A peek inside the American justice system ... A Cliff Hanger Contest Winner
“In closing, I’d like to point out that clearly, the prosecution has failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. We have been raised in a society where we are taught to believe there's a logical reason for an illogical happening rather than accept the illogical reason for something which doesn't make sense; hence, this is why the logical answer is illogical to the logical person. The defense rests.”
The jury room was small and hot as the twelve filed in and took seats. Tom looked out the window at the snow-covered trees and wished he was outside instead of in this cramped room. He took a deep breath and sighed, exhaling the fetid air which smelled of sweat, perfume, farts, and strangely – blackberry jam.
The Foreman rapped on the table. “Before we begin, are there any questions we need to ask clarification on?”
“Did anyone understand what the defense lawyer said?” asked Tom.
“I quit listening after the first day,” said an elderly woman, “when I knew she was guilty.”
“The defendant is a man,” Tom pointed out.
“That only confirms my opinion,” she sniffed..
“It’s not what he said, it’s what he didn't say,” said a young man.
“What didn’t he say?” asked Tom.
“I wouldn't expect you to understand. We’re ghost hunters seeking the phantasm of justice! They never talked about justice, only “the law” which we all know is written by corrupt politicians to further the ends of the military - industrial complex! ”
“Was he in the military? I didn't hear that,” someone asked.
“Didn't you see that statue out front?” asked a burly middle-aged man. “She’s blindfolded so she doesn't see what goes on,” he grinned. ”You’ll notice she’s outside the court. Justice isn't welcome inside.”
Everyone looked towards the end of the table. “OK folks,” said the Foreman. “Enough of the chit-chat. We have a civic duty to perform here. The first order of business …”
“Is when is dinner?” said a voice. The group laughed.
“Can’t we just find the lawyers guilty and go home?” said another.
“I’ll vote for that!”
Tom laid his head on his arms. One thing I understand. This is going to be a very, very long day. He raised his hand. “Mr. Foreman, if I might suggest …”
“No, you may not!” the Foreman cut him off in a bullying tone. “We’ll do a first vote on this to see where we stand. You have papers and pencils in front of you. Take a sheet and write guilty or not guilty, fold it, and pass it to me.”
The room grew silent except for the sound of pencils writing and paper being folded and slid along the table top.
Without preamble, the Foreman began opening each sheet, glanced at the writing, and then stacked the papers. “We have a consensus, it seems,” he finally intoned. "We all think the defendant is … "
An entry for the May round of "Invalid Item"
Prompt: Image – Use and bold the following words: ghost hunters, sniff, blackberry jam, bully.
Word Limit: 1000
Word Count: 507