Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Landsman #1.3

Matthew Landsman arrived home and his son, Elliot, greeted him at the door. "Hiya, son. How was school today?"

"I kicked sand in Ella Thompson's face," Elliot said.

"Well, that's not cool," Landsman said.

"And Ami keeps chewing on my pencils."

"That's not cool, either," Landsman said, putting Elliot back down on the floor. "Why does Ami chew on your pencils?"

"Ah-mi! And she chews on everyone's pencils."

"As long as she's an equal opportunity chewer," Landsman smiled. He walked over to his wife Brenda who was in the kitchen boiling water. "Hello, my sweet. How was your day?"

"It was good. I got those pants restitched for you," Brenda said.

"Thank you, sweetie. Those are some decent pants and I want to keep using them," Landsman kissed his wife on the cheek and went into the living room and grabbed the TV remote. "See what's on the news," he said to himself.

Landsman turned on the TV and flipped over to a local news channel. A picture of Thomas Snow was on the screen. "...found dead by his evening maid this afternoon. Snow, a prominent fixture in the White House from 1986 to 1993. Police have a few leads and one suspect, who they are not naming at this time. Police are saying that the suspect is a major player in the District Attorney's office," the reporter said.

Landsman's jaw dropped. "Oh, crap!"

"Honey?" Landsman called from the living room. "Have you seen the news?"

"No, dear. I've been out all day and I got home not too long ago," she called from the kitchen. "Could you come here please?"

Brenda dried her hands and joined her husband in the living room. "What's up?"

"Now, I don't want to alarm you but do you know Thomas Snow?"

Brenda shook her head. "Why? Should I?"

"He was found murdered in his office this afternoon," Landsman revealed.

"Oh, that's terrible," Brenda gasped.

"I was the last one to see him alive," Landsman said.

"So you...could be a suspect?" Brenda asked. "Murder?"

"Yes, in fact, I'm apparently the only suspect. I didn't do it so I should be able to clear my name but..." Landsman thought about the flat Earth conspiracy. "...I want you to take the kids and go to my parents house. Stay there until I call and tell you what to do."

"Matt? What's going on?" Brenda started crying.

"Don't worry honey. We'll get out of this but this is becoming bigger than both of us," Landsman turned off the TV and directed his wife toward the bedrooms. "Go pack some things for the kids and yourself."

Landsman stood in the living room thinking about what to do next. The police are probably on their way, he thought, looking at his watch. What am I supposed to do?

Suddenly the telephone in the office rang and Landsman went to answer it. He paused as his hand hovered above the phone. The phone rang a third time, then a fourth before Landsman answered it.

"Matthew Landsman?" the voice on the other end asked.

Landsman attempted to answer but the words got caught in his throat. He cleared it but the voice continued.

"I know what's going on. You didn't murder Snow but they are going to set you up that you did. Come down to your office and we can talk about it. And don't worry, you can trust me."

Landsman finally found his voice. "Wait a minute. Just who are you?"

"My name is Dylan Freeman. Please hurry to your office but be cautious and use back roads here," Dylan warned. "I'll see you soon," and he hung up.

Landsman stood with the phone at his ear, dazed at the conversation he just had.

"Matthew!" Brenda shouted, bringing Landsman out of his daze. "We're packed and ready to go," she sniffled.

"Good. Go to my parents, I'll try to meet up with you as soon as I can and I promise when I see you again, I will explain everything that's going on," he kissed her cheek and promptly ushered her out of the door and saw them off. Landsman felt a chill run down his back but looked around and saw nothing. Then he looked up into the sky. He still saw nothing but knew someone was probably looking down on him.

Landsman packed a duffel bag of clothes, notebooks of client information and personal scribblings and a knife. He loaded it into the back of his SUV and locked up his house. He backed out of the driveway and began heading toward his office, only using surface streets instead of Interstate 76. It was still considered rush hour and the traffic was terrible in some spots but Landsman seemed to make it back to the courthouse in pretty good time.

Landsman's parents lived in Carmel, New York, a good three hours northeast of Philadelphia. Brenda tried to calm down Elliot and their daughter Molly but they were full of questions about where they were going, why they were going and when Daddy was going to come with them.

It seemed to take forever to get through the Philadelphia traffic but Brenda tried to keep her calm. Twice she thought about calling her husband but thought against it and wondered what was going on.

She originally thought that all this was caused by someone her husband had sent to jail--as an act of revenge but then came to the conclusion that all this was way to elaborate for a common criminal to handle and chuckled at herself for thinking that.

Suddenly, flashing lights came up in her rear view mirror. A police car was chasing her. She merged over to the far right of the highway and slowed down to a stop and put the car in park. An officer got out of the police car and walked up to her van.

"Evening, ma'am," the officer asked. "I'm sorry I had to stop you but we have an A.P.B. all this type of van. Seems like a parole violator stole one and is fleeing the city. We have to check all that we see," the officer chuckled.

"I completely understand, officer," Brenda smiled.

"If I could ask you to step out of the car so we can search it, just to be sure, ma'am."

"Uh, I guess that's all right," Brenda sighed and unbuckled her seatbelt. She got out of the car and the officer told her to stand in front of the police car next to his partner while he looked around in the van.

Landsman walked down the empty corridor to his office in the courthouse. Everything seemed normal but Landsman's stomach was in a knot. How could this day have changed so drastically? He turned the knob to his office but found it locked. He dug his keys out of his pocket and unlocked and opened the door. At his desk stood a tall man with brown hair, a military uniform, wearing glasses and carrying a laptop briefcase.

"Mr. Landsman? Good evening. So glad to see you and to know you made it here all right. I am Dylan Freeman and I am going to tell you everything you need to know."

Next Week:
Where did Dylan Freeman come from; plus, an elaborate plot to bring Landsman down.