FOWC: Repercussions

He took from his brother, a tiny train, because his coveted it 

He took from his girlfriend, her innocence, uncontrolled lust 

He took from his brother, a tiny train, because his coveted it

He took from his girlfriend, her innocence, uncontrolled lust

He took from his workmates, their ideas, too proud to fail

He took from his parents, everything and more, greed and ingratitude

He took from the plates of the starving, thoughtless gluttony

He took from his servants, without thanks or a thought, pure sloth

He took from his children, their peace, his wrath without limit

He took his own life, final sin, it ended without repercussions

 

I haven’t written any poetry for a while so I thought I’d make the most of Fandango’s one word prompt for today. Thanks for inspiring me once more Fandango ;O)

Hope you have a wonderful day one and all.

Lisa x

 

FOWC: Inherit

She sat in the solicitor’s office, nervously playing with the strap of her cheap leather handbag. She looked around at the oppressive and solemn decor and watched the dust motes as they danced in the narrow shaft of sunlight that barely lit the darkly paneled room.

She sat in the solicitor’s office, nervously playing with the strap of her cheap leather handbag. She looked around at the oppressive and solemn decor and watched the dust motes as they danced in the narrow shaft of sunlight that barely lit the darkly paneled room.

‘What on earth am I doing here’ she thought to herself as she waited for Mr Bloom to explain the reason for her presence. He seemed like a kindly man, an old fashioned gentleman who’d pulled her chair out for her and offered her a cup of tea which she’d declined after spotting the delicate porcelain cup and saucer on his desk; her hands were shaking and she didn’t want to embarrass herself.

Mr Bloom took the glasses from the end of his nose and wiped them slowly with a small cloth and regarded her with tired and rheumy eyes before smiling distractedly and pulling a buff folder towards him. As he slowly untied the pink ribbon that bound the file he said, “Thank you so much for taking the time to come to my office today Miss Solomon, I expect that you’re wondering why I asked to see you.”

Cathy Solomon smiled nervously and nodded. She was worried. Although Mr Bloom seemed perfectly pleasant, with her job as a social worker she was always at risk of law suits and claims of abuse. It saddened her deeply as she genuinely cared for the broken families that she cared for but she was enough of a realist to know that there were people in the profession who abused their positions. The elderly solicitor was still looking at her, obviously waiting for a verbal response but, as none was forthcoming, he pulled several sheets of paper from the file and began speaking.

“I have here the Last Will and Testament of Mr Sebastian Courtney; have you heard of the gentleman Miss Solomon?”

“Well, yes, of course, who hasn’t? He was a wonderful actor.” Cathy had often watched his films with her mother when she was growing up and she’d always been a fan, not least because of his handsome features and melodious voice. She’d been genuinely upset when she’d seen reports of his death. Her mother had never seemed to take the same pleasure from the movies as her daughter but she was just content to sit with her and watch the awed expression on her pretty, young face. Cathy’s eyes softened as she thought of her mother; they’d had such a close bond and she’d been devastated when she died at the age of just 45. Cathy had been 21 at the time and old enough to understand that her mother’s health had been slowly broken by years of working three jobs and never having enough to eat. She’d done it all for her daughter as she was determined to save enough from her meagre earnings for Cathy to be able to attend college and make a real life for herself. On the day that Cathy graduated her mother was there, so much pride in her eyes, and a beautiful smile on her face despite the pain that she was suffering.

That was one of the last days that they spent together but it remained a wonderful memory. Cathy had always wished that her mother had had someone to love her and take care of her but she never seemed interested. ‘After your father, I couldn’t look at another man’ was always her answer whenever Cathy questioned her about it. She would smile sadly and pat her daughter’s hand and then changed the subject. Cathy didn’t remember her father but knew that he must have been a very special man if he’d loved her mother.

Cathy realised that Mr Bloom was speaking to her and she drew herself from her reverie.

“……so, in conclusion, the house in Chelsea and all it’s contents will pass to you and you will receive a lump sum of £14,500,000. I expect that Mr Courtney’s wife will contest but she has no case; we drew up this will together, Sebastian and I, and it is clear and completely watertight.”

“I’m sorry” said Cathy, trying to make sense of what she’d just heard “did you say that Sebastian Courtney left money to me? There must be some mistake, I’ve never met him. You must have me mistaken for another Cathy Solomon Mr Bloom.” Cathy started to stand up but the solicitor waved her back down into her seat.

