her, and we needed to solve this or put her in custody. Which she wouldn't stand for, I knew, and the musicians in the front room were her hostages.
But apparently she didn't want to escape, and she clearly didn't want to hurt anybody. She wanted the case to be solved, and she wanted to be able to continue to stay in U-town, which was probably the only place in the world where she could live comfortably.
Entirely too comfortably, as some people saw it, but that decision had been made over my objections.
"Interesting," my employer said, putting her hand on my shoulder as I turned away from the window. I didn't actually shriek in surprise, but I did gurgle a bit.
She smiled. "They told me a few things in the other room, but give me everything."
As usual, she leaned toward me, her ear only inches from my mouth, steadying herself with her hand on my shoulder. Her impeccable three-piece suit looked especially out of place in these surroundings.
"So, Sherlock, find anything out yet?" Somerset boomed as he came in. "Traces of clay on the victim's–"
He stopped as her cane whipped up and poked into the center of his chest, her grip on my shoulder tightening as she leaned on me to keep her balance. "Go back into the other room," she said without turning around. "You are annoying me."
Mac grabbed his arm and moved him out.
We re-entered the front room, and things appeared to be pretty much the same except that Somerset and Mac looked even more tired and disgruntled than they had before, and someone new had arrived. He was somewhat better dressed than the musicians, with dark curly hair and a nearly-trimmed beard.
"I'm Foster," he said, rising as we came in, "I manage the band. I just..." His voice trailed off as it became obvious that my employer was paying no attention to him. Instead, she went and stood in front of starling, who had apparently not moved since I'd left the room.
"Please let Marshall check your guns," my employer said.
"Katherine, I am trying to figure out a way to get through this without anybody dying. And I think that's what you want, too."
I went up to starling and said, "Point your gun at my head." She did, the muzzle about an inch from my forehead. "Now hand me the other gun and let me check it."
She nodded. Never taking her eyes off of me, she reversed her automatic and handed it to me. I pulled the magazine and checked it. "Full." I announced as I handed it back to her. "Now let me see the revolver."
Somerset chose that moment to twitch again, so she swung the automatic around and fired at his foot. He jumped, but I think she missed him, or at least just grazed his sneaker, because he stayed silent.
She pointed the automatic at my head and handed me the revolver. I spun the cylinder. "One shot fired," I said. I handed it back to her. "Do you carry any other guns?"
She nodded, swinging the revolver back into line and holstering the automatic. "Two," she said. "Pete, would you get them, please?"
Pete came over and reached into the back of her waistband and pulled out another gun, and then squatted and pulled up her jeans, taking a small gun from an ankle holster. I checked them also, and handed them back to Pete. "Fully loaded," I said.
"I need to search you," my employer said to starling.
She frowned, the revolver still pointed at my forehead. "Why?" she asked.
"To make sure you're not carrying any other guns, or any ammunition."
"What difference does it make if she has bullets?" Somerset demanded. "He got killed with–"
"You don't get your questions answered," my employer snapped at him. "You're an imbecile and your questions are puerile. Marshall, if he tries to say anything else, please stop him." She turned to starling. "May I search you? You may continue to hold your gun on my husband."
starling nodded. "Okay."
The search was very thorough, and starling did not react. Her gaze remained steady on my face, and I was sure that the slightest wrong move on my part would have resulted in a bullet through my head.
"No ammunition," my employer said. "No other guns. Now, if you're thinking that she reloaded the revolver after shooting it the first time, that would require me to believe that Katherine came here with one loose bullet in her pocket for that purpose. Since I am not an imbecile, I find that hard to believe. So, this was very likely a setup, the whole thing. Or else it was certainly a rather striking coincidence.
"So, let's say someone wanted to kill Barney – I have no idea why, – and that person wanted a scapegoat. Someone who would be blamed, someone who would not get the benefit of the doubt, someone who people would just assume was guilty. So, what can we say about this plan? That it depended entirely on Katherine's presence here today. Now, Pete, I believe you are not a part of this band. Is that true?"
