After my customer had signed the papers, I relaxed and spent an hour listening to the guy. He was (is) smart and well-informed. He’d worked at Orange & Rockland Utilities when I was a reporter at The Rockland Journal News. We both knew Linda Winikow. Linda was great copy, and she was also simply great by which I mean that Linda was immensely fat. A colleague once said Linda was so large that she created her own gravitational field.

I told the Buick buyer that I heard that when she was arrested, Linda didn’t used her single phone call to hire a lawyer. Linda used her single phone call to order a meatball wedge.

If you read the book, you’ll hear more about Linda, but my epiphany that afternoon was that what this man really needed—more even than he needed a Buick sedan—was to have somebody listen to him. Right away I was wishing that I could write a book that listened.