The Cooperative Defendant
a Short Story
Copyright © Kellis, Summer, 2003
“People versus Eve NMI Nunn,” cried the bailiff loudly over the noise of the courtroom, reading from his clipboard, “charged with Possession of WMD, Threatened Use of WMD, Larceny of a Chartered Financial Institution, Grand Larceny, Concealing Evidence, Fleeing Arrest, Trespass and Littering.”
The policeman holding her upper arm pushed Eve to the middle of the bench. The female prosecutor’s assistant followed just behind the policeman but no one else stood close.
The judge, fat, fifty and bald with a pepper-and-salt moustache, looked up from the legal papers on his desk. “And littering?”
The bailiff scanned further, “To wit: casting trash into the public street.”
The judge grinned sourly. “Bank robbery plus littering — oh, for the good old days of neat thieves!” He sighed impatiently. “I know NMI means No Middle Initial, but kindly refresh my memory on WMD.”
“Weapons of Mass Destruction,” intoned the Bailiff.
The judge’s eyebrows rose. “Serious business for such a pretty girl! How do you plead, Ms. Nunn?”
The defendant stood in the orange jail suit, hands dangling at her sides. Short brown hair was a mass of natural curls. The face, a symmetrical oval background for arched eyebrows, large brown eyes and pinkly pursed lips, was striking, even with the mouth twisting indecisively. The judge’s eyes widened in appreciation.
The judge’s voice softened. “You heard the charges against you. You must say whether or not you’re guilty.”
The roar of voices quietened somewhat as others in the courtroom regarded the girl curiously. After a moment she shook her head. “I don’t like this place.”
“Few do,” retorted the judge. “The sooner you plead the sooner you’ll get out of here.”
“Oh. And I have to say ‘Guilty’ or ‘Not Guilty?’”
Beyond the policeman the prosecutorial assistant stiffened suddenly.
The judge grinned at the neatly dressed woman. “I take it this comes as a surprise to you?”
“Yes, your honor,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Until now this defendant has denied everything.”
“Has she!” The man redirected his attention to the defendant. “Young lady, do you realize by pleading guilty now to such a serious charge, you are precluding the possibility of bail?”
The girl lowered her eyes. “If you say so, judge.”
“Ms. Alford,” asked the judge suspiciously of the prosecutor’s assistant, “how old is this young lady?”
“She claims to be legally adult.”
“‘Claims to be?’ What about her driver’s license or birth certificate?”
“She has no documentation, your honor, and says she was born in the Alaskan wilderness.”
“Alaska? And I suppose you don’t have a fingerprint match?”
“The FBI has no record of her.”
“Speaking of the record —” The judge glanced at the listening court reporter before turning to Eve. “How old are you, Ms. Nunn, for the record?”
Again the assistant prosecutor started. “Twenty-one! Your honor, she told the police she was 19.”
“Which is it, Ms. Nunn?” asked the judge.
The girl shrugged. “I’m older today.”
“Not two years older!” declared the assistant prosecutor dryly.
“Could you be confused?” the judge wondered, gazing into untroubled brown eyes. He shook his head and drew a breath. “Ms. Alford, you’d better make very sure this girl isn’t a juvenile.”
The woman blinked. “Even 19, your honor —”
“I know, I know,” the judge interrupted. “Ms. Nunn, do you have an attorney?”
“Then I expect nobody has pointed out to you the very serious penalties that can be imposed for using weapons of mass destruction.”
The girl blinked. “Using what, sir?”
“Call me ‘your honor.’ Bailiff, let me see those charges.”
The officer handed up his clipboard. Scanning it, the judge murmured, “Threatened to blow up the bank … But no bomb was actually found.”
The assistant prosecutor injected tartly, “Because she threw it off the roof of a building before she could be arrested.”
The judge had reached the bottom of the paper. He looked up. “Was the bomb found in the street?”
“No, your honor. Not yet. But may I respectfully suggest this is not the correct hearing to inquire about that?”
“You’re right, Ms. Alford, though you’d better find that bomb. Talk about reasonable doubt!” The judge returned the clipboard to the bailiff. “This young lady obviously needs counsel. I’m going to ignore her plea at this time, appoint her some counsel and reschedule her arraignment for tomorrow. Is that all right with the people?”
“But she just pled guilty!”
“I’m not convinced it was competent plea. Ms. Nunn, did you threaten to blow up a bank?”
The girl smiled engagingly. “I like banks, your honor.”
“Because they have all that money, no doubt.”
Her eyes lit. “Oh yes! And I like you too.”
“But don’t blow me up,” the judge cautioned dryly.
“Oh, not up, your honor!”
He studied her thoughtfully a moment before turning to the assistant prosecutor. “Ms. Alford, I’ll see this defendant here again tomorrow, or as soon as she has conferred with counsel.” He raised his voice. “Court is adjourned until the afternoon session.”
The policeman, a lean fellow in dark blue with truncheon and holstered pistol on his hip, caught the girl’s wrists, drew them together before her and clipped plastic handcuffs onto them.
“Did you have to do that?” she asked plaintively.
“WMD is a Class A felony,” he explained, taking her upper arm to tug her out of the courtroom. People ahead of them soon vanished through other doors in the long hall.
“Class A, imagine that!” She looked around. “Where is everybody?”
“It’s lunchtime,” said the man, holding her with a grip appropriate to the tales of her fleet-footedness, though today she was anything but swift. “What’s your problem,” he asked as she dragged back, “not hungry?”
“Is it lunch that you’re in such a hurry for?”
“No.” He led her closer to the right-hand wall and the nondescript door about half way along it. “I ain’t forgot what you did in the lobby while we waited for the ride.”
“Oh?” she breathed airily. “What was that?”
“You cranked me pretty good.” He chuckled. “Even while the change squad was coming through. You’ve got balls.”
She mocked him. “A girl with balls!”
“I’ve known a few. And you look so innocent; you had the judge eating out of your hand. Wanna stop in here and finish what you started?”
They had reached the unmarked wooden door. She looked up and down the hall. Her eyes turned up to him unblinkingly. “Except I don’t want you eating out of my hand!”
Without another word he snatched the door open and pushed her through it before him. With the door closed they were in darkness relieved only by a slight glow where the bottom edge failed to meet the hardwood flooring. It was enough for her to discern brooms, mops, shelves of cleaning supplies and the man’s intent gaze.