He nodded, lighting a cigarette. "I am not. I just came here to jam."
"So, even Pete's participation was not a sure thing. Katherine, when Pete gets together with other musicians to play, do you always accompany him?"
She shook her head. "Not always. It depends if I feel like it, and sometimes they don't want me there."
"So, the question is who got Pete involved, and who wanted you–"
That was as far as she got. Katherine turned, picked up her coat from the floor, pulled out a large knife, grabbed Foster's hand, and slammed it against the wall. She drove the knife through his hand, pinning him to the wall.
Then, as he screamed, she stepped back, folded her arms, and looked at him.
Somebody said, "Shit!"
Lenore dropped a lit match and quickly stamped it out.
Mac swallowed as if he was about to be sick.
Somerset stood up and stepped forward, but I pushed him in the center of his chest and he sat down again. starling's guns were holstered and all of her attention seemed to be on Foster, but given how quickly she had just moved I wasn't going to take any chances.
My employer looked uncertain. She had been shocked at first. We had witnessed violence before, some far worse than this, but never anything this quick and unexpected. I had the idea that starling's facial expression hadn't even changed. She wasn't angry at Foster, though he had apparently tried to frame her for murder. Something in what my employer had been saying had told her that Foster was guilty, and this was the most efficient way of getting him to confess.
I'm sparing you a detailed description of Foster's yells, curses, screams, and unsuccessful attempts to pull the knife out of the wall. I have no idea how long this went on, probably nowhere near as long as it seemed, and starling never moved or changed expression until Foster finally yelled his admission that he had shot Barney through the window while starling was in the bathroom, knowing she would be blamed.
starling moved forward, planted her foot on the wall for leverage, and pulled the knife free.
Foster crumpled to the floor, clutching his injured hand and crying. starling picked up a dirty towel from the floor and started wiping off the knife. I moved to the door and pulled it open, yelling, "Medic!"
Two aides rushed in with their kits.
I had known, of course, that my employer hadn't arrived alone. Not with the report of a gunshot and the possible involvement of starling. She had told everybody else to wait outside while she went in and investigated.
As the medics tended to Foster, I made it clear to them that he was in custody. Lenore and Mac had pulled beer cans from the paper bag, and she was lighting a cigarette for him. They looked stunned. Somerset started to say a few things, but his heart wasn't in it and nobody paid any attention, so he stopped.
Pete picked up his bass guitar, wiped it down, and put it into its case, then he and starling moved to leave. A second after they went out, I heard a familiar voice yell, "Fuck!"
Imagining the worst, I hurried to the door, where I saw starling squatting with her hand on Ron's shoulder. She was saying, "–Marshall's daughter, aren't you? I've seen you around town. I'm Katherine. I don't think you should go in there right now. Look, here's your father."
Ron rushed over to me and hugged me, and Pete and starling walked away. I blinked in the bright sunshine, breathing in the cool autumn air. I felt like I'd been in that dark, dank space for days. Looking around, I saw Christy and a reporter from the U-town newspaper. He was about to go inside, but I motioned him over and made it clear that the article should say that starling had assisted Jan Sleet in apprehending a murderer. Which was true, after all.
I looked at Christy, who had a definite bruise under one eye.
"Lucky punch," she said.
I pointed at Ron and raised an eyebrow.
Christy nodded. "When we heard the shot, she really wanted to go in. I almost had to tie her up."
I squatted to address Ron, putting my hand on her shoulder. "Do you remember the phrase 'in loco parentis'?"
She frowned and then shrugged. "Yeah."
"When your mother and I aren't around, you need to listen to Christy, the same way you would listen to us."
She made a face. Christy had stepped inside, probably to give us some privacy, so I leaned forward and whispered, "You don't have to like her, that's up to you. But you do need to do what she says."
She was starting to look upset, so I took her in my arms again so she could bury her face in my jacket and hide her tears. "Would you?" she asked, her voice muffled.
I knew what she meant.
