The Little Pipsqueak

© 2012 Matthew Templar

This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

This story is copyrighted by Matthew Templar, all rights reserved. Distribution, including but not limited to: posting on internet sites, newsgroups, or message boards, or in book form (either as a whole or part of a compilation), or on CD, DVD or any other electronic media, is expressly prohibited without the author's written consent.

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Chapter Eighteen

The phone was ringing when I walked into the house after taking AJ to school. I think it was a Friday.

"Hello, hello? Sergeant McGill?"

"Yes? This is he. Cybill? Is that you? Calm down. What's all the excitement about?"

"Oh, sergeant . . ."

"Tim, Cybill. Call me Tim."

"Oh, okay. This is really exciting in the scariest way. I thought I was kidding when I said I'd be looking for a job if we got Jeffrey off, remember?"

Before I could answer, she'd gone on, full speed ahead.

"Anyway, I think we have what we need. Can um, we come over and talk? I really don't want to do it over the phone and, frankly, I'd like to see your face when we tell you all that's been happening."

"Sure. Come right over. I just dropped AJ off at school. Can you come now?"

"We're walking out to the car as I speak. See you in twenty minutes."

"Yes, but who's we?" I said to the silence of a phone which had already been hung up.

That was my introduction to the gorgeous Lenore Dexter, the older, married, sister of Cybill. She was a board certified attorney in the state, practiced in a much larger city north of us, and had evidently been assisting Cybill on Jeffy's case.

Cybill wore her suits with a lack of the styling and tailoring they should have for any professional. Lenore, however, wore her dress with a flare that spoke of confidence and self-esteem, the kind that may well add an advantage when trying to conquer a courtroom.

But Cybill was nothing to laugh at either. Oh, maybe her appearance needed a bit of sprucing, but her style and mastery of her subject told me she was on her way to an illustrious career as a litigator.

But first, we had to calm her down while her sister looked on, trying very hard to hold back the laughter that was likely to burst forth any moment. It was all aimed at the enthusiasm Cybill was showing.

"Sis, you've got to calm down. This is all very exciting but you need to be able to tell the sergeant what's going on and about his two visits."

Well, that piqued my curiosity.

"Sergeant, I'm sorry about being all girly and giddy. It's just that we've found some things that will help us win Jeffrey's case, indeed, maybe even his freedom."

"Wow! That's so great, Cybill. Then no wonder you're so happy. You've obviously been working very hard at this. You have no idea how happy I am to hear that and I know AJ will be too."

"Of course, we're not done by any means, right big sister?"

"Right. Sergeant, we have a lot to do but the investigator says he's on to something that could prove very interesting to the case and Jeffy's freedom. It also may . . . well, I think we should leave that for the court Wednesday."

"Yes," said Cybill, "I agree wholeheartedly."

"You mean I don't get to know . . . Wait, we can't be there Wednesday. AJ and I have to appear because of the county's investigation into AJ's history, to see if family exists. Shoot, I so wanted to be there."

"You'll get your wish, Sarge, uh, Tim! I understand that the judge has asked the court to contact you to postpone your case. The court clerk said that, while your case is super important, whatever it is, it would wait while we worked on Jeffrey's rights expeditiously."

"Oh, okay, but what's this about two visits?"

"Oh, yeah. One is the courtroom on Wednesday, but the other is this, we have permission to see Jeffrey!" she said beaming at me like she'd already won the whole case.

"Me too? Wow! How did you . . .?"

Lenore spoke up before Cybill could explain, "Sergeant, you should have seen her. She didn't plead, she didn't waiver, she just told the administrators at the center that it is Jeffrey's right to speak with counsel and we're in. You may have to look official, like a second backup or something, but Cybill said you'd tried to get in and they wouldn't let you."

"That means they know me. When they figure out I'm not part of the firm then . . ."

"Not a problem. Cybill gave them your name when we signed up at the door to the detention space and for some reason they had no problem with it." Lenore gave Cybill a cheeky grin, telling me there was more to it than she was telling.

