Savage Delight

Page 25


“I saw Isis Blake collapsed on the floor. There was a bloody smear on the wall, and blood on the back of her head.”
“Did you see my client anywhere in the room?”
Jack narrows his eyes. “No. But I could hear him thumping around upstairs.”
“So you did not witness my client ‘assaulting’ Isis Blake?”
The attorney smirks, and paces. “And did you, or did you not, grab an aluminum baseball bat and head upstairs to confront my client?”
“I did.”
“And was my client armed?”
“No. But that didn’t seem to stop him from trying to rape a terrified woman.”
I flinch. Mom is completely still, focused on Jack. The court rustles again, and the judge bangs her gavel.
“Order! Order in the court.”
When the murmurs die down, the defense attorney straightens.
“How do you know the Blake family, Jack?”
“Isis is an –” There’s the briefest pause as Jack thinks. “ – acquaintance. From school.”
“I’d like to present exhibit A,” The attorney walks up, holding a tape recorder and placing it on the table. “A recorded conversation with your Principal, Mr. Evans, who confirms you and Isis were antagonizing each other at school with outlandish pranks months prior to this event. You weren’t friends. According to Evans, you were quite the opposite. So why were you at her house? Was it to do her harm?”
“Objection!” Mom’s lawyer shouts. “Your honor, what does this have to do with the case?”
Judge Diego sighs. “Dismissed. Pearson, try to stay on topic.”
The attorney nods. “No need. The defense rests, your honor.”
Jack looks to me. If I strain hard enough to poop myself, I can barely discern the tiniest sliver of worry in his eyes. The jury is looking at Jack like they’re suddenly suspicious.
Mom’s lawyer grills Jack in a more positive direction – highlighting how Jack called 911 immediately when he found me, and how brave he had to be to face down a full-grown, furious man. Jack shrugs it off, but I can see what she’s trying to do – paint him in a sympathetic, hero light. And it’s working. Mildly. The jury isn’t staring at him like he has three heads anymore, anyway.
Jack comes back. His fists are tight on his knees, and he looks paler.
“You…you alright?” I try. “I mean, other than the fact you have a fat arrogant tumor on your neck you call a head.”
“I’m fine,” He says softly. There’s a beat.
“I didn’t, uh, mean it. The tumor thing. It’s my instinct to be mean to you.”
A wisp of a crooked smile pulls on his mouth.
“I know.”
And then they call for Leo. The defense attorney builds his case up – that he fought in Vietnam thirty years ago, that he got a head injury there, that the army shrink had diagnosed him with PTSD. And with every little half-baked story, the fury in my guts burns hotter, and hotter. It makes my stomach want to evacuate lunch onto his shoes. But I can’t do anything about it. They won’t even let me testify because of my head. I’m helpless. And being helpless is the worst thing in the known universe.
“Is it correct that you received a call from Mrs. Blake earlier that day, asking you to visit her at her home?” The attorney asks. Leo adjusts his cast and with a mock-serious face, nods.
“That’s f**king bullshit!” I shout, standing and jabbing my finger at him. “That’s bullshit and you know it!”
“Order!” The judge bangs her gavel. “Miss Blake, be seated!”
“He’s lying, your honor! He’s a lying scumbag who ruined my Mom’s life –”
“Order!” She shouts. “You either sit down right now young lady, or I’ll have you escorted out.”
I’m breathing heavy, and my blood sings hot in my veins. I’m ready to punch, to fight, to kick and bite and scream. But I can’t do that here. Mom’s counting on me, on this trial, to give her some peace of mind. I push through the row and storm out the door. The marble halls of the courtroom are too pristine. They mock me, clean and shiny when my insides are dirty and filled with caked hate.
I ignore the voice and stride down the hall.
“AGHH!” I kick a bench with the flat of my sole. “Pathetic shithead! Fucking lying monkey-anus-faced bastard –”
“Isis –”
“If I ever get within five feet of him, there will be blood. Of the not-fake kind.”
“Isis, listen –”
“I’m sure they make pitchforks that can fit inside a human mouth. And down the throat.”
Someone grabs my hand. I whirl around and pull it away. Jack stands there, slightly panting.
“Listen to me; you need to calm down.”
“Calm!” I laugh. “I’m perfectly calm!”
“What are you doing with your hands?”
“Practicing.” I wiggle my fingers.
“For what?”
“For when I get my hands inside his guts.”
“He’s not going to get away with it. Even a moron Freshman in law school could see that. So don’t get worked up like this. It’s not helping anyone, and it’s certainly not helping you.”
“Oh, you wanna help me now? That’s weird, because last time we talked you basically told me you’re going to make my life hell.”
“Do I? Make your life hell?”
His voice pitches down, low and deep and cracked through. The sudden change startles me.
“No,” I inhale. “You just make it a little harder.”
“Your mom needs you,” he presses.
“I can’t – can’t go back in there. Not for a while. If I see that Neanderthal’s face again, I’ll –”
Jack quirks a brow. “A word more than four letters long. I’m impressed.”
“You should be. I spent an entire year of middle school studying them. And their hairy crotches. But mostly them.”
“Would punching me again help ease your fury?”
I scoff. “Maybe. Probably not. It’s him I want to hurt, not you.”
Jack looks outside the courthouse window, to the playground across the street.
“There’s two things that calm you down – violence, and sugar. Ice cream.” He points to an ice cream cart on the sidewalk. “C’mon. My treat.”
“Ohhh no. I know how this works. First it’s ice cream, then it’s marriage.”
“Marriage, huh? Tell me,” he says coolly as we both walk towards the cart anyway. “Who’s the lucky sea slug?”
“Why sea slug? Why not, like, a sea dragon?”
“Because a sea slug doesn’t have eyes. Or a nose. Or any discernible intelligence beyond eating and shitting. You’d make the perfect match.”
I snort. The sun and clear blue sky are a sign Febuary landed on its head when it got out of bed this morning. I pick a strawberry cone and Jack gets mint chocolate chip. There’s a bench, but I sit on the grass under the tree instead. Jack sits with me.