A Court Case and The Sideburners

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
An unsuccessful, misfit lawyer remains clueless as adventure happens around her.

A criminal and the judge for his case must work together to fight against a dark force.

Submitted: December 17, 2015

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Submitted: December 17, 2015

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Meet Miss Natalia Neet. A lumpy, mousy spinster of twenty eight years with stringy hair and a Scrunchie that more often adorns her wrist than her hair. Today, Miss Natalia is defending a wacky Australian man in court. Inexplicably, he’d rather be referred to as English.

His name is Mr. Williams.

They stand opposite of a judge in a courtroom with clean white floors and old wood furniture. There is one large window behind the judge, but the shades are pulled down cast shadows across the room. Miss Natalia finds it creepy when she gets to the courtroom early and is all alone.

“Astonishingly awful! I do say. The proper defense would be a solemn, he is not guilty, I do say, your honor,” Mr. Williams says, “Not all this mumbo jumbo about cultural differences and mental breakdowns! Awful. Just… awful.”

Miss Neet is attempting to defend Mr. Williams against his alleged disrobing in the town’s farmers market. Thing is, lots of people have phones and they will use them to record people like Mr. Williams.  Mr. Williams is most definitely guilty. His nudes can also be found on the internet.

“Perhaps,” Miss Natalia posits, “there was something in the water?”

Mr. Williams sighs deeply. Miss Neet is not necessarily the best lawyer.

The judge, Judge Macke, is not far behind. She hunches forward over her desk, glasses shoved far down the bridge of her nose. “Miss Neet,” she says, “is this a joke to you?”

“Of course not, your honor! I was merely questioning the validity of this accusation of public indecency against my client. Mr. Williams, as you know, is from…” It is at this point that Miss Natalia leans forward. Her right hand cups her mouth from Mr. Williams’s view. From behind this impenetrable barrier, she whispers, “Australia.”

Miss Natalia straightens up and continues. “This side of the world is a whole ‘nother place as far as the man is concerned. The water might just have made him lose his mind. Their water is a fair shake different than the water in our toxic wastelands over here. But maybe it’s the fast food. Did you know that most all of it is bad for you?”

Understand Judge Macke.

She has worked hard to get where she is. An uphill battle wrought with sexism and racism had met her every turn in her early career. When Wunderman’s & Sons mistook her for a maid three days in a row, she quit and applied to work at the starter firm, Good Lawyers. When jokes were made about young attorney Macke mackin’ on Mr. Winston, her boss, she bid her time until she had enough dirt on them, and then insulted the jokesters until they went crying to their mommas. In short, Judge Macke has paved the way for the smart, competent, attentive women working in this region’s legal system.

And then there’s Miss Natalia Neet.

“Miss Neet, I’ve had enough. This case is being put on hold for the day and will continue two days from now. Please come back with some actual facts. If I hear a single utterance about fast food or water, I’ll have Bailiff Stu escort you out of the court room and into the loving arms of our notoriously chilly detention center.”

Judge Macke bangs her gavel. The prosecutor, who knew not to even bother trying to do his job when Judge Macke and Miss Neet are involved, startles awake from his slumber just in time for a victory lunch. Miss Natalia will look downcast for the rest of the day.

“Just awful!” Mr. Williams says.

#

Miss Natalia sets out to investigate. Never mind using questionable academic papers that argue against the FDA and other bad things or poorly spoken expert witnesses. She is going to the farmers market.

“Sometimes, I wonder why I ever became a lawyer,” she can’t help but mutter to whoever cares to listen.

The crowd, hustling and bustling, seems almost to agree with poor Miss Natalia. The moment she steps into the crowd, she is doomed. Her files scatter, her phone flies, her hair is on the fritz. Miss Natalia discovers religion along the way, only to be tested and have her doubts come flooding back. To square one, sorry religion, she thinks.

At last, Miss Natalia arrives at the stand she had originally set out to find. It is the stand Mr. Williams had let slip that he stood behind when he originally began disrobing. Miss Natalia is not sure exactly how being a nudist works, but she wonders who would allow a man to get naked within their place of business.

“Why hello there good sir-- ah, er, heh heh. Madam!” a man says. He is a vendor standing behind the stand, wearing an apron and an ugly cap.

Poor sop, can’t even afford glasses. She says, “Hello there, good sir. Do you suppose you could tell me where you were three days ago? There was a man here then, causing quite the ruckus.”

