TWELVE

The competition from other Dallas law firms for the top law graduates each year was fierce. Ford Stevens offered the same starting salary, required the same billable hours, and promised the same personal chemistry between partners and associates. Money and hours were easy sells; personal chemistry, though, took all of the partners’ lawyering skills, pretending to care about these students’ lives when in fact they cared more about their own shoes. But then, lying to law students was just part of the game.

And that game was being played in earnest today at 4000 Beverly Drive. Scott Fenney was hosting Ford Stevens’s annual Fourth of July party for the firm’s summer clerks at his Highland Park home. He was standing on the patio under the awning and shaking his head: forty out-of-shape law students in bathing suits, their pale white bodies frolicking in and around his fabulous pool and professionally landscaped backyard, was not a pretty sight. Thank God they had the good sense not to wear Speedos. If not for Missy and the other cheerleaders in bikinis, the view from the patio would have been downright dismal.

“Got some good news, Scotty.”

He hadn’t noticed Bobby there. “What’s that?”

“Talked to Hannah Steele. She’ll testify. Told me the whole story about Clark, said he was the nicest guy in the world until he got loaded, then he turned into an animal. His idea of foreplay was smacking her across the face.” Bobby took a swig of beer. “Shawanda did the world a favor, blowing his brains out.”

“So she’s it then, our only defense?”

“Yep. But she wants her name kept quiet until the trial. She’s scared shitless of McCall.”

“Don’t we have to put her on our witness list?”

Bobby shrugged. “We’re supposed to. But Buford, he’ll cut us some slack, seeing how he hates the death penalty and Burns won’t give it up. Did you read my brief on that, why the death penalty doesn’t apply to this case under the statute?”

Scott shook his head.

“Have you read any of my briefs or motions?”

“I haven’t had time.”

Bobby grunted and went in search of the barbecue, leaving Scott to his thoughts, which were of Dan Ford: Scott, I need an answer for McCall. Soon.

“Well, if it isn’t Johnnie Cochran.”

Bernie Cohen had arrived with a beer in his hand.

“What’s your whore’s defense, Scott?” His next words came out in his version of rap rhythm. “If the condom don’t fit, you must acquit?”

Bernie thought he was hilarious. He was a partner in the securities section of Ford Stevens and looked like he was fifty years old even though he was only a year older than Scott. No muscular definition was noticeable anywhere on his body; Bernard Cohen was what in junior high they called a “fat-butted boy.” Bernie pointed his beer at Boo and Pajamae sitting on the edge of the far side of the pool.

“That her daughter?”

“Yeah.”

“She’s living with you?”

“Yeah.”

“Saw your client’s photo in the paper. She’s a good-looking black babe.” Bernie nudged Scott’s arm and grinned. “She paying you in kind?”

“Shut up, Bernie.”

Bernie recoiled, snorted, and walked away, leaving Scott to wonder why at one time he had sort of liked the pudgy prick. And why he wasn’t enjoying the party the way he had last year when he had taken great pride in showing off his residence to the impressionable students: the one-acre estate in the heart of Highland Park; the four-car garage occupied by the Ferrari, Rebecca’s Mercedes-Benz coupe, and the Land Rover they used for family road trips; and the expansive covered patio overlooking the pool and cabana, beyond which was a vast expanse of grass kept lush and green by the underground sprinkler system. Scott had set up a volleyball net out there and some of the students were now playing. He shook his head-not an athlete in the bunch.

This year he just couldn’t get into the spirit of the day. The students were happy, the cheerleaders were friendly, the beer was flowing, and the barbecue was cooking…but Scott’s thoughts were on Shawanda Jones and the little black girl sitting on the far side of the pool and his wife’s threat and Dan Ford’s demand. Scott, I need an answer for McCall. Soon. The trial was only seven weeks away, and Scott had a big decision to make, a decision he didn’t want to make, a decision that had darkened his mind. That feeling of impending doom had become his constant companion.

Sitting on the edge of the pool, Pajamae said, “I haven’t been around this many white people since last year when Mama took me to the State Fair. Only time we see white people.”

“You haven’t missed much,” Boo said.

Pajamae waved her hand around. “Who are they?”

“Lawyer wannabes.”

“Whatabes?”

“Students A. Scott’s law firm is trying to hire.”

“Those are some homely white boys. But the girls are real pretty. Are they their women?”

“The cheerleaders?”

“They’re cheerleaders?”

“They used to be. A. Scott pays them to come to the party and act interested in the students, so they’ll hire on. He calls it bait and switch.”

