Orville fell into a fitful sleep later on, but it just came in bits and snatches as his dreams were full of upsetting images. They seemed to alternate between being back in Guatemala and coming upon La Mala Hora on the road just outside El Zapote and Sarah being strapped onto a table while the injections for her court-ordered death began and himself being hauled off to a psychiatric ward after reporting what the apparition in his house had told him regarding the “proof” in Joe’s apartment. He was not sure which of the revolving nightmares was worse. With the Guatemalan dream, his feet were somehow frozen in place while he watched the hideous and menacing terror of La Mala Hora dispatch the men he was with before heading toward him. And being dragged away in public from the Laconia police department after telling a wild tale of how he had come to know evidence of Joe Garrity’s real killer was equally terrifying.
But neither of those nightmares came anywhere near close to the one with Sarah. In this one, he was in a seat on the front row of the viewing panel as shades were raised to reveal Sarah strapped firmly onto a table, all manner of intravenous lines running to her body from a machine nearby. When they asked her if she had any last words, she just turned her head and looked directly into Orville’s eyes and said,
“You said you would fix it, Orville…I was counting on you…”
In the dream, Orville looked on as tears fell from his eyes as her mouth then went slack and her body went rigid as the plungers from the various poisons in the execution device engaged and pushed the fluids into her body. It was this last one that made Orville scream out and fall from the sofa in his living room where he had fallen asleep the night before. The fire was reduced to embers, but his sweats were stained from the exertion he had undergone while sleeping. As horrible as the first two visions had been, he somehow could endure them. But with Sarah looking into his eyes and reaching out to him in her last few seconds on Earth…that was a situation Orville could not endure. It would be bad enough if the dream came to him again...and until he did something to try and help her he was sure it would…but to imagine it might actually come to pass? It was more than he could bear.
But that still did not answer how to go about this thing. He quickly changed out of his sweats, showered, and put on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. The day looked promising as the clouds from the overnight storm, though still hanging around, seemed to be breaking up and moving on. He fixed coffee and sat down to plan out his strategy. Since the trial was over, he assumed that Joe’s apartment was no longer being treated as a crime scene, so getting access was possible. Though he had no idea how to go about that with the landlord there. It was not like he could just walk up and ask to poke around the unit. He did not know Sidney Kennedy, the owner and super of the building well and even if he had, how was he to frame his request.
“Oh, hey Sid…you don’t know me well, but I am a friend of Sarah Holding and Joe Garrity. I think she got framed for his murder and I’d like to look around for the evidence that will prove that before she gets the lethal injection from the state. Is that OK?”
It was even more ridiculous as Orville said it out loud as he sipped his coffee than if he was seriously considering that option. It was likely Kennedy would have enough trouble re-renting the place with its backstory now well-known in town as it was. And for sure he could not go to the police with this story…that much was obvious. And even if he could and if for some unfathomable reason they would actually listen to him, they would surely not want anything to disrupt the closed case they had. What did that leave then? Orville was reluctant to get Kathryn involved again following her reaction to his sharing with her of his La Mala Hora incident. Perhaps as a last resort only.
The longer he thought it over, that left Orville only two other options he could see. One…he could break in and do the search himself and then once he confirmed that there was something there that might blow apart Sarah’s conviction, he would figure out how to get some authority figure in there to look. Or two…see if he could engage Harry Doyle to do the same. Orville knew he was not capable of doing this on his own. In fact he could actually see himself getting arrested for breaking and entering in the process. There were many skills in his tool bag, but this was definitely not one of them.
With Harry’s background and skill set, though, this was a possibility. It was not like Harry was a criminal, but he knew from Alberto that his investigator was known to bend the rules and step over the line when there was no other choice. If he chose this path, Orville knew he had to decide whether to go through Alberto or just contact Harry directly. The latter option was risky as it was likely Harry would leak it back to Alberto and then Orville would find himself in a tough spot to explain the whole thing. But to go through Alberto he would have to come up with some scenario to lay the groundwork for how he even suspected there was something in the apartment that would clear Sarah.
Orville knew he was over analyzing it all to death, but that was his way when he had been a research engineer at RMD. But back then time had not been such a scarce commodity as it was now. He did not know why he believed what he had been told, but the apparition seemed very serious on the point that time was running out and that he should not dawdle. Then it came to him…just like that out of the blue. A combination of the two options! And even going this route Orville knew he was taking a few chances and assuming a bit of risk. But when he thought of the alternative of Sarah languishing on death row, it seemed a reasonable risk to assume.
By nature Orville did not like to lie. And with good reason…he was lousy at it. But this time around it looked as if that would be inescapable…at least some deception was going to have to happen and he figured he could live with that, especially considering what was at stake. With his palms sweating and his heart pounding, Orville called up Harry Doyle and inquired as to his availability for a private job that might include some gray areas surrounding the law.
“Gray areas, Orville?” he asked.
“Um…well…yeah. From what I hear from Alberto you have been, from time to time, amenable to…shall we say…tweaking the rules?”
“I guess that is fair. What did you have in mind?”
“I have some information that may exonerate Sarah.”
“Based on my source, there may be something still in Joe Garrity’s apartment that the cops missed…or…well…conveniently ignored?”
“I see. I don’t suppose you’d like to share your source with me, huh?”
“Not for now if that is OK. I was told where to look but not what to look for. Just that this new evidence will break the whole thing wide open.”
“Now I am interested for sure. Like you and Alberto, I know Sarah is innocent. I just could not figure it out. Those two goons that Redding hauled into court? Something about them just never sat right with me, you know?”
“Me either,” Orville replied.
“And how they were sprung on Alberto with little warning, too. Your source indicate they are involved in this new evidence?”
“Did not say, but my gut feeling is that they are. I have a plan, but I need your expertise and I am also afraid my face may be too recognizable over at Joe’s apartment building for me to play the role I have in mind for you.”
“Now I’m hooked. This is just too curious to pass up. Plus I would do anything I can to try and help out Sarah…something just stinks about this while thing. You’re sure this is just borderline illegal?”
“Worst case scenario is representing yourself as someone you are not.”
“Hell, Orville…that’s one of the biggest strengths I have in my job. Happens almost every day.”
They both laughed and then Orville laid out the strategy he had in mind…
Harry called the number that Orville had given him and made sure the woman on the other end of the line understood exactly what they were going to be up to.
“Not really illegal,” Harry told her, “but in what I like to describe as in the neighborhood.”
“No problem, Mr. Doyle,” the woman replied. “Orville explained the whole thing to me and if it can get Sarah out of the fix she has found her self in I’ve got no issues with any of it.”
“Good enough. Based on this plan of Orville’s I guess we should be on a first name basis, though.”
“Good point. I’m Barb.”
“Wonderful. Barb…I am Harry. I’ll pick you up out in front of Regina’s at a quarter of ten and we can drive over together to Joe Garrity’s old building. We have an appointment with Sidney Kennedy, the super, to look over Joe’s unit at ten. You good with our cover story?”
“Newly married couple looking for a place in Laconia. I’m a secretary for the Lexington Insurance Agency and you’re a salesman with Madrigal Paper Supply…if we are asked?”
“That’s it. Call me with any questions or other concerns. Otherwise I will see you in in the morning.”
“Good enough. Have a good night, Harry.”
“You too, Barb.”