“What would happen if I screamed?” she asked.
He stiffened. “Christ, honey, you don’t have to scream. If you don’t want this, just say so!”
“You’re about 30, aren’t you?”
“You might be too fast, but I won’t scream if you start with your tongue.”
He did not hesitate. “You can sit on the barrel … after we get this off you.”
The jumpsuit’s zipper ran from throat past crotch to the ankle of the left leg. He reached between her shackled arms and drew it whining down her body, then peeled the garment’s opened left leg around over the right, exposing most of her torso, which his hands immediately sought.
He laughed in pleased surprise. “No underclothes! Were you hoping for a little fun?”
“Those bitchy lezzies got them away from me.”
“Fun and games everywhere, eh?” He took her under the arms. “Up you go!”
She perched on the waste barrel lid, leaned back on the wall, and opened her legs to admit his face. “Ooo!” she breathed at his touch.
The plastic barrel creaked as her body quivered. Her heels tucked themselves behind his back. Her shoulders tightened. She began to moan, softly at first, then louder. His hand snaked up between her arms, found her face and closed over her mouth. That silenced her momentarily but shortly she resumed nasally. Finally she produced a choking sound and her thighs closed over his ears briefly before clenched fists pushed his head away.
But his face fell back into her groin, licking furiously. She released a soft scream and pulled painfully on his ears.
At last he backed away, licking wet lips. “God, you taste like honey!”
Opening belt and fly, he dropped his uniform britches, holstered pistol thudding heavily on the floor, while grinning at the writhing torso, teeth closed on lower lip and eyes glaring back at him through the gloom. He pulled her off the barrel and impaled her, supporting her weight with hands clutching her buttocks cheeks. Her arms and legs encircled his shoulders and hips, and she began to bounce upon him, assisted by his lifting hands.
Now instead of moaning she grunted in time with his thrusts. In another minute he ejaculated. Her body grew rigid as his. For a moment they held the pose, a partly clothed woman wrapped around a standing man. Then both gasped for breath as her feet dropped to the floor.
“What a grip!” the man breathed. “You really love fucking, don’t you?”
“Yeah, too much,” she admitted, stooping to find her zipper pull clumsily with hands cuffed in front. She clasped his wet penis as she straightened up. “You could soak this all day if you’d help me escape.”
He only laughed, pulling up his pants. A moment later he stuck his head out the door to verify a still empty hall. His hand led her into it as he closed the door.
Following him, she groused, “Maybe one of these days I’ll get smart enough to offer a cop that before he comes!”
* * *
Patricia Alford, fortyish with a broad beam, tidy auburn hair and freckles, dressed in a turquoise business suit with black bow tie, entered the line-up viewing room, where a thin, nervous woman waited in the company of a policeman.
“I’m the assistant prosecutor,” she said, extending her hand. “You’re Ms. Yeager, the clerk at Field National?”
“Yes, ma’am,” answered the woman, touching hands limply.
“I want to talk to you, get your impression of the crime. As I understand it, no one actually saw the robber’s face or heard her voice. Is that right?”
“That’s right,” the thin woman agreed.
“Not quite,” said the cop. “Harrelsen and I saw her face.”
“You and Harrelsen signed the arrest sheet.”
“We made the arrest.”
“But you weren’t in the bank.”
“No. When we got the call, we started for the bank and saw the suspect walking down the street away from it. She matched the description so we stopped to put her under arrest.”
“I’ve checked. That was three blocks away and on a different street.”
“She had time to walk that far.”
“Twelve minutes. I suppose that’s enough. Ms. Yeager, tell me exactly what you saw.”
The thin woman clasped her hands behind her back. “Not much. This girl or woman came in from the lobby around 11:30, before the lunch crowd —”
“Were other customers in the bank?”
“I don’t believe so.”
“Go on. Was she already wearing a mask?”
“A paper shopping bag over her head with eyeholes cut in it. She came straight to my counter and pushed her note under my grille.”
“How was she dressed exactly?”
“Brown butterfly jeans and a white long-sleeve cropped shirt. The shopping bag was gray with a Hayes Department Store logo. She had another one in her hand that she took the note and a third bag out of. The note said she had a bomb, that she meant to die and take us all with her if I didn’t put in money.”
“And you did: the booby pack and how much more?”
“I don’t know. I was a little nervous and they sent me home afterwards. Mr. Valencia said it was almost $10,000.”
“That’s what he said.”
“Plus the booby pack.”
“Well, you know that only the top and bottom twenties are real. As soon as anyone opens the pack, red dye explodes all over them.”
“I know.” Ms. Alford laughed sourly. “A crazy jury in California found a bank liable for putting out a thief’s eye with that stuff.” She took a breath and continued, “In fact you could only see the thief’s hands, is that right?”
“Well, and her belly. The shopping bag covered all her hair.”
“Meaning it was short.”
“Or gathered up.”
“Was there anything distinctive about her hands, like a scar or a wart?”
“I don’t know. She was wearing surgical gloves.”
The assistant prosecutor stiffened. “Gloves? That explains it!”
“The lack of fingerprints on her note. On both hands, Ms. Yeager?”
“I … don’t recall noticing her other hand.”
“How can you be sure it was a woman? Could it have been a boy or young man with a padded bra?”
Ms. Yeager shook her head decisively. “No way. She was wearing low hip-huggers. Her hips were too wide and smooth and her shoulders too thin. She was a girl and not a very old one either.” The woman smiled. “She had a cute belly-button.”
“That could be important. Do you think you’d recognize her navel if you saw it again?”
“I could maybe tell it from others.”
Ms. Alford took a cell phone from her pocket and hit a precoded key. In a moment she asked querulously, “Where’s the WMD line-up?”
She listened to the rattling receiver and said, “She won’t? Actually that may be better. Is Policewoman Carter in the building? … All right. She’s about the right size. Put Nunn’s clothes on her. And dress the other three in two-piece jump suits. You do have two-piece ones, don’t you?”
She grinned at her two listeners and shook her head. “He has to check.” A moment later she nodded. “Okay and hurry up.” Folding the phone back into her pocket, she added with a sniff, “Our suspect refused to put her own clothes back on. Guess she thought of navels too. Well, it won’t do her any good.”
“Or maybe the lab didn’t wash ’em,” said the cop with a leer.
“What do you mean?”