“I assure you Miss Solomon, there is no mistake. Mr Courtney carried the guilt of what he did for 45 years and this is his way of making amends.”

Cathy frowned, desperately trying to understand what Mr Bloom was telling her. The solicitor saw the confusion on her face and the penny dropped.

“Miss Solomon, did your mother never tell you about your conception? Who your father was?” he said gently.

“Yes, of course, his name was Michael and he was killed in a car crash a month before I was born. Mum didn’t really like to talk about him too much as it upset her, she really loved him.” Cathy was feeling overwhelmed and her eyes filled with tears.

“Oh dear” Mr Bloom took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose trying to relieve the tension that was building between his eyes. “Miss Solomon, I really don’t know how to tell you this but, under the circumstances, I have no choice. Your father was not named Michael. Your father was Sebastian Courtney. As a young man he was very wild; he was rich, famous and had been allowed to do as he pleased for years without reproach. Your mother worked as a waitress in a restaurant that he frequented and one night……” He hesitated, unsure how to continue “…he made a play for your mother and, when she rejected him, he raped her.” He was quiet for a moment, letting his words sink in.

“Oh God! I think I’m going to be sick!” Cathy fled from the room, her hand over her mouth. She was back 15 minutes later, ashamed, shocked; there were so many emotions on her face and her eyes were wet and smudged black where she’d been crying. She sat back down facing Mr Bloom and, in a leaden voice, said “I don’t want his money or his house Mr Bloom, let his wife have it. Is there something I can sign to waive my rights?”

The solicitor looked surprised and concerned but said “Miss Solomon, you really shouldn’t make a decision right now, take a few days to think about it.”

“I don’t need to take any more time Mr Bloom” Cathy said with perfect dignity “Tell me what to sign and then I’d like to leave please.”

Extracting a sheet of paper from the file, the solicitor handed it to Cathy. He passed her a pen and showed her when to sign her name. “If you can just initial there and put the date at the top, our business is concluded. I’m sorry to have brought you such grief Miss Solomon but I am afraid it’s my job.”

Cathy rose and shook his outstretched hand. “Please don’t concern yourself Mr Bloom, I understand and thank you.” She turned and quickly walked to the door, eager to leave the dark and dusty office and return to her friends and colleagues. She didn’t know yet if she would tell them what had happened but she knew that she didn’t want to be alone.

Mr Bloom waited until she’d left the room, closing the door behind her, before picking up the phone.

“Mrs Courtney, Bloom here. It’s done. Miss Solomon has waived all her rights.” He listened for a moment before replying “Yes, she fell for it. I told her that it was rape, she will never know that your husband carried a torch for her mother all these years and never got over her leaving him”. He listened once again and then said “Yes, Mrs Courtney, you will  now inherit the entire estate.”

They said their goodbyes and Bloom put the phone down before leaning back on his chair, smug in the knowledge that he’d really earned his £1 million fee.

Written in response to Fandango’s one word prompt

Lisa x

 

FOWC: Envy

The blackest of sins

Born from a desire

For another life

The blackest of sins

Born from a desire

For another life

Look over the fence

The grass is greener

The rose tint of glass

Distorts perspective

You see what you see

Yet without knowing

Money can’t buy love

Yet you yearn for it

Gucci and beauty

Camera flashes

Stark approbation

Shattered privacy

Sycophantic lies

Stalkers, accusers

Your life not your own

No freedom from press

Trapped by the trappings

Walk one mile in shoes

Not your own and know

A green eyed monster

Kills only his host.

Written in response to Fandango’s one word prompt.

Have a super Sunday one and all

Lisa x

FOWC: Release

Mark could feel the touch of leaves against his cheek as a slight breeze moved the frail branches of the bush that shielded him from view. His legs were beginning to cramp as there was a chill in the air and he’d been in the same position for quite some time but he daren’t move, she would be home soon.

Mark could feel the touch of leaves against his cheek as a slight breeze moved the frail branches of the bush that shielded him from view. His legs were beginning to cramp as there was a chill in the air and he’d been in the same position for quite some time but he daren’t move; she would be home soon. He’d been watching Sarah Adley for weeks, delighting in her animated face and her sensual body; he’d always known she was the one.

