Baggy really wanted a glass of whiskey but for some

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Unformatted text preview: r printing room with gallons of gasoline. I had my pistol in my briefcase. I'm sure they had theirs close by. A false move here or there and an old-fashioned gunfight would erupt. Throw in Sheriff Coley and his poorly trained but trigger-happy boys, and half the town would get wiped out. I caught a few stares from the Padgitts, but they were much more worried about the jurors than me. They watched them closely as they filed into the courtroom and took their instructions from the clerk. The Padgitts and their lawyers looked at lists that they had found somewhere. They compared notes. Danny was nicely but casually dressed in a white long-sleeved shirt and a pair of starched khakis. As instructed by Wilbanks, he was smiling a lot, as if he were really a nice kid whose innocence was about to be revealed. Across the aisle, Ernie Gaddis and his smaller crew were likewise observing the prospective jurors. Gaddis had two assistants, one a paralegal and one a part-time prosecutor named Hank Hooten. The paralegal carried the files and briefcases. Hooten seemed to do little but just be there so Ernie would have someone to confer with. Baggy leaned over as if it was time to whisper. "That guy there, brown suit," he said, nodding at Hooten. "He was screwin' Rhoda Kassellaw." I was shocked and my face showed it. I jerked to the right and looked at Baggy. He nodded smugly and said what he always said when he had the scoop on something really nasty. "That's what I'm tellin' you," he whispered. This meant that he had no doubts. Baggy was often wrong but never in doubt. Hooten appeared to be about forty with prematurely gray hair, nicely dressed, somewhat handsome. "Where's he from?" I whispered. The courtroom was noisy as we waited for Judge Loopus. "Here. He does some real estate law, low-pressure stuff. A real jerk. Been divorced a couple of times, always on the prowl." "Does Gaddis know his assistant was seeing the victim?" "...
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