Carlo closed his eyes and when he opened them there was a stunned silence. He was standing in a courtroom dock. It seemed to him that the place was built of cardboard. He looked out at the crowd sitting in the public galleries to either side and they looked back up at him.
Carlo did not know exactly why but it was clear to him that the entire room was waiting for the appearance of God. The all powerful. The almighty. The one and only. Who would take his seat which would creak more than any other in the room because it was made of leather and also because he was large, as only God could be. Once sat God would observe Carlo with a suspicious eye.
There would be no angels to fanfare God in because he was not really God, Carlo could sense that too. The Judge would be a representation of God. God was the word and the word is law. This is how the prophet Moses related him to the Israelites. This is how he was manifest. God was structure, the staples by which all is held together. The rulebook. The automaton by which the universe exists. The construct by which a peace can be observed and co-existence achieved. By its nature it presumes punishment as a final solution and punishment is defined as… punitive care.
Daizee materialised. She too was in the dock, but was separated from Carlo by a clear glass screen, which had been erected especially to prevent them from touching each other. Daizee turned to Carlo and smiled and put her hand up to the glass divide and placed her palm there and he did the same.
In the empty jury gallery, to the right of him, stood twelve silent blue chairs waiting heavy for their charges. In the central playing area the barristers made themselves ready, shuffling papers, in their black gowns and white wigs, their assistants talking quietly together. In front of them piles of paper work, a foot thick, held together with heavy duty thick elastic bands.
The Court Registrar haunted the place, a spectre of a man with a limp and a cane with perdition shadows under his eyes, hobbling up and down on his walking stick and chatting freely with crowd.
Carlo’s parents sat quietly to the left of the dock. His mother was steely. Not cold – petrified. His father looked hollowed, gaunt. Famined.
Carlo turned to Daizee who was waving to crowd and they waved back to her. Someone, called out that she looked beautiful, another voice called out, God Bless you Carlo and another, whatever happens Daizee, we love you. The, we love you, echoed around the room and was followed by a round of applause. The Registrar hissed for quiet, whilst pounding his walking stick on the floor, like some mad crippled herald, his hair flapping wildly on his forehead. There was a moment of silence and then The Registrar called, all rise, and all and everyone within the court room rose.
He appeared looking content and full, in the air of his own farts, remarking that he had a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon. Only a representative of God, thought Carlo, can smell so harshly as only God can smell so harshly. It is the reek of retribution, the muster of redemption.
The Judge sat down. He had red veins in his fat cheeks. He seemed genuinely satisfied with himself under his white wig that sat small on the top of his large bald head. He looked out over the throng that had gathered and frowned. He picked up the hammer and tapped the bevel. The Registrar called that the court was now in session.
For a while The Judge said nothing, he looked from the crowd to the barristers, to Carlo and finally to Daizee. Daizee looked straight back at him. Carlo saw that The Judge was surrounded by the colours of anger which were underworld red and orange and frenzied spectrums of yellow. Carlo understood that that was how The Judge perceived himself. Carlo was not scared. He said to himself there is no such end, there is only the solace of the void, in which we cease. All else is an act, a fancy, a means to instil fear and enforce control.
And then Carlo saw that The Judge was transfixed by Daizee. Carlo could see images of foreplay and female sexual organs began to play on The Judge’s mind. He was imagining Daizee appearing before him naked. The colour flushed from his face as his blood was pumped elsewhere. It was at this point that The Registrar collapsed. The Judge was pulled back out of Daizee. There was a small hullabaloo in which The Registrar declared that he was fine, he suffered from lapses on account of a bomb disarming incident. The Judge applauded him. The Registrar responded with a flamboyant bow. With that the Jury was asked to enter.
The court was silent as the jurors appeared. The Registrar lead them out in dutiful solemnisation, his head bowed, his little limp in a skip. All faces were craned forward to see who it was that had been press-ganged to deliver a verdict, when that verdict was due. The collective concentration of all those present in that court room brought the jurors out in a blush as they shuffled forward like fresh naked slaves into a market, which in a way they were, for these were the slaves of heavenly justice.
The Judge eyed them as they sat nervously and the registrar produced a black bible from the inside of his jacket, retrieved a card from within its pages, which he handed to them one by one, in succession, so that they could read the oath. They each read quietly stumbling over the words. The Judge grumbled that he couldn’t hear a word. A woman in her fifties had particular difficulty because she had forgotten her reading glasses. She read with the card as close to her eyes as she could – but this did not work, so she held it further away and then further still until The Registrar took it off her and held it a satisfactory distance for her to read. When she stumbled over words he loudly corrected her, which made her tremble.
The Judge looked on the proceedings impatiently until they were done. Finally he addressed them. Your duty, he informed them, is to arrive at a judgement based on the evidence produced in this court. My job is to rule on fair play throughout these proceedings. You must not speak to anyone about this case or to anyone outside of the jury. You can only only discuss this case in the jury room. Do not research your own sources. Do not read the daily newspapers. Please do not reach a conclusion until you have heard all the evidence. Please watch all the witnesses and observe their demeanour – dishonesty, he said grandly, disguises itself well, so take note. Right, he said switching his gaze from the slaves to the barristers, to the accused, to the audience of the world that had gathered, let us begin.