The vendor stiffens, the joints in his arms lock, and his sideburns quiver. Miss Natalia sees red from the corner of her eye, but pays no mind. She is too intent on the reply the man will give her.

“Madam. I would suggest you not ask me about such things.”

“I hear you, I really do… But… where were you on that day?” Miss Natalia says. She is hoping to appear playfully conspiring, as if the vendor and she were friends playing a game. To the vendor though, she just seems terribly desperate, and also, far, far, far out of her league.

“Between you and me, madam, I was nowhere. Which is where you should be. Now, off you go.”

 

Miss Natalia sits at home, chewing at her Reuben. The vendor had advised her to leave, to disappear. It is not the first time this has happened to Miss Natalia. As a teen, she had experienced this sort of shutout at parties, where she would often go, but was rarely invited. Even now, as a full grown adult, it happens. As a lawyer, never. She asks, they answer.

Though the vendor’s rejection stings, his Reuben is delicious. It is possibly the only good thing about her day at all. Miss Natalia spends the next half of her sandwich imagining that there is a secret message written inside the wrapper.

She delights in the discovery, jumping up and down, gripping the wrapper ever so tight. She meets the vendor underneath something shadowy in the early evening. Like 6, or so. She does, after all, have a bedtime.

They converse. The vendor’s hand accidentally thumps her on the temple in the midst of relaying what he had witnessed, funny voices and wild gestures included, to her. His apology is sweet as he caresses her face. They get married, live happily ever after, and make out a lot. Their dog is named Randy Jackson.

But not actually. The Reuben did not come with a wrapper and Miss Natalia’s fingers are far too greasy for romance. Her last bite muffles a sob. Also, she begins to choke.

“Ack, heurghh. Gak. Ehuk!” And out comes something from inside her throat. Something white and folded with writing on it. Could it be?

No. It is just a receipt.

#

Red. A sea of short, red whiskers.

There is a man, and another man. A few more men and also a woman. They are standing in what is essentially meant to be a circle but far more lopsided, arm in arm and with candles surrounding the visage of their creepiness.

The leader has red sideburns and high set eyebrows. He always looks surprised. Right now, he actually is. Their “in-man,” who is acting as a vendor at the local farmers market, is here. Rather than dealing with a lawyer who asks the wrong question or an Aussie Englishman, he. Is. Here.

“You idiot!” the leader says.

The vendor says, “Not quite, sir. I do believe it would be unwise of us to do in the madam and mister. As you know, we are one of those… organizations who appreciate the more peaceful parts of life. Like, not becoming known to the public.”

“Right! So, why are you not getting rid of those two? Idiot!” the leader says, louder to prove that he is more right. He wants that Miss Neet and Mr. Williams gone, that’s for sure.

“Please sir, enough with the exclamations. I would suggest you think carefully. The madam and mister are completely uninvolved. They know nothing. To kill them would be to raise interest in exactly what the link between them is. Which would be me. And thus, us.”

The leader crosses his arms, rather arrogantly. Probably. It’s hard to tell with those eyebrows of his. “Oh yeah? What’s to say you have anything to do with us? You’re just a lonely man running a stand at some farmers market.”

“Well. Ah, maybe. Or maybe, sir, we are all strangers in town who also all have sideburns. Besides which, I happen to remember one of your men skulking around the farmers market around the same time as a lot of videos were being taken.”

One of the men, still linking arms with his fellow Sideburners, says, “You know, he does have a point. We’re not exactly subtle.”

That man falls and does not get up.

“Ah, who asked you?” the leaders says. He then holsters his gun.

#

“…Macke. Psst, Judge Macke.”

What?

“If you could just wake up, I do say. That’d be grand.”

Okay, seriously. What?? Josephina does not understand. She is off work, no longer Judge Macke. She is Josephina, loving mother of seven and loving grandmother of. Well, it’s really too early to be counting.

If she could just open her eyes.

“Judge Macke. Please. I do say, I am in a bit of a jam.”

No kidding, Josephina “Judge Macke” Macke thinks. Limbs and other things are beginning to work. She remembers now who she is. She remembers she has 15 grandchildren. Her eyes will open any moment now.

“Yes, I do say. That is great. Atta girl!” Mr. Williams says.

Judge Macke is thoroughly roused. And more than a bit miffed. “What the hell are you doing here, Mr. Williams?”