His patience was rewarded a few minutes later as he heard  a car door opening and Sarah’s laughter as she said something to the driver. A male voice replied and Mark couldn’t make out what was said but he could feel jealousy rising in his gut; Sarah was his and his alone. He changed his position very slightly, careful not to make a sound, so that he could watch her cross the road and skip along the path towards her front door. He could hear her high heels clicking and see the movement of her long skirt as it caressed her delectable thighs; Mark touched himself and felt the swell beneath his hand as he contemplated what was to come.

Sarah had paused with her hand on the control panel for the large gates that marked the entrance to the property. She turned her head, staring into the darkness, a frown on her beautiful face and Mark caught a glimpse of her long neck and the large, single diamond that nestled in the small dip just between her collar bones. How he longed to feel his hands there, to push his thumbs into that indentation and watch the life fade from her terrified eyes. His breathing quickened. There was fear on Sarah’s face now but she hadn’t moved other than to reach into her Hermes clutch bag; her hands were slim and her fingers long and Mark imagined them on his body, touching, clawing.

Mark could feel that he was losing control of his body as his erotic fantasy consumed him. He didn’t want it to be like this but to be so close to her and knowing what was going to happen was too much to bear. Another slight breeze brought her faint perfume to his nostrils and he felt the pure pleasure of sweet release, followed by a heat that ripped into his chest. He fell back onto the grass, lungs heaving and sweat pouring. The last thing he saw before oblivion took him was Sarah’s inviting smile.

“Mrs Adley, I can completely understand your actions, under the circumstances, but you must also appreciate our position” Detective Inspector Slater’s voice was stern “You do not have a carry permit for that gun”

“You’re right Inspector, I don’t” Sarah’s voice was soft and weary “But what was I supposed to do? He’d been stalking me for weeks, sending messages telling me how he was going to rape and strangle me. I’ve shown you the evidence, tell me, what else was I supposed to do?”

“Leave it to us!” Slater was losing patience, he hated it when members of the public took matters into their own hands.

“Leave it to you? Like last time you mean? I told you people that Mark raped me and what did you do? Nothing!” Unshed tears tightened Sarah’s throat and her voice became hoarse “Just because of his fame, his wealth and his insufferable bloody arrogance, I was attacked, hurt and humiliated and you people did nothing!”

Inspector Slater felt sorry for the woman as she put her head in her hands and gave way to quiet weeping but he had no choice; the law was the law and they couldn’t tolerate vigilantism.

“Mrs Adley, Mark is dead. You shot and killed an unarmed man.” Slater took a deep breath “Sarah Adley, you are under arrest for the murder of your ex-husband Mark Adley, you have the right to remain silent but, anything you do say, can and will be used in evidence against you. Do you understand?”

“No, I don’t understand Detective Inspector Slater, I really don’t understand”

Written in response to Fantastic Fandango’s one word prompt.

Lisa x

 

 

FOWC: Victim

Life transpires with hidden challenges 

Unforeseen, frequently unwelcome 

They test our fortitude, our courage 

Our desire to take another step 

Life transpires with hidden challenges

Unforeseen, frequently unwelcome

They test our fortitude, our courage

Our desire to take another step

Forward into  the predestined mire

We stumble and tumble, shattered glass

We take the knocks and devious blights

Oft blinded to, maybe, redemption

Woes hanging heavy in our psyche

And yet, always, there’s another road

Paved with fear and lined by doubt, no doubt

That leads to quietude, mind and soul

That road is for you, my worthy friend

Leave your troublesome burden behind

Divest yourself of that grim label

VICTIM.

This poem was written in response to the Famous Fandango’s one word prompt.

Have a great weekend everyone

Lisa x

 

 

FOWC: Hindsight

A cruel jest

Or a path to precious learning

A spiteful taunt

Or a route to ultimate peace

A cruel jest

Or a path to precious learning

A spiteful taunt

Or a route to ultimate peace

A mocking jibe

Or a comprehension of self

A cosmic joke

Or a recognition of error

A greener field

Or mastery of a pasture new

A life regret

Or subtly crafted momentum

This is hindsight

A curse or a gift? Up to you.

Written in response to another artful prompt from the fantastic Fandango.

Lisa x

 

FOWC: Forlorn

“OK Miss Bell, you can calm down now, the ambulance is on it’s way, you’ll be in the hospital very soon”

“Ttthhhannnkyou” the hapless Miss Bell sobbed and stuttered.

“OK Miss Bell, you can calm down now, the ambulance is on it’s way, you’ll be in the hospital very soon”

“Ttthhhannnkyou” the hapless Miss Bell sobbed and stuttered.

