Raphael enjoyed this point of view from behind the witness stand. His height gave him a perfect view of everything in the courtroom, from the nail biting stenographer to the bailiff checking his phone. If he were cognizant of the events to follow, he would probably not exude such confidence.
It was a minor traffic offense, not coming to a full stop at a designated stop area, but compound that with expired driver’s license and no insurance, and you end up here in traffic court.
In lieu of an actual traffic ticket lawyer (Do you know how expensive these specialists are? Big time.), Raphael opted, by proxy, a public defender. Little did he realize, he was about to make the biggest mistake of his life, unless you count the days of too much heroin with one of Neil Young’s personal roadies. Sad story too, one of them died tragically, and it wasn’t Raphael. It was a sordid tale that involved volcanoes, blood and guts, an overcooked cherry pie and alleged arson; but that is neither here nor there.
The door burst open. It was the public defender. He was ten minutes late. He was, to everyone’s surprise, a near-sighted turtle, a little on the tall side. Raphael took a deep breath. He never trusted a turtle before, because they are notoriously known for their tardiness. In Raphael’s very own words, not two days before, “Turtles are the North Koreans of the animal kingdom. They are stubborn and ignorant.”
Raphael lowered himself at the witness stand, attempting to hide, but damn it, being a giraffe with a long honking neck makes this nearly impossible. Great for reaching things up high, bad for hiding one’s head in shame.
The turtle, one Beauregard Clay the III, slowly limped over to the judge, turned and winked at Raphael. Raphael did not take this gesture well. The last time a turtle winked at him, he was coincidentally mugged by a pack of hyenas. A pressing fact, hyenas and turtles are widely known for their camaraderie when it comes to gangland crime. They have over three million silent methods of communicating. For dramatic emphasis, Raphael rubbed his finger over the scar just above his belly. He watched Beauregard with great interest and suspicion.
After the turtle murmured indecipherable utterances to the judge, who appeared to be a kindly old wombat, she declared, “I find Raphael Alazar not guilty, please arrange payment plans with the bursar. Next.” With this she pounded her gavel.
Raphael was so stunned and crippled. He could not find the strength to stand up. He sat there and truly recognized himself for the first time as one of “those” racists. Later that evening, Raphael was found dead in the crappiest motel. The official cause of death: malnutrition of logic and compassion and severe cirrhosis of the liver.