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Jim the old guy
Post subject: Tex Murphy: Juror #44
Post Posted: Oct 21, 2015 7:48 pm
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Joined: May 31, 2005 10:36 am
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Jim TOG’s notes: With more time on my hands yet less time to do all that my heart desires, I awoke the other day with an insatiable yearning to write a new Tex Murphy story. OK, so I’m not Aaron Conners, but then again, who is? It’s as though my feeble elderly mind threatened: “Get up and write something Tex Murphy related before the Grim Reaper knocks on your door.” Yeah, I know, stupid. Still….

There was this movie some of you may have heard of: Twelve Angry Men, about a jury deliberating a case that, for all intents and purposes, seemed ‘open and shut’, a sure guilty verdict expected in record time. Unfortunately, my story is not so intelligently contrived and less intelligently written. All the same, some of you may actually find it mildly entertaining. So, without further doo-doo, may I present for your reading enjoyment:

TEX MURPHY: JUROR #44

PROLOGUE
Anna Nicole and Jayne just left my office leaving me a bit dazed and mildly dis-appointed. I mean, just how much interaction’s possible between a human and a hologram? Not much, that’s for sure. Still, it was an interesting experience, and, since Chelsee sauntered off arm in arm with Clark Gable, I knew for a certainty their time together was, at least to some extent, morally reprehensible.

Smiling to no one other than myself, I leaned back in my chair; hands firmly clasped behind my head, feet resting comfortably on the desk atop Sylvia’s picture, allowing my mind to muse over past cases I solved. Some literally involved saving the world; others concerned matters of a more personal, individual nature. One in particular wafted through the menagerie of tiny dendrites fiercely competing with each other as they raced through the nervous system in a toxic effort to communicate with my alcohol tainted brain cells.
This is what they found:




PART ONE

SATURDAY DECEMBER 19, 2043
“Moiph! MOIPH! Wake up! It’s almost mid-morning and I need to go home and get some rest.” As I furtively opened one eye and lifted my aching head, I see two Louies staring down at me.

“Louie?” was all I could manage. “One more, Louie, just one more,” came out; force of habit style.

“No, Moiph, no more. You need to get home and sleep this off. I know you’re upset about last night, but you’ll get over it. The first thing you need to do is go back to The Ritz and sleep it off! Now, get up and get goin’!” Louie was right, as usual. So I slipped, literally, off the stool and onto the floor. Louie, in a flash, was there to assist my meager efforts to regain balance.

I waved a hand as I passed through the peaceful and serene gateway from Louie’s to the hemorrhaging red sky via the gates of Hell. It was blinding; no, actually blinding! Really! I started my semi-regular ‘stumble in the jungle’ back to my apartment at The Ritz. ‘Why were there two signs at The Electronics Shoppe; two Newsstands; two light posts? Which, by the way, I managed to hit at least one of them. And, there were two stairs to my apartment entrance. Not wanting to get another bumped on the noggin, I opted for the stairs on my right. Good choice. When I got to the doors, I chose wisely, the one on the right. And when I approached my uncomfortable cot in the far left corner, I figured right is right, and….Bam! Apparently, I had chosen poorly; it was NOT the cot on the right.

Several hours later I awoke with yet another massive pounding in my head. Two Fizz-Bangers in a glass of water later, my head partially cleared long enough to realize why I had decided to drown my sorrows.

I was having a quaint little chat with my old tutor/former boss/nemesis when Eva Schanzee entered alone and left with that corroded old prune. Hey! I saved the world! I saved Eva! I saved the Colonel! And, for what? For the rejection of the century? Yeah, that is why I sat at Louie’s and drank myself into oblivion. I think I’ll go back and drown my sorrows some more.