“She pissed herself in the squad car.”
“She did?” The bank teller’s eyebrows rose. “Well, I guess she might. My god, I never thought how it would be for her, the poor thing!”
Ms. Alford raised her chin. “Are you feeling sympathy for the person who meant to blow you up?”
But the teller glared around at the cop. “I’ll bet you were rough with her.”
The man shrugged. “She ran from us like a deer. Might’ve got clean away if she hadn’t gone into that building.” He grinned at the assistant prosecutor. “I hear they still let cops shoot runners in Texas.”
The teller, clearly horrified, promptly stepped away from him.
Ms. Alford snapped, “Officer Gentry, would you mind leaving us?”
“Did I say something?”
The man shrugged. “It’s your show.” He jerked open the door to expose another man in civilian clothing with hand raised to knock. The policeman departed as the new man entered.
“I’m Al Swigart, Nunn’s attorney. I just got the notice.”
Ms. Alford’s eyes widened. She did not offer her hand. “You tried the Considine case.”
“So I did.”
“I assisted on that one. I don’t blame you for not remembering. Making our witness out to be a hooker was a pretty low trick, Swigart.”
“It worked.” He grinned wryly at Ms. Yeager. “And now we seem to be starting off on the right foot.”
Ms. Alford sneered. “Just don’t ask for any favors.”
His grin widened. “From the looks of the evidence, you’re the one who’ll need favors.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’ll see in court. Is the lineup late also or did I miss it? Excuse me: I’m Al Swigart, attorney at law, representing Eve Nunn.”
He had addressed himself to Ms. Yeager. The thin woman looked interested. “Is that her name?”
Ms. Alford snapped, “Hold on! This is my witness. You’re to talk with her only through me.”
The man spread his hands peaceably. “Don’t get excited. But you might tell me why we’re having a lineup. I’ve checked. Nobody actually saw the thief’s face. Oh, I get it! You’re gonna identify her belly-button.” He laughed uproariously.
“What’s so absurd about that?” demanded the assistant with a glare.
“Hey, I like it,” said the man, grinning. “Think you can get the FBI to make a belly-button print registry? If you do, I’ve got some other body parts to recommend.” He winked at the teller, who chuckled in response.
“Dammit!” muttered Ms. Alford under her breath. With effort she assumed a conciliatory pose. “Ms. Yeager, please don’t let opposing counsel confuse you. When the exhibit begins, I want you to think back to the day of the robbery and compare them in your own mind.”
The thin woman raised her chin. “I’m not confused.”
Ms. Alford would have soothed further but at that moment the door in the lineup room opened and four women filed in, shepherded by a blue-uniformed policeman. Three of the women wore orange jail suits; the fourth was dressed in a white long-sleeve shirt cut short just under the breasts plus hip-hugging brown jeans with flaring ankles. The three in jail suits, but not the fourth, wore shopping bags perforated with eyeholes over their faces.
The assistant prosecutor said, still in soothing tones, “The one in civilian clothes is a policewoman acting as a model. Have you ever seen that clothing before?”
“Oh, yes!” declared the witness positively, then corrected herself. “That is, I’ve seen some just like it.”
“Aha!” pounced Ms. Alford. “Where did you see the like, Ms. Yeager?”
“On Barbara, my 17-year-old niece. Just last night in fact.”
Taken aback, Ms. Alford whirled to face the witness. “B-but … Think carefully, Ms. Yeager. Where else have you seen them?”
“You mean, are they the same as what the bank robber wore? Why don’t you say what you mean?”
“Because that’s a leading question,” Ms. Alford answered piously.
With a shrug the witness stood mute, seeming to study the clothing. Ms. Alford sighed. “But are they … the same?”
The man laughed.
“You stay out of this!” Ms. Alford ordered him.
The witness nodded slowly. “They’re very similar. Except …”
“I thought she was wearing butterfly jeans.”
Ms. Alford sighed again. “I don’t keep up with kids’ fashions. What exactly are butterfly jeans — the way the legs flare?”
“No. Well, that might be part of it. But if I’m not mistaken, the bank robber had a little yellow butterfly insignia on her hip. That’s what Barbara calls butterfly jeans.”
“Could you be mistaken about that insignia?”
The witness retorted, “I said I could be!”
“Does your niece have such a sign on her jeans?”
“Not on the brown ones.”
Ms. Yeager added, as if just now noticing it, “And your policewoman’s boobs are bigger.”
“Than your niece’s?”
“Well, yes, but I meant the bank robber. Can they hear us?”
“Who? You mean the lineup? No. That’s a one-way glass and the wall is soundproof.” As she spoke the woman leaned close to a grill and pressed a button. “All right. The one in civvies can go with our thanks. Guard, please ask the others to separate the front parts of their suits and bare their navels.”
“My god!” exclaimed the defense attorney. “You can’t be serious!”
“Oh yes, I can,” declared the assistant prosecutor. “Ms. Alford, take a close look at those three navels. Have you seen one of them before?”
In the soundproof room the policewoman had departed. Meanwhile each remaining female had partly lowered the bottom half of her jump suit and raised the hem of the top. Two of them were wearing panties, one purplish, one pink. The third apparently wore none; the top curls of her pubic hair popped into view above the jail suit elastic. All three observers in the viewing booth straightened.
Hastily, after a glance at the witness’s open mouth, Ms. Alford pressed the button again. “Number Two, do you mean to show us everything?”
The three shopping bags twisted back and forth as the wearers studied the number tags pinned to each blouse. Apparently the assistant prosecutor’s sarcasm had failed to penetrate the intercom. Number Two shrugged and bent enough to shove the bottom of her suit down to her ankles. Straightening up, exposing a full pubic triangle, she gathered the top in both hands and raised it to her shoulders. Firm young breasts jutted forth, crinkled nipples jiggling only slightly.
All three observers gasped. The witness’s hand rose to her mouth. The defense lawyer’s eyes bulged but he succeeding in producing the first words. “Well, you can sure see her navel!”
That idea gave Ms. Alford her voice back. “Ms. Yeager, compare all three to your memory please. Which one of them looks familiar?”
“I, uh …”
“Take your time. Study them carefully. Compare them to the one you saw in the bank.”
“My god!” exclaimed Swigart excitedly. “They all look alike.”
“Hold your tongue!” ordered the assistant prosecutor, adding darkly, “I know what you’re looking at.”
