Copyright © 2007 by F. Scott Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.
Warning: If you are easily shocked with regard to contrary
points of view, conspiracy theories, offensive language, political
correctness, sex, or anything else that may offend your
sensibilities or lack of open-mindedness, or if you're a minor
(but by no means limited to the aforementioned), please do
not read this novel. It's not for you...
Note: This is a work of fiction. The events described here are
imaginary: the settings, events and characters are fictitious,
and/or are the product of the author's imagination or used
fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual events or locales
or persons (living or dead) is entirely coincidental.
Copyright (C) 2007 by F. Scott Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.
Scene 25 of "The Walls Have Ears: A Novel of America"
Judge Theodore Marsh
I was staying with my running mate Lester Hampton at
his mansion located on Hood’s Canal. Secret Service agents
were combing the area like a pack of hunting dogs. Other
agents and the Coast Guard were continually searching the
beach and shore within a two mile radius, while other Secret
Service agents kept us under constant surveillance. The
morning mist began to evaporate as Lester and I sat out
on the veranda.
“Oh, I forgot to tell you,” Lester said after taking a bite
of French toast into his mouth, the maple syrup dripping
from the corners of his mouth, and says, “an old friend of
yours will be dropping by.”
“I have friends?”
He wiped his greasy lips with a cloth napkin, and said,
“Does the name, Wilber C. Winslow, mean anything to you?”
Startled beyond words, I couldn’t believe my ears. “You’re
saying, Wilber C. Winslow, wants to discuss something
“You got it, Judge Marsh.”
“Surely this must be a mistake...”
As he plopped another piece of dripping French toast
onto his tongue, and inhaled--wolfing it down--he says
with a half-smile, “You don’t give yourself enough credit.
A former Supreme Court justice is the ultimate candidate.
Folks are looking for someone with moral integrity, and
I can’t think of a better person: a former Supreme Court
justice, like yourself.”
As I leaned back, slouching in the ornate wrought iron
chair, I said, “Thanks for the vote of confidence. But not
everyone feels that way, I’m afraid. The felonious five on
the Court blew any integrity that may have existed.
Appearances are everything. After we allowed President
Steinhart to win the 2000 election, our reputation was
irredeemably damaged. Americans no longer respect the
Supreme Court, and for good reason, I might add.”
“Just the same, take my advice and don’t be so hard
on yourself. Okay?”
Reluctantly, I nodded, catching an image of my ugly mug
in the glass door that led into the kitchen. I didn’t like
the reflection I saw. Perhaps old age had set in, or the
bags under my black eyes destroyed the elderly
statesman-like image I’d imagined for so long. Needless
to say, time was running out for me. Next stop: the
incinerator, I thought. Pleasant thought...
I turned my black face and flat nostrils towards the
beach, brought the coffee cup to my lips, and said, “Looks
like we’ve got company.”
“And right on time. C’mon now, Judge Winslow won’t
bite you. Follow me, and I’ll make the introductions.”
“Sounds good to me.” That’s precisely what I did. I
followed the leader to the shore, and we waded up to
our kneecaps in the murky water, helping Judge Winslow
off the 16 foot speedboat.
Judge Winslow limped forward onto the sandy beach,
and then abruptly used both hands to whisk away any
sand that had stuck to his trousers, and then says, “Thanks
gentlemen for the royal treatment.”
“Our pleasure, your Honor,” Lester said. “By the way,
Judge Marsh, meet the Honorable Wilber C. Winslow.”
After we’d introduced ourselves, and became acquaintances
with some customary small talk, we finally reached the veranda.
“Care for something to eat?” Lester asked Judge Winslow.
“No thanks. Ate before we departed Seattle in that tin
can of a speedboat.”
“You won’t turn down a cup of espresso coffee, now will
you?” I said sternly.
Not wanting to offend, I’m sure, Judge Winslow says,
“Absolutely not. I can always use a cup of coffee. I often
sneak a cup or two into the courtroom. You wouldn’t believe
how boring some cases can be.”
Laughing, I answered, “You’re forgetting something,
Bewildered, his reaction was a blank expression, and
replied, “What’s that...?”
“I’m a judge and can identify with your coffee remarks.
And if I thought long and hard enough, I could no doubt
relate to you on the boredom aspect of being a judge.”
