HEALTHY MIND, CRIMINAL BODY
Exactly 7:30 A.M. the huge feature of San Bernardino County Municipal Court Judge Kopp Hertzberg strolled along past the alarming door system, howled a dry "morning" to the Black Private Security Officer Javier, crossed the empty long hall, and stopped breathless in front of the Express Elevator and pressed the button.
Noisily, the elevator doors opened and his three-hundred pounds 63-year-old body stepped in. His old leather -gift from his only child Sonya H. Sotomayor, dated July 23rd, 1990 -- tossed inelegantly under the beefy right arm and straightened up. He was interesting now to read the long-standing rule of "judgment to the righteous acceptability" with a better system.
But there was in front of his eyes those signals: graffiti; anti-English words that made him harder to accommodate his thoughts, trying to understand what that mean. There was also a massive of blue inks, sticking gums on the wall of the elevator, a half-heart with a 1900-Love number arrayed across it; N-attached below; then power white with Pigs -- now reversed itself and struck it down and whatever who wrote those -- he noticed that he or she couldn't spell the word PIGS right.
Abruptly the elevator stopped made him to hold himself again the wall. With such impact, he shook his head while he tried to remove a bubble gum from his right finger. He pressed the finger back and forth against the wall. Finally the bubble stretched itself like a snake and still along the wall.
He stepped out of the elevator and his old classic shoes with double bracelets to hold them echoing through the corridor. It was quite, nice; the air conditioning was off; but he could still feeling the morning.
It was the challenge of this sport he liked most. It was the danger, the excitement, the handy canoe he loved so much. He had a dream; and after he had finished his political science at California State University, then Long Beach, and attended Hasting College of the Law -- he was sure now no one couldn't stop him. He was radiant, an outdoor man; and he was ready to change the world around.
He was slim, arrogant. Wearing distinctive English doubled-suits; his hair short, combed, and like a modern fossil landscape that had long since among layers and layers, the young Hertzberg moved to San Bernardino County, rented a two-bedroom apartment in Rialto and called his High School sweetheart Helen B. Rodriguez and proposed her marriage.
Two weeks later, they married at St. Israel Church in Glendale and three years later she had given him his only child: A little girl named Veronica. After all love and medical expensive and medicine, Helen Rodriguez-Hertzberg, his sweetheart, after they had diagnosed her with terminal lung cancer, passed away in August 19th, seven years and three weeks and ten days of their anniversary.
He had looked himself at the mirror in that time and it was the end of his life. All his energy had been put on his second passion --judging. Little by little, he had begun to isolated himself from the public's view --away from woman, club, and cigarette -- and stuffed himself by the high cases. He had accepted the challenge. And more than 30,419 cases had been crossing in front of him so far. None, however, of them had been rejected.
Now he saw himself as a player, a hero. Through the years that distinction had gone. It had emerged a ditch. He became physical against it. He was long-standing rule -- the old school, "The old man with the old leather suitcase and the double bracelets shoes", they said.
Whether the interest was the rocky value being an American, or whether was the eye to dare to recognize constitutionally what was cognizable or not, Kopp Hertzberg was a racer, a philosopher.
His land seemed to go out of hand, he thought. And he saw the numbers impressive, too. 17.9 percent and seven overall categories of crime -- including Judge Hertzeberg continued thinking -- homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, vehicle theft, and computer internet-virus browser. And increase with a speed of appealability and peremptory peril.
"It scared", he said himself.
He had never seen anything like it. Would he turn his eyes out of this as had done many he know? Would it be the time to enjoy the Retirement Club and hold himself in front of the Rock Cottage Lakes in any Caribbean islands, fishing or dreaming as a canoe man? Kopp Hertzberg was thrilled. But he was sure he couldn't do that. Escaping to a country he didn't have any idea where he would stand. This was his land and here he would stay. There were too many things to do, anyway.
The man himself had changed through these years. His clothes were clear but old, they did not match either; a long brown sport jacket twenty year younger, and his colorfully odd tie, was loosen. A white collar, we presume, a white shirt, and now deteriorate into a floral backdrop with long layers, and his trousers seemed it's blue or gray, tightly around his voluminous waist and made a perfect choice of laughing or disgusting human being.
Whereas Kopp Hertzberg found it difficult to believe that the day was a point of view, he didn't understand the graveyard and the deathlike of courtroom. Yet he believed it had the same structures of survivor.
Now it appears unlikely Lawyer Romero would go along with beggar table trick for 10 years and a slight federal term. Kopp, the rebuilder or the sucker rock, he would not go with Lawyer Romero's demands and he would not care what Orange County firm would change him for the 50 years as a sucker rock, son-of-the-bitch Democrat. "We must pay the promise," he had said his thoughts, leaning back on the big chair during a follow-up court appear week's Democratic National Convention he had attended the last year in San Diego to deliver a dozen demands the Old Rules against justice.
At this instance he understood it would be him or them -- who had begun to dominate local eyebrow toward his persona.
When he opened the door of his office, he turned on the light and began to prepare coffee. He took a San Fernando Fountain bottle of water out of the small GT refrigerator and filled the coffee pot.
Heavily, Kopp walked to the desk -- neat and arranged by numbers - and put neatly the old leather suitcase on upper left of the desk; then took out 45 cards and put them on the upper right.
The coffee pot began to bubble. Soon the aroma of Columbia coffee filled the room and smelled. He brought out a large mud with a name on it: DEAR BIG DAD and filled it. He walked around the desk and squeezed the chair down with stunned force.