“But he’s right,” declared the witness, reaching her conclusion. “These are all young women who’ve never been pregnant. Maybe close up in a bright light you could find a difference. But not here — and the light wasn’t very good in the bank anyway. It was an overcast day.”
In the lineup room the guard had finally reacted. He appeared behind Number Two and jerked her suit bottom up around her waist while the girl released the top to settle over her hips. He said something to her that caused her to duck her head.
Ms. Alford pressed the button. “Thank you. Guard, that concludes the lineup. Return the prisoner to her cell.”
“Just a moment!” interjected Swigart. “Now would be a good time for me to confer with my client.”
The woman shrugged, finger still on the button. “Take the prisoner to Interrogation Three. Her attorney wants to talk to her.”
The lawyer bristled. “In complete privacy, if you don’t mind.”
The Alford chin rose. “I assure you, Mr. Swigart, nobody will listen to your conversation. But any man alone with that forward little tart needs to be watched.”
* * *
When Swigart reached Interrogation Three, he found Eve and the same guard standing very close together beside the table. The larger body of the guard blocked his view of Eve’s orange suit. As the lawyer passed through the door, the policeman spun partly around, hand flying into his pocket. He gulped and demanded, “Who’re you?”
“You know me, Ackers,” said Swigart, grinning wryly as Eve, still in the two-piece jail suit, pulled up its elasticized bottom. “Were you inspecting the prisoner?”
“Y-yeah.” The policeman’s eyes widened gratefully. He squared his shoulders and stuck out his chin. “Somebody might’ve passed her something in the lineup.”
“I understand. Now leave me alone with my client.”
But Eve frowned. “What does he have to leave for?”
“So that we may confer privately.”
“Let him stay.” She winked at the flustered policeman. “Two’s more fun.”
Ackers blushed. He still stood beside the girl, hip under her forearm where it extended from the jail suit’s elbow-length sleeve. Eve’s wink became a sly grin. Her hand bent around and caressed the front of his uniform trousers.
Immediately Swigart sidestepped to stand in front of them, blocking the view through the window. Eyes on her hand, now seeming to grasp something under the cloth, he said warningly, “You do know about one-way glass, don’t you?”
She sniffed. “You think anybody’s watching?”
“I’m afraid so, especially a certain prosecutor’s assistant.”
“That old bag? I got an idea. Let’s sit down with our backs to her.”
Ackers shook his head. “The chairs on this side are for interrogators.”
She smiled. “No problem. I’ll ask you some questions.”
She turned her back to the mirror and plopped into the middle chair. Ackers raised his eyebrows inquiringly at the lawyer, who shrugged with a grin. “Might as well take a seat. Let’s see what she has in mind.”
With a curious mixture of expressions the policeman sat gingerly on the girl’s right. The lawyer sat on her left. She swung, bright eyed, from one to the other, and directed, “Put your heads close so we can — what’d you call it? — confer. Hey, confer!” She giggled. “Does that mean put your fur together?”
The men obeyed. The lawyer’s arm went across the back of her chair. The girl’s hands paused above their belts. “Suck in your guts.”
Again they obeyed. Her hands plunged into the voids thus produced. The lawyer grunted and slid his hips slightly forward. Both men sat motionless, looking down in wonder at their undulating britches’ fronts. The girl breathed, “See? I told you two was more fun.”
“Ah, yes,” said Swigart, taking a deep breath but otherwise holding very still. “You like two, do you?”
“Or even more. It’s so busy!”
“Oh, wow, lots to do and feel! Beats the hell out of TV.”
Swigart nodded slowly. “Ackers and I might agree with you there. The more the merrier, eh?”
“And the longer it lasts. A girl can do a bunch at once.”
“An interesting point,” conceded the lawyer. “I’ve heard of three.”
The policeman licked his lips. “More than three at once?”
“Oh yes. Four’s easy. And five works too, though it can get messy.”
“God, I guess!” breathed the cop.
“That’s without using your hands.”
The lawyer declared, “This I’d like to see!”
“I’ll show you if you can get me the guys.” She chuckled. “One of the things that makes this fun is the differences.”
“You mean, between the men?”
“Yeah. Your thing is longer but Ackers’ jewels are bigger. Isn’t that interesting?”
“His jewels!” muttered the lawyer aggrievedly.
“You’re both very nice,” she said. “Hoo! Ackers, your thing is —”
The loudspeaker interrupted her, braying in Ms. Alford’s strident tones, “Officer Ackers, what are you doing in there with a lawyer and his client?”
“I’m c-c-coming!” the policeman wailed. He turned slowly out of the chair and shuffled toward the door, back bent, hand in pocket. Eve’s right hand rose to her face where the fingers popped into her mouth. With hand on doorknob, Ackers looked back at them and groused under his breath, “She would have to look in just now!”
“What was that?” asked the loudspeaker.
“Coming,” he repeated before closing the door behind him.
Swigart took a very deep breath and said quietly, “I do appreciate a girl with enthusiasm, but it’s no good, Miss Nunn. I need more than a hand.”
“Well, I don’t have 300 an hour,” she said dryly.
“Where’d you hear that? Now it’s 350.”
She pushed her shoulder firmly into his side. “I don’t have any money but I’ll give you anything you want if you can get me out of here. Are you really my lawyer?”
“Yes, I am, appointed by his honor, Errol E. Baker, judge of superior court. I must say, it’s a pleasure to shake your hand, Ms. Nunn.”
“With your cock,” she smirked. “I’d do a lot more than that to it if I could.” Her hand continued to move gently in his pants.
“I’m sure you would.” He took a notepad from his pocket. “Let me confirm a few things. Are you really Eve no-middle-initial Nunn?”
She snickered. “No.”
“You mean you do have a middle name?”
The snicker became a chuckle. “My bladder let go in the police car, so I took my jeans off as soon as we got to the stationhouse. They’re like, ‘Do you think you’re Eve?’ I go, ‘Sure.’ They’re like, ‘What last name you got to go with that?’ I’m like, ‘None,’ seeing that Eve’s not even my first name.”
The man stared at her. “Then what is your name?”
She smiled slowly. “Wouldn’t that be self-incrimination?”
He frowned. “You ought to tell your lawyer.”
“Why?” She tossed her head and sat up straight after removing her hand from his body.
“Well, so your relatives can find you, for example.”