“Sorry. I wasn’t thinking.”
“Enough niceties and pleasantries for the moment. How
about filling us in on your need for this meeting. If you
recall, you were quite apprehensive about disclosing anything
over the phone. Besides that, you specifically requested
that no Secret Service agents should be within earshot.
Why’s that?” Lester said.
As the hired help brought more coffee, and began pouring
it into our China cups, Judge Winslow didn’t say a word until
the waiter left. “Okay, gentlemen, the reason for my secrecy
is that I’m in charge of all secret trials of detainees caught
in the War on Terrorism in the Pacific Northwest. Anything
I say here must be held in the strictest confidence. Is that
We both nodded our heads.
“Good. Now that that little detail is out of the way, I can
get to the meat of my concerns. And they are many, I’m
afraid. The FBI is a loose cannon, and they’ve threatened
me personally if I allow anyone released for lack of evidence,
mistaken identity, you name it.”
My black face almost glowed with disgust, and asked,
“What are the facts and circumstances surrounding this
With furrowed brow and clinched teeth, Judge Winslow
says, “Unbelievable. The guy the FBI is trying to railroad
only dialed a wrong number. And the FBI knows this, but
they still won’t release him.”
“Are they stating the provisions within the Patriot Act
as justification for the continued detention?” Lester Hampton
A bit paranoid, Judge Winslow turns his head from side
to side, scanning the terrain for possible eavesdroppers.
Finally, he says, “Among other things.”
“Skeletons in the closet?” Lester asked, shifting the weight
of his elbows onto the frosted glass of the round patio table.
“If you’re implying that the FBI is blackmailing me, you’re
“And what does this have to do with us?” I asked.
He shifted uneasily in his chair, and says, “The kind of
blackmail I’m talking about is more damaging than anything
you can imagine. They’ve threatened to arrest me on trumped
up charges, and hold me indefinitely like the detainee, Jake
“What’s the detainee’s name again,” I asked, not believing
the words I’d just heard.
“Is he a novelist...?”
Judge Winslow nodded affirmatively.
My heart sank into my belly. An anxious hollow feeling
erupted. From the sound of it, it just had to be the same
Jake Jacobs I knew in Thailand. What was he doing in
America? How come he returned unannounced?
“I know him.”
Both Judge Winslow and Lester shot hard looks in my
direction, both saying simultaneously, “You’re kiddin’?”
“Wish I were... Truly, I wish that were the case.”
“Is that why you came here today, Judge Winslow?”
Lester asked, toying with the handle of the China cup.
“Partly. But mostly I want to set the record straight
and destroy this unconstitutional Kangaroo Court I’m in
Leaning forward, I asked, “And how may we help?”
With a glint of moisture in the corners of his eyes,
Judge Winslow whispers, “Someone from the outside
must infiltrate the secret court. And I’m proposing that
you, Judge Marsh, select someone to take my place
while I’m on sick leave.”
“I do know a private investigator whose expertise is
government abuse cases. I tell you what, if this friend of
mine accepts the job, you’re going to have to remain
behind the scenes helping him with the laws and procedures
so his cover isn’t blown.”
“That can be arranged.” He was firm in his response,
folding his arms against his chest—nodding his approval
“Fine,” I said, turning to Lester. “Care to comment...?”
“Can you provide us with an anonymous dossier? We
need one that's cleansed--and untraceable-- just in
case the Secret Service, or anyone else, happens to see
the contents. If they do see the file, it won’t make any
sense to them.”
With a smirk on his lips, Judge Winslow says, “A piece
of cake. Another Da Vinci Code?”
“Something like that,” Lester said. “Care for some more
As our collective eyes melted together, I said, “I’ll be
“And I’ll make all the arrangements,” he said, as we
ended the clandestine discussion and pursued less dangerous
avenues of congenial conversation. My mind drifted off
into deep contemplation, never really focusing on the small
talk that entertained us the remainder of the morning.
All I could think about was getting a hold of Rick Olson.
Our friend, Jake Jacobs, must be pissing in his pants.
My heart burned at what he must be going through
if the rumors of torture by our government were true.
I excused myself and went upstairs. My nerves were
shot and my mind went blank the minute my head hit