As I headed to the door I noticed several pieces of mail on the floor. They looked like bills. I was about to step on them, again, and leave when I noticed one seemed very different, as though it was legal-like. Opening it with a certain frightful trepidation, it turned out to be a notice from the S.F. Justice Department. Uh-oh! I don’t remember breaking any laws recently. Well, none that the police know about. Tearing the envelope open turned out to be a bad idea.
Mr. Tex Murphy:
You have been selected to represent the great state of California and the great city of New San Francisco as a possible juror in several upcoming trials. Your juror designation is number 44 and your are expected at the county courthouse in downtown New San Francisco on Monday evening December 28, 2043 at 8:30 PM sharp! Failure to comply will result in your arrest, a large fine, and up to 10 days in the county jail. Thank you. Have a good day!
Yours truly,
Edward S. Applebaum
County Commissioner

Hey! That’s the Christmas/New Year’s holiday period! Don’t they shut down for those? Everyone else does. Well, almost everyone. The bars, lounges, party stores and Louie’s always stayed open during that time span. Since no one was listening and since no one really cares I headed to Louie’s and started my holiday drinking early. Little did I know how critical those days as a juror would prove to be.


MONDAY DECEMBER 28, 2043
Arriving at 8 PM I couldn’t help but notice the entire courthouse was abuzz; people moving hither and thither like ants rebuilding an anthill. I showed my juror letter to the welcoming committee (A.P.E.S. which stands for Authorized Protection Emergency Squad) and they promptly pointed the way to the specially marked elevator. OK, so we all meet in the elevator? Not exactly. That particular elevator can only be activated by the QR code stamped on the letter. Whoosh! The doors parted like Ali Baba’s cave and I slipped inside and was taken to the 12th floor. After exiting I found myself in a room quickly filling with other potential jurors. Apparently, there were several entrances to this room depending on which compass direction you chose to enter the building.

“Hi! My name is Tex and I have–“

“Over there, cowboy,” stated a mid-40’s woman without looking up using a pencil to direct me to a group of chairs with a large sign hanging from the ceiling: Jurors Only. So, like a good little John Wayne I headed on over yonder and took a seat with the rest of the herd. I was thinking that she should have checked me in, but then I realized I had already checked in when I scanned the letter which, no doubt, was designed specifically for me, not to mention the only way to this room was by a specially designated elevator.

After everyone reported in and was seated, an official looking white-haired uniformed officer of the court began our briefing. I can’t remember the last time I sat in a juror’s room, but the instructions hadn’t changed much. A scant few minutes later, one of the judges came in and gave us more instructions. Should I be taking notes? Anyway, we were left to our devices – literally – and played the waiting game. I brought a combo
U-Pad/Phone/Micro-Manager I picked up from Rook in order to help pass the time. In the midst of a furious round of ‘Slash n Eat’, where the alligators capture and devour angry birds, a woman entered and announced: “Would jurors 001 through 150 please follow me?” I wonder how she’d feel if I said no.

We were led into a courtroom where the ‘Ancient of Days’, a.k.a. Judge Ito II, was seated on his perch half asleep or, more probably, half dead ( there was a saying circulating throughout the legal system designed specifically for Ito: He’s so old that when he was a child the Dead Sea was only sick). In front of us were two distinguished looking gentlemen; one, black streaked with silver hair and pushing 50; the other barely old enough to chase girls, maybe 25 at the most. The former was the A.D.A., assistant district attorney by the name of Cleveland Thurber III. The other, sitting and looking bored, was Jasper Armondsen IV. Sheesh! This must be Roman numeral day! Next to J.A. was a straight-backed, plain-Jane, matron-looking woman in her mid-30’s. Hair in a bun; over-sized black-rimmed glasses; floor-to-neck one piece olive drab dress; and, on her feet were what appeared to be nurse’s shoes. Huh! This woman, who turned out to be the defendant, didn’t merely try to look unimpressive and innocuous; it just came natural.

‘Let the vetting begin’ were the words I next expected and, basically, that is exactly what took place. I was thoroughly surprised when the first 12 jurors vetted were chosen by both the offense and defense (as I like to call them). What were the odds of that happening? And what were the odds that, of the 150 prospective jurors present, that I would be one of them? Let me give you a hint: Murphy’s Law. If anything bad can happen, it will. Yup! They managed to select good ol’ juror number 44; moi.

After a few more ‘what-to-dos ‘ and ‘what-not-to-dos’ from the judge, we were given a brief respite back in the juror’s room where we could have some coffee and other continental-style run of the mill delicacies. The jury selection process has changed a lot over the years, or…. About that time we were herded back into Judge Ito’s courtroom and the trial began. Oh joy!

There we were informed of the many rules and regulations regarding trial procedures, judicial protocol, dress and grooming, conduct and comportment, and, as usual, the ‘please turn of all technological devices during the trial’ dictum. Then the most welcome announcement of all: Lunch!

