I took a bottle of beer from the fridge, opened it and sat down to
read my post. There was a letter
from Susan. The letter said:
'I have no time. Hawk is in prison in Mill River, California. You
get him out. I need help too. Hawk will explain. Things are
terrible, but I love you. Susan'
I read the letter again. The words were still the same; the
meaning was still the same. The letter came from San Jose.
I drank some beer. Then I went to the phone. My lawyer Vince
Haller answered after thirty seconds.
'It's Spenser,' I said.
He said, 'It's the middle of the night. I was asleep.'
said, 'Hawk's in prison in a small town called Mill River, south
of San Francisco. I want you to get a lawyer in there now.'
'In the middle of the night?'
'It's not the middle of the night there in California. It's only
the middle of the night here in Boston,' I replied.
kind of trouble is Hawk in?' Vince asked.
'I don't know. Hawk knows.
Get a lawyer down there
'OK, I know someone out there. She'll go and see. Wait for her to
'OK. But hurry, please, Vince.'
I got another beer and read Susan's letter again. It said the same
The phone went at three in the morning. A woman's voice said, 'Mr
I said yes.
She said, 'This is Paula Goldman. I'm a lawyer from San
'Have you seen Hawk?' I asked.
'Yes. He's in a
cell in Mill River, California. The police
arrested him for
murder. He killed a man called Emmett Colder, who
worked for a man called Russell Costigan. Hawk also hurt several
policemen. It seems to be difficult to arrest him.'
'Yes,' I said.
'He agrees that he killed Colder, but he says that he was only
'Can you get him out?'
'Perhaps, but the problem is that Russell Costigan's father is
'You know Jerry Costigan.'
'I know who he is.
He owns half
'Right, and one of the things which he owns is Mill River,
California,' she said. 'So there's no hope for Hawk.
It doesn't matter what he did or didn't do. What matters is that he broke
three of Russell Costigan’s teeth. And he's black. The Costigans
don't like black people.'
I was quiet for a short time, then I asked: 'Did he say anything
about Susan Silverman?'
'He came to California because she asked him to, but they were
waiting for him. That's all he said. The police were listening to
our conversation, and I guess he didn't want to say more in front
of them. The police in Mill River are friendly with Jerry
if you know what I
'So that's all you know?'
'That's all I know.'
'Tell me about the Mill River police station.'
She said, 'I'm a lawyer. I can't help a prisoner escape. It's
against the law.' But she described the small town prison
perfectly. There were only four cells in the Mill River police
Before I left Boston, a friend made a
cast for my leg. It was too
big so I could
put it on and
take it off easily. When I was
wearing it, I seemed to have a broken leg.
I put dirt on the cast
so that it looked old and used.
It lay at the bottom of my bag while I flew to San Francisco and
then drove through San Jose to Mill River. I found the police
station. Opposite the police station there was a library.
I parked in the car park behind the library and got the cast out
of my bag. Inside the cast, there was a place where I could hide a
small gun. I
hid my gun there, took off my shoe and put the cast
on. I got out of the car and hid the keys in the car park.
I bought a bottle of cheap wine from a supermarket and put some on
my clothes. I smelled bad and had
beard. I sat outside
the library with the bottle in my hand and said rude things to the
people walking past. Before long two policemen arrested me and
took me to the police station.
They took me past the cell where Hawk was. He was lying on the
bed, his hands behind his head.
'Hey, black boy!' I shouted.
Hawk opened his eyes and looked at me. His eyes showed nothing.
whitey? You talkin' to me?'
'Stop that!' said one of the policemen. They locked me in my cell.
There was nothing for me to do for hours, so I slept.
'What's happening in here?' asked the young policeman.
It was two in the morning, and Hawk and I were making a lot of
'I'm singing the black man to sleep,' I said. I hit my shoe
against the wall of the cell in time with the song which I was
'Hey, Maury, get in here,' called the young policeman.
A second policeman arrived. I continued singing. Hawk was silent.
The young one
pulled a switch and my cell door opened. Both the
policemen came in.
'We're going to teach you to be quiet,' the older one said.
I pulled the gun out from under my shirt and pointed it at them.
'If you make any noise,' I said, 'I'll kill you.'
Both of them stopped and stayed where they were. I took their guns
from them. 'Are you the only ones in the building?' I asked.
'No, there's Madilyn on the phones,' Maury answered.
I left the cell and went over to the switches on the wall. I
locked the cell which the policemen were in, and opened the one
which Hawk was in. He came out and walked over to me. I gave him
one of the guns.
‘“Black boy”, huh?' he said.
'Get Madilyn,' I said.
We locked Madilyn in Hawk's cell, and left the police station. I
got the car keys and we drove towards San Jose. 'They'll come
after us soon,' Hawk said.
'As soon as one of the police cars returns to the station.'
'We have to go to Susan's place,' I said.
'They'll look there first,' Hawk said.
'I know,' I said.
But there was nobody there. I looked in the bathroom and bedroom
cupboards, and said to Hawk, 'She's left town.'
climbed out of a back window at the same time that the police
were arriving at the front of the building. We drove north to San