"Ladies and gentlemen of the, ah...jury. Today...we are here to prove that that man!" the prosecuting attorney pointed to George, who sat hunched over in his seat, "George Milton is guilty for the crime of murder against the victim, Lennie Smalls. I... rest my case!" at this point the prosecuting attorney took a dramatic pause, staring at each one of the jurors and witnesses. Then, with one quick sigh, he took his seat and glared at George.
The defense attorney immediately got up and began to pace back and forth, from one side of the courtroom to another. Then he opened his mouth, closed it and shook his head, thinking. Then, finally, he pointed to George and carefully said, with his hands on his hips, "This man is not guilty. Of anything." then he sat down, leaving the jury staring at him. The judge nodded then fiddled with some papers on his podium, looking dreadfully bored.
The prosecuting attorney rose from his seat again and abruptly pointed at Slim, who sat a ways off, hiding a smile.
"I call Slim...does he even have a last name? And what is his real name? Did you just write 'Slim' on all your tests in school?"
Once Slim had sworn by the bible he was in the witness seat, his long, thin fingers interlocked. The prosecuting attorney glared at him.
"Mr....Slimy, Slim, Slim, Jimmy, Jim, Jim. Where....were you at the time of the alleged...murder?"
Suddenly, from over on the defendant's seat, a loud "Objection!" came from the defense attorney. The judge sighed.
"I overrule your objection! Now shut up and take your seat!" the defense attorney sat back in his seat and the prosecuting attorney smiled then turned back to Slim, who sat there with a confused look on his face.
"Now, I shall ask you again! Where were you at the time of the murder?!"
Slim took a second to think, not daring to look George in the eye. "I dunno. I was in the forest-no, no-the brush, y'know? Where it happened."
The prosecuting attorney leaned very close to him. "I'll ask the questions here!" he stood up straight, then dramatically cleared his throat. "no further questions." then he took his seat and waited for the defense attorney to take his place.
Once the defense attorney was standing in front of Slim, he began pacing and stroking his chin. "Mr. Slim. Would you say that George and Lennie were very close?"
"Yeah. Like brothers."
"And would you say that his actions were done out of compassion rather than hate?"
"Yep. He didn't want Curley to shoot him."
The prosecuting attorney stood up and yelled, "Objection!" The judge let out a loud snore and jumped. He glared at the prosecutor.
"NO! Now sit down in your seat a'fore I make you!" the prosecuting attorney obeyed and quietly sat down.
The defending attorney smiled. "VERY WELL, THEN. Mister Slim, would you say that George chose to shoot Lennie? Chose to shoot him because, like Candy's dog, he wanted to shoot Lennie? Because George Milton wanted to shoot Lennie before anyone else would've, and because he wanted to 'get rid of his own dog', in a sense? So that, in doing this he could...ummm shoot Lennie...like a dog?"
Slim looked at him with his eyebrows raised, then in exasperation, looked to the ceiling, searching for an answer. "Could you repeat the question, please?" the defense attorney sighed then repeated the question. Slim let out a soft "Ohhhh..." of realization and said even louder, "Ummm...yeah. I guess."
"Hmmm..."the defending attorney nodded then took his seat, "No further questions."
Now the prosecuting attorney stood up and proclaimed, "I wish to question the witness again, your honor!"
The judge looked at him blankly then nodded. The prosecuting attorney stepped up, once again, to where Slim sat and put his hands behind his back. "Now, Slim. How long has George been at the ranch?"
The tall, thin man shrugged his shoulders. "I dunno. Bout a month-a few weeks, I guess."
"Ah. I see. Now, have you ever heard George make any kind of reference or statement that he has been abusive to Lennie in the past?"
Slim looked at George in an apologetic way and said "Yeah. I guess so. He once tol' me bout this one time. He an' Lennie were at the Sacramento River an-"
"SHUT UP!" the judge roared at the defending attorney, who had shouted. He banged his gabble and glared at everyone in the room. He finally motioned for the prosecuting attorney to continue.
