(All right, time for another chunk of the story.  New?  Please go to They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1), located on the July 16th posting, in the Archives section. Otherwise, let’s move along…)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter ( xxxvii )…
     NORA FINISHED PACKING HER BAG for the gym. She tossed in a couple of extra towels, and zipped it closed.
     It weighed a lot more than usual.
     She planned on a long, rigorous workout.
     And time in the steam to erase the pain.
Chapter ( xxxviii )…
     LANA HAD BEEN POURING LEMONADE for Parker and was returning the pitcher to the fridge, trying to stifle laughs behind the open door.
      “I can handle that for you, Mason,” she said, and gave Becker a pat on the shoulder as she exited the kitchen through the swinging door to a hallway.
      “Let’s wash up,” Terrance said.
      Becker went to the sinks on the counter. Terrance guided Parker to the one on the island. He ran the water and made sure Parker used soap from the dispenser. Becker let the stream flow over his hands, looking blankly through the window, wishing his phone would ring with urgent news needing his immediate attention.
      Terrance stepped over to the paper towel rod mounted on the wall near Becker and yanked a long portion out with his left hand. He placed his right hand on the roll and tore off the hanging section. This left a gargantuan damp imprint over the remainder hanging on the wall. He separated the piece into thirds, handing one to Becker then another to Parker.
      “First things first,” Terrance said, “set up our assembly line.” He opened an island cabinet door at the end furthest from Becker and pulled out a trash bin, then dropped his used paper towel in it. Becker rolled his towel into a ball and tossed it in an arc over Parker’s head and into the center of the bin. Not to be outdone, Parker began to take jump shots, then scampered around Terrance to retrieve his misses from the floor. Frustrated, he decided to give a pass to Becker.
      “Take one from downtown,” he said, as he flung the wad of Bounty, wide of Becker’s reach. The ball whizzed past Lana’s head as she swung open the door, returning to the kitchen.
      “Didn’t take you long to turn my kitchen into a gymnasium, Terry,” she said, then handed Becker the Grey Goose and ice, with a wedge of lemon perched on the rim of the short glass.
      Terry was busy collecting ingredients from the refrigerator, “Every thing’s fine baby.” He took out deli- wrapped packages of sliced swiss cheese and ham, the jug of milk, then balanced three eggs on top of the packages, while he removed a bottled beer from an inner shelf on the fridge door.
      “T has mentioned you worked at a hospital,” Becker said, “but he never told me what you do.”
      “Queens Memorial,” she said, “I’m involved in the Administration offices there.”
      “Heads up,” Terrance yelled, as he underhanded a saran- wrapped, foam plastic tray of chicken breasts toward Becker, who caught the bundle against his chest, sloshing the vodka in the process.
      “It’s getting too dangerous in here for me,” Lana said, “I’m going back in to appreciate my centerpiece and enjoy some quite reading. Call me back at your halftime.” She pushed the door toward the hallway, then looked back smiling, “Terry, please don’t injure our son during your cooking game.” She left and the door swung back into place.
      “Game!” Parker said, “Dad, the TV?”
      “Go ahead, but keep the volume down,” Terrance said, as he picked up a metal bowl off the island, handing it to Becker, “rinse the chicken off with cold water and put them in this.” He set the articles from the fridge on the butcher- block, taking care to keep the eggs from rolling.
      “Park,” Terrance said, as he arranged two bowls near the edge of the island top. Hearing no reply, he looked up to find both his son and Becker gazing at the televised ball game.
      “Yo, guys. You want to eat today? Parker, go in the pantry and get the flour and toothpicks.”
      “OK, Daddy.”
      “Mase, please rinse the chicken.”
      “OK Daddy.”
      Becker tore open the plastic, set the faucet head to shower mode, and began rinsing each piece, then placing them into the bowl. Parker came out of the pantry with a ten pound bag of flour in both arms, holding the toothpick box steady on top of the bag with his chin. Terrance transferred the skillet and double- boiler to separate burners on the stove top, then placed a large cookie sheet on the counter next to it. He leaned down and opened a cabinet, taking out a jug of canola oil along with a roll of aluminum foil. He set them on the counter, then removed a whisk out of a nearby utensil caddy.
      “Parker, please take a scoop and put some of the flour into that bowl,” Terrance said, pointing to the one closest to his son. He dropped the whisk into the other bowl near the edge of the island, and took out a twelve- by- eighteen inch, plastic cutting board from another of its cabinets, setting it on the countertop at the end near Becker.
      “All cleaned, Boss,” Becker said.
      “Put them next to the board,” Terrance said, then picked up an aluminum meat tenderizing mallet, with its raised, patterned grid of diamond shapes on each striking face of the hammer’s head. He handed it to Becker, “You should enjoy this part.”
      Becker looked at the business end of the mallet, considering the damage that could be inflicted if it fell in the wrong hands.
      “Take each piece and pound it flat,” Terrance said, then looked down at Parker’s end of the island to find half the flour being scooped was missing the mark, falling on the countertop or floor. “Hold on there hombre,” he said to his son, and walked over to lend a hand.
      The sudden smack of metal to plastic gave both Terrance and Parker a start, and flour flew upward in a poof from the scoop in Parker’s hand. There were footsteps in the hallway and Lana swung the door open looking for the source of what she thought a gunshot.
      All three stood looking at Becker, who was motionless, holding the mallet upright in front of him, inspecting his handiwork. A chicken breast, the center of which was missing, drooped over the handle like a floppy horseshoe.
      “What?” Becker said, then shrugged his shoulders, “you told me to pound. I pounded.” He picked up his glass and took a long draft.
      “All right,” Terrance said, “lightly tap the chicken, Mase. We want it flat, not pulverized.”
      “I can call down to Mario’s,” Lana interjected, “have something here in an hour or so.”
      “Never mind that,” Terrance said, “rookie mistake… everything will be everything.”
      Lana raised her eyebrows and mouthed “O-K” to her husband. “Mase, can I freshen your drink?”
      “Big ‘affirmative’ on that,” he said, handing her the glass.
      “Coming right up,” she said, then pushed the door, and headed for the living room wet bar.
      “Let’s get this all in one place buddy,” Terrance said to Parker, holding the bowl just below the island top edge and pushing the flour from the countertop into the bowl with the scoop. Becker had resumed his duties.
      “How’s it going now, Mase?”
      “Tapping lightly.”
      “Excellent. Gonna make a chef out of you yet.”
      “Wouldn’t bet the farm on that one.”
      Terrance picked up a pepper mill and handed it to Parker, “Grind this on top of the flour, son.” He went to the center portion of the island, then cracked and emptied the eggs into the remaining bowl. To these he added about a half cup of milk, then returned the jug to the fridge. He pulled open a nearby drawer and removed a large spoon. “Enough pepper,” he said to Parker, “now shake in some salt and mix it all together.” He set the spoon next to the bowl of flour, then picked up the whisk and whipped the eggs and milk.
      Lana slowly pushed on the door and stuck her head through the partial opening. “All safe to enter?” she said.
      “Doing just fine,” Terrance replied.
      “Here you go, Mason,” she said, setting his filled glass on the island, “ is the chicken being a little more cooperative?”
      “I think I’ve got the hang of it,” Becker said, as he stacked the thinned- down poultry on the corner of the cutting board, then then stopped to take a sip of vodka, “but keep Mario’s number handy.”
      “Hey, none of that talk,” Terrance said, “we’re ready to put it all together. You squared away, Park?” His son nodded and brought the seasoned flour over to his father’s side.
      “Carry on, gentlemen,” Lana said, and left the room.
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