“Bait and what?”

“Bait and switch, like when an ad in the paper says certain Rollerblades are on sale, but when you get to the store they say they’re sold out so you should buy another brand that costs more.”

“Oh, like when a trick tries to get Mama to lower her price after she gets in his car.”

“Someone tricked your mother into his car?”

“No, the trick-that’s the john.”

“The toilet?”

“No, a man who wants to buy Mama.”

“Your mother’s for sale?”

Pajamae nodded. “By the hour.”

“A. Scott sells himself by the hour, too. He calls them billable hours. He charges three hundred fifty dollars an hour.”

“Mama makes almost that much and she didn’t go to school.”

“Awesome. Anyway, these students think if they hire on with A. Scott’s law firm they’ll get dates with beautiful girls like these, but they really won’t.”

“If they pay enough, they will. Mama says it’s just a question of pricing.”

On brutally hot days like today, Bobby would often grab a beer, go out back of his two-bedroom, one-bath lean-to in East Dallas, and sit in a six-inch-deep inflatable pool-his version of a pool party. This pool party was a lot better. For one thing, the pool was bigger. And for another, his eyes weren’t closed and he wasn’t dreaming of a backyard full of beautiful girls in bikinis; his eyes were wide open and the girls were real. He was really happy Scotty had invited him.

Bobby was standing alone at one corner of the pool, a beer in one hand and a long pork rib in the other, dripping barbecue sauce on his bare belly and trying not to appear too obvious as he ogled the girls. He was wearing only swim trunks. His pale body was not lean and tanned and muscular like Scotty’s. Still, compared to the law students, he was feeling like a regular goddamned Adonis when an incredible looking girl in a white bikini sidled up to him, close enough that he could feel the warmth emanating from her skin. Without thinking, Bobby sucked in his gut-a little.

“Noticed you’re not wearing a wedding ring,” she said.

“That’s because I’m not married.”

“What a coincidence,” she said, turning her big eyes up to him. “Neither am I.”

Bobby had already downed several beers, so his courage was operating at its maximum level.

“So what’s a gorgeous single girl like yourself doing at a party like this?”

“Looking for a rich lawyer like you.”

You can’t fault honesty, Bobby thought, as she leaned into him and her breasts pushed together and rose as one until he thought they might pop out of her bikini top. The mere touch of her skin against his raised a distinct feeling in Bobby’s trunks.

“Well, just so you know, I don’t have a home like this, I’m not a rich lawyer, and chances are pretty good I’m never gonna be a rich lawyer. But, hey, we can still slip inside, find a quiet place, and screw ourselves silly.”

She pulled back as if she had suddenly discovered poison ivy all over his body. She gave him a thin smile and said, “I don’t think so.”

And she was gone. Bobby closed his eyes and inhaled her scent one last time. But it was soon gone, too, as was the rise in his swim trunks. He walked over to the only two girls who weren’t looking for a rich lawyer that day. Boo and Pajamae were sitting on the edge of the pool, dangling their feet into the water.

“Hey, Bobby,” Boo said.

“Girls.”

Pajamae said, “Whereas, Mr. Herrin.”

Scotty had introduced Bobby to the girls earlier. Bobby now joined them, dropping his feet into the cool water.

“Where’s your mother?” he asked Boo. “Haven’t seen her since I first got here.”

“Back inside,” Boo said. “She hates these parties.”

“What about you?”

“Oh, I love them. I try to guess what these people’s lives are like when they’re not sucking up to A. Scott for a job.”

Bobby laughed. “Scotty said you’re nine going on twenty-nine.” He pointed the pork rib at one of the male students. “Okay, tell me about his life, the skinny one with the black glasses.”

Boo studied the student for a moment and said, “He’s incredibly smart. He went to law school only because his dad is a lawyer, but he wants to do computer stuff. He’ll graduate top of his class, hire on with A. Scott’s firm, and quit after one year. He’s never had a date, he’s terribly shy, and he’s wishing right now he was back home at his computer, where he’s happiest. He’s always going to be alone.”

Bobby stared down at the child in amazement. “That’s pretty good. Okay, Pajamae, your turn. What about her, the blonde over there with the, uh…”

“Store-bought boobs?”

“Uh, yeah, that one. What’s her story?”

“She’s way dumb, but she doesn’t know it. She’ll marry a rich lawyer and live happily ever after.”

Bobby found himself nodding in agreement.

“You girls are good. Okay, Boo, what about this guy?”