“Ha! That’s a good reason to stick with Eve Nunn, if you don’t mind.”
He sighed. “Okay. Where in Alaska are you from?”
“Way in the outback.”
“The what? The outback is in Australia.”
“Okay. Then I’m from Australia.”
“No, you aren’t.”
“Because Australians talk funny?”
He grinned at her. “Have you told one word of truth to anybody, Eve?”
“Eve?” Her eyes twinkled. “Eve doesn’t have to tell the truth.”
“No, that’s right. You don’t actually have to tell anyone anything, though you can get in a lot of trouble lying to the court.”
“Worse than I’m already in?”
He took a breath. “Probably not. You’re charged with serious crimes.”
“Heavy shit, eh, Law?”
“You can call your doctor ‘Doc;’ why not your lawyer ‘Law?’”
He grunted. “I guess because they don’t have docks in doctors’ offices.”
“Let’s get down to it. Why did you run into …” He flipped elsewhere in his notepad. “… the Western Heights Apartments? That wasn’t the first door after the cops started chasing you. Do you live there, by any chance?”
“I know how to get to the roof on that place. I hurried up there to dump it.”
“The hwan— what?”
“Juansio. It’s super Columbian pot.”
“You had … a bag of pot?”
She sneered. “Better than a bag of money.”
“So long as nobody can find it.”
“Oh, they’ll never find it,” she said confidently.
“And what were you doing walking on Grissom Avenue?”
“The street where the cops spotted you, walking along with your shopping bag and exposed navel.”
“Is it against the law to show your bellybutton?”
“It’s against the law to rob banks. Where were you coming from, if not the bank?”
She sniffed. “You mean you can’t figure it out? From Tugger, of course.”
“My pot dealer.”
He straightened up, regarding her searchingly and taking a deep breath. “Describe Tugger, please.”
She shook her head.
“Eve, they’d have to let you go if we found Tugger and he confirmed your story.”
“Sorry. I don’t rat.”
He tried another approach. “You — or somebody — left a demand note in the bank teller’s cage. If your fingerprints show up on it, your goose is cooked.”
She smiled slightly. “I don’t see how they can.”
“Why not? Because you didn’t leave the note?”
He sighed. “Eve, defending you would be a lot easier if you’d cooperate.”
“Cooperate? I’ll suck your cock. What else do you want?”
He studied her and chuckled at the smug demeanor. “You think cock sucking is the key to life?”
“You won’t find many cocks in the women’s prison.”
She made a face. “So keep me out of it.”
He took a breath. “You’re to be arraigned properly tomorrow morning. The bail for a WMD charge is going to be very high. Do you have any money to pay a bondsman?”
She shook her head. “I’m broke.”
“I wonder.” He shrugged and got to his feet. “I’m going to press for an immediate preliminary. Maybe you won’t have to stay in jail very long.”
* * *
His honor, Judge Errol E. Baker, looked down from his high bench and declared loudly, “This is the preliminary hearing for Eve Nunn, charged variously with larceny of a financial institution using weapons of mass destruction. Our purpose is to determine if the state has sufficient evidence to bind Ms. Nunn over for trial in superior court. Let the record show that defendant is present, represented by Mr. Alvin Swigart.” He turned to the prosecutor’s table. “Is the state ready to proceed? Where is Dave Price?”
A woman got to her feet behind the table on the judge’s left. “He’s attending another trial and has delegated me, Patricia Alford, to prosecute this one. The state would like more time, your honor.”
“Only if the defense agrees.”
“We do not, your honor,” declared Swigart, seated beside Eve, his hand atop hers on the table to the judge’s right. The girl wore an orange jumpsuit.
The judge said briskly, “Motion denied.”
“Then the state is ready,” Ms. Alford admitted, frowning grumpily.
“Does the defendant maintain her plea of not guilty?”
“She does, your honor,” replied Swigart.
“Very well. Ms. Alford, you may proceed.”
The woman cleared her throat. “Less than six days ago, your honor — not much time to evaluate evidence! — the defendant entered Field National Bank on Valence and Marshall Street just before lunchtime when very few customers — none, in fact — were in the bank. She presented a shopping bag and a computer-printed note to one of the inside tellers, claimed that she had a bomb and would blow up herself and the bank if they didn’t give her money. The teller filled the bag with nearly $10,000, whereupon the defendant marched out of the bank.
“Some time later she was spotted on Grissom Avenue, two and a half city blocks away, still walking along and carrying the shopping bag of money. The police tried to arrest her but she simply outran them and entered a ten-story apartment building. She was nearly caught at the elevator. She entered a staircase and climbed to the roof, where the police finally cornered her after she had thrown her shopping bag into the street below.”
The woman paused, scanning a clipboard of notes. “For my first witness I’d like to call —”
“One moment,” the judge interposed. “You failed to say how much of that you can prove, Ms. Alford.”
“All of it, your honor!”
“Objection!” screamed Swigart, leaping to his feet.
The judge’s eyebrows rose. “To what question are you objecting, Mr. Swigart?”
“She can’t prove any of that, your honor. Her whole case, except the defendant’s arrest on that rooftop, is purely circumstantial, subject to many interpretations. She can’t prove this defendant took anything. She can’t prove this defendant was even in the bank. She can’t prove —”
The judge slammed his gavel down. “Restrain yourself, Mr. Swigart. You’ll get your turn.”
“But it’s such a waste of everyone’s time, your honor. Ask her how she intends to prove the defendant was ever in that bank.”
The judge looked from Swigart to Alford and back. “Do you have a motion, Mr. Swigart?”
The lawyer declared, “I move for a judgment of insufficient evidence.”
The judge grunted. “That’s premature, to say the least. Kindly restrain yourself, Mr. Swigart. Ms. Alford, is this your first independent prosecution?”
“Ah, yes, your honor.”
“Then I warn you: don’t waste the court’s time.”
“No, your honor.”
“You may proceed.”
The prosecutor called Ms. Yeager, the bank teller, who having been sworn, described the robbery and the hooded thief. She stated that her manager had put the amount of money taken at $9,857. The judge looked to Swigart for a hearsay objection but the lawyer only smiled confidently.
The prosecutor asked the teller to identify the threatening note, which was then entered into evidence. Also introduced into evidence were the shirt and pants worn by the defendant when apprehended. Ms. Yeager would swear only that they were the same color and style as those of the bank robber.