“It’s alright, hush now, you’re going to be fine” The young woman had been clinging to him like a limpet to a rock for the last 20 minutes and he was fast running out of platitudes. He wasn’t helped by the fact that he’d lost all feeling in his right arm where he’d been cradling her. He tried to shift his position slightly but she just tightened her grip, he sighed and tried to keep hold of  his fast dwindling patience.

“Miss Bell, please” The incessant sniveling was really beginning to get on his nerves.

“I…..I…….could….have…….died”

‘Oh, for heaven’s sake, how many times was she going to say that!’ He tried not to roll his eyes.

“Yes, I know but you didn’t. Miss Bell, honestly you’re going to be fine; look, here’s the ambulance now”

‘Thank God for that’ he thought as he eased Miss Bell up into standing, thereby relieving his aching muscles.

“Alright love, we’re here now, can someone tell me what happened please” The paramedic took calm control immediately.

“Um, well, Miss Bell had an encounter with a tiger..it was only a baby” he added hurriedly “There are notices everywhere warning the public not to enter the enclosure but she just………” He tailed off and look at the incredulous faces of the two paramedics.

“Miss Bell” one of them said “I have to ask, what on earth possessed you?”

“He……he….was..so…little and he….he…just…looked so…….forlorn, I wanted….to….hug….hiiiimmmmmmm” The last word turned into a pitiful wail and she threw herself into the arms of the paramedic.

A tiny tale written in response to Fandango’s one word prompt.

Lisa x

FOWC: Mitigate

“Mr Reid, are you ready to make your opening statement?”

Simon Reid took a deep breath and then put his hand to his head to make sure that his wig was on straight, this case was being televised and he was damned if he was going to be filmed looking anything less than completely professional especially as he was up against Marty Jackson.

“Mr Reid, are you ready to make your opening statement?”

Simon Reid took a deep breath and then put his hand to his head to make sure that his wig was on straight, this case was being televised and he was damned if he was going to be filmed looking anything less than completely professional especially as he was up against Marty Jackson. That man was like a Doberman, handsome, sleek and alert and Reid had always felt like a terrier next to him; excitable, snappy but canny in his own way. He would never have Jackson’s style and presence but he could fight with the best of them; he got to his feet.

“I am, thank you your honour. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the details of this case are complex in the extreme but at it’s root we have murder, plain and simple and it’s your job to determine whether the man before you in the dock is guilty. The prosecution will argue that John Durham is personally responsible for the deaths of over 200 men and women”

Reid paused for a moment, his lively blue eyes scanning the faces of the jury. As he had hoped, their look was one of universal shock. All details of this case had been kept away from the press until today and it played to his advantage; they were staring at the man in the dock in disbelief. John Durham was well known to them, with his chiseled good looks and startling green eyes he was the media’s darling and his mellifluous voice could charm even the most hardened journalists.

“Each of these deaths was pre-meditated, which is why this is a charge of murder and not manslaughter, and each and every one has left a grieving family who cannot understand why this man in the dock before you took the actions that he did. These families want justice and it is up to you, ladies and gentlemen, to give it to them. During this trial, you will be shown photos that you will no doubt find highly distressing, broken and ravaged bodies, burned beyond recognition; these are John Durham’s victims”

There was a sharp intake of breath from many in the courtroom that seemed to blow around it like an autumn wind; no-one spoke as the Judge had warned before the trial began that anyone creating a disturbance would be ejected. Reid paused in his rhetoric once again to let his words sink in and looked over at his opponent, Jackson, but he was giving nothing away, his expression unreadable, eyes facing front.

“The defense will try to convince you that one man  could not be responsible for all these murders and that his accomplices should be tried along with him but we will prove that the blood of these men and women has stained this man’s hands alone. It is John Durham who must suffer the consequences of his actions for it was he, and no other, who set this play in motion and he who must answer to the families of his victims”

Durham looked stunned as he listen to these words. He had been under public scrutiny for long enough that he could keep his head high but the tension was showing in the muscles of his jaw and his famous green eyes were dark and strained. His hand picked at a stray thread on his shirt, plucking at it over and over; even this small sign of stress was picked up by the hawk like cameramen who lined the back walls of the courtroom.

Reid gathered his robes beneath him and retook his seat, confident that his opening remarks had had the desired effect; everyone in the room, aside from the Judge and the other lawyers, was in a state of shock, unable to take in the enormity of what had been said.

