Judge Baxter peered down at me from the bench, like a justice god from his throne, the harsh fluorescent lights shining a halo around him. Just my luck. I remembered him from my father’s firm’s Christmas gala and a pang jolted my stomach. My rump roast was toast.
He peered over the top of his rimless spectacles before returning his attention to my file. “Hmm. Okay, let’s see what we have here...a bruised leg, acute lacerations to the face and arms...”
“Uhh, Your Honor. For clarification purposes, I did specify ‘unjustly’. And those lacerations are only little cuts,” I said before mumbling, “not the cold-blooded shanking he deserved” through clenched teeth.
The judge leaned his rotund, robed body against his chair back and swiped his palm across his forehead, noticeably exasperated with what Mother might term ‘my shenanigans’.
“Thank you, Ms. Vincent. However, it may behoove you to respect the fact that after serving twenty years on the bench, I’m well aware of the definition of laceration and other such legal mumbo-jumbo. Now, may I finish?” he snapped.
Okay, Mr. Judge Unprofessional.
I snatched my head back. How dare he? His sarcasm was neither attractive nor necessary. But his demeanor cooled and eyes narrowed with every frosted word that left his mouth, which rattled my confidence to no end. I’d been duly warned, so I replied, “Yes, sir. Please proceed,” before tightening my lips shut.
“I appreciate your authorization,” he said, adding more unnecessary snark. He again traced his finger down my rap sheet. “Now, where was I... a broken nose, sprained ankle, and bruised tailbone,” he said, pausing to lean forward in his seat, apparently eager to glimpse my expression. I bet he couldn’t wait to hear my argument.
I couldn’t wait to hear it, either.
Mostly because I didn’t have a clue about what I planned to say. How would I convey this story in a way that wouldn’t suggest that I kicked Mitch’s ass, when, in fact, kick his ass is precisely what I’d done?
How could I feign innocence when my only true regret centered on the unfortunate show of restraint that resulted in him leaving the scene in an ambulance—and not a coroner’s van? I wish I could plead temporary sanity because beating him down in the street like a purse-snatcher on payday served as a sign that I had finally come to my senses.
He continued. “Since your vast education equipped you with sufficient knowledge to provide me with the definition of laceration, I wonder if you’d share with the court how you would define the cause of Mr. Wiggins’ injuries...if not simple assault?”
I chewed on the words like cud in a cow’s mouth before spitting them out, believing my statement could be the difference between hitting the bars or sleeping behind bars after my hearing. “With all due respect, I believe the word you’re looking for is comeuppance.” My response sparked a wave of laughter among the spectators. “You must, I mean, please understand, sir. We dated for three months,” I said, thrusting my three fingers in the air like a Hunger Games salute.
As I glanced at my digits, I realized the brief length of time might sound ridiculous to some, but wasting time with a lying dog always felt like too much time, whether three minutes, three months, or three years.
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