Untitled:Chapter 1

    Seated quietly to the left of my lawyers, I watch as the pouring rain tap-dances frantically against the windows of the crowded courtroom.  A stunning, bright white flash of lighting strikes with a powerful, angry explosion.  Its brilliance agitates me as the bolt’s sharp jagged path tears through the downcast morning sky in an instant.  Cutting the firmament unevenly apart, the surge of energy illuminates the cloudy grayish heavens, producing thoughts of a probable verdict; a verdict from a jury that society has deemed to be my peers.  Immediately following the magnificent burst of electricity, I hear a deafening crash of thunder rolling over throughout the sky. Its hypnotic rhythm echoes off into the distance, creating a cadence that resonates outward to the rest of the known world.
    What a dreary day for a multiple-murder trial.
    I'm forced to take a drink of water from the half-full glass in front of me.  For some reason, being on trial for murder makes a person thirsty.  However, it isn't really the thirst that needs quenched.  It's the anticipation of the jury's return that needs to be sated.  I'm fidgety.  I feel a compulsion to do something as I wait.  As much as I'd like to be somwhere else right now, I'll have to settle for drinking water.
    I look off to my right at the twelve empty, black leather upholstered chairs.
    They look far more comfortable than my own.
    The courtroom itself has recently been constructed with a toasted oak paneling and furniture throughout, attempting to provide a sense of opulence and raison d'être. 
Each of the walls and ceiling are painted in a pearl white gloss, making the room appear completely sterilized for an unbiased judgment. Two American flags, each flanking the judge’s chair, are only present as a formality of patriotic nationalism. The carpet is clean, flawless, and colored a powdery, pastel-blue for an aesthetic effect.  The entire scene represents a promise of truth and justice for all.
     Hopefully, justice will prevail and keep its promise.
    Another bolt of electric magnificence strikes the earth.  Its strength sends an excruciating sensation down my spine.  The storm selfishly continues to rage on outside as I sit here awaiting others to decide my fate.  How inconsiderate of Mother Nature.  At least there aren't as many protestors outside today.  When the trial first started, the crowd was constantly chanting in an uproar, both for and against the death penalty.  The mass of people reached a decibel level that would make any heavy metal band in concert feel ashamed.  Everyday, each group would thrust their makeshift signs into the air, proclaiming the correct way to punish the rest of the world.  Lifting their signs in unison and screaming at people walking to and from of the court house; both sides did their best to shout louder than the other.  The judge ordered the mob be held back an additional two-hundred feet from the court house steps because of the disturbance caused by the multitude of do-gooders.  The rainstorm took care of the rest.
    Not Guilty.
    A verdict hasn't even been reached, yet people have already decided on the sentence I should receive.
    Not Death.
    There isn't a person who screams that I'm actually innocent. 
    When you're on trial for murder, whether you're guilty or not, you have to be mindful of those around you, especially of the jurors.  If you don't act precisely right, it's almost an admission of guilt, at least, that's how the jury will perceive things.  Their perception decides your reality.  You're the one in the spotlight, and if you're innocent, then everyone expects you to perform.  If you make one wrong move, everyone notices.  The eyes of the world are upon you, and they want their monies worth.  No one else is being scrutinized under the public microscope.  They can do whatever they wish to do.  You're the one who has to convince them that you're innocent.  You're guilty until proven innocent.
    Everyone else can do as they please.
    No one thinks about their own actions.
    No one points out the faults of others within the courtroom. 
    You alone decide your fate by your actions.  
he friends and families of the victims are crammed into the courtroom, uncomfortably seated in the long wooden pews like an over-stuffed clown car at the circus.  The assembly looks more like a church congregation than a group of people seeking justice.  Everyone seems bored.  There's the kid in the second row busy punishing his thumbs, enthusiastically smashing the buttons on his phone text messaging his friends.  He's probably bragging that he has front row seats to the biggest trial of the year.  A few of the women sob out loud and cry on the shoulders of their significant others, but only when the judge and jury are there to witness it.  The pretty brunette in the fifth row is occupied reading a romance novel, waiting for the jury to end its deliberation so she can continue crying harder than anyone else at the trial.  Relaxing directly behind the prosecutors, a partially bald man in an overly-expensive designer suit gives himself an unnecessary manicure.  Each and every day of the trial, the man spends time obsessing over his personal deterioration; suffocating in his own vanity.  It doesn't seem like anyone is thinking of the victims at all.  Most of the people here are looking to get their fifteen minutes of fame, showing an overflow of concern and emotion for people they often neglected in the past.  They are the ones who are putting on a show.  Ironically, my performance is the only one that counts.
    Donald Howard and Angela Colvin are the biggest frauds in the room.  They also happen to be my lawyers.  Big Don Juan and the Lisp are the ones who are really representing me in this case.  I tend to give people nicknames; it's a habit of mine.  People appear genuine to me once I've given them a nickname.  I choose whatever name is fitting for the person at the time, or what is most memorable about the person for my own associative purposes.  It puts people into perspective for me; a perspective I can relate them to, because I hardly ever relate to the person the way they portray themselves.
    Big Don Juan sits next to me, endlessly tapping his custom-made pen to pass the time.  An overweight, middle-aged man who wears a pinky-ring on his right hand; he's one of those guys who believe all the women of the world love him.  Strippers and escorts looking to have money and luxuries thrown their way are the only women who pay attention to a man like him: a real ladies man.
    The Lisp got her nickname for just that reason: she lisps.  No matter what she says, it's her inability to speak that stands out as her identifying characteristic.  With no personality the petite woman with straight light-brown hair at shoulder length is devoid of all humanity.  Her career is her life.  Always trying to prove to others that she's intelligent and well-educated, she highlights her insecurities.  The Lisp is an attractive woman, but lives in constant fear of what other people think of her, and so, her speech impediment is what defines her.
    The dynamic duo promised to exhaust all their efforts to ensure I received a fair trial with a verdict of not guilty.  Once the first negotiations with the prosecutors were over, Big Don Juan and the Lisp had a drastic change of heart.  Whether I was guilty or not, it didn't matter to them.  Both my lawyers advised me to accept the offer from the prosecution.
    Life without the possibility of parole.
    "I'm innocent," I told them, refusing to take the deal.
    "But the evidence against you is overwhelming," they both insisted.
    "Yes, but I'm innocent, " I reiterated.
    "If you don't take the plea bargain, the prosecution made it very clear; they will seek the death penalty," my lawyers protested, praying for a change of attitude.
    "Only guilty people plea bargain," I answered back.
    Only the innocent suffer.
    The meeting that followed was more like an interrogation.  Neither of my lawyers believed I was innocent.  They pretended that they were looking out for my best interests, but it was obvious the meeting was all about preserving their own careers.  Job security was what they were fighting for, not my independence.  My lawyers proceeded to defend me with the ferocity of an oscillating fan on the lowest setting; hopeful I would fold under pressure and eventually negotiate with the prosecutors.  Big Don Juan and the Lisp never imagined the trial would go the distance. My defense was begging for me to spontaneously combust.  Now, we both await the jury to return with a verdict, both for different reasons, both expecting a significantly different outcome.  
    How's that for justice?
    Once again, my attention is drawn to the storm waging its war outside the court house.  As the lightning slams into the ground, it sets me on edge.  The light blue tint surrounding the streaking burst of hot-white electricity captivates me.  It's almost as if the lightning is taunting me, causing my teeth to grind in anticipation of what's to come.  This is torture.  I can barely watch the powerful expressions of nature.  It's too difficult to see such a remarkably violent demonstration, but at the same time, I cannot bring myself to look away from the formidable bolts of energy.  Under the current circumstances, who could blame me?
    The thunder increases in its tempo as the storm approaches; beating like a kettle-drum and closing the lengthy appearance of the next lightning strike.  My jaws clench shut as I tightly close my fists around the fabric covering my thighs.  I can hardly breathe.  The lightning pushes its way through the clouds with a defiant blow into the world.  I try to relax the muscles of my body, but they are as tight as a piano string.  I'm on the verge of madness when I hear a door begin to open.
    A tall black man in uniform enters the court room, shutting the large oak door next to the jury's box behind him.  Before my mind can release the insanity, the man stands tall at the position of attention and alleviates my frustration in two words.
    "All rise."