Boo moved her eyes about, scanning the pool crowd.

“Which guy?”

Bobby was now pointing the pork rib at himself.

“Me.”

Boo considered him for a moment, then dropped her eyes to the water and shook her head.

“Hey, come on, tell me.”

Boo looked back up; her eyes seemed sad.

“No, Bobby.”

Bobby laughed and said, “What? I’m a big boy, I can handle it,” figuring she was going to say he was a pathetic loser and always would be. Hell, no surprise there. He told himself the same thing every morning in the mirror.

But Boo was quiet. Then, without looking at him, she said: “You secretly loved my mother, but she married A. Scott. You’ve never gotten over it. You’ve always wondered what your life would’ve been like if she had married you instead.”

Bobby hadn’t figured on that. He had to take a deep breath. He pushed himself up but looked down at her.

“How?”

“I saw how you looked at her when you got here. Your eyes went all over the crowd, kind of frantic like, until you saw her. Then you just looked at her for a long time. Like, forever.”

Bobby walked directly to the beer cooler.

From the windows of the master suite on the second floor Rebecca Fenney was looking down on the backyard scene at two of the three men who loved her: Scott, surrounded by law students and cheerleaders and one buxom blonde in a black string bikini giving him the come-on; and Bobby, alone by the beer cooler. Poor Bobby. She had known he loved her back when he and Scott were in law school, but he had kept it to himself, never one to challenge for any of Scott’s possessions. Not that he could have won her; everyone knew Bobby Herrin wasn’t going places, just as everyone knew Scott Fenney was. So Rebecca Garrett had signed on for the Scott Fenney ride. And it had been quite a ride: eleven years ago she had been living in a sorority house, driving a used Toyota, and leading cheers for the SMU Mustangs; today she was living in a mansion, driving a Mercedes, and vying to be chairwoman of the Cattle Barons’ Ball. But now she found herself feeling anxious and afraid and wondering: Is the ride coming to an end?

Rebecca Garrett had grown up in a working-class suburb of Dallas. She hated having less; she wanted more. So for her college education she looked no further than SMU. For poor Dallas kids, SMU was their entree to a better life. It was a way in to Highland Park.

Rebecca was a smart student, in and out of class. In fact, when she drove her old car up and down the streets of Highland Park and fancied herself the woman of the house at one of the fabulous mansions, she was smart enough to acknowledge a fact of life: she would never have a Highland Park home on her own, by using her brain, by pursuing a career. No woman would.

Her future lay in her looks, as it always had. From the time she was ten, other children’s mothers would stop and say, “My, what a remarkably beautiful child”; and when she was sixteen and her body had become a woman’s, her friends’ fathers would stare; and when she was twenty-one and the most beautiful girl at SMU and she interviewed for jobs, men’s eyes lit up when they saw her beauty-they wanted it and they would pay for it.

But she would not sell her beauty by the hour or by the night or even by the job. Rebecca Garrett would sell her beauty for community property, for half of everything her husband would acquire over the course of their marriage. As every Texas girl knows by the time she graduates high school, in Texas wives don’t have to beg for alimony; in Texas wives are entitled to half of everything-by law.

So she needed a husband. As she saw it, her beauty afforded her three matrimonial options: an older man who had already made his fortune (but such a man always comes with baggage, usually a couple of ex-wives and twice as many kids on the dole); the son of such an older rich man (but an inherited fortune is not community property); or a man with the ambition to make his own fortune, a fortune made during marriage, a fortune of community property. Scott Fenney, a Highland Park and SMU football legend, was just that kind of man. There is no better place in the world to be a football legend than Dallas, Texas. It’s as close to an ironclad guarantee of success as life offers.

So Rebecca Garrett bet her beauty on Scott Fenney.

She loved him back then, but she would not have married him if he had wanted to coach high school football and live in a small house in the suburbs. She could not separate her love from his ambition. She loved him because he wanted what she wanted, because his desire to have all this equaled her own. They were two of a kind. So they married and settled in a small $500,000 home in Highland Park; Scott became Tom Dibrell’s lawyer and she became the most beautiful woman in Highland Park.

The early years of the Scott Fenney ride were exactly what she had expected: they bought, they acquired, they went out, they moved up. Scott fought for the family fortune at Ford Stevens; she joined the society clubs and paid her social dues. Success followed success, his and hers. They soon made the Highland Park A-list, the up-and-coming couple, young and beautiful, smart and successful, the SMU legend and Miss SMU. They were the envy of all: men wanted her and women wanted him. But they expended their sexual energies only with each other-success excited her and she excited him. Her husband wanted her with a passion that always burned hot; he needed her more than life itself, a need that never waned or wandered. Success and sex: Rebecca Fenney’s life was perfect and getting better by the day.

