Page 5 of Detective


Newbold continued, "Have Rodriguez drive you to Jacksonville. It's only sixty miles; you'll make it easily. And when you get back, we'll look at your extra expenses and work something out."


"That might appease Karen."

"Was she upset?" Newbold asked.

"You could say that."

Newbold sighed. "Devina's that way when I get lousy duty, and mostly I can't blame her. Oh, I called the State Prison. They've promised to waive formalities going in, so you'll get to Animal fast."

"Great."

"One thing they asked. When you're about twenty minutes from Raiford, phone Lieutenant Neil Hambrick. Here's the direct-line number."

Ainslie wrote it down. "Nice going, Lieutenant. Thanks again."

"Hey, have a good trip and enjoy Toronto."

Switching off the phone, Ainslie reflected on the excellent relations between Newbold and his white subordinates. Like most others in Homicide, Ainslie liked and respected Newbold, a twenty-four-year veteran of the force who had come to the United States with his immigrant Jamaican parents thirty years ago, at age fifteen. Young Leo had attended the University of Miami, where he majored in criminology, afterward joining the Police Department at twenty-two. Because he was black, affirmative action of the 1980s speeded his promotion to lieutenant, but unlike some other such promotions, because of Newbold's obvious ability, it was not resented by his white colleagues. Now he was in his eighth year as head of Homicide.

A great deal was being written nationally about racial disharmony in big-city police forces, notably the Los Angeles Police Department, where ugly discrimination against blacks, both on and off the force, had had semiofficial approval from the top over many years. Only now was some attempted balance and fairness taking shape in L.A., amid bitterness on all sides. By contrast, the Miami PD had gone through the same traumatic change more than a decade earlier, so that integration, with only minor hangovers from the past, was now a fail accompli. It worked, and the public was better served.

* * *

To Malcolm's surprise, Karen was sleeping when he phoned with the new flight information, which he gave her, then urged her to return to sleep. "I'll see you tomorrow about four," he finished.

She mumbled sleepily, but with some affection, "I'll believe it when I see it."

When Ainslie ended the connection and settled back, Jorge's voice broke into his thoughts.

"Sergeant, are you still Catholic?"

The question was unexpected. "Excuse me?"

Jorge eased the blue-and-white past one of the many tractor-trailers traveling the highway. When they were safely clear he continued, "Well, you used to be a priest, and now you're not. So I was curious are you still a Catholic?"

"No."

"Well, I was wondering, as a Catholic, or ex, how you really feel about this trip capital punishment, going to see Animal Doil before they strap him in the chair, knowing it was mainly you who put him there?"

"That's a heavy question this late at night."

Jorge shrugged. "It's okay if you don't want to talk about it, I understand."

Ainslie hesitated. When he'd quit the priesthood at thirty, after a seminary education and a Ph.D. degree, followed by five years as a parish priest, he simply walked away, abandoning religion entirely. As to motives, apart from confiding in a few close friends, he had stayed mainly silent, having no wish to influence others. As time passed, though, he grew more willing to answer questions.

"In some ways," he told Jorge, "there's not a huge difference between cops and priests. A priest tries to help people, strives for fairness and justice or so he should. A Homicide cop wants to see murderers caught and, if found guilty, pay the penalty."

"Sometimes," Jorge said, "I wish I could talk about stuff, saying it perfectly, the way you do."

"You mean capital punishment?"

"Yeah, exactly. On the one hand I'm a cop. How many cops in this country are truly against capital punishment? Two? Maybe three? But then I'm also Catholic. And the Church opposes capital punishment."

"Don't be so sure, Jorge. Underneath, most religions are full of hypocrisy because they accept killing when it suits them. Oh, I know the beautiful theory. I was taught it. 'Life is a gift from God and no human being has the right to terminate life.' But that's only when it's convenient."

"When isn't it convenient?"

"During wars, when men, not God, take lives. And every country that goes to war, from the Old Testament Israelites through to modern America they all assume God's on their side."

Jorge laughed. "Well, I sure as hell hope he's on my side."

"With some of your shenanigans, there's not much chance of that."

"Me?" Jorge said. "You're the one who turned in your dog collar. Can't imagine you're on the Pope's top-ten list."

Ainslie smiled. "Well, lately there haven't been too many popes on my list, either."

"How come?"

"Some of them have different rules for themselves than they do for others. Like Pope Pius XII you've heard of him. He's the one who ignored Hitler's slaughter of Jews, making no protest when it could have saved Jewish lives? That's how religions condone murder without actually taking a stand."

"My parents were ashamed when that all came out," Jorge said. "Wasn't there talk a while back about the Church admitting guilt?"

"Yes, in 1994, and it lasted one day. A draft of a Vatican document surfaced in Israel; it described Catholic 'shame and repentance' over the Holocaust. But the next day the Vatican said, 'No way, not us. Maybe someday, not now.' They did a Galileo."

"Give me that again."

