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DEATH BY PARKING – Episode V: The Shakedown

Shirley’s Boss’Gi P


RIVATE INVESTIGATORPAULMANNINGSHOWSUPATAPARKING garage where JoeWilliams, his client of 20 minutes lies dead andWilliams’ wife,Mary, who suspected a parking scam, is standing over a gun nearby. The police were looking for amurderer, but she wasn’t it.Then they grabbed a man with a gun. “Oh my God,” said Shirley. “That’s Larry Levinson, my

boss.” LAPD Lieutenant BillVose said, “Wellmaybe this one will be easier than I thought. We are booking Levinson formurder one.” Shirley gasped. “Larry’s a goodman; hewould- n’t do something like this.You have to help him, Paul.”

Iwas feeling better. Finally, I had a client that followed the typ-

ical PaulManning scenario. Levinson was in jail for a crime. I had to help him. Iwasmuchmore comfortablewith that than represent- ingMaryWilliams, a client the police knew was innocent. Of course I would help Shirley’s boss. I had met him, and he

was a good guy. Plus,my guesswas that if I didn’t, Iwould be sleep- ing alone for a long time, at least as far as Shirley was concerned. And since Levinson was rich, there was no problem with his com- ing up with bail. I went to Parker Center, the LAPD’s headquarters, and sat down in front of Lt. BillVose’s desk.Also a good guy, he was my

boss when I was on the police force and he still liked me. He didn’t want to show favoritism, so he gave me a hard time. It was just his way. “Sheesh,Manning. I guess you are here about Levinson.

What’s thematter, afraid your girlfriendwill stop cooking you dinner if you don’t help him? “You can try, butwe have himdead to rights.Themurder

weapon in his hand, and witnesses that saw him arguing with the victimhalf an hour before the shooting. It’s open and shut. “Wait, no need to say anything.Yes, you can see him, but

forget about bail. He was turned down by the judge. He’s too wealthy and a flight risk. I’ll call down and clear it for you to see him.” Vose said all that without taking a breath.We had done

this so many times that it was becoming rather routine. I thanked him and went to holding. Levinson was sitting on a cot in the cell. He didn’t look too bad. “Thanks for coming,Manning. I knewShirleywould call

you in. Look, I didn’t do it. I found the gun on the floor when Iwas going down to the garage to find outwhatwas going on. “Yeah, I had a fightwithMiguel, the garagemanager.He

was ripping off my tenants. I lost my cool. Normally, I would have called his boss, but I saw him in the hall and started yelling at him.” Levinson paused and took a breath. I hadn’t said a word.

Iwas concerned about his story. It seemed to play out too easy. Plus, he didn’t even seem to want to know what I thought. It was time to take over the interview. “Larry, calmdown,” I said. “Letme ask you a question or

two.When and where did you have the run-in with Joe?” “Actually, it was in the corridor that leads fromthe lobby

to the garage. It’s open air, and anyone on the first floor of the building or the garage could have heard us, ‘specially me. I can turn up the volume a bit when I’m pissed off. And I’m pissed off. “It was earlier this morning,” Levinson said. “I told him

that I was madder than hell and he was in big trouble. I guess I may have said something like he would be lucky to survive. Imeant his job, not his life.” “Where did you find the gun?” “That’s the funny thing. Shirley went down to the garage

tomeet you and see what was going on. I was on the phone. I finishedmy call and started down.When I got in the elevator, there it was, on the floor. I didn’t know it was a murder


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