Until the day she became pregnant.

Which came as a complete shock-motherhood had never been part of her plans-and a recurring one as she watched helplessly as her belly expanded and her body bloated up until she looked like a beached whale. She had always loved to look at herself when she passed a mirror; now she averted her eyes. Rebecca Fenney was not a squat soccer mom in a minivan! She was a sleek white woman in a black Mercedes coupe! Which she drove over to Harry Hines on more than one occasion trying to work up the courage to enter one of the clinics and have an abortion. Of course, she would have blamed the loss of the child on a miscarriage; there are no abortions in politically conservative Highland Park.

But Scott wanted the child.

He alerted all the world that a Fenney child was on the way. Men looked ahead fifteen years to when Scotty Junior would make his football debut at Highland Park High; women showered Rebecca with baby gifts to ease her descent into motherhood. With such attention focused on her pregnancy, a “miscarriage” would have been viewed as a personal failure on the part of Rebecca Fenney, and failure is not socially acceptable in Highland Park. So she resigned herself to the inevitable and became the perfect mother-to-be, eating only organic, no caffeine, no alcohol, exercising daily in the pool, acting oh so happy to be oh so fat.

But Scotty Junior was a girl named Boo. A collective sigh of disappointment went up in Highland Park, from everyone except Scott. He didn’t care. When he gazed on his new daughter in the hospital nursery, it was love at first sight. And Rebecca saw that her place in his heart had been stolen.

Sex was never the same.

Rebecca Fenney needed a man who needed her more than life itself; Scott Fenney was no longer that man. But she also needed a man who could give her the life she needed; that man was still Scott Fenney. He had given her this Highland Park mansion, the home she had dreamed about since she was a little girl, the home that told the world Rebecca Fenney belonged in Highland Park. A woman living in a $500,000 house can join the society clubs; a woman living in a $3.5 million mansion can chair the society balls. This home made Rebecca Fenney’s life. Her life was perfect and could get no better.

It could only get worse.

Which had become a constant worry for her over the last few weeks: Was her life about to take a turn for the worse? Was the ride slowing down…or coming to an end? She had thought and hoped and prayed that the Scott Fenney ride would last a lifetime. But you never know with men. Men can always find a way to fuck up a good thing.

Would Scott Fenney?

Other Highland Park men certainly had, leaving their wives-older women Rebecca knew-for younger women. But those discarded wives were in their fifties and sixties, the family fortunes made and their community halves secure. Rebecca was thirty-three, and the family fortune was still in the making, still owed to the bank that held the mortgage on their home and her life. If Scott left her now, she would have nothing, just as her mother had nothing when her father left them. The Scott Fenney ride had to last until the mortgage was paid off.

She had bet her beauty on Scott Fenney. What if she lost that bet?

When she first became Mrs. A. Scott Fenney and went to the homes of the older lawyers’ wives, she would admire their possessions, and she wanted what they had, all the things money could buy. Only recently had she realized that while she was coveting what they possessed, they were coveting what she possessed: youth and beauty-what they needed to compete for their lawyers. But their money could not buy youth and beauty, try though they did with liposuction, tummy tucks, breast implants, and face-lifts; the good doctor could help, but he could not make a fifty-year-old woman look twenty-five again. So they lost their lawyers to younger women.

And now Rebecca, thirty-three, old by Highland Park standards, understood their fear as she observed the blonde by the pool- what was she, twenty-two, twenty-three? — giving her husband a come-hither look, competing for her lawyer, more than willing to use her beauty to claim what Rebecca possessed. There was always a younger, prettier, skinnier woman ready to take your place in the mansion. Rebecca Fenney was still remarkably beautiful, still the most beautiful woman in Highland Park, still able to compete with a twenty-two-year-old for her lawyer. But the day would come for her, she knew; and with each passing day, Rebecca Fenney was a day older and a day less beautiful.

If she lost Scott to the girl by the pool-and every Fourth of July there would be a girl by the pool-before the family fortune was made and her community half secure, she would have only one option for a new husband: a man fifty, fifty-five, maybe sixty years old. The thought of a sixty-year-old man climbing on top of her made her shudder. With enough money, a man could always drop down two decades, even three, for a new wife. But a woman? She would have no chance at a man her own age. Men in their thirties or forties were looking at twenty-somethings like the blonde.

