In Defense of Self, Part Two
Taken into Custody
The reporter held up her microphone to a protestor. He said in a rage, “yeah, that guy said how he would help her become a true woman, then he shot her in the groin. She didn’t do nothing wrong; he just shot her for being trans.” The reporter turned back to the camera and said, “yes, the crowd down here at the courthouse says they want Justice for Terry Teal. Gunned down for her beliefs. Back to you, Jim.” Sally turned off the television. Two days ago, her husband was taken into custody for what he said was an act of self-defense. He shot someone who he said was trying to either take his gun or pulling a gun of her own. All three local networks, as well as the major news networks, were covering the shooting and accompanying riot. There were reports of camera footage of the event, but no one has come forward with any evidence yet.
The Kind of Guy
Jack checked the mirror. He needed a shave and looked like he hadn’t slept in weeks. Jack looked like the kind of guy that would shoot someone in the street just for being there. He looked scary. Jack spent the last two nights alone in a cell waiting for a hearing. The prosecutor said he would formally charge him in the morning. In this hearing, his lawyer would have the chance to ask for bail, but in most cases like this, either no bail or it would be so high he couldn't afford. The CCW insurance said they would pay for the lawyer but not the bail or lost income. His office building was gone along with ten years of his life.
He Felt that he Looked Guilty
A guard came to his door. Jack was told to turn around and put his hands out the opening in the door. He was cuffed, and the door opened. From there, another guard put his hand on Jack’s shoulder as the first guard placed leg restraints around his ankles and connected the wrist and ankle cuffs with a chain. A ballistic vest was put over him and strapped down. Jack tried to imagine how he looked, orange jumpsuit, white socks with tan flipflops, a black vest with DOC on the front, and three days of facial growth. He spent the last two days in solitude. An officer told him because he wasn’t formally charged, he didn’t have the right to his attorney or a phone call. The phone thing was just something made up for a movie, and it was subject to the state, county, and or city whether a person was able to make a call. He thought about how, in the media, when a person was brought out for a hearing, they would look guilty. He felt that he looked guilty.
Jack was led out to a waiting van with six other cuffed orange-clad men. He was the only one in a vest, and it made him stick out like a man in a black vest in a crowd of orange clothed men. The van left the jail and drove into downtown. About a block away from the courthouse, they could hear the crowd and the chanting. No Justice, no peace, We believe her, Trans lives matter and Nazis must die were being chanted in an ever-increasing volume. A water balloon struck the van. Soon they realized it wasn’t filled with water. A nasty thick vinegary smell spread into the cabin from the vents. People formed a human chain to block the van from getting to the underground parking deck.
Twelve police officers came out holding clear shields in their left hands and nightsticks in their right. They were in full riot gear from the helmets with facemasks to the body armor. The officers lined up and moved in, tapping their nightsticks on their shields in an almost taunting gesture. The crowd yelled obscenities and threw trash, but they also backed away from the moving line of armored officers. They formed a six-man line on either side of the van and escorted it into the parking deck. Jack heard one of the officers say, “We should just let him go and let the crowd show him justice.” Near the door, an officer pointed at Jack.
Ten minutes later, Jack was brought into a room just off the entrance. The officer uncuffed his legs and arms. He handed Jack a clipboard and told him to sign near the x marks. Jack asked what was going on, but the officer didn’t answer. The officer said he needed to dress and leave the courthouse. The officer said he wasn’t being charged at this time, but he shouldn’t leave town. Jack would later find out Sally had brought him a suit for his arraignment. The officer told him his wife and lawyer would be waiting in the parking deck, but they had to leave as soon as possible. Jack asked, “now what do I do?” The officer said, “pray because I don’t think you’re going to make it home alive.”
A Hug and a Slap
Sally’s brother and their family attorney Pat rented a car for their trip home. He had Sally wait in the car while he waited for Jack outside. They had about ten minutes before the city prosecutor was going to announce his findings and how they weren't going to prosecute Jack for the shooting. The crowd was already angry, but the announcement was going to change the course of events in their small town. Jack stepped out and saw Pat standing next to a far nicer car than he usually drove. They embraced, and Jack got into the back of the vehicle, where he found Sally. She hugged him, then backed away a little and slapped him across the face. She got out of the car and said, “I don’t want to see you at home. Pat is going to take you to a motel. Stay there until I decide what we’re doing next.” Before Jack could say a word, she closed the door, and Pat drove away.
Jack and Sally were friends long before they were an item, but Pat was Jack’s best friend from kindergarten. Pat was a civil attorney with a practice dealing in injury claims and minor fender benders. Most people would call him an ambulance chaser. Most of his cases never saw an open court, but the ones that did he never lost. Neither men spoke as they drove with Jack in the back. Pat pulled into a motel and told Jack to wait in the car. Twenty minutes later, he came back with a key. Pat had Jack wait in the car as he opened the door and took two suitcases inside. Jack followed him into a room that seemed out of time. Yellow and gold wallpaper with an art deco lamp, grass green shag carpeting, and a bed with a psychedelic gold bedspread. The only thing out of place was the flat-screen TV. He told Jack to stay put, and he would bring him something to eat later.