"I would have wanted to go in," I said softly, "just as much as you did. But if anybody had burst into that room at the wrong moment we would probably all be dead now. Christy was right."
We walked for a block or so, the three of us, and I noticed that Ron's shoulders were hunched and her hands were jammed deep in her jacket pockets. It wasn't that cold, so I knew she was wrestling with something.
She looked up at Jan. "Mom?" she asked.
Jan looked startled. Her thoughts had been far away. "Yes, dear?" she asked.
Ron looked around for a moment, then looked up again. "What's wrong?" she asked.
We had to conceal our surprise. It was the first time she had ever asked either of us about anything to do with our feelings.
"Oh, it's..." Jan said, and then her voice trailed off. She put her arm around Ron's shoulders and squeezed as we walked. "I was about to say, 'Oh, it's nothing,' but that would have been far from accurate.
"To tell the truth, Ron, I'm rehearsing an argument that your father and I are going to have later this evening."
"A disagreement," I amended.
She nodded. "A disagreement."
"About what?" Ron asked.
"About the fact that a murderer is now in custody because he was... you would have to say he was tortured into confessing. And that is wrong. Always."
Ron thought about this, then she looked at me for my side of the disagreement.
"You are not complicit if your life is under immediate threat," I said. "What was done was wrong, sickening to watch, and morally indefensible, but we didn't have any options. We were not in control of that situation."
We ended up getting takeout food and bringing it back to our room to eat. This was partly because I thought Ron had been through enough without also being subjected to a birthday celebration that she didn't want, but mostly it was because I knew she was wondering why this argument (disagreement) that her mother and I were going to have had to be done later in the evening, when she wouldn't be there.
And she was right; there was no reason to exclude her. We couldn't talk about those things in a public place, where we might be overheard, but that was a different question.
So, we sat around our small bedroom and ate Chinese food out of containers and talked about what had happened, and Jan said later that she had learned quite a lot from that talk. It had been a process, over quite a long time, for her to accept the fact that she couldn't think her way out of every situation, that some problems require more long-term solutions, if they can be solved at all.
But what Jan did not say that night was that the biggest part of learning that lesson was Ron herself. Our adopted daughter had been outside of normal life, living on the street with no friends. Then she had discovered U-town, and had found a place to live and a few friends, and then we had adopted her (or she had adopted us), and all of this had been a process of bringing her back from the wild, as it were. That was a slow and complex process, and it was still going on.
And I realized something as we talked, though I didn't say it until Jan and I were in bed together and Ron was gone to sleep in her own room with her friends. This was what Pete must be doing with starling: slowly and carefully bringing her back to human society. That was pretty clearly demonstrated in her quick transition from torturing a man into a confession to protecting Ron from seeing something that she might find upsetting.
Jan commented that this was a loose analogy at best, trying to compare our 13-year-old daughter, a former street urchin, with a mass murderer who was probably in her forties. But then I reminded her about Ron's abrupt and unprovoked attack on her own sister and her subsequent indifference to her sister's violent murder, and she conceded that there might be more of a parallel there than she had thought.
On reading this report, my employer noted that I didn't mention Foster's motive. To tell the truth, we didn't investigate this at the time. I think we were just glad the case was over, and we were both uncomfortable with how it had been resolved, but of course there was a trial and it all came out there.
Ron had wanted to know from the first night, and she had been miffed that we didn't have all the answers at our fingertips. Not that she cared why Foster had committed the crime, but she did seem to think that solving a crime without knowing the motive was sloppy workmanship.
So, we did a thorough investigation before the trial, and it became clear almost immediately that there had been a disagreement between Foster and Barney about a drug deal they had been working on together. This led us into a whole different and much more complex investigation, which I will chronicle in its own right at some point.
Barney had wanted to sell the drugs to their friends in U-town. His main concern had been breaking even and having a good time. Foster had needed cash, however, and had wanted to sell the drugs over in the city, where there was much more profit to be made, but also the chance of arrest.
However, as I said, that's another story.