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NON-FICTION


TITLE: Court Day (revised)
By Angela Hawkins
11/06/10
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Court Day

They filed in with shuffled steps; the abstract unison of clinking metal to metal the only sound disturbing the muffled silence of the courtroom. Some entered with heads down, humiliated and surrendered, the fight gone out of them. Others with heads high, defiant of even the end of the crime done; now the verdict to be decided. While a few looked straight ahead, blankly refusing to acknowledge the actuality of where they were to be evident.

They came in as a group, anchored to each other, wrists bound in front of them, chains wrapped around waists then attached to leg shackles. As though they would run even if they could; bound in a line as they were. All the way to the end of the bench they came, turning in domino fashion to be seated. The crowd had hushed now, these condemned the object of everyone’s stare. The rustling of orange jump suits sounding like a roar as they sat - finally… the group choosing, each one to himself where to.. or not… to look.

The main focus shifted from the sea of orange to the platform as the judge entered. The soft and occasional clanking of the bound not even drawing the robed man’s attention - he’d seen it all before. Too many times. It had become the mundane.

Each was called forward. Crimes were read aloud for all to hear. Men in suits and ties spoke rehearsed speeches on behalf of the orange figures. They’d seen it all before too. Judgments were passed down. The subjects reacted, each in his own way, to the penalty for the crime committed. Each received his duty to be paid as the court deemed. The last one was called and sentenced.

The bailiff opened the door for them to exit. Soft crying could be heard and the man at the door reached his hand out to the shoulder of the one broken down. “It’s ok“, he said as he patted him. The jump-suited figure stifled his pain. I have to be brave, the nine year old considered. . . . After all, I’m the oldest.
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