"In 1633," Ainslie explained, "Galileo was condemned for heresy and held under house arrest for the last eight years of his life all because he showed that the earth revolves around the sun. That, of course, was contrary to Catholic doctrine, which said that the earth was the center of the universe and didn't move. Only in 1992, after what the Vatican called 'thirteen years of study,' did Pope John Paul II admit the Church was wrong something science had confirmed centuries before."

"The Church did nothing? Between 1633 and almost now?"

"Three and a half centuries. Rome doesn't hurry its own confessions."

Jorge laughed. "But if I use a condom on Friday, I'd better confess on Saturday. Or else!"

Ainslie smiled. "I know; it's a crazy world. Getting back to your question I didn't like any kind of killing when I was a priest, and still don't. But I believe in the law, so while capital punishment is part of the law, I'll go along."

Even as he spoke, Ainslie was reminded of the few dissidents labeled by prosecutors as a lunatic fringe who argued that Elroy Doil, because of his adamant denials, had not been proven guilty. Ainslie disagreed. He was convinced guilt had been proven, but wondered again about Doil's proposed confession.

"Will you stay to see Animal executed?" Jorge asked.

"I hope not. We'll see what happens when we get there."

Jorge was briefly silent, then he said, ''Rumor around the station is that you wrote a book, some important religious thing. Sold millions of copies, I'm told. Hope you made millions, too."

Ainslie laughed. "You don't get rich co-authoring a book about comparative religions. I've no idea how many copies were sold, though it went into a lot of languages and you can still pick it up in a library."

* * *

The dashboard clock read 2:15 A.M. "Where are we?" Ainslie asked, realizing he'd dozed off again.

"Just passed Orlando, Sergeant."

Ainslie nodded, remembering other, more leisurely journeys along this way. On either side of them, he knew, was some of the more glorious countryside in Florida. From Orlando to Wildwood, fifty miles ahead, the turnpike was officially a scenic byway. Out there, hidden by darkness, were rolling hills adorned with wildflowers, stands of tall pines, tranquil lakes and flowering trees with multicolored blossoms, cows grazing on vast fields of farmland, orange groves, loaded with fruit this time of year. . .

Florida, Ainslie reflected, had become one of the chosen, coveted places of the world. It seemed that whatever was innovative, sophisticated, artistic, and exciting was to be found there, especially in greater Miami a sprawling, bubbling, international cauldron of much that was best in modern living. It was also, he was somberly reminded, a hodgepodge of the worst.

He had read once how the explorer Ponce de Ledn had named Florida in 1513, invoking the Spanish phrase pascua florida "season of flowers." Still, that much was still as true now as then in the aptly named Sunshine State.

Ainslie asked, "Are you tired? Would you like me to drive?"

"No, I'm fine."

They had been on the road slightly more than three hours, Ainslie calculated, and were better than halfway. Allowing for inferior roads after Interstate 75, which they would shortly join, they could reach Raiford at about 5:30 A.M.

With the execution set for 7:00 A.M., that left almost no time to spare. Except for a last-minute reprieve unlikely in Doil's case there was no way a scheduled execution would be postponed.

* * *

Ainslie leaned back in the car in an effort to organize his thoughts. His memories of Elroy Doil and all that had occurred were like a file folder of jumbled notes and pages.

He remembered having seen Doil's name for the first time a year and a half ago when it appeared on a computergenerated list of potential suspects. Then, later, when Doil became a prime suspect, Homicide had made extensive inquiries going all the way back to Doil's early childhood.

Elroy Doil was thirty-two when the killings began. He had been born and raised in Miami's "poor white" neighborhood, known as Wynwood. Though the name does not appear on published maps, Wynwood comprises a sixtyblock, half-square-mile area in mid-Miami with a mainly underprivileged white populace, plus a grim record of high crime, riots, looting, and police brutality.

Immediately southwest of Wynwood is Overtown, also not named on maps, with a mainly underprivileged black occupancy, plus a similarly dreary record of high crime, riots, looting, and police brutality.

Elroy Doil's mother, Beulah, was a prostitute, drug addict, and alcoholic. She told friends that her son's father "coulda been any one of a hundred fuckers," though she later advised Elroy that his most probable father was serving a life term in Florida's Belle Glade prison. Even so, Elroy encountered a long succession of other men who lived with his mother for varying periods, and remembered many of them from the drunken beatings and sexual abuse he received.

Why Beulah Doil had a child at all was unclear, having had several previous abortions. Her explanation: she "just never got around to getting rid of the kid."

Eventually Beulah, a shrewdly practical person, instructed her son in petty crime and how to avoid "getting your ass busted." Elroy learned fast. At ten he was stealing food for himself and Beulah, as well as filching anything else in sight. He robbed other boys at school. It helped that he was big for his age, and a savage fighter.

Under Beulah's tutelage, Elroy grew up learning to take advantage of the lenient laws affecting juvenile crime. Even though he was apprehended several times for assaults, thefts, and petty larcenies, he was always released back to his mother's custody with a virtual slap on the wrist.

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