Like so many others, I followed the group to the in-house cafeteria, where, surprisingly, the food wasn’t half bad. Course, that also means not half good. A long shot from Louie’s, but passable. That’s the bad news; the good news? The county paid for it.
Soon thereafter, we were ushered back into the courtroom and the game was afoot.

Following Ito’s directions, both the A.D.A. and the defense lawyer presented their opening comments. It was the most amazing study in contrasts I have ever personally witnessed. You would expect a classic ‘parry and thrust’ tête-à-tête as two opposing figures, each testing the others’ strengths and weaknesses, would battle like Transformers in Heat (that’s the new sequel to the old classic). But no, instead I was stunned to the point of numbness. The ‘Omnipotence Paradox’ – the irresistible force meeting the immovable object – was totally nonexistent. As I was contemplating the confusing scene played out before my eyes, I heard Judge Ito state: “Thank you, counsellors. This will end tonight’s proceedings. May I remind the jury to please refrain from sharing any information about this case with friends, relatives and others with whom they come in contact with or know. Court dismissed!” The gavel fell, and so did my spirits.

As I flew home for a good day’s sleep, a number of thoughts crisscrossed the many pathways of my brain. One: The A.D.A. was animated, boisterous, and gesticulating like a little kid who just licked his finger and stuck it into an electrical socket (I did that when I was three). Two: The defense attorney was completely opposite; I mean, he could put the walking dead to sleep! Three: Judge Ito, having only 30 days before retirement, was either sleeping (head down, breathing slow and deep) or playing with his online portfolio. Fourth, and most remarkable, the defendant, one Ms. LaFleur, was stoic as the stone figurines on Easter Island. How can this whole scenario unfold, as I mentioned before, with such a study in contrasts? It boggled my mind.

Upon arriving at home I proceeded to thoroughly research the case in spite of the juror instructions received during the indoctrination. It seems Ms. LaFleur, as the A.D.A. so forcefully charged, murdered a female journalist in her hotel room at The Savoy. She hailed from Dallas, Texas, and was researching some obscure claim, whether true or false, regarding the defendant. Was ‘Ms. Stone-faced’ capable of cold blooded murder? Could the A.D.A. be so dead-on (pardon the pun) and the defense attorney so ill prepared and the judge so indifferent and the defendant so deadpan that this was just some kind of drug-induced dream from the likes of which I need to awaken?

Two hours of perusing dozens of files, statements and reports, and several half-smoked Llamas later, I decided I needed to clear out the cornucopia of frenzied data input and get some serious sleep. Ergo, I downed four fingers of bourbon and smoked an entire Llama and lay out on the cot-from-hell. Sleep, for once, was long, deep and dreamless; as well as most welcomed.


TUESDAY DECEMBER 29, 2043
Before I left for the courthouse I opted to call Mac Malden and see if he had reported for duty. Establishing that, I headed to his office and was presented with a scene of comedic proportions. In addition to Mac there was an older beat cop I immediately recognized as Patrick “Patty” O’Malley and an apparent undercover cop named Mick Thomason fully engaged in a heated argument. This I had to see.

Leaning against the door jamb I flipped a mock hello salute to Mac who was sucking on a Merit Light (isn’t that an oxy-moron?) and rubbing his temples raw. Real smoke was coming out of his humongous nose while the figurative type was exiting his beet-red ears. His look consisted of a lethal combination of standard P.I. hatred and murderous intent. ‘Yeah, this is going to be really good.’

“Now’s not a good time, Murphy,” he trumpeted in my direction. “So, let’s go over this one more time,” he ordered.

In his typical Irish accent – which he only used when on duty – Patty said: “I was walking me beat when I noticed this unsavory character asquattin’ u’on a porch at The Dew Drop Inn. Me being the good copper I am, I informed him of rule number…”

“Oh, cut the crap, O’Malley. I wasn’t squatting; I was undercover!” Mick’s response was laced with venomous irritation.

“You were undercover, Mick?” I asked politely.

“Stay out of this, Murphy,” Mac shot back at me.