Which he did with a big smile on his face. "Very well. Now, mister Slim. Do you recognize... this?"
He held up a Luger, in a little plastic baggie. Slim looked at the man with his usual calm, Godlike eyes and slowly nodded. "Yep. Reckon that's ol' Carlson's Luger."
"Well then, mister Slim. Perhaps you can tell me when you last saw it!" the prosecuting attorney yelled and he began pacing again.
"Sure. That's the gun George used to kill Lennie wi-"
"And did you see the dead body? Did you see the bullet hole in the back of the head?" the prosecuting attorney asked, his eyes wide. Slim shook his head. The judge smiled tiredly.
"Thank you for painting us such a...vivid picture, Mr. Seth. But please, move on."
The prosecutor shook his head. "But the whole point that I was trying to prove was that Lennie was a zombie and is alive and is in a mental asylum."
Everyone in the courtroom stared at him stupidly. A girl in the audience wearing black knee-high, socks with skulls and rainbows on them spoke up. "Yep. It's this story we I came up with-Lennie is really a zombie who comes back from the dead like Michael Myers and pets puppies and goes around killing people and is all like, 'George, George? I jus' wanna tend them rabbits.' I wrote a story about it."
George, who sat in the audience put his head in his hands, trying to believe it wasn't true; his fate was in the hands of these people? The prosecutor gave the girl one last odd glance, then returned his attention to Slim.
"Tell me, mister Slim. Is it true that the victim, Lennie Smalls liked to pet soft things, in particular, puppies?"
"Yeah, I guess. But I don't really see how that has to do with an-"
"Is it true that you gave him one of your puppies?" the prosecuting attorney asked, glaring at George, who sat a ways off, looking somewhat ashamed. Slim nodded. "Ah.... Very well, then. Is it true that George seemed to express some sort of...frustration when Lennie insistently petted those puppies?"
"Yeah, I guess but I still don' see how this has anything to do wi-"
The prosecuting attorney turned to Slim, his eyes menacing. "I'll ask the questions here!"
Slim tried not to look too pissed off. "But I wasn't asking a ques-"
The prosecuting attorney faced the judge. "No further questions."
"Wait," the girl with the knee-high socks called, "bring the puppies to the stand! Yeah, yeah, and ask them how they felt about Lennie petting them all the time!"the judge silenced her then nodded to the prosecutor.
Slim shook his head and rolled his eyes muttering curses, he went back to his seat. The prosecuting attorney sat down, and the defending attorney quickly rose to his feet. After a few seconds of contemplation, he pointed to Curley.
Curley got up with a look of disgust and went over to the bailiff, who rolled his eyes.
"Do you solemnly swear that you are up to no good?"
Curley looked perplexed. The bailiff blushed then said, "Sorry. I jus' saw that Harry Potter movie. You know the one-"the judge cleared his throat and glared at him-"Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"
"Will God like, what? Smite him with a lightning bolt if he lies?" the girl asked. Everyone ignored her, including Curley, who just nodded then took his gloved hand off of the bible and made his way over to his seat. The defense attorney cleared his throat then gazed at Curley.
"How long has George been working on your ranch before the alleged murder?"
Curley shrugged. "Bout a month."
The defense attorney nodded. "Hmmm. I see. And in this short period of time did he once show any sign of abuse towards Lennie?"
"Well, in this period of time did Lennie try and harm you in any way?"
Curley nodded. "Yep. We got in a fight an' he hurt m'hand."
The defense attorney's eyes twinkled. "Indeed. Can you show us this...ah....alleged 'hurt hand'?" Curley shrugged again and held up his bent and broken hand for all of the court to see. Some members of the jury gasped, the girl wearing black knee-high socks with skulls and rainbows on them, just sat there, twisting her wavy, brown hair. She raised her hand.
The judge looked at her slowly as he softly beat his gable against his podium. He asked loudly, "What?"
The girl blushed; she was very shy. She stretched out her legs, to get more comfortable. "Well...I was just wondering whether or not the jury can object."
