فصل 06

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فصل 06

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Chapter six

Return to Biloxi

Newspaper, TV, and radio reporters waited in the courthouse while Sandy filed the lawsuit. They listened carefully as he calmly informed them that his client was suing the FBI for physical damage and torture. Sandy answered questions and then reached into his case and removed two large color photos.

“This is what they did to Patrick,” he said. The cameras moved closer. “This is your government - FBI agents - at work, ladies and gentlemen, torturing an American citizen.”

Everyone was shocked. Almost half of the six o’clock news was about Sandy and the photos. The other half was about Patrick’s return the next day. CNN played the story hourly Hamilton Jaynes was at his club when he saw the news. He wasn’t happy. The FBI sued by Patrick Lanigan? He excused himself and went to his office. He made a phone call, and two agents went immediately to Jack Stephanos front door.

Stephano had watched the reports and wasn’t surprised to see the FBI. He thought it was funny that the FBI was being blamed for his men’s work. He also thought it was a good idea of Patrick’s. “Good evening,” he said politely.

“FBI,” the first man said. “Mr. Jaynes would like to see you.”

“Why?”

“We don’t know,” the second man said. “He told us to find you and take you to his office. Can you come with us?”

Stephano was angry, but he reminded himself that there were already criminal charges against him because of the Lanigan case. A little more cooperation might help. “Give me five minutes,” he said.

When Stephano entered his office, Jaynes dropped the thick report he was looking at. It was almost midnight. “What did you do to that boy down there?”

“I don’t know. I guess the Brazilian boys got a little rough. He’ll live.”

“This is serious business, OK, Jack? These allegations are terrible. Right now, the whole country is looking at those pictures and wondering why we tortured an American citizen. Who did it?”

“Some local people down there. I don’t know their names,” Stephano said without concern. He could bargain his way out of any trouble from the FBI. He had very good lawyers.

“The Director has suggested we make an agreement,” Jaynes said. “We’re prepared to arrest Benny Aricia tomorrow. We’ll tell the press how this guy, who lost ninety million dollars, hired you to find Lanigan. And when you caught him, you tried to make him talk but still didn’t find the money.”

Stephano listened without expression.

“Then we’ll arrest the CEOs of Monarch-Sierra Insurance and Northern Case Insurance. Those are the two other members of your group, we understand. We’ll tell the press that these guys helped Aricia finance your man’s trip to Brazil to get Patrick. Think of it, Stephano, your clients will all be arrested. You’ll be out of business.”

“So what do you want?” Stephano asked, wondering how Jaynes knew so much about his clients.

“Here’s the plan. You tell us everything - how you found Patrick, how much he told you - everything. And we’ll drop the charges against you and leave your clients alone.”

There were lots of reasons to accept this plan. One was that Mrs. Stephano was crazier than before about the FBI men watching their house. “I’ll have to talk to my attorney,” Stephano said.

“You have until 5 P.M. tomorrow.”


Patrick’s story was in most of the newspapers in the Western world. Eva read the news in an American paper while drinking coffee at a cafe in Aix, France. The story described the burns but didn’t print the photos. Her heart broke, and she put on dark glasses to hide her eyes.

Patrick was going home. And she would go, too. She’d stay in the background, hiding, doing what he wanted and praying for the safety of both of them.


The doctor gave Patrick pills to make him comfortable for the flight and a file with his medical records. Patrick thanked him. He shook hands with Luis and said good-bye.

Agent Myers was waiting outside the door with four Navy policemen. “If you behave, I won’t put chains on you now,” he said. “When we land, though, I have no choice.”

“Thanks,” Patrick said. His legs ached and his knees were weak, but he held his head high and his back straight as he walked down the hall and out to the waiting van.

As the van drove slowly across the base, Patrick thought about his life in Ponta Pora, his home now. He wondered what jail they’d put him in in Biloxi. Then he had an idea. He opened the file and quickly read the doctor’s notes. Patient should remain hospitalized for at least another week, the doctor had written. This would keep him out of jail. He had to tell Sandy to arrange a comfortable, private room for him.

“I need to make a phone call,” he said.

When the van stopped, he and Myers went to a small office and faxed the doctor’s instructions to Sandy. Then they climbed the steps into the Air Force plane.

The plane landed at Keesler Air Force base outside Biloxi. Patrick was surprised there wasn’t a crowd waiting for him. He wanted the press to see him with chains on his legs and wrists. But they’d been forbidden to come near the plane. Only Agent Cutter, Sheriff Sweeney, two Air Force officers, and Sandy were there.

“Hello, Patrick. Welcome home,” the Sheriff said.

“Hello, Raymond,” Patrick answered with a smile. They knew each other well.

Cutter started to introduce himself, but as soon as Patrick heard “FBI” he turned to Sandy. They all got into the waiting van.

Patrick was glad the chase was over. Lots of problems were ahead, but, for now, he could ignore what was behind him. Patrick had never been able to completely relax and enjoy his new life. Not even the money could calm his fears. He’d always known that this day would come. He’d stolen too much money. He looked out the window as he rode along, and he suddenly missed Rua Tiradentes.

Sandy reached into his case and removed the Coast paper. LANIGAN SUES FBI FOR TORTURE was at the top of the front page, which was full of Patrick’s story and the photos. Patrick admired it.

The van stopped at the entrance to the base hospital, and Patrick was taken to his room. Guards were at the door. Sandy stayed with Patrick.

“I’d like to see my mother,” Patrick said.

“She’s on her way. What about your wife and daughter?”

“I’d like to see Ashley Nicole, but not now. She was only two when I left. I’m sure she doesn’t remember me. For obvious reasons, I’d rather not see Trudy.”

There was a knock on the door, and Sheriff Sweeney entered, holding a thick pile of papers.

“Sorry to bother you, but I need to give you these. First, this is an indictment from the grand jury for capital murder.” He handed it to Patrick, and continued. “This is a lawsuit for divorce, filed by Trudy Lanigan.”

“What a surprise,” Patrick said, as he took it. Without looking at the papers, he passed them to Sandy.

“These are lawsuits filed by Mr. Benjamin Aricia, your old law firm, and Monarch-Sierra Insurance. Sorry, Patrick.”

Patrick took them and passed them to Sandy. “Is that all?”

“For now.”

They shook hands, and the Sheriff left.

Sandy looked through the papers. “It seems that Trudy’s really upset with you. She wants you out of her life.”

“I’ve tried my best. What reasons does she give?”

“You left her. Mental cruelty. Are you planning to fight it?”

“That depends on what she wants.”

Sandy turned another page. “Well, she wants you to give up your parental rights. She wants all property you owned together at the time of your disappearance and a reasonable percent of anything you’ve got since then. That’s all.”

“I’ll give her the divorce, Sandy, and gladly. But it won’t be as easy as she thinks.”

“What are you planning?”

“We’ll talk about it later. I’m tired. I need to rest now. Mom will be here in a minute.”

“When do you think we can meet again?” Sandy asked.

“How about tomorrow morning?”

Sandy put the papers in his case. “I’ll be here at ten.”

Half an hour later Patrick’s mother arrived, and they had a tearful meeting. He asked about aunts and uncles, people he hadn’t thought about in the past four years. They were anxious to see him. Patrick thought that was odd because they’d never been anxious to see him before.

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