“Yeah, not that it’s any of your business. And then, trying to adroitly explain my situation to Dumbo the Clown here,” casting a thumb at O’Malley who smirked and rolled his eyes, “he gets physical. So, trying not to have my cover blown, I, of course, resisted. And that’s when he hit me.”

“Patty, you hit Mick while he was doing undercover work?” I asked politely.

“Murphy, I told you, stay out of this!” Then, turning to O’Malley: “Why did you whack Mick after he tried to explain what he was doing there?”

“Well, in me 35 years of wrestlin’ with American criminals, I’ve learnt not to believe everything they tell me. And, since he was offering resistance, well, I…”

“Good for you, Patty.”

“Shut up, Murphy!” Mick and Mac blurted out in stereo (that’s when it hurts in two places at once).

“Alright, I can see this was purely accidental; and frankly, you should too,” pointing at the aggrieved Mick.

“I agree,” was my two cents.

“I strongly suggest you keep your nose out of this, Murphy, or you’ll spend the night in the drunk tank.” I was going to come back with the rousing retort, ‘I can do that, but with a nose like yours it’s darn near impossible,’ but thought better of it.

“Okay, I guess I can see it that way,” and Patty proffered a hand to Mick. It wasn’t going to be that easy.

“That’s not the only thing that happened!” boomed Mick now getting louder by the minute.

“Really? There’s more?” I said grinning. Mac was reaching his limit, so I just waved an apology and the story went on.

Mick continued: “I ended up at Saint Mary’s Hospital unconscious and spent several hours recuperating. As a direct result of what Patty did, by the time I got home my wife had changed the locks and I couldn’t get into my own house. Tilly had doubts of my faithfulness in the past and she sported a short fuse. She had threatened, ‘One more time of not coming home and we’re through!’”

“You don’t have a place to live?” I gingerly injected.

“Not your concern, Murphy.”

“He can stay at my place, I’ve got an extra bedroom,” Patty added cheerfully.

“I’d never stay with an idiot like you!”

“Maybe what Mick needs is another whack on the beaner,” Patty suggested.

“Now wait a minute, you two. No more of that. We’ve got enough problems as it is. First, Mick needs to find a place to stay.”

“I concur,” I added with an air of determination.

“Second, we need to determine if either of you two wants to press charges.” Both shook their heads ‘no’ and stood motionless like hemorrhoids on a truck drivers’ butt. “I think we can finalize things properly if we all put our heads together.” Good idea!

At this point I couldn’t resist: “Hey! I’ve got an idea!”

“Murphy! This is your final warning!” Mac was practically screaming.

Smiling, Patty asked: “What do have for us, Murphy?”

“Why don’t we all sing that children’s song together; ‘Mick, Mac, Patty whack, give the cop a home.’” And my pearly whites would have lit up the night’s sky.

Discretion being the better part of valor, I quickly exited to a chair in the hall as Patty and Mac were restraining Mick from some sort or corporal punishment meant for me.

I found myself sitting in front of Mac several minutes later. He sighed deeply and asked why I was there, besides pissing off one undercover cop and NSF finest detective. I was about to ask who that was but thought better of it.

“You know, Mac, I admire the way you handled that potential explosive situation. I can’t help but think you’re the most tactful, sincere, informed and smartly dressed cop on the force. In fact, they should just permanently make you ‘cop of the month’ every month.”

Mac’s eyes were piercing, like a proctologist’s probe, when he answered: “You know, Murphy, if B.S. was a musical instrument, you’d be an orchestra.” Whoa! That was pretty good! I might have to use that someday. “Whaddya want?”

I asked if he had any info on the LaFleur murder case and he said no. So, taking a chance, I proceeded to tell him about the trial. He proceeded to tell me what I was doing was illegal. I proceeded to tell him I didn’t care. He proceeded to tell me to get out of his office. I proceeded to tell Him ‘there was something rotten in Denmark’. He proceeded to tell me he’d never been to Denmark. Frustrated, I thanked him and left his office and went to the courthouse.

Plopping myself down in my juror’s seat, I decided to put my full attention on the trial and do what was expected of me. I was stationed at the far end of the box closest to the audience, in the back row, directly behind a gorgeous blond wearing tinted, high quality glasses, black sequined top, and a burgundy skirt that showed just enough to get the juices flowing. If that itself wasn’t a distraction, the aroma emanating from her neck was overpowering, in an erotic sort of way. This woman would have made my call girl of the month list. Uh, assuming, of course, that, uh, such a list existed.

