go to trial it did. At that trial it seemed to my friend that the perp was not
even there. When the Judge opened the trial and the defendant stood up what my
friend saw was a shock. No longer the wild animal from the attack several
months earlier, here stood a clean-cut young man in a well tailored suit
looking for all the world like a corporate lawyer. At first my friend thought
the perp was indeed one of the lawyers but as the trial commenced it was clear
that this was the man from the attack, only cleaned up mightily.
was no jury, the defendant having waived his right to a jury trial and decided
upon a bench trial where the Judge decides the case.
happened at the start of the trial gives new meaning to the term “travesty of
the defendant here?” the judge asked.
now-cleaned up man rose up and said, “I am, judge.”
the judge huffed, then asked, “do you have a job, young fellow?”
your Honor,” the man replied. “I’m a dentist.”
dentist!” echoed the Judge. “And this is a rape trial?” he asked
incredulously. “Where’s this
victim, this woman,” he asked briskly.
complainant stood up and meekly identified herself.”
pressing charges against this man?” the judge asked. “I don’t believe it,” he
muttered. “I don’t believe it.”
he turned to the woman who had been through so much and said, “You shouldn’t be
putting this man on trial, this looks like the kind of man you should be
dating, for goodness sakes!”
the Assistant District Attorney attempted to speak, the judge shot her down. “I
won’t have this in my courtroom. No, I won’t have – young man, stand up again.”
man rose and the judge said, “I don’t believe it. I’m dismissing the – no,
verdict is not guilty.”
the loud crack of the gavel it was over. Almost. To pour salt into the wound,
he turned again to the victim and said, “You really should
be dating this
man, you know.” Then the Judge got up and walked out of the courtroom. That was that. Just another day at work for the
friend sat studying this in utter disbelief. The trial
had lasted all of maybe two and a half minutes. The
defendant got off without so much as a fine that he would have certainly gotten for
littering or double parking.
After allowing a couple of months to pass, my friend was again on
the Upper West Side at sundown, but this time he paid no attention to the sun
save for the shade its descent provided. In the looming shadow, my friend
waited unseen, his heavy walking stick poised in the air. When the young man, the
clean-cut dentist, got to the doorway of his building he fumbled with his keys. That's when my friend brought the walking
sharply across the crown of the man’s head. Before he even hit the pavement, the man was out cold. My friend waited.
After a few seconds, the man roused
himself with a horrible moan. As he attempted to get up off the pavement he
felt the clean smack of wood hitting his left kneecap, thoroughly shattering it. The pain
shot through his whole limp body, a scream, more like a hiss, was all he could get out of his throat before my friend swept
the walking stick across the man's Adam's apple, silencing him. Next to go was the other knee and then the
lights went out for guy. When he awoke, pain choking his throat, the rest of him wracked with agony, he
saw that whatever it was that attacked him, had taken a last shot at his hands. Four fingers on each hand were broken, hideously
swollen like over-stuffed gherkins
ready to burst. There was nobody around. And he never knew what had happened to
him. His life, as he had known it, was now over; as dead as a gaffed mackerel,
taken from him by God knows what.
we know what happened and why it happened.