A Time to Kill
THE PELICAN BRIEF
(Hard Cover): 371
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Mrs. Verheek rolled her plump but rich ass away from the center of bed, and grabbed the phone.
"It's for you, Gavin!" she yelled into the bathroom. Gavin emerged with shaving cream on half
of his face, and took the receiver from his wife, who burrowed deep into the bed. Like a hog
rutting in mud, he thought.
"Hello," he snapped.
It was a female voice he'd never heard before. "This is Darby Shaw. Do you know who I am?"
He smiled instantly, and for a second thought of the string bikini on St. Thomas. "Well, yes. I
believe we have a mutual friend."
"Did you read the little theory I wrote?"
"Ah, yes. The pelican brief, as we refer to it."
"And who is we?"
Verheek sat in a chair by the night table. This was no social call. "Why are you calling,
"I need some answers, Mr. Verheek. I'm scared to death."
"It's Gavin, okay?"
"Gavin. Where is the brief now?"
"Here and there. What's wrong?"
"I'll tell you in a minute. Just tell me what you did with the brief."
"Well, I read it, then sent it to another division, and it was seen by some folks within the
Bureau, then shown to Director Voyles, who sort of liked it."
"Has is been seen outside the FBI?"
"I can't answer that, Darby."
"Then I won't tell you what's happened to Thomas."
Verheek pondered this for a long minute. She waited patiently. "Okay. Yes, its been seen
outside the FBI. By whom and by how many, I don't know."
"He's dead, Gavin. He was murdered around ten last night. Someone planted a car bomb for both
of us. I got lucky, but now they're after me."
Verheek was hovering over the phone, scribbling notes. "Are you hurt?"
"Physically, I'm okay."
"Where are you?"
"Are you certain, Darby? I mean, I know you're certain, but, dammit, who would want to kill
"I met a couple of them."
"It's a long story. Who saw the brief, Gavin? Thomas gave it to you Monday night. It's been
passed around, and forty-eight hours later he's dead. And I'm supposed to be dead with him. It
fell in to the wrong hands, wouldn't you say?"
"Are you safe?"
"Who the hell knows?"
"Where are you staying? What's your phone number?"
"Not so fast, Gavin. I'm moving real slow right now. I'm at a pay phone, so no cute stuff."
"Come on, Darby! Give me a break! Thomas Callahan was my best friend. You've got to come in."
"And what might that mean?"
"Look, Darby, give me fifteen minutes, and we we'll have a dozen agents pick you up. I'll catch
a flight and be there before noon. You can't stay on the streets."
"Why, Gavin? Who's after me? Talk to me, Gavin."
"I'll talk to you when I get there."
"I don't know. Thomas is dead because he talked to you. I'm not that anxious to meet you right
"Darby, look, I don't know who or why, but I assure you you're in a very dangerous situation. We
can protect you."
He breathed deeply and sat on the edge of the bed. "You can trust me, Darby."
"Okay I trust you. But what about those other people? This is heavy, Gavin. My little brief
has someone awfully upset, wouldn't you say?"
"Did he suffer?"
She hesitated. "I don't think so." The voice was cracking.
"Will you call me in two hours? At the office. I'll give you an inside number."
"Give me the number, and I'll think about it."
"Please, Darby. I'll go straight to the Director when I get there. Call me at eight, your
"Give me the number."
1992 John Grisham