Invited to cross-examine, Swigart got to his feet. “Could you see any part of the thief’s body, Ms. Yeager?”
“Only her abdomen.”
“Were you asked to identify her navel during a police lineup?”
Titters arose in the courtroom. The judge frowned.
“Yes. Yes, I was.”
“And did you?”
“They all looked alike.”
“Thank you. Let me ask you, Ms. Yeager, how many young women do you think could be found wearing a white, cropped shirt and brown jeans on any warm day in this city?”
“Objection!” declared Ms. Alford. “Calls for an opinion.”
“Sustained,” agreed the judge.
“Then, Ms. Yeager, let me ask you this: did you ever see the thief again after she left the bank?”
“Not to be sure who she was.”
“Thank you. That’s all.”
Alford called a heavily muscled man in uniform. When he was sworn and seated, she began, “Officer Harrelsen, did you have occasion to see the defendant on the day of the bank robbery?”
“Tell us the circumstances, please.”
He described hearing the radio alarm, heading for the bank and spotting the defendant walking down the sidewalk. He and his partner, Patrolman Gentry, halted the squad car and jumped out to arrest her, but she was already in flight. It was soon obvious that she was too fast of foot, despite the full shopping bag she bore. Gentry continued the chase while Harrelsen returned to the car to call for assistance. They chased her another block, Gentry afoot and Harrelsen in the car, until she turned into the Western Heights Apartment. They followed quickly and spotted her across the lobby, awaiting an elevator. When she saw them, she dashed to the stairs and outran them again all the way to the roof, a ten-story climb. They were exhausted by the time they reached the roof behind her.
“How far behind her were you?” asked the prosecutor. “That is, how long was she on the roof unobserved?”
“Probably a couple minutes,” admitted the man, glowering across the room toward Eve. “We had to stop and get our breath back on the eighth floor.”
“Enough time for her to hide a shopping bag?”
“Or throw it off the roof.”
In a tone of exasperation Swigart declared, “Objection, your honor.”
The judge snapped, “Overruled! Let’s get on with this, Ms. Alford.”
“Officer Harrelsen,” said the woman, “you have testified that the defendant was carrying her shopping bag as she entered the building and while she climbed the stairs. When was the last time you saw it in her possession?”
“When she reached the landing next to the roof door.”
“Was it in her possession on the roof?”
“Did you check the roof to see if she hid it?”
“Yes, ma’am. Gentry held her while I looked in the vent housings, which were the only places you could hide anything.”
“It’s a gravel roof?”
“What did you find in the vent housings?”
“Nothing. The openings were covered with hardware cloth to keep birds from nesting.”
“Did you ask the defendant what happened to her bag?”
“Yes, ma’am. She said, ‘What bag?’”
“How close to the edge was the defendant when you first saw her on the rooftop?”
“Leaning over the parapet. We thought at first she meant to jump.”
“So she must have thrown it over the edge?”
“Objection!” screamed Swigart.
“All right, all right,” muttered the judge. “Keep your shirt on. Ms. Alford, you know better than that.”
“I’m sorry, your honor. That’s all.”
Eve leaned close to Swigart and whispered, “Ask him what color is the wart on top of his cock.”
“What color is it?”
Swigart chuckled behind his hand and got to his feet. “You arrested the defendant on that roof and read her rights, did you?”
“Then what happened.”
“I searched the roof, didn’t find anything, and we took her downtown for booking.”
Swigart flipped open his notepad. “As I understand the testimony so far, the bank was robbed at 11:40, you and your partner spotted the defendant at 11:52, but she wasn’t booked until 2:25 p.m.”
“Where was the defendant when you first told her she was under arrest?”
“On the roof.”
“Did she try to run away on the roof?”
“No. She knew it was no use.”
“Then if you hadn’t told her you meant to arrest her and she submitted as soon as you did tell her, how can you justify the charge of Fleeing Arrest?”
“Objection!” called Ms. Alford.
“Sustained,” said the judge. “Now is not the time to argue your case, counselor.”
“Thank you, your honor. Now then, Officer Harrelsen, assuming it took you about ten minutes to corner the defendant on that roof, will you please tell the court what you and Officer Gentry did with this helpless girl from 1:02 until 2:25, a period of 83 minutes, considering that it takes about ten minutes to drive from Western Heights Apartments to the stationhouse where she was booked?”
The policeman rolled his eyes. “Helpless, ha!”
“What did you with her?”
“Objection, your honor,” said Ms. Alford in feigned weariness. “Officer Harrelsen is not on trial here.”
“That’s true,” said the judge thoughtfully.
“Your honor,” complained Swigart, “83 minutes!”
“Overruled. Answer the question, Officer Harrelsen.”
“It was lunchtime. She said she was hungry.”
“What did you feed her?” asked Swigart.
“We stopped at a fast food joint.”
“Ah … I don’t recall.”
“That was less than six days ago. What do you mean, you ‘don’t recall?’” The lawyer’s voice dripped sarcasm.
“Objection!” yelled Ms. Alford. “He’s arguing with the witness.”
“Sustained,” said the judge.
Swigart asked, “Did you search the defendant?”
“What did you find?”
“A wad of tissue in one pocket.”
“That’s all? No identification?”
“Did you interrogate her?”
“Ah … I guess we asked her a few questions.”
“Well, like her name and address and what she did with her shopping bag.”
“You interrogated her in the absence of her attorney?”
The policeman threw a worried glance at the prosecutor, who sat up straighter and declared, “Objection, your honor! I repeat: Officer Harrelsen is not on trial here.”
The judge said thoughtfully, “It’s not illegal for officers to question a suspect at any time. However, they may not testify to the information obtained in the absence of her lawyer unless defendant has waived the right of counsel.” He directed a warning look at Swigart. “Or unless defendant asks what they learned.”
Swigart smiled confidently. “Defendant is asking, your honor.”
The judge nodded. “Answer the question, officer.”
“Ah, what was it?”
Swigart interjected, “What did she tell you and the other officer while you spent 83 minutes on a ten-minute trip?”
The witness answered sullenly, “She, ah, told about growing up in Alaska.”
“What did she say her name was?”
“She wouldn’t say.”
“She wouldn’t say.”
“Yeah. Though it dropped to 19 on her booking card.”
“What else did she admit?”
