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Gag Order – Installment 23 – The Cookie Crumbles

In the few weeks since Bastien’s arrest and acquittal, his wife Yeva had aged and grown frail. Krasten had specially bought a nice cup of coffee from a nearby joint. They met in the smaller consultation room, which had a more intimate round-table, instead of the conference room. Yeva cupped the drink in her hands, as if it gave some comfort.

‘How’s Bastien doing?’ asked Krasten.

‘At home, on his computer, looking for a job,’ said Yeva. ‘His boss has declined to take him back and, Tien has sent out several hundred applications. No replies yet.’

‘Well, the job market is kinda slow,’ said Krasten softly, ‘but I’m sure he’ll hear back from the head hunters soon.’

‘He said there’s too much competition from all the foreigners the government had so readily let in and—.’ Yeva caught herself. ‘I’m sorry.’

‘Oh,’ said Krasten and waved away her apology.

‘You both did a wonderful job and so did Mr. Bernard. I’m—we’re—so grateful.’

‘You’re welcome,’ said Wilona.

‘Regarding your bill,’ said Yeva and paused, embarrassed. ‘Can you give me some time to settle?’

‘Of course,’ said Krasten, ‘I’ll get our accountant to work out some soft installment plan.’

‘Meanwhile, we’ll be meeting Ms. Ying’s lawyers to agree on costs and damages,’ said Wilona. ‘It’ll take some time, but we’re confident it’ll come through and that’ll help with your costs.’

‘Will they fight?’

‘Probably not,’ said Krasten. ‘Off the record, we’ve an understanding with the AG’s.’

‘Doesn’t seem fair to my children. The publicity, the—’. Yeva stared at her coffee and stifled a sniff. Gathering herself, she said, ‘What if she fights? I don’t have the money.’

‘Then, the AG’s will throw the book at her, complete with metal jacket,’ said Krasten.

After a long pause, Yeva said, ‘I want you to handle the divorce.’

‘Divorce?’ said Wilona.

‘Yes, Tien and I—we’re separating.’

‘But I thought,’ Wilona did not finish the sentence.

‘No, not after this,’ said Yeva, her voice cracking. ‘If it had remained between the two of us, behind closed doors. Maybe. Some slim chance. But, not anymore.’

Krasten and Wilona exchanged looks.

‘People had been very cruel. My children dare not go down to the playground.’ Yeva looked away, and after a moment, started to sob.

*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2017 ***

*** Final Installment  on Wednesday, 30 August ***