Cleveland Thurber III quickly established the cause of death; several lethally placed stab wounds from a long, wide knife, perhaps a butcher knife, as verified by the coroner. Next, several witnesses at The Savoy on the night of the murder were questioned and they all identified the defendant as the person who left in a hurry. How could they be so sure? Two reasons: First, as usual, it was a Friday night and groups of people populated the streets in that neighborhood looking for a veritable ‘flotsam and jetsam’ of goods and services, usually of a questionable nature. (Let’s just leave it at that.) Second, she was wearing the same glasses and hairdo she was wearing at the moment. Ooh! That hurt!

“Now for the piece-de-resistance ,” announced Thurber. ‘Are they serving dessert,’ I thought to myself. He held up a rather large, clear plastic bag full of clothes and waved it around like an item up for auction. “These clothes were found, in this bag, behind the defendant’s home in a dumpster. They are stained with the victim’s blood and have been identified as belonging to the defendant as verified by the digital recordings provided by hotel security.” What recordings? “Which recordings am I referring to, you may ask?” Now he’s a mind reader.

Gesturing to a court assistant, a 40” by 40” screen was lowered from the ceiling and, using a remote control, Thurber played the recording. The screen was split into four equal sections representing four different camera angles. The time and date stamp verified when LaFleur arrived, the signing of the guest register, how long she was there, and the time of exit. The one exterior camera showed her bumping into a few pedestrians (the same who had already taken the stand) who all turned and stared as she moved out of the camera’s field of view. Wow! This was really damning evidence!

Looking at his watch, Thurber revealed he had a few more witnesses to question and suggested they break for lunch. “Huh? What was that?” Did Thurber just wake up the judge? “Oh, yes, of course. There will be a 90 minute lunch break. It is desired all to be present and in their seats for the start of the early morning session.” Bang! And that, as they say, was that.

After lunch we returned for more of the same, grueling rhetoric as police officer, et al, were called to testify. The first uni on the scene; the CSI team, the police photographer,
and finally the lead detective. During his questioning a young well-dressed young woman came in and motioned to Thurber. He begged the court’s indulgence and listened attentively while she whispered sweet nothings in his ear. A look of revealing surprise spread across his chiseled face and, turning to the judge, he asked for a 15 minute recess as new information had come to his attention. Ito acquiesced and we were given a short break.

Needless-to-say, I beat it out the back door and lit up, possibly setting a record for the quickest smoke ever. But, my name is Murphy and sure enough, the door had locked when it closed. In a shear panic I ran around to the front of the building, took the stairs three at a time, burst through the courtroom doors, sent the whole place into collective shock, and plopped down, 5 minutes late, into my assigned seat.

“Thank you for joining us, juror forty-four. If it’s OK with you, we can resume our proceedings?” I think Ito was being facetious, but decided not to respond accordingly.

Thurber, strutting with renewed confidence, said: “I would like to introduce a critical piece of evidence that has just come into my possession.” I expected an objection from Armondsen but none was forthcoming. Strange. “My crack team of investigators have just located the murder weapon, a bloody butcher knife, which is now in police custody and is being checked for fingerprints and blood analysis. Though they promised quick results, this could take a few hours and, since I have called my last witness, I request we cease our activities for the morning and return tonight at the usual time.”

Ito rubbed the salt and pepper stubble on his massive jowls and said: “I concur. Court recessed until 8 PM this evening. Please be courteous and respectful and be here on time,” shooting a lethal glare in my direction. I squirmed and nodded my head like a good little juror. He left, the audience left, and the jury left. Even Armndsen left, except he left without saying one word to his client, and she was escorted to the local holding cell by two female officers.

Once again I found myself flying home with more questions than answers. Oh, the evidence was overwhelmingly damaging to be sure, but there was something that just didn’t sit right; my spidey sense was on red alert and that is never a good sign. So, on the way home I called Mac from my speeder and thankfully, he was still on duty.

“Hi Mac!”

“No!”

“I haven’t asked yet!”

“Still no!”

Sighing heavily, I pushed the envelope a little further. “Look, Mac, I really need your help. I’m not asking you to break the law, just asking for a little assistance.” I waited while Mac chewed on this for a few moments.