The witness thought a moment. “That where she grew up she was the only girl among a lot of boys. Oh. And she liked cops.”
“She liked cops?”
The man nodded. “She said that.”
“How much did she like them?”
“She said a lot.”
“Did she demonstrate how much?”
“Objection!” shouted Ms. Alford. “This testimony is irrelevant.”
“Sustained,” agreed the judge.
“83 minutes, your honor!” said Swigart. “That’s a lot of talking and eating.”
“I sustained the objection, Mr. Swigart.”
“Could I have a moment, your honor?”
“Make it quick.”
Leaning down, Swigart whispered, “Did both of them rape you?”
Eve whispered back, “It wasn’t rape.”
“But both of them did you?”
“Eve, the judge won’t let me mention that.”
Her eyebrows rose. “Why not?”
“Because it has nothing to do with the crime.”
“I thought pissing yourself was a crime.”
“Umm.” Swigart straightened up. “Did you frighten the defendant, Officer Harrelsen?”
“Her? Not a chance!”
“You restrained her for 83 minutes. Did you deny her request for relief?”
“Your Honor!” Ms. Alford complained in a tired voice. “What does all this have to do with the charges?”
The judge glared. “Please answer that, Mr. Swigart.”
“I’d like to ask the witness if the defendant’s clothing was wet when she arrived at the stationhouse.”
“‘Wet,’” repeated the judge. He shook his head. “Mr. Swigart, I cannot imagine how wet clothing might bear on these charges. What do you hope to prove?”
The lawyer shook his head at Eve. “Your honor, I withdraw the question.”
“Very well. Continue with your cross.”
Swigart consulted his notes. “Officer Harrelsen, you’ve testified that you and your partner chased the defendant through the front door of the Western Heights Apartment, up ten flights of stairs and onto the roof. To your knowledge does any sign or indicator exist stating that building to be private property or that forbids trespass?”
The witness frowned. “No, not that I recall.”
“So much for the trespassing charge!”
The judge asked, “Is that a question, Mr. Swigart?”
“No, your honor. That concludes my cross-examination.”
“Call your next witness, Ms. Alford.”
She got to her feet. “The prosecution rests, your honor.”
“The defense may proceed.”
Swigart stood. “We have no witness, your honor, or other evidence. I’m ready to argue.”
“Very little needs to be said. The prosecution has offered no proof for even a single item in that list of charges. They cannot place the defendant in the bank, nor a bomb in the bank or on the defendant’s person, nor resistance to arrest, nor trespass nor even so much as one scrap of paper thrown onto the public street. The best they can do is show her walking two or three blocks from the bank, wearing clothing similar to the thief’s and bearing a shopping bag that cannot be produced, then breaking into a run, for which action many reasons besides fleeing the police may be offered, finally being arrested on the roof of an apartment building.
“I now renew my motion for dismissal on the grounds of insufficient evidence.”
The judge’s attention turned to Ms. Alford. He tapped a pencil eraser thoughtfully on his podium.
She said, “I’m ready to argue.”
He shook his head. “I’m going to grant defense’s motion.”
“But, your honor —”
“Dismissal for insufficient evidence does not bar future prosecution, Ms. Alford.” He raised his voice. “Case dismissed! The defendant is released from custody. Bailiff, the court will recess for lunch.”
“If you can find her again!” sneered the assistant prosecutor, glaring at Eve, who smiled back demurely.
Swigart caught the girl’s arm. “Come on. We have a date.”
She allowed him to tug her toward a door at the rear of the room, muttering, “I want to get out of these awful clothes.”
“You’ll soon do that!” he muttered back.
“But what’ll I wear afterward?”
“That’s why I asked for your sizes.”
“Oh.” She drew abreast and grinned slyly. “I hope you have good taste, Swiggie.”
“I’ll guarantee it won’t be orange.”
They ascended a staircase to a door marked, Private / Legal Chambers, where the lawyer knocked three times.
Bade to enter, they passed into an office with a large desk, chairs and two couches, drapes open upon a downtown view and a far door standing open to reveal a sink and toilet. Perched on the front of the desk was his honor, Errol E. Baker, judge of the superior court, a fortyish brown-haired man dressed informally, absent his black robe.
He smiled. “Ah, yes, Miss Nunn. How nice of you to drop by! I hope you like cheeseburgers.”
She returned his smile brightly. “Oh, I do, your honor, but I’m so thirsty!”
“Here. This coke has your name on it.”
“Oh, thank you, your honor.”
The two men joined her in consuming the bag of sandwiches and tray of drinks. Around a mouthful the judge asked, “Did this morning go to please you, Miss Nunn?”
“Yes, sir.” Her eyes twinkled. “But it would’ve been fun to tease that cop.”
“Tell me how that happened. Did he tickle you so much you pissed your pants?”
“Not exactly. I peed on the car seat and he made me wipe it up with my pants.”
“Because he was tickling you?”
“Because he wouldn’t stop licking on me.”
“Why do you suppose he wouldn’t stop?”
She shook her head. “Everybody says I taste like honey.” She snorted. “Until they make me pee.”
“Which brings up a good point. Would you like to use the toilet?”
“Yes, please. I’ll be right back.”
She unzipped and without hesitation or evidence of concern flung off the one-piece jumpsuit before entering the bathroom, where she sat with the door open, staring back at them over thickly falling water, a conical young breast pointing at each man.
The judge grinned at the lawyer. “Al, have you tasted this honey pot yet?”
“No, but I’ve heard several guys speak of it in awe.”
“Yes, so you said.”
“I suppose you’ll want to go first.”
“Rank hath its privilege, you know. I’ll clean off the lingering piss flavor for you.”
“Thank you, Errol. You’re all heart.”
The judge grinned. “What are the chances Dave will renew charges on this girl?”
“Not Dave: the Alford broad. Damn slim unless somebody finds that bomb bag.”
“You really think Eve is innocent?”
The lawyer huffed. “Innocent? She’s the least innocent girl I ever saw. Of course a genuinely sweet cunt would persuade anyone.”
They watched as its owner stood at the sink to wash the item in question in warm water. She turned around to smile at them as she patted herself dry. “You can’t ever get all the pee out, you know.”
“Oh, a little bit is legal,” said the judge, hopping off the desk edge. Something in his pockets thudded dully on the carpet as juridical britches and underpants dropped to the floor. He gestured. “Would you please lie back on this couch?”
