By Historian


Kelly Flannigan approached her father´s bar on Chicago´s South Side with in elation. She had passed the Illinois bar exam and the tavern would be closed for a private party honoring her successful completion of the test. It was supposed to a surprise, but Kelly had been tipped off by her twin sister Kristy. The two never hid anything from each other.

She hoped her expression was suitably surprised when the doors opened to greet her. Her parents, Sean and Colleen Flannigan were the first to greet her. Behind them were siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles. There were shouts of congratulations:

“Way to go!’

“Good work!’

“A family first. Aunt Peggy´s never passed a bar.’

Her brother´s remark earned as many laughs as scowls. “Where´s Kristy?’ Kelly wondered.

“I don´t know,’ her brother Bill replied. “Something´s bugging her, but she won´t say.’

Margaret Flannigan Kowalski –Aunt Peggy—spoke up. “She´s over by the bar with Sean.’

The Sean she referred to was not her brother, but her son, Detective Sergeant Sean Kowalski of the Chicago Police Department. The two were indeed seeted at stolls infront of the bar. In front of each one was a shot glass and a beer mug. Kristy´s were empty, while Sean´s were barely touched.

“What´s wrong?’ Kelly asked.

“Kristy was reprimanded today,’ Sean said.

Kelly had no ready answer for her sister. The two had of course grown up together and done everything else together, until college. After graduating Loyola, Kristy had joined the police department rather than going to law school like her sister. In her three years on the force, Kristy had already gone into the plain clothes division.

In school, Kelly had always gotten top grades, while Kristy had a B average most of her life. Kristy was also the better athlete, able to jump that fraction of an inch higher than Kelly in volleyball and to put just the right spin the ball for fast pitch or slow pitch softball.

The bartender put more Jim Beam in the shot glass and refilled the mug with Miller Genuine Draft. Kelly ordered a glass of Bushmill´s and sat next to her sister. “So, are going to put your law degree to good use, or are you going to let crooks walk?’ Kristy asked.

“Yeah, I´ll go downtown and get in line with everybody else down at the State´s Attorney´s office,’ Kelly said.

“The collar counties are having a population boom,’ Sean said. “You could try one of those.’

“Lake and McHenry are definite Cub fan territories. Kane and Du Page are a mixed bag, so that leaves Will.’

“So long as you don´t spring crooks,’ Kristy said.

“You´ve really got a bee up your ass tonight,’ Kelly said. “What gives?’

“I made a righteous arrest yesterday. Drug bust, completely by the book. Anyway, the dealer tried to open his bag and dump the stuff. I got it most of it, but some lawyer digs up a friendly judge who rules there wasn´t enough of the stuff to book the guy on possession with intent to distribute. I was pissed at the judge and said he was questioning my integrity. He said the only thing keeping him from holding me in contempt was that it was my first offense on an otherwise unblemished record. The captain gave me a hard time about it today’

“Nice to know the judge was even handed about first offenses,’ Kelly said. “Besides, guys like the one you busted usually screw up again down the road. He´ll have misdemeanor possession on his record and maybe a smart judge will realize that and take it into consideration.’

Kristy didn´t think her sister really believed what she had said, but had realized Kristy needed a sympathetic ear.

“You still haven´t answered Kristy´s question,’ Sean said.

“About what?’ Kelly wondered.

“What you´re going to do with your new law degree?’

“I´m not completely sure. I´m thinking of looking into one of those firms that specializes in defending against lawsuits. You know, the ones that can put a place like this out of business.’

“That´s a good way to go,’ Kristy said. “Just don´t go yuppie on us and start rooting for the Cubs.’

“As if I would.’


A couple weeks later Kristy came home on a sweltering day. At this point in time, they were still living with their parents, subject to providing groceries and helping around the house. Kristy was able to put away $100 dollars every payday, so she could save for a place of her own. Or until she was married, whichever came first. “You´re in a fairly good mood,’ she said to Kelly while stepping out of her skirt. “You finally find a job?’

“Sort of,’ Kelly said. “You know Dad´s friend, Jake O´Malley?’

“The building contractor? Sure.’

“Well, he asked me to draw up his will. If likes it, he´ll pay me a retainer.’

“That´s good to hear,’ Kristy said. “It also explains why you have that open law book on your bed,’ she added as she strode over to her dresser and extracted a pair of shorts and a t-shirt from the drawer. She then sat on the bed and started to remove her stockings. “This is one department regulation I can do without. Having to wear nylons year round. They´re fine in winter, but in summer, they´re unbearably hot.’

Kristy slid on the shorts then unbuttoned her blouse. That was tossed aside and she pulled the t-shirt over her head. “Wanna see the Sox tonight?’

“Sure,’ Kelly said. Kristy meant at the game and not on TV. They grew up in the area around the ballpark, a fairly decent walk away from their home.

“Good. If it´s a short story, you tell me on the way. If it´s a long story, you can tell me during the game.’

It would be a fairly straightforward proposition. The will would have to be witnessed, of course. Kristy offered to act as such, but O´Malley would provide witnesses. “It would have to be written up and filed properly,’ Kelly said as they passed the ballpark parking lots. “He wants to have a valid will written as concisely as possible.’

“That´s a tall order considering how verbose legalese can be,’ Kristy remarked.’

“I´m sure he´s doing it as a favor to Dad, but still I can appreciate the business.’


Kelly spent the next few days going over the various documents and making sure Mister O´Malley understood exactly what happened. His secretary, Lucinda Johnson, was present for all these sessions. She wrote down everything that was said and even served as a witness. Finally, there was one evening where the document was completed. It´s too late to file today,’ Kelly said.

“I need to be at a construction site in the morning,’ O´Malley said. “Donovan can screw up a one car funeral.’ Donovan was one of his foremen.

“That´s okay. I only need to pick the paperwork.’

“You did a good job, Kelly. You are now my full-time attorney.’

Kelly felt a euphoria that made her hard to sleep, though not so hard to be up early the next morning. She drove to the office that morning and was found the front door slightly open. She opened it the rest of the way and was confronted by the sight of Lucinda lying on her side. Her wrists were bound behind her back Other bits of rope were around her ankles, knees, and chest and upper arms. A piece a white cloth with ragged edges was secured around her mouth, I contrast to her dark skin. For a moment Kelly froze in place and Lucinda grunted furiously behind the gag.

“Of course, you want to get loose,’ Kelly said once she regained her composure. “Sorry.’ She leaned forward and started to undo the gag. Lucinda looked relived but her expression soon changed.

“Behind you!’


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