The judge shook his head. "No." The girl's face fell and she took off her shoes and reclined in her chair. On the other side of the room Slim also raised his hand. The judge turned to him.
Slim cleared his throat. "I would just like to say that I lover her socks." he said, smiling. Everyone in the courtroom chuckled. The judge angrily pounded his gable on his podium. They were all silenced. The defense attorney rubbed his forehead, agitated then returned his attention to Curley.
"And, consumed by rage, did you possibly try and go so far as to kill the victim, Lennie Smalls?"
"Well, yeah. That crazy bastard killed m'wife. I wanted to kill him."
"Ahh..." the defense attorney nodded, "so, would you say, Mr. Curley, that in shooting Lennie, George performed an act of love? And in doing so-"
The girl stood up again. "You make it sound like they were having gay butt sex or something." she sat down hurriedly and the judge gave her a warning glance. She was silenced. George sighed, then blushed a bright crimson.
The defense attorney scoffed then resumed his interrogation, "And in doing so, kept Lennie from suffering through any further harm that he would have received if allowed to live, leaving you to shoot him?"
Curley nodded. "Yep. If I woulda found that bastard, I woulda shot him. In the guts." he chuckled quietly at the thought.
The defense attorney didn't laugh. Instead he gave Curley a disgusted look. Then, with a quick flourish, he returned to his seat and proclaimed, "I rest my case!"
The prosecutor stepped up to Curley. He smiled and motioned for him to return to his seat, which he did. Then the prosecutor pointed to Candy. "I call Candy to the stand!"
The old man stepped up to the bailiff, who, with a roll of his eyes, swore him in. Candy wandered over to the witnesses seat, looking rather dismal. The prosecutor stepped to his left and put one hand on the old man's shoulder, supportively.
"I know it's hard, mister Candy. But Imma need you to answer a few questions."
Candy shrugged the man's hand off. "I can handle m'self." he said.
The prosecutor sighed. "Very well then. Mister Candy, how long have you been employed at....ummm...the...ranch...?"
In the crowd, Curley yelled, "The Tyler Ranch!" the prosecutor nodded briskly. Candy scratched his head.
"I dunno. Damn near thirty-maybe fifty years."
"Ahhh...I...seeeeee...." he cleared his throat, "and you were involved in their scheme, were you? To go off by yourselves and buy a patch of land all your own?"
The prosecutor smiled. "Did you ever feel at one point, that they were using you for your money?"
Slim stood up, in the distance. "I'm sorry, but what does this have to do with the trial?"
The prosecutor didn't even acknowledge him. He just said coldly, "I'll ask the questions here. Now, Candy, you were the first person to discover the body, correct?"
The old man nodded. "Yep. I had jus' come in from playin' horseshoes an'-"
"Where were you at the time of Lennie's murder?"
"They left me behind. To look after the tart." Candy said, dully. The courtroom softly chuckled. Even George lifted his head from his hands and smiled at the old man.
The prosecutor's lips became a thin line. "Very well then....I-"
The girl from the jury called, "Don't say it, please!"
"-rest my case!" and, with that, the prosecutor dramatically walked over to his seat. The defense attorney instinctively took his place at the head of the courtroom. He kindly told Candy to return to his seat then called up the final witness, the accused man himself, George.
Once the bailiff had sworn him in and he was sitting where everyone before him had sat, the defense attorney walked over to him. "Mister George Milton, would you say that-"
"Why do you call everyone mister?" the girl from the jury, the one with the knee-high socks, asked loudly. The guy next to her laughed. The judge was fast asleep by now, so the defense attorney glared at her.
"Sit down, now!"
She looked surprised. "Don't make me come down there and pop a cap in your sorry ass!" she said as she slowly took her seat. The jurors worked hard to hide their laughs.
The defense attorney nodded then said to George, "Would you say that you loved Lennie Smalls?"
George sadly nodded. "Yeah...like a brother."
"And would you say that your actions were that of pure compassion?"
"Yeah. I didn't want Curley to kill him, an' I knew he would die anyways..."
