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Chapter 15 January 2, 1995

Mr. Jackson poked his head into Mark Nelson’s classroom, and nodded summoning Mark to step outside. “Got a few people here would like to talk to you,” he told him.

Two uniformed police officers were standing right outside of Mark’s door. Each greeted him with a somber nod. Mr. Jackson introduced the two to Mark: “These are detectives Morris and York.”

“So, ya’ll just getting back from Phillip Suchie’s house?” Mark asked.

The two officers nodded, “Doesn’t look good for your kid sitting in there, I am afraid,” said the taller of the two, Morris.

“So you think he knows what happened to Ms. Green?” asked Mark.

“We do,” affirmed the other cop, York.

“Excuse me if I am out of line asking, but have you gotten permission from his mother, Katherine, to talk with him?”

York sighed deeply. “’Fraid not,” he said.

“Well can you at least wait until Bernard Finestein gets here before you ask him any questions, Benny is going to advocate for him.”

“That won’t be a problem at all Mr. Nelson,” Morris said.

“But figuring since he represented the deceased in her divorce,” began York, “it may be a bit of a conflict of interests to represent her alleged murderer.”

“You think he did it?” Mark asked fighting through his tears.

“I am sorry,” offered Morris.


“Likely knocked on her door and asked to borrow the phone-,” Morris started.

“And eventually got around to strangling her with the cord,” York finished.

Explains why her phone line was busy, Mark thought, and why he keeps on making that busy tone. “What makes you so sure it was him,” he asked.

“Because, said York, “we found another victim in his house.”

“Oh my God. Who?”

“The kid’s mom, Katherine Suchie.”

When sitting alone in bars one has time to think, and now that he was some 1,000 miles away, Ernest Green had been thinking a lot. Ernie’s thought process is somewhat cyclical but more so melting pot. It starts with fond memories associated with his past criminal acts and how smart he felt he had been in orchestrating them, transitions to a feeling of short paranoia, and concludes with joy. This joy is brought on by the fact he knows he got away with it.

It had been two weeks and it still hadn’t made the paper or the news. The kid must have really kept his mouth shut, he thought. “Here’s to Philly,” he said and polished off his drink. “You really earned that damn bike, son.” He went back over everything again in his head. Did he screw up? No he didn’t think so. Philly understood the importance of being a man. He would never say a word to anybody. Ernie had even sent work to Luke that he need not make those calls any more. It was only after protest that Luke agreed to keep the unearned money. Ernie was right about him. He was a good egg.

Sure explains why Kat was so stupid, he thought to himself while nursing another Jack & Coke. It’s what happens when you whore up with a nigger. Once you go black you never go back. “Wasn’t gonna be no Workers’ Comp money coming neither, on account of he had punched out,” the nigger lover had said. That type of ignorance only comes from lying with dogs and catching their fleas. Thinking about it all again made him surprised he didn’t catch on to her stupidity earlier.

Taking care of Kat wasn’t part of the plan, but Philly definitely understood that it had to be done. After Ernie killed Kat, he looked right at Philly, and asked, “You know why right?” Philly replied, “Because what she did was even worse than being one.” and Ernie said, “Worse than being a what, Philly?” Philly replied, “Worse than being a nigger.” It was Ernie’s proudest moment. The kid definitely earned that bike, he thought again to himself before ordering another Jack & Coke.

Benny Finestein walked into the hall towards the group and introduced himself.

“Good Morning,” Morris and York said in return.

“What do we know so far?” Benny asked.

“You representing the boy?” asked Morris.

“Yes sir. It is why I am here.”

“OK. Here is what we can tell you,” Morris said. “Two victims, both female. Victim number one, Julie Green, strangled by way of telephone cord. Her home was completely ransacked. We believe money and other valuables were taken from her residence. Victim number two, Katherine Suchie killed at her home. Along with the decedent we found other evidence sufficient to link Phillip Suchie to Ms. Green’s death.”

“Like what?”

“It’s all we can tell you Mr. Finestein without compromising the current investigation.”

“You mean without talking to my client?”

York and Morris nodded.

“And if I advise him from speaking with you?” asked Finestein.

York said, “That is you and your clients’ prerogative, but you know what goes along with that?” York and Morris mimicked the zipping of their lips.

Mark cut in, “Benny. What are they talking about?” he asked.

“They are saying that if I let them interview the kid I will be able to glean some very important information on what additional evidence they have against him. Otherwise they have said all they can say. I take it as a sign of generosity, because it also means they have enough on him to arrest him –and it means that they will do it right now if they don’t get to interview him.”

“And if they do get to talk?” asked Mark.

Morris said. “There is a chance that Philly won’t be arrested if after we talk some things are cleared up.”

“Sort of a double edged sword isn’t it,” Mark said to no one in particular. “But let me be the one to go and get him. I don’t want ya’ll busting into my classroom.”

“Of course,” said York, “We wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Philly looked up from his drawing as Mr. Nelson walked back into the classroom. From the look on Mr. Nelson’s face Philly could tell that he must know about Ms. Green. Mr. Nelson would be upset now, but once he knew that Ms. Green had whored herself out to a Jew, he would understand better. He had seen what Philly had drawn on the paper, after all and had told him it was ok. Since then that sound in his head had stopped.

Philly knew Mr. Nelson would understand the same way that Philly understands about his Mom and Jay Twice. It’s too bad that Philly couldn’t be the one to tell him. A promise is a promise, and Big Ern had kept his.

Philly couldn’t make Mr. Nelson feel better by telling, but knew something else that would work just as good. From his overstuffed book sack he pulled a wrapped gift, “I knowed you said you was too cool for Christmas, but I got this for you anyway,” he said handing it to Mr. Nelson.

“Thanks Philly,” he said fighting tears.

“Don’t cry Mr. Nelson,” Philly said thinking about how he taught himself to stop while taking the wooden spoon.

“Philly, I would like for you to meet someone.”


“His name is Benny. C’mon now.”

The two walked together towards the door. Mark holding his gift, and Philly holding his drawing. Mark was glad to see that the cops were no longer present as they exited the classroom.

A smiling Bernard Finestein introduced himself, and asked Mark, “Do you mind grabbing Philly’s stuff right quick while the two of us get more acquainted?”

“Oh, besides my new bike, I do not have any more stuff.”

Mark had just seen that Philly’s book sack was stuffed, but said nothing. Perhaps whatever he had in there he no longer needed. Maybe he knew where he was going.

Mark left the two and went back in his classroom. He passed by Philly’s desk on the way to his own, and saw Philly’s book sack was on the floor and left open. To Mark, it looked like some more gifts were stuffed in there.

He pulled out the present on top. It was a box about a foot long and four inches wide. Its tag read: To Matthew. The next gift was bigger than the first and not as heavy. Its bulk completely filled the big pouch on Philly’s book sack. Its tag read: To Tommy.

Mark regarded the gift that Philly handed him, and unwrapped it. It was a NASA space shuttle painted red, white, and blue, with bald eagle sticker decals. He began to cry. He looked at the other two gifts, and knew immediately what they were.

If you know anything about Mark Nelson, you know he likes his pockets big and his vests gold, he thought. Seeing those gifts Mark had no doubt, Phillip Suchie had gotten Matthew the White Ranger with the Gold Vest, and he had gotten Tommy the Dallas Cowboys Starter Jacket.

Gotta be the pullover, Mark thought to himself as he mindlessly fingered the loops in his pants where his belt had been. In the hall outside, Philly was asking himself, “Finestein? Finestein? Now, where have I heard that name before?”

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