 

They are in Judge Macke’s kitchen, drinking tea at Mr. Williams behest, by the time Judge Macke decides that Mr. Williams is not going straight to the town’s notoriously chilly detention center.

Between the two of them, they know five things. 1) Mr. Williams is being stalked by several sideburn sporting gents. 2) If their threatening letters are anything to go by, they seem to think Mr. Williams knows far more than he does. 3) Mr. Williams does actually know something, but he will not tell Judge Macke, only promising that it is hardly anything to worry about. 4) Miss Neet’s address is not listed anywhere accessible by the public. 5) Miss Neet would not have been of any help anyway.

Judge Macke is as close to tears as she has ever been. She is helping a criminal while she is not at gun point. Furthermore, she hates tea.

“I hate tea.”

“I’m quite sure you don’t, love. You would love real tea. I do say. Visit the motherland, I do say.” Mr. Williams speaks far more morosely than Judge Macke has ever heard. Apparently, even mid arrest, the man had been quite lively. Enough so that Mr. Williams’s arresting officer has been to court as a friend, supporting Mr. Williams.

“What’s got you so down? I’d think wriggling yourself into my graces would make you at least a little happy.”

“I fear for my life, I do say.”

Right. To business then.

#

Miss Natalia is at a dead end. The vendor who is also kind of her husband when you think about it will not be the key to her case. She cannot get ahold of Mr. Williams. There is also no Judge Macke around to ask for a longer continuance. She has only seen Bailiff Stu today, and that was an accident.

Very not good.

But! A lawyer must persist. So Natalia shall go back to the farmers market, circle around n’ double back, skip on over to Judge Macke’s house, and do it all over again. For as long as it takes.

 

It is very much not good at all.

All day she tried, and all night she cried. There is no evidence of any kind and now Mr. Williams will be going to jail and will not even get a deal. He might not pay her. Oh god, he might not pay her! What’s a promise to a hardened criminal like that? Nothing, Miss Natalia bets.

As Miss Natalia frets, she gets ready to face the music. On go her frumpy pants, and her frumpy shirt, and her quite stylish socks that are hidden by her pant legs. She forgets to brush her hair as she thinks about Judge Macke’s glare that can almost literally sear retinas. Miss Natalia leaves her home with a pair of sunglasses. And also her case files. Can’t forget those.

The entire way to the courthouse is abysmal. She thinks sad thoughts, and bad thoughts, and a few non sequitur thoughts. No God makes an appearance. She steps in a surprisingly muddy puddle, but mostly she’s used to that.

She arrives and… No one is there? She figures she must have misunderstood something about when they are all to return to court.

She will wait. It is 12:40 when she sits on an uncomfortable bench outside the courtroom. She hears the birds chirping as if it is a wonderful day and shakes her fist at them. She “bah humbugs” at sweet, in-love couples that pass by, and almost decides to start tripping kids who run too fast.

It is 1:50. Miss Natalia has her earphones in and a language app downloaded onto her phone. When the app asks her to repeat after it, she does, saying, “foh gayng.” The literal translation is fire neck, which Miss Natalia think might be an insult to redheads.

She has practically learned a new language by the time she gives up. The end of the day has come, it is dark and chilly, and Miss Natalia calls the police. They arrive and ask her a lot of questions. She can answer almost none of them, which makes one of the cops frown deeply at her. Two missing person cases are filed that night.

The police continue to investigate diligently, but they find nothing. Two months pass and it becomes apparent. Judge Macke and Mr. Williams are goners. Also, Miss Natalia will most definitely not be paid.

#

“Atta girl, Josephina! I do say, please continue to hold on,” Mr. Williams says.

Josephina is sweaty. She is hot. Her arm is burning. The rest of her is burning. Red. Red. Red. She sees red. On her arm. Right in front of her. She has been shot by the red sideburned man.

“You should have stayed out of this, you idiots! I will not allow anyone to interfere with my plans for world domination!” the leader says. He has been saying crazy shit like that for quite a while. Neither Josephina nor Mr. Williams are entirely sure if he’s serious or delusional. He can be quite scary though.

The leader’s smoking gun clatters to the ground and skids across the ground. Josephina and Mr. Williams have also learned that the man has a tendency to throw things all over the place. They have decided it must be a ‘in the heat of the moment’ things. He walks towards the two. Most likely menacingly. Not really sure what to make of those eyebrows.