“OK, whaddya want to know?”

“The lead investigator on the LaFleur case is a guy named Stiegerwalt. Do you know him?”

“Yeah, him and I go way back. He’s a top notch detective; never misses a thing. So?”

“Actually, that’s what I was hoping for. You see, Mac, this case meets the classic ‘open and shut’ scenario.”

“They come along every once and a while, Murphy. What’s your point?”

I gave some serious thought before answering: “Have you ever seen a case so perfect that it appeared to be….choreographed?”

“Choreo-what?”

“Choreographed, Mac, you know, staged, as though it was rehearsed before it ever got to the courtroom. Is it possible?”

“Never come across anything like that. I would say, improbable, but nothing’s impossible in a court of law nowadays.”

I was silent more than normal when Mac offered his two cents worth: “Tell you what. In lieu of finding Rusty’s remains, I’ll talk to Stiegerwalt and we’ll go from there.”

“Thanks, Mac. I owe you.”

“More than you know, Murphy,” and he hung up. Breathing easier, I headed straight home and crashed on my cot. May the Sandman bless my efforts.



WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 30, 2043
Rising early in the evening I could smell the aroma of fresh coffee and other breakfast scents winding their mysterious way to my apartment. Even with the windows closed during the wintry months, it was impossible for nature to contain within its purview the delectable odors coming from Louie’s Diner. I simply had no choice.

Plopping down on my favorite stool (I seem to be doing a lot of plopping these days), it was mere micro-seconds before Louie placed a hot cup of Armageddon under my nose. Eyes closed, I imagined heaven with coffee-colored streets strewn ankle deep in my favorite caffeinated beverage. No sooner had I taken a long, delicious draw on my cup and an even longer draw on my Llama when voila! Breakfast was served.

“Thanks, Louie, you really know how to treat a guy.”

“My pleasure, Moiph. So, how’s the trial goin’?”

It took a moment to respond as my taste buds were experiencing a momentary lapse in cooperation as I simply basked in Louie’s culinary expertise, the great taste Louie was famous for. “Well, it wasn’t what I expected. In fact, I’m not sure if it was fate that chose me to sit in as a juror or simply bad luck.”

“Why do you say that?”

“The whole trial, though only two days long, is quite possibly the biggest fiasco ever to unfold in any court of law. To put it succinctly, even kangaroos would be embarrassed by this trial.”

“Sounds like you’re not too happy to perform your civic duty.”

“No, that’s not what I mean. Civic duty is one thing; watching a woman go to the gallows without a hint of support from anyone, and I mean ANYONE, is just ripping my heart to pieces. And the worst part of it? I’m on the jury that’s going to send her there!”

“Now don’t go getting’ all negative, Moiph. The trial ain’t over yet.”

“True, but the evidence is overwhelming.” I paused for another hefty forkful of hash browns and eggs while slipping a large rasher of bacon in the other corner of my mouth. Seconds later, I added: “That’s still not the worst of it. It seems the whole thing is a badly written play with badly performing actors. I don’t know. It just seems…” I let the words hang, though not knowing why.

“What’s on your mind, Moiph?” Louie always knew when something wasn’t quite right when I acted this way.

I shared a few things with him and left, satisfied in the flesh, muddled in spirit. A short time later I was back in my usual spot, plopped down behind Miss America. Judge Ito II waltzed in like a zombie ready for beddy-bye and we were back to cases.

Thurber rested his case and Ito motioned for Armondsen to present his defense. After shuffling through a clutter of papers, one of which had fallen to the floor, he asked for his only witness to take the stand – Ms. LaFleur. Twenty minutes later he finished and the running of the bulls, or just one bull, began.

Thurber spent two hours treating Ms. LaFleur as though she was Hitler incarnate. It was downright embarrassing, belligerent, and degrading. At one point I stifled an insatiable desire to stand and plead for her mercy. Some of it went thusly:

“Is this you entering, registering and leaving The Savoy on the date and time in question?” he bellowed.

Calmly, without a hint of emotion, she answered: “I’ve never been to The Savoy.”

Snorting, he then queried: “And I suppose this isn’t your butcher knife even though it has your fingerprints on it?”

“I don’t own a butcher knife and I do not know how my fingerprints got on it,” once again, responding coolly.

