From Dawn to Deceit

To the two people who continuously encourage creative exploration and reinforce conviction, touching both my heart and soul:

my beautiful niece Nicole and my best friend Lorne.

Suite 4409

Present Day: May 2004

“Officer! You know that I am entitled to telephone my attorney. What rubbish is transpiring here?” The scrawny red-haired corrections officer with a wooden toothpick dangling from the side of his mouth continued to disregard the pleas of the recently imprisoned, meticulously dressed, and well-spoken businessman. “It is essential that I speak to counsel!”

The corrections officer turned to the sports section, ignoring the handsome dark-skinned individual urgently diverting his attention. “Are you keen on maintaining a paycheck? Officer! I won’t tolerate your disrespect for me. Are you aware of who I am? Do you know what I can have done to you?” The officer smirked at Jasper and sipped his coffee.

“You insolent . . . menial . . . blue-collar drudge!” Jasper shouted.

Fed up with Jasper’s rhetoric, the officer approached Jasper’s jail cell. “Look, Mr. GQ, your money may carry weight downtown on Wall Street, but here in criminal booking, you are just prisoner no. 809.”

Jasper punched the wall, bruising his fist, and angrily shouted, “I will not remain in here another hour!” Stripping Jasper’s freedom compromised his power . . . his worth.

Jasper Anson Cunningham was managing lead partner of Cunningham, Gates & Waddell, LLP, a half-a-billion-dollar New York City financial services firm. He sat alone in a five-by-eight-foot jail cell at the downtown Manhattan holding pen awaiting arraignment in criminal court. His mind raced with disturbing thoughts regarding the turbulent illicit activity that transpired in his partnership firm and his unscrupulous love affairs over the months, weeks, and days leading to his arrest. In spite of Jasper’s meticulous planning, he had not once considered the possibility of being accused of a crime far less arrested. Most of Jasper’s colleagues viewed him as a brilliant, charming, and wealthy executive; but everyone knew his arrogance and greed would misguide him. He presumed his influence and power were sufficiently cunning to avert discovery. Apparently, Jasper was amiss.

“This filthy place,” Jasper whispered to himself as he rubbed his right temple firmly. “What have they done?” he questioned but with halfhearted disbelief. Jasper stared the officer in the eyes and assumed a different tactic. “What’s your name, sir?”

“Officer Maloney.”

Jasper slowly read his badge mockingly, “Officer LIAM Maloney. You know I will be released very shortly. And you know it’s my right to make a phone call. I will ensure that YOU, OFFICER LIAM MALONEY, are the only name mentioned when I hold the city accountable for violation of my rights. Regardless of what those FBI agents said, you know their covert asses will be protected. Not yours.” Officer Maloney momentarily pondered Jasper’s remarks, knowing his comments were accurate.

Jasper calmly continued, “Now, in spite of what the FBI might have told you, open this cell and get me to a phone. You have nothing to lose. I’m only going to call my attorney. You can stand there and watch me dial . . . listen to the conversation for that matter. But I need to make this call now! Your forty-five-thousand-dollar-a-year job is worthless to ME. Is it for you, Officer LIAM Maloney?”

Swayed by the well-manicured businessman who convincingly stood before him, Officer Maloney looked up and down the hallway and saw no one else around. He quickly opened the cell door, and Jasper stepped out and followed him down the corridor.

Jasper patted him on the shoulder and contently remarked, “Good man! Good man!”

As they approached the end of the hall, Jasper saw the phone in