I had to know.

"Okay, Cybill, out with it. How'd you get me approved?"

"Well, it just so happens that the person at the desk when we got there was someone I'd seen several times at my dance club downtown, a very popular gay club. He immediately recognized me and when we made our request and I mentioned your name I saw his eyebrows peak, but he stamped 'Approved' on our request form anyway. It was so perfect but I shouldn't have been surprised because in the gay community we help each other out whenever we can."

"Thank you, Cybill. It's wonderful to have you on Jeffy's side and mine for that matter. You're fantastic, young lady. Oops!"

"Ha ha. Thank you for the compliment, and it's okay, the 'lady' thing. I go by 'she' pronouns," Cybill informed me.

"So, when do we go?"

"Get your coat!"

Except for the fact that the Baylor County Juvenile Detention Center had two rows of fences topped with razor wire, it looked much like a school or some similar institution, which it was, I suppose. We were thoroughly questioned at the front gate and checked to see if we were on the roster that the guard had on his clipboard, we were then waved through to the parking lot. All of that happened outside of the two fences. We were then checked again through both sets of fences, and then ushered to the main door where we went up to an island in the main hallway.

The guard on duty at the desk took our names again, looked us over and checked our individual ID. We were instructed to remove all metal objects, which were kept in a box until our return, and then ushered through a metal detector.

After we'd passed muster we were escorted through several electric gates and finally came to an office with a reception desk and a waiting area. The guard that brought us that far handed the clerk our papers and pointed to the chairs where we sat and waited.

After we'd waited more than fifteen minutes, Lenore looked at both of us, stood up and approached the clerk. They talked back and forth until Lenore nodded and came back to sit with us.

"She said he had been busy with another appointment and was just now going to our interview room where we would meet with him."

"I wonder who he's seeing. A doctor or someone?" I asked.

"Don't know. She wasn't too open about it, but it did seem the norm, if that happens here."

The clerk then signaled to us and we went to the desk. She handed us each a visitor's badge and told us to fill in the form she pushed over to us, with the badge number and time of day.

Cybill signed first. It took but a minute, but when Lenore went to sign in she was looking very hard at something on the form that caught her eye. I tried to see what it was that she saw but, except for the last two entries being erased, I didn't see anything. I even scanned as far up as I could, but it only covered the day we were there and it was still relatively early.

We then waited less than a minute for another guard who showed us to our interview room. Inside, sitting all hunched up in his chair, complete with handcuffs fastened to the chair, was young Daniel Jeffrey Connors, Jeffy.

"Excuse me guard, but could you please remove the handcuffs from our client? After all, where's he going to go in this prison?" asked Lenore with some authority.

"Suppose it won't hurt nothin'," said the guard. He was firm with Jeffy when he raised each arm and unlocked the cuffs from each wrist, leaving them hanging on the chair. "You mind these people, boy." He said abruptly. "I'll be right outside if you make a fuss, hear me?"

It looked like he was going to swing at him like to slap his face, until he looked at us in awe and thought better of it. But Jeffy's reaction indicated that it wouldn't have been the first time he was struck. He scrunched up tighter in his chair to get away from the guard.

The guard turned to leave, but not before saying, "And this ain't no prison. It's a reform school for kids that need a little something before returning to society." And he was gone.

We waited for the door to click then I was on my knees at Jeffy's side.

"Please don't," he said.

"Don't what, Jeffy? We're here to help you. These are your lawyers and I'm Sergeant McGill, remember?"

"The last guys in here said they were going to help me too. It didn't sound like help."

"Well, we're not them," said Cybill taking the chair closest to Jeffy's left side while Lenore went around to the chair on his right. I got up and sat next to Cybill, who continued, "Jeffrey, we don't want you to hafta stay here any longer than necessary and we think you've been here too long as it is. We're going to get you out of here and back to the way things were."

