Short Fiction – Defiant Hemlock #3: Justice, Not Truth

Art by Julia Quenzler, Creative Commons license

Too many female judges went hard because others expected them to be soft. Something about what was between their legs, Judge Leigh Gallant supposed. But she didn’t care. They shouldn’t be looking at her legs; they shouldn’t even be looking at her robe. Judge Gallant was soft. But not in the ways they thought. 

Judge Gallant didn’t give a damn what anyone thought of her. She only cared about justice. Justice, and making sure her son Keagan got to jazz band rehearsal on time. Jazz band was halfway across town at the private high school and the bus wouldn’t take him there during third period, so she had to drive him between hearings. She cleared her schedule for this. He played the tuba. He threw a knock-down, drag-out tantrum when she was late. But back to justice. Justice wasn’t the same thing as Truth, of course; Judge Gallant considered Truth above her pay grade. Truth was something often not found in courtrooms. 

Now, she stared at Jack Kinzer in front of a packed courtroom of hooligans waiting their turn at arraignment. They got here early because they took the bus and because they were appearing in front of Judge Gallant. Kinzer looked too much like a scared puppy. He was a sloppy attorney, an an unorthodox one who was dancing with a bar complaint. She wanted to turn her eyes into spoons and bore them into the smooth skin of his face. 

“Mr. Kinzer.” Judge Gallant fought the urge to stand. Someone in the gallery coughed. Another defendant stood next to the only trash can, leaning in a cocky posture that made her grind her teeth. He claimed to have the flu. Judge Gallant cleared her throat. “Are you telling me you’re wasting my time again?” 

“Yes, ma’am, I mean, no, ma’am,” Kinzer said. He rallied. “My client no longer wishes to plead guilty.” 

“First of all, you should address the court as Your Honor. Which you should know by now. Second of all, you, Mr. Kinzer, and you, ADA Fisher, in my chambers.” 

She resolved to bring Keagan some Twizzlers.  

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