Yes, in every woman’s life, there’s always another woman. But it was different for Rebecca Fenney: the other woman in her life, the woman competing for her lawyer, the woman who was threatening to take everything she had in life-her home, her position, her possessions-was not a twenty-two-year-old blonde with big tits and a tight ass, but a black prostitute accused of murdering a senator’s son.

“I’m gonna be a hooker when I grow up.”

Consuela let out a shriek from the kitchen, Scott almost choked on a mouthful of barbecued brisket left over from the party, and Rebecca glared at him from across the dining table. He turned to Boo, who had just announced her career plan to her family at the dinner table.

“Excuse me?”

“Yeah,” she said, chewing on a barbecued rib, “men pay Pajamae’s mother two hundred dollars an hour just to be with her, and if the trick wants her all night, then it’s a thousand.”

Scott looked at Pajamae, who was nodding matter-of-factly.

“Well, Scott,” Rebecca said, “your little social experiment is already making our daughter a more worldly person.”

“Rebecca, she doesn’t understand what she’s saying.” To Boo: “And what does Pajamae’s mom do with her tricks?”

Boo shoveled potato salad into her mouth and said, “Well, mostly they watch TV and eat popcorn, but sometimes the trick wants to fornicate.”

Rebecca dropped her silverware. “Oh, this is just great!”

Calmly: “And what about that?”

Boo said, “Well, that’s okay as long as he wears his rubbers, although if it’s not raining, why the heck would he need rubbers?”

She turned to Pajamae for an answer, but Pajamae only shrugged, shook her head, and bit into a rib.

“Unh-huh. So that’s what your mother told you, Pajamae?”

Pajamae was busy with her food, but she said, “Yeah, that’s what she said. And she said if a president can make ten million dollars for writing a book about getting blow jobs in the White House, she ought to be able to make a hundred dollars for giving one on Harry Hines.” She now looked up from her plate. “Mama talks a lot when she’s sick and takes her medicine…until she falls asleep.”

Boo turned to Pajamae: “What’s a blow job?”

Shawanda sucked the bone dry, then licked her lips. She turned her big brown eyes up to Bobby, smiled, and said, “This here some good cooking.”

Bobby handed her another barbecued rib from Scotty’s party. He had walked out with a dozen ribs, two pints of coleslaw, one pint of baked beans, and two cold beers. He knew he couldn’t get the beers into the federal detention center, so he drank them on the way over. Of course, before Shawanda would eat, he had to tell her all about the pool party and Pajamae, how pretty she looked.

She said, “Mr. Herrin, over last month you bring me food what, five, six time?”

“Seven, but who’s counting. And don’t tell Scotty, okay?”

“Why you come? You sweet on Shawanda?”

Bobby shrugged. “You’re my client…sort of.”

She looked at him like a psychic trying to read his future in his face, then nodded knowingly and said, “You ain’t got no one to eat with, do you?”

Bobby stared down at his paper plate. “No.”

“Well, you awful nice, bring good food for me…’cept that pizza with them little fishes-”

“Anchovies.”

“Yeah, them.” She swallowed some coleslaw, then said, “Mr. Herrin, I’m real sorry.”

“For what?”

“For thinking you ain’t nothin’ but a dud…lawyer.”

Bobby laughed. “That’s okay. I feel that way about myself most of the time.”

“You just poor ’cause you care. You all soft inside for people like me, workin’ for nothin’, that’s why you ain’t a rich lawyer. Can’t make no money givin’ everyone freebies-where I be, I do that? Nope, Mr. Herrin, that just bad business. Mr. Fenney, he rich ’cause he know to only work for rich people.”

“He used to care.”

“So you ain’t mad, me telling the judge I want Mr. Fenney be my lawyer?”

“No. You need him, Shawanda. He’s a lot better lawyer than me.”

“Maybe you make him care again…maybe about me.”

They looked at each other, and Bobby saw the hope in her eyes.

“Maybe.”

The clubhouse at the Highland Park Country Club wasn’t the most expensive building in Dallas or even in Highland Park for that matter, but it was the hardest to get into. To say it was an exclusive club is like saying Michael Jordan was a pretty good basketball player. You don’t buy your way into this club; you’re born into it, you marry into it, or you kiss so many important asses in town to get in that the American Medical Association could board certify you as a proctologist. Scott Fenney had taken the latter route to membership, a privilege available only because he was a local football legend and Tom Dibrell’s lawyer.