"God, no! I can't leave. I'm no good now. See what I've done? I've hurt people and caused all sorts of trouble. That's what those men said. I can't see anyone letting me out anytime soon. I just can't. Do you know what I did? Oh God, I'm probably just gonna stay here or some place until I die and go to hell."

"Jeffy, we're here to make sure that doesn't happen. We don't want you in here. We need you to be strong for only a few more days when all this will be taken care of," Cybill said, trying to reassure the boy.

"Please, don't make me do all that. Just let me rot in here where I belong. Oh God, why would you care? Why would anyone care?"

He was staring right at Cybill when he said that. Then Lenore got up and leaned over the table so she could look right into Jeffy's eyes. She turned toward us and indicated with huge eyes that something was amiss.

"Jeffy, have you had to take any pills or drink any medicine while you've been in here, honey," asked Lenore.

"I . . . uh . . . me? I don't . . ."

Just then the door flew open and the guard stormed in.

"Okay, you're time is up. Time to go. He's got um, therapy, yeah, that's it, therapy. Time to get up and go to therapy, boy." he said, jerking Jeffy to his feet and walking him out of the room.

But before they got all the way out of the room we heard Jeffy ask, "Therapy? What's therapy?"

We just stood there wondering what had just happened until another guard came to escort us out. In fact, it wasn't until Cybill was unlocking the car that I asked, "What just happened? Wasn't that an awfully short interview?"

"It sure was," stated Lenore. "One of the shortest I've ever experienced."

"Were his eyes messed up, sis? Is that what you saw in them?" asked Cybill when we were back on the road.

"Yup, they were pretty well messed up. I've heard of giving patients something to calm them, but what he was on seemed to be doing just the opposite. I think we need to file a request to see his medical charts while he's been there. My guess is it won't show what they have him on, but at least it will go into the court record."

When we pulled into my driveway I got out of the car but the two ladies stayed put, motor running.

"Would you like to come in and have lunch? There must be a ton of things to discuss," I asked.

"I think we'll pass this time around, Tim, but thank you. We've kind of opened up a whole new series of questions that we need some help in answering. We're going to the courthouse to file that request, and then do some phone calling to see what's been going on over there. That can't be right. We'll keep in touch, but for sure we'll see you on Wednesday."

"Um, okay, but who were those men that were . . ." I asked as they backed down the driveway and took off.

"I want you all in court this Wednesday at 9 AM sharp."

Those were the instructions the judge conveyed to Cybill. She told us we could accompany them, but we might have to stay out of the courtroom until I was called.

I told her it would just be me as AJ would be in school that day.

Wednesday at 9 AM all the principles were there except the D. A., though two Assistant District Attorneys were present. Also missing was Jeffy's court appointed attorney, Patterson. Cybill and her sister, Lenore, were in his place at the defense table, but the case was technically still Patterson's, I guess.

Homer Davenport, judge for our county for the last forty-five years, was a handsome man, tall, thin with a shock of lustrous silver hair that would be the envy of any man his age. But it was his stern demeanor that made me attentive and wary of anything he did and said.

"My anger is going to show if you are all not here this Friday at 9 AM. I do not like to be kept waiting. Last chance."
The Assistant District Attorney asked to speak.

"No, you may not! I know what you're going to say. You want me to know that you are prepared to represent the county in this matter. Well, guess what? I don't want you to represent anyone in this matter. I want your boss here or he'll be held in contempt."

Once again, that Friday, the D. A. and the attorney for the boy were the only ones that failed to show. However, AJ pleaded with me to let him come and I finally gave in, and I'm glad I had. He also looked very nice in his dress pants, crisp pale blue dress shirt and striped tie.

"Bailiff, I want subpoenas dispatched by whatever means to the two, no, let's make that three men on this list," he said, writing another name on the list before he handed it to the bailiff.

The bailiff took the paper from the judge and quickly glanced back at the judge with questioning eyes.