“Ooo-oo!” she murmured, passing in front of him to take the position, head thrown back and legs spread. “You want to taste me, judgie?”
The judge fell to his knees and declared, “I’m going to lick all the nectar I can reach!” His face bent to her groin, from which slurping noises shortly arose.
“Oh, wow!” the girl breathed, rolling her eyes at the grinning lawyer. “He’s damn good!”
Swigart said, “You’re not the first to feel that sharp tongue.”
“I reckon not. Oh, judgie!” Her eyes closed. Her body tensed and shivered. Soon her hands closed on the judge’s head, trying to push him away, but he caught her around the hips and stroked the harder. Her body flung itself this way and that without dislodging him. He desisted only when she screamed.
Standing up, leaving her writhing on the couch, he bent down to find his handkerchief and wipe his face dry. He looked sharply at Swigart. “You want to taste before I fuck it up?”
“Yes, thank you.” Having already doffed his britches, the lawyer dropped to his knees only to find the girl’s legs clamped together.
She glared at him. “I can’t stand any more of that until one of you fucks me.”
“Just give me a taste.”
“I want cock!”
“You’ll get it. Give me one taste.”
Grudgingly her legs opened. Tongue already extended, Swigart’s head passed between them. He likewise caught her hips. Her shivering resumed. “Oh, god!” she cried. “Oh, god. Quit, you bastard!”
He raised up with a sigh. “I’ll quit, but I hate to. That’s the sweetest cunt I ever tasted.”
“Out of the way,” ordered the judge, pulling on Swigart’s shoulder. When the path was clear, he turned the girl’s body down on the couch, fell upon it and began to hump vigorously. She moaned, hips rolling to his rhythm. When his body froze in climax, her moans merged into a soft scream.
The judge rose to his feet and staggered back, shaking his head groggily. Gasping for breath, he leaned on the desk and watched Swigart fall upon the writhing girl, who immediately resumed her eager acceptance with the new partner. He outlasted the judge, who soon changed positions, the better to see Eve’s flushed and contorted face.
When Swigart finally rose to find his britches, the girl lay panting, sprawled dissolutely. She smiled upon the two observers. “Oh, god, guys! That was so good!”
The judge shook his head at the lawyer. “Honey isn’t the right analogy.”
Swigart retorted enviously, “Well, you got the better taste.”
“Maybe honey and sausage. You ever try that combination?”
“Maybe. I reserve judgment until further testing.”
“Yes, yes, very good. Did you explain our proposal to Eve? What about it, my dear? Did Al tell you about the apartment?”
She raised up slightly, a hand between her legs, and studied the judge askance. “He said you hadn’t made up your mind on it.”
“Well, I have now,” he retorted, “including the allowance of 400 a week.”
She nodded slowly. “That’s nice, but you got a problem. You don’t want the cops to follow me to your love nest, do you?”
Swigart said admiringly, “Told you she’s smart too!”
The judge agreed. “They’ll want to keep you under surveillance for a while. But what if they can’t?”
“Show her, Al.”
“Let’s see what you think of my taste in clothing,” said the lawyer with a smirk. He fetched a large hanging plastic bag from the coat closet and unzipped it to reveal a man’s denim shirt and work pants but a woman’s brassiere and panties. From beneath the shirt he produced a pair of large square sunglasses and a driving cap. “Your hair will go under this. And there’s a wallet in the pants with a hundred bucks in small bills.”
The girl’s eyes widened. “I can’t …” Her voice trailed off into a thoughtful grin. “Actually, maybe I can.”
* * *
The rain had subsided to a drizzle when the taxi stopped in front of Western Heights Apartments. A thin-shouldered young man, wearing a driving cap, work clothes and sneakers, emerged from the vehicle, slammed the door and ran like a deer into the building lobby, unimpeded by the new and obviously empty schoolbag born in one hand. With the glass entrance door closed behind him and the lobby verified empty of witnesses, he stood slightly to one side of the door and scanned the street for a minute or two. No other vehicle stopped within a city block in either direction.
Smiling in satisfaction, he strolled through the lobby to the elevators, boarded the waiting one and ascended to the tenth floor. At the end of the hall was an unmarked door. It opened easily when he turned the knob, revealing a succession of staircases winding down around a central air shaft and one staircase going up. Again he ascended to a heavy door with the legend, Roof, which also opened readily.
On the outside gravel he walked completely around the elevator building, scanning in all directions. Thankfully the drizzle had ceased. Having spotted neither person nor helicopter, he proceeded directly to the far edge of the roof. After dashing water off the top of the parapet, he leaned over it to feel along the base of the cornice for the missing section known to be there. He had to shift his body twice, but soon he straightened, having retrieved a bulging shopping bag, gray with the Hayes Department Store logotype prominent on both sides.
He shielded the bag from possible observers between his body and the parapet. It contained two similar bags, one folded, and a limp surgical glove. By far the largest item was the third shopping bag: overflowing with packets of money. Nodding, he stuffed the outer bag and its contents into the canvas school bag.
A brief smile appeared on the young face before its owner left the roof. In the descending elevator the sneakers were restless, dancing back and forth impatiently. Their wearer froze, however, when the door opened to the lobby — and to the grinning countenance of Alvin Swigart, Attorney at Law, who leaned forward and caught the arm holding the school bag in a vise-like grip.
“Surprised, Eve? Come along, we sure as hell don’t want to linger here. Alford hasn’t tumbled yet, but she will soon. I’ve got a car waiting.”
Eve stumbled willy-nilly after the man, who led her to a side door of the building.
“Am I under arrest?”
“My dear, I’m your attorney!”
She asked dryly, “Then where are we going?”
“Where you can think over the judge’s proposal.”
Reaching a car parked beside the dumpster at the rear of the building, Swigart popped the trunk, took the school bag forcefully away from Eve and tossed it in before slamming the lid. “Quick, into the car,” he told her. “And don’t jump and run at the first stop light. I’m going to get you out of this mess.”
“You are? How?”
“The bank will be glad to get the money back.”
“How about the cops?”
“If the bank’s happy, the FBI will drop it. That leaves our precious Ms. Alford.”
“That old bag!”
Swigart chuckled. “And that’s your worst problem, Eve.”
“She hates me.”
“Not at all. But that’s what I mean.”
“What do you mean?”
“She wants to taste your honey too.”