“Mr Jackson, would you care to address the jury?” The Judge looked to the defense barrister to make his own opening statement.

Marty Jackson was a skilled orator and was known, to his peers, as a dangerous opponent. He never raised his voice and was never seen with a hair out of place but he could tear a witness to shreds in minutes so that they were tripping over their own words and doubting their recollections. However, this was different. This was not a man accused of murder, this was a celebrity accused of multiple murders and there was only one way he could begin if he were going to undo the damage caused by Reid’s opening remarks. He rose and turned to face the jury.

“John Durham is the Prime Minister of Great Britain, he is the man that the over-whelming majority of you voted for” Jackson watched as they shuffled in their seats like children caught in the act of doing something naughty, feeling the seed of guilt by association that he’d strategically planted.

“We are a country at war” he continued “and John Durham….”

“No, Mr Jackson, I’m going to stop you right there” The Judge’s voice rang out clearly across the courtroom

“Your honour, with respect, this is most improper” Jackson was shocked and glanced across at Reid who also had a look of disbelief on his face; a Judge interrupting opening statements was unheard of.

“I realise that Mr Jackson but this country has been in a state of war for almost 50 years now because, historically, a collective, a Government, cannot be held responsible for the death of its soldiers when in combat. However, there is always only one deciding mind, one man or woman who will give the order to fight and, in this case it was John Durham. I’m sorry Mr Jackson but, in this case, there will be no mitigation, your client is to be tried for murder……”

Written in response to the fantastic one word prompt from Fandango, albeit delivered a little late..

Lisa x

FOWC: Avid

“Mr Stevens, can you please tell me where you were on the night of the 17th?” DI Manning did not like the man sitting in front of him and he was having a hard time disguising the fact. Cole Stevens had a fleshy face, bulbous nose and slack wet lips, added to which his personal hygiene left more than a little to be desired.

“Mr Stevens, can you please tell me where you were on the night of the 17th?” DI Manning did not like the man sitting in front of him and he was having a hard time disguising the fact. Cole Stevens had a fleshy face, bulbous nose and slack wet lips, added to which his personal hygiene left more than a little to be desired.

“I told you already” Stevens’ voice was wheedling and childish “I was at home with Mother; we had fishfingers, chips and beans for dinner, I remember because it’s my favourite, and then we watched a film” All this was said with a wide eyed, seemingly genuine innocence that, with any other suspect, Manning may have accepted but there was something off here. Stevens hands were in his lap, his manner was non-aggressive, he was obviously making efforts to be friendly but there was something repellent about him.

“Your Mother will confirm this if we question her will she?” Manning had, in fact, already spoken to Mrs Stevens and she had confirmed that her son was at home with her on the night in question; he could see where Cole had got his good looks and charm, the woman was an absolute harridan. She’d berated Manning for several minutes for having the audacity to arrest her beloved son, confirmed his story with a curt ‘yes’ and then slammed the phone down.

“Of course she will, Mother would never lie and she brought me up the same way, I promise you Inspector, we were together, at home; a cozy little twosome” Steven’s let out a little giggle, no doubt at his own pathetic attempt at wit.

“And yet one of your neighbours reported seeing you leave the house that night and said that you didn’t return for..” he checked his notes “almost 2 hours. Are you telling me that she’s lying Mr Stevens?”

“Well I did put the cat out at around 7.30pm, just before we had our dinner but then that was it for the night. I went back inside and Mother and I got comfortable in front of the telly. Maybe, Maureen, I assume it was Maureen, heard me open and close the door and just assumed I’d gone out” Steven’s ugly face was open and he was smiling slightly, obviously trying to ingratiate himself with the detective.

It had indeed been Maureen Fisher who’d given them the information, she was a known busybody and not very popular in her neighbourhood as, not only did she spy on everyone, she was also a notorious gossip.

“Do you know Detective” Stevens was leaning forward and saying to Manning, in hushed, conspiratorial tones “that woman caused the break up of the Beckett’s marriage. She told Sally that she’d seen her husband kissing another woman. I never knew if it was true but I could see that she took great pleasure in telling that little story, I can tell you. I try to be friends with everyone, as does Mother, but we both struggle with Maureen”

Manning was aware of Maureen’s reputation and, under normal circumstances he’d take any information she had to offer with a pinch of salt but there was something about this man in front of him…..he wanted to believe that he was guilty.

‘Damn’ he thought to himself ‘I can’t afford to lose objectivity here. Am I targeting this guy because he looks like such a creep?’

