Frank's been busy
“I’m going to call Bob and Ray, see if they can come over,” he announced as I cleared the dishes.
“Really?” I replied with some surprise. “But they don’t think he’s innocent.”
Frank sighed. “You know, Gee, if you’re going to do some investigating, you’ve really got to listen to what people say.”
“I do listen,” I insisted. “You said they didn’t think he was guilty…”
“But you also said they didn’t think he was innocent.”
“No, I said they wanted to believe he was innocent.”
“That’s the same thing just without the ‘but’ on the end!”
“Gerard, you can’t see what’s right in front of you, can you?”
He wasn’t shouting, he was almost begging. It was a tone I rarely heard in anyone; it shut me up.
“They’re worried.” He continued. “Worried about how this will affect you. That he’s innocent and we can’t prove it and what that’ll do to you.”
I nodded; I understood now. All I could see was that he was my brother and I had to help him. But they were torn between two friends. It was as clear as day now and I felt stupid not to have seen it before.
“I’ll talk to them, make them see that it’ll hurt me more if we don’t even try.”
“Good,” Frank smiled cheerfully, “I’ll call them. We’ll do this, Gerard. We’ll prove his innocence, I know we will.”
There was something very comforting about Frank’s determined tone. He said we’d do it, and I believed every word of it. He’s like that, Frank. Somehow he’ll lift your spirits, no matter what. He has so much drive and positive energy; I felt like that there was nothing we couldn’t do.
When I came back in from the kitchen, there were several piles of files arranged on the table. Each pile contained colour-coded files filled with papers, neatly separated by card inserts with various sections of the papers carefully labelled with tiny markers sticking out at various points. I was impressed. Amazed. Actually, I was stunned, almost into silence. I couldn’t believe he’d done all this work.
“How long have you been working on this?”
Frank shrugged. “About two months.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Then almost immediately, I raised my hand. “I know, I wasn’t ready.”
I felt like a complete idiot.
“Actually, it wasn’t just me.”
“You mean… Bob and Ray?”
Frank raised his eyebrows and nodded.
“Why do you think they’re so concerned about the evidence, or lack of it? They’ve seen it!”
And now I felt worse.
“So, basically, you three have been working hard to get evidence to prove Mikey’s innocence while I’ve had my head in the sand?”
Frank rested his elbow on the table, dropped his chin into his hand and grinned at me.
“Okay then, Mister Ostrich, get your head out the sand, get your ass over here and let me bring you up to speed.”
I couldn’t help but grin back at him as I slid into the chair next to him.
“Oh and Ray is on his way, Bob will be along a little later, he’s in the middle of a drum lesson.” Frank told me.
“Bob’s taking drum lessons? Why?”
“No, Bob is giving drum lessons.”
“Oh,” I shrugged. “That’s new.”
“Actually, it’s not, he’s been doing it for a while now. My friend who gets me the police files, he has a kid, likes drums, likes us. Free lessons from Bob equals copies of files and everyone’s happy.”
“You’re amazing!” I just couldn’t believe what Frank had done, what they’d all done, while I’d basically sat in a state of shock for three months.
“Yes,” Frank nodded gravely but with the hint of a smile. “Yes, I am. Now come on, listen up, this is going to take some time and Ray will be here soon.”
“I’m listening,” I said as positively and enthusiastically as I could.
“Right,” Frank indicated to a pile of blue files at one end of the table. “Those files are all the details on the three girls, where, when, how, everything. Now, before you look at those…” Frank took a deep breath before continuing. “You’ve got to remember, Mikey didn’t do it. Okay? The things they say he did, it was someone else. You’ve really got to keep that in your head while you read it.”
“That bad?” I asked shakily.
“Yeah,” Frank replied quietly. “But at the same time, it'll make you want to find who really did it all the more.”
“I don’t need any other incentive,” I replied firmly.
“No, you don’t,” he looked down. “Neither did I, but it’ll give you one. It’s really not pleasant.”
“What are the other files?” I asked trying to distract him from the memory of what he had seen and read in the murder files.
Frank took a deep breath and pushed his shoulders back. “This one is a psychiatric report, this is copies of evidence and crime scene reports, DNA, fingerprints, Mikey’s notes, and so on.”
“There’re fingerprints and DNA? Mikey’s? At the crime scenes?”
“Two of them, yeah,” Frank replied despondently.
“How is that possible? Mikey didn’t do it, he… he…” I drew a blank with my words and lowered my eyes.
“Don’t doubt him now!” Frank yelled at me. “There’s a reason for this, I know there is!”
I nodded, ashamed of my lapse. He was innocent; I knew that as a fact. Damn the evidence! Mikey was framed and we had to prove it. Somehow.