Mr. Williams is by Josephina’s side, trying to tourniquet her arm. As the leader gets closer, Mr. Williams hunches protectively over her. Together, they’ve learned how to fight, and even now, that is what they’ll do.

Josephina grips Mr. Williams’s hand tight with her own. Her eyes stare straight into his. It has been several weeks since their meeting in Josephina’s home. In that time, they have learned hardly anything about the mysterious Sideburners, but they know enough. Those Sideburners are bad news. And annoying. Possibly more so than Mis Neets. But this isn’t about that. It’s about their plans for world domination. Which are a bit complicated and, at this point, still pretty confusing for poor Josephina and Mr. Williams.

Josephina says, “Y- you’ve taught me so much. I w-was bored. And going through each day… like a loser. Don’t g-give up. Figure out what Th-Th-The Sideburners want with this world… My love.” Josephina’s arm falls. She closes her eyes.

“No, I do say, no Josephina!”

The leader is stopped. He stands before the two, lost, for only a moment, by their love. It is enough time for Mr. Williams to snake a free hand towards the gun and grab it. The leader remembers why he had long ago decided that love and sentiment suck. You get distracted.

“I do say, put your hands up,” Mr. Williams says, aiming the gun at the man with the red sideburns.

“Ah, idiot,” the leader mutters to himself.

“This is what is going to happen, I do say. You and the rest of The Sideburners are going to let us go,” Mr. Williams says. His eyes are steel, his heart is firm. He will vanquish the sideburned beast if he has to. As long as he has Josephina by his side.

Speaking of Josephina- she’s totally alive. The two of them had previously made a plan for if ever they were captured and needed a distraction. Fake an injury, make a speech. Actually, Josephina getting shot in the arm was quite helpful. Also, the topic of her impassioned speech? Totally a ploy. Josephina plans to one day return to her courtroom and gavel. She cannot go back if she were to get friendly with a convict.

“Fine. You two love idiots get out of here. Just remember! We’ll find you. You know too much. Idiots!” the leader howls.

Mr. Williams grins and fires off a shot aimed at the ceiling. It holds The Sideburners’ attentions long enough for him and Josephina to escape. Which they do.

They run until they cannot run anymore. Or rather, until one of them can’t. Josephina is a bit worse for the wear, having been shot in the arm and all, but she’s tough. On the other hand, Mr. Williams has his hands placed firmly on his bent knees and is gasping. He is not necessarily in the best shape.

In between gasps, Mr. Williams says, “I do say Josephina. That was quite marvelous. I was not expecting my endeavors to ever be returned. But I do say, I love you too.”

“It’s Judge Macke to you, Mr. Williams.” Judge Macke begins running again.

#

The case of the naked man has been discontinued for the last nine weeks. The most popular theory about the missing judge and defendant is that Mr. Williams kidnapped Judge Macke to avoid being sentenced. A close runner up is that the two ran off into the sunset together, in love. Judge Macke does have a rumored history of torrid affairs.

On an unrelated note, the vendor with sideburns has not been to the farmers market since Miss Natalia tried to inquire about Mr. Williams’s nudity.

Miss Natalia must admit that she is quite over it. Sure, she would have liked to close the case and get paid and maybe have her vendor, or even Mr. Williams, discover that she is really quite clever and cute. But whatever.

She has tons of new interesting things to enjoy. Like joining a new law firm in town where she gets to do lots of filing. And going to the farmers market to visit the stands that replace one another almost weekly at the place where the vendor who could have been her husband once worked. Also, she got a cat. His name is Simon.

She’s noticed little, delicate cat tears in Simon’s eyes when she walks into her house after work. The vet says it’s an eye infection, but Miss Natalia knows better. Simon is lonely and so Miss Natalia is going to get Simon a friend. Miss Natalia’s new cat will be a girl this time and her name will be Paula.

Miss Natalia smiles. Simon and Paula will be such great friends.

In the midst of Miss Natalia planning the lives of her two best friends, she stops. The lamp is on in her living room. Strange. Miss Natalia always turns off the lights to save on electricity. A second later, she catches sight of a figure. The figure is human shaped and sitting on her couch. A person! Most likely, a dastardly one.

After a moment’s pause, Miss Natalia shrieks and slips on her own feet. As she plops butt first to the ground, the figure turns around. Miss Natalia gapes.

“Hello madam. I need your help, and there’s much to tell you.”

Yay, Miss Natalia thinks, True love conquers all.

 

THE END

MAYBE!!!


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