Stevens had no real record except for an incident 3 years previously when he’d been accused of abducting a child. That and the neighbour’s testimony had been enough for Manning to warrant questioning him. The notes showed that he’d protested his innocence, saying that he’d found the boy wandering alone in the Supermarket and was taking him to the police station when he’d been stopped by a suspicious security guard. The young lad had been crying for his Mum and did not look as though he was with Stevens willingly. However, the Mother admitted that she’d taken her eyes off the little boy while she was sorting out her other two kids, no harm was done and the case was dropped.

“How do you explain that the witness saw you re-entering your property at 10.30pm that night? This wasn’t a case of hearing a door open or close, she actually saw you and she said that you were carrying something”.

Stevens’ eyes flickered for a brief moment but the look had passed before Manning had any time to really register it

“I am sure I don’t know Detective, perhaps it was another night? I did collect some dry cleaning from the late night place in Rossamund Street on the Thursday, maybe that’s what she saw. She does like a tipple or two in the evening our Maureen, it wouldn’t surprise me if she’d got her dates confused” He rolled his eyes and motioned with his hand to indicate having a drink. It was another childish action and Manning wondered at the man’s intellectual capacity, he didn’t seem stupid but then he didn’t seem the full ticket either.

Manning knew that he had no real cause to keep Stevens in custody but he felt sure that he was hiding something and wanted to interview him further. He leaned forward, thinking about how to frame his next question.

“Guv!” The door had flown open and Sergeant Greaves entered at a run. He stopped alongside his boss and whispered in his ear

“There’s been another one Guv, 5 year old girl, missing since last night” the words were spoken urgently and with the desperate energy of a man who’d delivered bad news such as this more than once.

Manning shot up, almost knocking over his chair in his haste

“Stevens, you can go but I might be wanting to speak to you again, do you understand?”

“Yes Detective, of course, it would be a pleasure” those flabby, fleshy lips curled into a smile

‘Urgh!’ Manning thought to himself as he followed his Sergeant out of the room and motioned for a WPC to escort Stevens out of the building.

“Thanks dearie” said Cole as he turned up his collar and walked in the direction of the nearest bus stop.

‘Mother will be pleased to see me back’ he thought ‘she’ll need some help down in the cellar now. It will be such a nuisance moving all those sweet little teddies’ that’s what Mother had always called them, ‘teddies’, she’d taught him so much over the years and he really did love her dearly. ‘I’ll have to do something about Maureen though’ he thought ‘such a nosy woman!’ He’d been so careful to be quiet that night but she’d obviously seen him coming back in.

He hadn’t really wanted to go out but Mother had made his favourite dinner and she’d been so insistent that he find her another little teddy, she’d always been such an avid collector and it was nice for them to have something to do together. He sighed. He felt sorry for his Mother in some ways, she’d never been quite the same since the accident with his little brother, poor Teddy, he missed him………

After a short absence, Fandango has hooked me with another of his one word prompts

Lisa x

 

 

FOWC: Stymie

“Are you sure that you want to go ahead with this John?” He was not normally one to shy away from difficult cases but he had deep reservations about this one.

“We’ve already discussed this ad nauseam Peter, I’ve made my position very clear and I have no intention of deviating from it” He didn’t even look up from his paperwork, his very body language left Peter in no doubt that he was being dismissed.

“Are you sure that you want to go ahead with this John?” He was not normally one to shy away from difficult cases but he had deep reservations about this one.

“We’ve already discussed this ad nauseam Peter, I’ve made my position very clear and I have no intention of deviating from it” He didn’t even look up from his paperwork, his very body language left Peter in no doubt that he was being dismissed.

“You do realise that, should we win, a very dangerous legal precedent will have been set?” Peter was loathe to arouse the wrath of this powerful man but he could not, in all conscience, let him continue on this path without a last ditch effort to change his mind. He was not even granted the courtesy of a response and so left the office with a heavy heart and a wish that he would not have to be the one to take this case to court.

“Do you deny, Mr Senator, that you had regular meetings with a member of the banned political group Action Against Atrocities” John felt that his opening was strong; to link the senator with known political activists would turn the jury against him from the start. He doubted that any of them understood the group’s manifesto or their political intentions, it was enough that the Government had handed forth a ban against membership. He wondered afresh at the political naivety of the majority of his country’s citizens….