"Yes, that's right. See to it he's here too. I'm sure you'll find them all at the same place." He looked up at the defense table where Cybill and her sister, Lenore, sat, waiting for Jeffy to be brought in. "Ms. Hawthorne, where did your investigator find the two men, well, all three to be exact?

"Your honor, a place called Bender's Ranch. It's a broth . . ., umm, resort just outside of Las Vegas, sir."

"There you have it, bailiff. Get it done. I want a bench warrant out on them, not just subpoenas. They had all better be here at 9 AM on Monday. I don't care if we have to go to the governor, I am not letting that boy be persecuted by these men's neglect any longer. In the meantime, I want the boy brought in to plead and set bail. I cannot believe it hasn't happened. When was the incident?"

"Um, three weeks ago, sir," said the bailiff, looking at his notes.

"Let's get this done."

"And, sir," said one of the Assistant District Attorneys, standing up, "We're prepared with everything we need to . . ."

"Quiet and sit down! No one asked you to speak, yet!"

As the wounded attorney sat down, a side door opened and it looked like they had to practically drag Jeffy into the room. He was in a white t-shirt and blue jeans which had BCJDC (Baylor County Juvenile Detention Center) in bold black letters printed down one leg. His hands were still handcuffed behind him. He obviously didn't want to be there and, if my guess was correct, it was because he hadn't forgiven himself for his emotional blunder that day in my front driveway. Since we'd talked, it wasn't hard to figure out. He was resigned to be put away for life.

All eyes were on the commotion as they brought the boy in, but everyone snapped to attention when the judge barked,

"Deputy, take the young man out of my courtroom, remove his restraints and return him here pronto! And, unless I tell you specifically, you will never bring another juvenile defendant into my courtroom again in restraints of any kind. Do I make myself clear, deputy?"

"Y-y-yes, your Honor. Sorry, your Honor. Right away, your Honor."

I think it would have been more comical to all of us observing if, one, we weren't all a bit shocked at Judge Davenport's explosive outburst and, two, if we hadn't seen the look of resignation on Jeffy's face.

When he was brought back in, Jeffy was a bit more subdued. That's when we noticed the bruising and the cut over his eye.

"Deputy, what has happened to this boy? Why is he bandaged and bruised as though he's been in a brawl? "

The deputy stopped in his tracks, with Jeffy standing between him and the second officer. "Sir, if it pleases your Honor, we have a report on what happened Friday last. Ya see, he didn't wanna come up here for no reason at all. Kept yellin' that it was all his faul . . ."

"That's enough, deputy. Hand the bailiff the report and take your place in the back of the room."

The deputy took Jeffy to the defense's table and watched Jeffy sit down next to Cybill. Then both officers walked to the last row in the courtroom and sat quietly.

Cybill leaned toward Jeffy and whispered something. Jeffy, whose head was bent down, practically touching the table, shook his head almost violently. Cybill laid her hand on his shoulder and whispered again, for a bit longer. Jeffy nodded slowly and turned to look at me. I could see his eyes brimming with tears. His look was that of a sad puppy, given up all hope of being rescued, but in his case, given up all desire to want to be rescued.

The bailiff handed the document over to the judge who put on his reading glasses and proceeded to scan the two page report.

"I, um, need to study this a bit more before we proceed, in my chambers. If you will, bailiff."

Immediately, the judge rose as did the bailiff who addressed the assembly.

"All rise."

The door slammed but I could hear the judge say as he closed the door, "You are not going to believe this. He thinks . . ."

We began to look at one another wondering what was going on. Cybill looked back at me with sadness in her eyes. I know it was because the young boy sitting next to her didn't believe he deserved a trial and certainly not freedom.

After about two minutes of quiet whispering among ourselves and me holding AJ back from going up to Jeffy, we heard a loud guffaw come from the judge's chambers. AJ and I looked at one another in awe. Then AJ mouthed,

"Mr. Harding?"

End of Chapter Eighteen

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