Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Writer's Life (05/13/10)
TITLE: Trial at the Old Bailey
By Maria Kana Santos
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Aroma of brewing coffee filled the room. Even so, coffee had no power over me, Mom wouldn’t let me until I turned twenty.
Still baffled with dejection, I resumed hunting for conflicts to plot into my story.
My screen-saver and half-filled page took turns showing up. Pictures danced in and out of the screen.
Refusing to set to work, stiff on the keypad, my fingers mainly landed on delete-backspace buttons. Instead, all ten combed the strands on my aching head. Maybe, my brainwaves might spark at the stroke of my hands.
I scanned through “My Journal”. Journal entries and devotionals filed for notice. My jumbled notes made no sense. I was stuck. Two hours of writing alarmed me. I grumbled, “Hmph! Some writer.”
Reluctantly, I dug up from beneath my backpack crumpled papers of manuscript of the Christian fiction I wrote. Teacher’s red ink marked all over the pages, gloom painted all over my face.
Dejected, I decided that learning to endure--- meant rewriting. I deposited the manuscript back into my bag.
My shoulders drooped, streams of insecurities flooded all over me. Words wouldn’t pour out. I couldn’t piece my story together. Discouragement began to engulf another writer, me.
The corner of my eyes caught Solz. The clicks on her keypad, the smiles, and her relaxed sips of coffee confronted me with naggings of envy, and horror at my feelings of inadequacies. My heart raced to my head, both pounded more.
“I can’t write! Think, Darcey, think!”
The Vienna Grandfather on the wall chimed one o’clock. The pendulum dangled and swung rhythmically.
A man walked onto the platform. I’m sure it wasn’t a toupee. The forelock covered his smooth head, which, I decided, the receding hairline didn’t need that locks of white, silken horsehair curled down his shoulders. His black overcoat suggested some supreme title. Looking dignified, he sat at the bench.
“10th September 1853, the defendant, Kyle Darcey pleads, “Not guilty.”
All eyes shot at me standing in the centre of the courtroom.
I scanned the room, realizing where I was. “Plead? Of what crime, er... Your Honour?” I assumed he was the judge among the group of wigged men in black robes.
Dignified-looking in his black gown and long wig, Judge wasted no time. “Are you a writer?”
“You’re in the dock, you may speak, Miss Darcey.”
“Wri...ter? Thinking about it awhile, “Me?”
“Yes... ‘fact is, Your Highness, I am.” I brimmed with hope at the cross-examination.
After leafing through papers, Judge addressed, “Evidences show, members of the jury, plaintiffs from the Readers Union, charge Miss Darcey of maltreatment of words.”
Looking at me now, he said, “You violated the Law of Simplicity: Your readers demand that they gain your respect for them.”
“What does that mean, Your Powerful?”
Murmurs resonated within the walls. Gavel pounded. Judge narrowed his brows, then rested his elbows on his bench table.
Judge Bigwig, which wasn’t his real name, demanded judicial order in the court.
“Dr. Peter Roget to the witness stand, please.”
My mouth hung open. Then, found my voice, “Your Highness! THE doctor of words is here!”
Judge tipped his spectacles down the bridge of his nose, looked down at me, and pursed his mouth.
“Do you know this writer in the dock, Doc-tor?” Judge Bigwig’s face did not move, but clipped his lips to hide a smile.
Dr. Roget, said, “I’ve read her writings. Preposterous use of words, indeed!”
The word-expert continued, “However, I believe Miss Darcey has plenty of room to improve. Simplicity, well-crafting, and variety are the secrets of successful writing.”
There was no chair in the dock stand. I stunned at my feet. My head drooped, and relived the cutting charges about my writing.
I thought I heard a teacup, broken, crushed in pieces like me.
“Thank you, Doctor. You may step down.”
“Miss Darcey, have you any word to say to defend yourself?”
Brokenly, I spoke, “Sir, to this day, I can’t write... if I won’t.”
“Therefore, I, Judge Wordsworth, on the trial of Miss Kyle Darcey at Old Bailey Court, I do pron...........
“What! Your Humbleness, what!...
With a start, I retraced where I was.
The pendulum sang three o’clock.
I sat erect, then typed, “The Verdict of a Capable Writer,” keys on my laptop sounded music in the air.
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