shakatoah   shakatoah wrote
on 2/18/2009 8:03:34 PM
I look forward to reading more too! It's also a treat to read a writer who has such a keen grasp of the basics of writing - your grammar and spelling are impeccable and I think Lauramira might be referring to 'adverbs', not verbs...sorry if I'm wrong, Laura. Adverbs are currently out of fashion, they tell me, so I try to keep my work sparsely sprinkled with them. Also, I think it would be great for you to begin your story about here....' Big Don Juan sits next to me, endlessly tapping his custom-made pen to pass the time.' It's a trick I've learned over the years. As writers we often tend to set the scene and lead into the story but the audience wants to get right in there with the action. That's why a good 'hook' is so important to open your story. Many best selling authors go back to their first chapter and simply cut out the first few paragraphs; finding a more interesting beginning further down the page. The details of the storm and the people in the courtroom could be spliced into the story as you go. Hope you don't mind the suggestion...and please keep going! I'm enjoying this ... and want to know the outcome. :)

penname   penname wrote
on 2/17/2009 11:14:52 PM
the content superb and some good images. this is truly unique and caught my attention and kept it...yes, waiting anxiously for more

Jeremiah P   Jeremiah P wrote
on 2/14/2008 10:10:33 PM
I look forward to reading more.

lauramira   lauramira wrote
on 2/14/2008 9:34:04 AM
It's pretty good. You might get a little carried away with your verbs at times, but an interesting piece altogether.

Novel / Novella
writing albertfiger
Muffins are just ugly cupcakes!!!
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