Scott stopped the Range Rover under the porte cochere. Before he had cut the engine, the valet had their doors open. Scott gave the boy a twenty, and then walked his family into the club. Boo and Pajamae skipped ahead, giggling like the little girls they were. Scott smiled at the sight. Rebecca did not.

Even when not in the best of moods, as now, Rebecca Fenney was still the most beautiful woman in Highland Park. And Scott felt proud to squire his spouse into the clubhouse at the country club, the tall handsome ex-SMU-football-star-turned-successful-lawyer escorting the gorgeous ex-SMU cheerleader wearing a pale green sundress that showed off her fabulous figure, and to see each man discretely glance at her, wishing that she and not their wrinkled dinosaur wife was going home with them tonight. Rebecca was a big part of Scott Fenney’s perfect life, albeit a severely pissed-off part tonight.

“This is a big fucking mistake,” she said through her teeth.

“Oh, you worry too much. We’re here for the fireworks. No one’s going to pay attention to a little black girl.”

“Yeah, right. The women here notice if your breasts are half an inch bigger or your butt’s half an inch smaller. How am I going to explain her to them? She’s sure as hell not a member’s kid!”

The country club opened its doors to the members’ children twice a year, for the annual Christmas Party featuring Santa Claus and for the fireworks on the Fourth of July. Otherwise, children were banned from the premises. Not that kids would find the place inviting. The average age of the members was seventy-four; Scott and Rebecca were two of the young members, “young” meaning under sixty. The decor was contemporary-for 1952; the members saw no reason to update the club, the only concession to the last fifty years being a big-screen TV in the men’s grill. There was simply no sense in trying to convince a seventy-four-year-old member that change could be good; to a man that age, change could only be bad. No change could make him young again.

So, other than those two annual events, there were no kids at the country club. Or blacks, except for the caddies and the help. Or Hispanics, or anyone else who could qualify for affirmative action. Or Jews. Even though the Bible-beating Baptist members got their medical care at Zale Lipshy Hospital and their wives shopped at Neiman Marcus, they wouldn’t let a Jew join their club. Go figure. Not that there was a written policy to that effect-you don’t write stuff like that down. You just know how it is, like you know not to give a cop the finger: there’s no law against it, but it will get you a ticket for reckless driving just the same.

The Fenneys continued into the clubhouse and down the main corridor, detained briefly by several wrinkled dinosaurs who congratulated Rebecca on her certain selection as the next chairwoman of the Cattle Barons’ Ball-“She’s a Junior League project!” Rebecca blurted out when the women noticed Pajamae-and then out the back doors and to the elevated grassy area behind the eighteenth green where the club had set up lawn chairs so the members could enjoy the club’s fireworks show.

They found four empty chairs next to a group of geriatrics who boasted a combined net worth in excess of a billion dollars. They didn’t blink an eye at Pajamae’s presence; but then, they probably couldn’t see her in the darkness. The two girls sat in front, with Scott and Rebecca behind. Scott leaned into Rebecca.

“See, nobody cares.”

They sat quietly, enjoying the summer evening and the spectacular view of the lights of downtown Dallas. The girls were huddled together and whispering when the first fireworks suddenly exploded, a giant Roman candle- boom! — and Pajamae dove out of her chair and hit the deck like a soldier under incoming attack. Scott jumped to her.

“Pajamae! What’s wrong?”

“Get down, Mr. Fenney! Get down! It’s a drive-by!”

Some nearby kids started laughing, dredging up some bad childhood memories for Scotty Fenney, the poor kid on the block-“Scotty, where’d your mommy buy your clothes, at Sears?”-and jacking up his blood pressure to pregame level. Highland Park kids enjoyed taunting their poorer peers, the most recent occasion being last year’s playoff game at Texas Stadium against a team from a working-class suburb: the Highland Park kids had chanted, “Cold cash versus white trash!” and tossed dollar bills down on their opponents from their daddies’ skyboxes. Scott glared at the snotty brats, fighting an overwhelming urge to slap the bunch of them into the ninth fairway. But smacking the heirs of the richest men in Dallas wouldn’t be good for his law business, so instead he helped Pajamae up.

“Honey, it’s okay, we don’t have drive-by shootings in Highland Park. It’s just the fireworks.”

Pajamae sat up, looked around, and said, “Oh.” Scott helped her back into her chair and sat down behind her. The geriatrics were now staring intently at Pajamae.

Rebecca sighed and said, “Well, that should make the club’s newsletter.”

Contents