PP: "A few weeks ago.".............. Your entry for May 6th, 09.41, reads " I have been retained as local counsel by P.L.Blake ..yaddayadda... a few weeks ago." How many is a few, Mr. Freeland?
NMC: A few is more than two but less than many, I understand.
PP (sighs): What was the date on which you first considered yourself to be retained by Mr. Blake?
NMC: Well, I had just finished cooking seven pigs for my aunt's wedding, that took 36 hours so it must have been.......March 20th.
PP: So, from March 20th to May 6th you blogged every day?
NMC: Yes, apart from one day when I had a delivery of heads.
PP: Heads, Mr. Freeland?
NMC: Heads. Pig's heads.
PP: And on every day, excepting the pig's head delivery day, you logged on to the internet and posted on your blog site, Northmisscommentor.com. stories which covered local legal issues, court cases, stuff like that?
PP: NorthMissCommentor only started in March, didn't it, Mr. Freelunch?
PP: Prior to that, according to these records, you posted on a site called Folo.us, which made a name and quite a following, over 2 million views, by chronicling the fall into criminality of Dickie Scruggs and his close associates. Is that correct, Mr. Freeman?
NMC: And excellent music and food coverage. Shame about the politics.
PP: So, for fifty days you posted as an internet authority on the affairs 1 and 2 of Scruggs and everything Scruggsian whilst on the payroll of a man who was promised $50,000,000 by Scruggs, if he took some newspaper cuttings for him. And who provided $40,000 to bribe a judge with. "To solve a problem" if I remember correctly. Is there any significance in the fifty days? Did you decide when you signed on the line "I'm not going to tell them- your readers- about this for fifty days?"
NMC: I was very busy....
PP: I'm sure, Mr. Freeload. We will come to the phone call on the 49th day from that journalist you have the hots for, later. So, please, talk us through this if you will, we would like to understand how you didn't see any issues of opacity and conflict of interest arising the moment you agreed to represent Pressley Blake, by continuing to run a blog which appeared to be hot on his trail, as one of the remaining big baddies still at large in this case.
NMC (bristling): Opacity and conflict of interest are threads in the fine tapestry of Mississippi, Sir. As a matter of fact, I received a phone call from my investment manager Hubba T. Bubba, advising me to liquidate my long position in pork bellies and get into sweet potatoes immediately. He added that another client of his had a large consignment available at a very good price. I retained my holding in pork bellies, but agreed to meet in a Fema trailer, just outside Pascagoula. When I arrived, Mr. Blake was clipping photographs from the local newspaper. He showed me an album which contained printouts of every post I had made for Folo, my long lost original birth certificate, graduation photos and many things to do with me that I did not know existed.
PP: This is referred to in this contract- fans himself with a flimsy document- as "assorted memorabilia" is it not, Mr. Freemason? A supplementary question, if I may. Why is it written on a table napkin, and why have you signed it in red?
NMC: Well PL, I mean Mr. Blake, said he always used a special ink for these occasions. He kept a phial of it in his sock.
PP: Please continue.
NMC: As it states in the contract, I receive an index linked sweet potato allowance for life, a small farm in Venezuela, the album of cuttings and the book rights, provisionally entitled "Elusive Pressley, He did it his Way". To exercise the publishing option, I agree to attend an intensive course in spelling and, through the use of my parking ticket prose make it so boring that no-one will read it. Clever man, Mr. Blake. In return, I must fully brief him on the local judiciary, laugh at his jokes, store a large trunk for him underground at a secret location and, oh yes, the horse.
PP (leaning closer): The horse?
NMC: Yes, for some reason, Mr. Blake insisted on my horse. I had to go and buy one specially.
PP: Why did Mr. Blake want your horse?
NMC: I wondered that too. He said it was so he could sell it.
PP: (stops in mid pace): During those fifty duplicious days, Mr. Freemarket, did any of your blog contributors provide you with any information regarding Mr. Blake that could have influenced the Grand Jury hearing?
NMC: No, but I got an excellent recipe for tripe fritters, I recall.
PP: During those fifty biblical days, what would you have done with hard evidence from a whistleblower, who, thinking you to be a fearless upholder of the law and Scruggs investigator par excellence, had trusted you with documents that not only incriminated your secret client, but also revealed the informant's identity?
NMC: (wipes bead of sweat from upper lip) errr....... it must be lunchtime, by now, isn't it?