Short Fiction – Defiant Hemlock #2 – A Proposition

Art by L.Whittaker on Flickr – Creative Commons license

The courtroom was stuffy. Ventilation wasn’t great in this old building, one of the oldest in the town of Defiant Hemlock. Bodies massed in the gallery. It smelled like unwashed armpits and desperation. 

Jack Kinzer took his seat in the jury box. The defense attorneys all gathered here. They were talking shop, laughing. Jack balanced his tablet on his knee, his briefcase at his feet. 

Christopher Poutine approached. His baseball cap was crunched up in his hands. He looked decidedly contrite. 

“Sir?” 

“Yes, Christopher.” 

ADA Fisher took his seat. Pretty boy in the house. He straightened his file boxes. Took off his sunglasses. At least someone got a cigarette break. 

“I can’t take this deal,” came the whiny voice next. “I want to fight it. These charges are bogus, okay?” 

“We talked about this, Christopher.” Long suffering sigh. “Plead to the charge you did do. The Failure to Appear. The bogus charge is dropped. It’s a good deal.” 

“No. It’s not right. But I can’t go to jail. My wife, she’s sick…” 

“All right, Christopher. You want to do this the hard way.” 

“But… I have information.” Christopher’s voice dropped to a chilled whisper. His face was flushed and sweaty. Jack fought the urge to roll his eyes. Instead he thought of his German Shepherd, Taurus, at home, so he could properly feign compassion. Christopher spoke earnestly. The loud voices of the other attorneys dropped to a low murmur in Jack’s ears. “I know about the arsons.”

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