The defense attorney nodded. Then, turning to the sleeping judge he said, "No further questions."
The prosecutor looked from the judge to George with an air of loathing. Cursing, he took his place. "VERY WELL, THEN." he turned to George, "mister Milton, would you think that it's fair to say what you did was nothing short of cold-blooded murder?"
George looked perplexed and shook his head. "Nope."
The court gasped. His defending attorney yelled from across the room, "You do know the whole point of this trial was to prove yourself not guilty, right?" George said nothing, just looked down at his hands. The prosecutor wasn't done yet.
"Is it true that Lennie liked to pet soft things?"
"And is it true that this sometimes...angered you?"
George nodded. "Yeah. It sometimes frustrated me."
The prosecutor looked quite pleased with himself as he said, "And is it also true that you have stated, on many occasions prior to this trial, that your life would be much simpler without Lennie to look after? That you would be able to go to cat houses and such to play with the....cats?"
"Yep. Reckon I have."
The prosecutor smiled at him and hissed, "Got you now..." he turned to the jury. "And would you also say that the prospect that both you and Lennie could have gotten away from Curley unscathed was a indeed a possible one?"
George shrugged. "Sure it was possible, but we would've always been on the run. Curley knows people. It wouldn't have been just that simple." he stopped and looked at the prosecutor, who stood there, glaring at him but saying nothing. Taking a deep breath, he continued, "An' his behavior was getting worse. It started out as just a purty lady's dress, then a puppy, then...this. He killed Curley's wife. He was scairt outta his wits. There was nothin' else I could do other than...."
The prosecutor sighed. "Other than kill that special, special, special man. Is that correct?"
George nodded then sniffled. The judge, suddenly awoke, and beat his gable on the podium once more. He finally addressed the small group of jurors.
"There. You have seen the evidence, heard the testimonies, and formed an educated opinion. Now it is time to make your decision. All...three of you." he said, raising his eyebrows he muttered, "Wow. Not a big turn out at all."
The jurors nodded, then quickly and silently deliberated. The girl in the knee-high socks couldn't help but notice the defending attorney and George giving her several thumb ups and smiles, confident in her vote. George lost all hope when he saw them playing rock, paper, scissors. He sighed and said his prayers.
Some time later, the jury finished deliberating and one of the three jurors stood up and read loudly from a piece of paper, "We, the jury....find the defendant, George Milton to be................guilty of the crime of unjustified murder of a mentally-challenged individual-" the whole crowd, mainly Slim, the defending attorney, and Candy erupted into yells of protest-"WE BELIEVE THIS TO BE TRUE BECAUSE WE THINK THAT GEORGE MILTON WANTED TO TEND THE RABBITS HIMSELF!!!"the juror yelled over the protests. George sighed and shook his head. He looked at Slim, who gave him a sad ittle smile of encouragement.
The judge cleared his throat and silenced the shouts from the crowd. "I find the defendant, George Milt-"
The girl from the jury jumped to her feet and proclaimed, "I didn't vote him guilty!"
George looked up at her and smiled a little. "Why not?"
She smiled. "Because Slim said you weren't."
The judge raised his eyebrows. "So....?"
"And Slim is like, the coolest character in this whole story. And Slim said so." Everyone except Slim himself stared at her like she was the dumbest thing ever to walk the face of the Earth. She blushed again. "And plus....because I said so. And I'm obviously right." the whole courtroom laughed. She smiled. "Of course I'm joking. No, but seriously Slim said so, and he's right."
The judge, however, returned his attention back to George, who sat in his seat looking both amused and horrified. He said coldly, "I find the defendant, George Milton to be guilty. I sentence him to 25 to 50 years in jail with no parole."
The smile faded from everyone's face. The judge just said with one last shrug, "That was the best I could do-it was either that or a death sentence or a lifetime in jail. At least you get free food and health care and TV. Oh well, enjoy."
The girl with the high socks frowned and muttered, "Jeez. All poor Lennie wanted to do was eat his ketchup with his beans."