Also by John Grisham
A Time to Kill The Firm The Pelican Brief The Client The Chamber The Rainmaker The Runaway Jury The Partner The Street Lawyer The Testament The Brethren A Painted House Skipping Christmas TheSummons The King of Torts Bleachers The Last Juror The Broker The Innocent Man
Playing for Pizza
It was a hospital bed, that much appeared certain, though certainty was coming and going. It was narrow and hard and there were shiny metal railings standing sentrylike along the sides, preventing escape. The sheets were plain and very white. Sanitary. The room was dark, but sunlight wastrying to creep around the blinds covering the window. He closed his eyes again; even that was painful. Then he opened them, and for a long silent minute or so he managed to keep the lids apart and focus on his cloudy little world. He was lying on his back and pinned down by firmly tucked sheets. He noticed a tube dangling to his left, running down to his hand, then disappearing up somewherebehind him. There was a voice in the distance, out in the hallway. Then he made the mistake of trying to move, just a slight adjustment of the head, and it didn't work. Hot bolts of pain hit his skull and neck and he groaned loudly. "Rick. Are you awake?" The voice was familiar, and quickly a face followed it. Arnie was breathing on him. "Arnie?" he said with a weak, scratchy voice, then he swallowed."It's me, Rick, thank God you're awake." Arnie the agent, always there at the important moments. "Where am I, Arnie?"
"You're in the hospital, Rick." "Got that. But why?" "When did you wake up?" Arnie found a switch, and a light came on beside the bed. "I don't know. A few minutes ago." "How do you feel?" "Like someone crushed my skull." "Close. You're gonna be fine, trust me." Trust me, trustme. How many times had he heard Arnie ask for trust? Truth was, he'd never completely trusted Arnie and there was no plausible reason to start now. What did Arnie know about traumatic head injuries or whatever mortal wound someone had inflicted? Rick closed his eyes again and breathed deeply. "What happened?" he asked softly. Arnie hesitated and ran a hand over his hairless head. He glanced at...