He flipped the leather lap and took out a homemade sandwich with slimmer ham and Swiss cheese and a Washington red apple. He wrapped the sandwich and began to eat. At the same time he stretched his arm and picked up from the Lakes-Take-Me pencil holder a pen. And then opened a file with a name on it: JOHN X, and opened on page 28, Exhibition C5, and wrote his final thoughts.
By 8:00, her daughter from her downtown office called. He glanced at the watch in front of him and lifted the phone.
"I called you to know how are you doing."
"I'm fine. And you?"
"I'm fine, Daddy. Lunch?"
"Next week, I guess."
"I won't promise it."
"All right. Three weeks from now, I believe."
"I love you, Daddy."
"I love you, too."
The communication ended.
A quarter past nine, her secretary, a brown-haired woman, entered.
"Good morning, Mr. Herztberg."
"Open the windows?"
He studied him; then moved to the Out/In Basket. She picked up some documents and walked to her spot outside his office.
The few minutes he went into a thinking mode, leaning back, straightened up his ample shoulders and then his neck. When he finally made it a natural position, I saw shadows on his hall.
He tried shut to his imagination and not to think about them; but he kept thinking it was the time.
Exactly 8:17, the door opened. Mrs. Cuca stepped in, while he recognized the old Raphael Simon. He nodded to the clerk.
With a spunky jump, he got up behind the desk and moved toward the door. Mrs. Cuca already had his black robe and gave it to him. He took it and put it on.
And suddenly all his personality of Kopp Hertzberg changed dramatically.
By the time he got around them much he thought he wouldn't make it through Lawyer Romero. With this holding inside him, he rounded back, then toward the courtroom's door.
It was 8:30 A.M.
"This court is section..."
"Your Honor, may I approach?"
"Your Honor, we must consider it."
"You and I have a different mountain climber," Kopp said as he stared at Mr. Romero's eyes. "This is the heavier one. That one, is the hardest. So both know which road he will take."
Lawyer Romero turned his slightly eyes to the table. He took a glimpse on John X., the took at Kopp.
"But, Your Honor," Mr. Romero said, "I accept the responsibility. What more the system ask for?"
"Punishment," he said coldly. "Three years old, Mr. Romero, he raped three years old girl for more than seventeen hours. And I don't use public domains here. And second of all, I'm not usually left out of important rule decision. He will go back and finish his 110 years."
"WHAT?" John X's hand splashed against the table. "You fat! What the hell you think I suppose to do back here? I've done my time!"
"Control your client, Mr. Romero. I'm still have the power kick him higher!"
But John X, who cared about seeing a fat boy there and a greedy, expensive lawyer, jumped ahead.
The deputies spread off. John X threw chairs and moved around the courtroom.
The deputies fallen; voices began to rebound, which it was getting louder and louder.
John X did not have intention to escape. He just wanted to kill this fat, ugly son of the bitch and his lawyer.
Lawyer Romero, inconvenient, was looking for a place to hide himself.
Two gunshots were heard. Just as John X's grasped Kopp Hertzberg's black robe. His fingers slipped loosen and brought with them a piece of fabric.
Slowly he walked back and told Kopp with his eyes open, "Why didn't you kill me?"
The bulky body of Judge Hertzberg rose. He was arranging his words carefully in his head and then said indifferently, "I'm here to judge what you have done, Mr. X., not to kill. Only what I want is that you pay what you have done to that little girl." He stepped aside and walked to the door and before he opened it, he turned. "By the way, I've added forty-two years more."
One deputy hurried to open the door for him, but Kopp Hertzherg fulminated him with electrify look. "No bother, Mr. Wheeler! Just take this garbage out of my court."
He pulled it opened and came into his chamber. He walked to his desk and took a seat behind the wooden desk.
He lifted his pen and wrote a quick signature on John X's file and put it into Out/Basket.
The door opened. A frightened Mr. Cuca dashed in.
"I haven't been in the new office more than a minute when the news struck all of us, Mr. Hertzberg," she said. "Oh my God! Are you all right?"
"Please, Margaret," he said without rising any muscle of his face. "Would you retrieve the files of Ernie Mesa and Walter Lump, please?"
"But sir --" she interrupted herself. The replanted smile, cold, shuttering across his face. "Sorry, sir --"
"And close the door."
"I always done this."
"From outside, I mean, Mrs. Cuca," he said. "I don't want to be disturbed now."
She found time to look at him. He nodded quietly to her. She drawn a grin as she turned and walked out.
When she came back with the files, she began to say that there were people from CRTA and from San Bernardino Police wanted to see him.
"Nothing in this world could change me what I did," he said almost inaudible, as if he were speaking to himself.
"Oh thank you," he said. "Tell them I have court at 11:30."
He took the files and put them in front of him. Casually he opened at random one of the cases. The first thing he noticed about this particular one was the accessibility and the lack of brutality. But it was the beauty of it: aggravate assault. Also, everything was neat. He understood no matter what it mumbled, he could not be muzzled by it.
Later, when I got up behind the desk, it was 9:30 in the evening. He moved around, closed the blinds, took the 45 cards with SUGGESTION & QUESTIONS and the names of the lawyers.
He picked up his leather and walked to the door.
He turned off the light of the office and stepped onto the corridor. Two or three janitors were seen cleaning and taking the trashes from offices.
He pressed the elevator. A few minutes, it arrived and moved in.
In the lobby, the elevator opened as Kopp stepped out and began to moved toward the hall.
When he stepped out of the building -- all was dark and quiet -- he looked like he had a long way to go. Almost as far as himself.
He took a deep breath and began to walk to the Van Carpool, which it was parked one of the Handicap Spots.
He opened the van door and climbed in. "Good evening, Mr. Hertzberg."
The van backed off, cruised around, merged into the quieted traffic and headed to Rialto home street.
Above, somewhere, a star fallen to the sea.