“Of course you don’t – anymore! I’m holding it in my hand!” and then he laughed. No objection forthcoming, I leaned forward and said to Miss America, ‘I don’t own a butcher knife either.” She spun her head around and, if looks could kill, she’d make the FBI ten most wanted list.

Once again, grabbing the bag of clothes, he waved them around and blared: “And I suppose these are not your clothes with the victim’s blood on it?”

“I have never met the victim and those clothes do not belong to me.”

“Really? Despite the fact they have been verified by the CSI team? Do you really expect us to believe you! Everything points to you as the murderer. The evidence is…”

Once again I leaned forward and said: “Let me guess; overwhelming.” Another poisoned look.

“…overwhelming!”

“Mr. Thurber, I’ll have you know that I never lie, neither in the past, nor now, nor forever. I find it to distrustful and misleading. Truth is a way of life for me. Not to mention I could never, ever, kill anyone.”

“Your honor, this is just too much to for me to endure. I rest my case, placing the obvious verdict in the hands of the jury.” Again, no objection.

Ito checked his watch and ordered a 90 minute lunch recess. ‘Thank God!’ was all I could think. I was too emotionally inflamed to eat, so I decided to ‘Itch’ a few friends. Mac sent me a ‘Scratch’ saying he was scheduled to speak with Stiegerwalt a little later. Chelsee and Louie both replied and said they would be in attendance for the early morning session. That was a comfort. Realizing that I was indeed hungry, I chose a triple club sandwich and a Mom’s Root Beer – large! And just to make sure, I was back in my seat 10 minutes early. (NOTE: Itch and Scratch were the latest and greatest forms of instant commu-nication, replacing the now out of date Text and Tweet.)

Upon arrival of Judge Ito II, both counsellors were ordered to give their closing statements. Some things never change. However, just as the judge was about to dismiss us for deliberations, a big mutant over in the far corner went into a coughing and hacking fit that caught everyone’s rapt attention. Two court officials help the big fella by escorting him out of the courtroom. Back to normal, Ito issued his instructions. It was the usual leave your personal cell phones, notebooks, Micro-Managers and other personal communication devices with the armed guards before leaving the jury box. And, though we will not reconvene until Monday night at 8 PM January3rd, 2044, unless of course, you can quickly come back with a unanimous verdict, you are not allowed to discuss this case with anyone…..blah, blah, blah. The boring harangue finally ended and we could retire for about two hours of ‘let’s play guilty or not guilty’ in a private room just off the main courtroom. I wonder if Ito was trying to drop a hint. Anyway, we filed past a court official resembling Andre the Giant and dropped our electronic devices into bags labeled each with our name. It was off to the deliberation room and I had no idea what would transpire. I only had a sinking feeling regarding the defendant, the trial, the counsellors and the judge. AND, I had no idea what kind of people made up our jury. But, like a good little cowboy, I followed directions and went to a room down the hall from the courtroom. We entered, chose our seats, and the future of Ms. LaFleur was in our, hopefully, capable hands. I was dejected, to say the least.

Oh, and by the way, during the commotion I felt my cell vibrate and had just enough time to check my messages. It was an itch from Mac and consisted of five letters: LASTL. As usual, he had sent me a ‘word scramble’. Rearranging the letters, it turned out to be an unexpected command: STALL.

_________________

"If you look to me for illumination, you better have a flashlight!"

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Chandler
Post subject: Re: Tex Murphy: Juror #44
Post Posted: Oct 22, 2015 3:57 pm
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Joined: Jun 20, 2012 9:18 pm
Posts: 847

Very entertaining JTOG. I take it there will be a 2nd installment?

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Jim the old guy
Post subject: Re: Tex Murphy: Juror #44
Post Posted: Sep 09, 2017 10:27 am
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Joined: May 31, 2005 10:36 am
Posts: 2927

OK, so I'm slow; so what? This happens to those who break the septug...eer, whatever! Anyway, I am finally getting around to working on part two and I have even grandioser (is that a word?) ideas regarding a rip-roaring, roller-coaster-of-a-ride conclusion in part three.

I should have something ready (if not all of it) in about two weeks. Can you wait that long? Hello? Anybody there?

"I shot an arrow into the air...."

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