“The ‘member’ you refer to counselor is my daughter and so, to answer your question, yes I had regular ‘meetings’ with her. If you have children, sir, I have no doubt that you have regular ‘meetings’ with them too” His sarcasm and hostility was not lost on the jury but Peter did notice that one or two were looking at him with something close to sympathy.

“Be that as it may Senator, you were aware that she was a member of Action Against Atrocities were you not?”

“For Christ’s sake, the girl is 19 years old, she’s passionate but naive and, like many kids of her age, she wants to change the World, she didn’t know what she was getting into and being a member of this group was not made illegal until 6 months after she joined” The man’s frustration was obvious, he knew that he was trapped in a situation not of his own making but how could he condemn or deny his own daughter; his only recourse was to fight back.

“No, I doubt that she did know but you did, didn’t you Senator? You knew that this group of activists was causing trouble for the Government with their hacks and their threats of action against the military. You knew that they were labeled a banned organisation after their attempts to free dangerous political prisoners from Guantanamo. You knew Senator” Peter could feel the jury stirring and knew that his use of the phrase ‘dangerous political prisoners’ would be enough for most of them to lose any lingering sympathy for the Senator.

“Oh Jesus” the man in the dock put his head back and stared at the ceiling, maybe trying to hold back tears or maybe just looking for divine inspiration.

“You knew, didn’t you?” Peter pressed him once again and waited patiently, like a snake for his response.

“Do you know who those men were that they tried to release?” the Senator’s voice was strong now, defiant and he half rose from his seat

“Sit down Senator” The judge spoke harshly from the bench, he had not wanted to be part of this trial and was determined it would be over as quickly as possible.

“They were innocent. They were men who had family in the Middle East and who visited them when they could, when they’d amassed enough money for the plane ticket home. They worked two or three jobs just so that they could go back and be with their families but, because their loved ones lived in towns that harbored suspected terrorists, and their travel records showed more than 2 visits in one year to those towns they were arrested and sent to Guantanamo. They have been there for almost 18 months with no explanation and no prosecution, they are merely suspects whose only crime was to want to see their families. They are subject to appalling conditions and treatment and..”

“Stop! That’s enough Senator, this is not a political platform and I will ask you to please restrain yourself and answer the questions that you have been asked by Counsel”

Peter smiled a mirthless smile and repeated his question

“Senator, did you have regular contact with a member of the banned organisation Action Against Atrocities?”

“Yes” Utterly defeated, weary, the man, father, senator slumped down in his chair and lowered his eyes.

On the day of the verdict John was in Court, he did not sit beside Peter but at the back close to the huge double doors. He was wearing a hat pulled down over his eyes and was, uncommonly, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. Peter wondered if this ‘disguise’ would be enough to fool the waiting press but he doubted that his patron even cared.

“Members of the jury, have you reached a verdict upon which you are all agreed?”

A middle aged woman stood up, her hands shaking slightly, nervous at being the centre of so much attention

“We have. We find the defendant guilty as charged” the words came out in a rush and the woman was grateful to retake her seat

“Senator McBride, you have been found guilty of treason against the Government and you will be remanded in custody until sentence is passed 14 days from today. Take him away” The Senator’s legs buckled as his was led back to the cells in handcuffs; he realised that all hope was lost, for him and for his beloved daughter.

“Well done Peter, you broke him” John was smoking a fat cigar and looking approvingly at the younger man standing before him.

“He as good as admitted that he is against this Government and our great nation and he deserves what’s coming to him” He lowered his substantial buttocks into a black leather chair and puffed away, deeply satisfied with himself.

“John, you cannot possibly mean to continue with this? You’ve won, your running mate for the Presidential candidacy is out of the race, he’s finished and the road is clear for you. In a few months time you will be President, you will have it all!” Peter was beginning to fear that the man before him was losing his sanity to political ambition.

“You know that the underdog sometimes wins Peter; the public loves an underdog”

“John, he cannot come back from this!” He was, against his better judgement, raising his voice and his patience wearing thin.

“Peter, you are a lawyer so, you tell me, is treason a Capital crime or not”

“Yes but..” he stopped abruptly as his future President fixed him with stare that was vicious and feral

“Yes. Peter, there are no buts, Senator McBride has been found guilty of treason and he will be sentenced to death in 13 days time; this man tried to stymie my political ambitions and he failed; don’t you make the same mistake”

 

This longer that usual tale was written in response to another super prompt from the lovely Fandango

Lisa x