Saturday, February 9, 2013

Jack Comes to the Rescue: The antebellum Charleston novel, "Jack," Continues

Chapter 27
                                                        "We Want Jack!"

        So when we got back from recess I went to the judge and asked if we could have a new lawyer cuz our lawyer wasn’t doin' nothin'. The judge said he didn’t know, that it was up to Mr. Whittemore.
       Whittemore was more than delighted with the request:
       “Oh and who is your choice-pick anyone you like? The evidence is so strong at this point that it really makes no difference to me, I assure you. Would you like the judge to play a dual role, that is, being your lawyer and the judge?”
      “No sir. We all talked about it and we all want Jack to be our lawyer," I said. Master’s smile deserted his face like it was the sun blotted out by a big black cloud.
        “You want to place your fates in the hands of that good-for-nothing boy who doesn’t know the first thing about lawyering!“
        “Yes sir. All of us do. We want Jack!”
        “So you want Mr. Stone to match his wits against mine in this trial even though he himself is on trial as he clearly is the accused at this point. So be it Mr. Foster! It’s your own neck in the noose! So be it! Your Honor! I humbly accept the challenge and I really look forward to learning how Mr. Jack Stone intends to slither his way out of this one!”
        “We rest our case Your Honor,” Whittemore said. “Go forth Mr. Stone to your downfall, I expect.”
        “Yes Your Honor, I call the Slineys back to the stand,” said Jack. The twins took the seats at the front and the entire class riveted their attention on Jack.
        “So, are either of you friends with Jeremy?”
        “Not really,” said Johnny.
        “What about your brother?”
        “No, you know I’m not.”
        “Friends with Mike?” Jack asked.
        “Nope,” said Randy.
        “Friends with Jimmy?”
        “You’re friends with Brooksy then?”
        “You’re kidding right?” said Randy.
        “Nope,”said Johnnie.
        “Why not? Why would I be kiddin'?”
        “Cuz why, ain’t he good enough for you?”
        “It’s not that,” said Randy. “Brooksy’s not somebody we would nomally associate with.”
        “But why not?”
        “He’s too weird!”
        “You don’t like him do you?”
        “Can’t say as I do.”
       “Same here,” said Johnny.
       “Do you like me?”
       “Nope,”said Randy.
       “Why not?”
       “Because you’re a lousy student and you’re a bully-always pickin' on my brother and me.”
       “You recall what happened about two weeks ago right outside this school when your brother gave me some lip?”
       “Yeah,” said Randy. “You picked him up by the seat of his pants and dumped him into the trash barrel head first! It was unforgivable.”
       The class roared and Whittemore glared at them causing an immediate cessation of their fun, at least on the surface.
       “That’s right it was unforgivable wasn’t it? And didn’t you say I was goin' to pay?”
       “So what?”
       “So now you makin' me pay and worse than that you’re makin' my good friends pay who are no friends of yours?”
       “No? Did master want you to say somethin' against us?”
       “He just wanted us to say what we saw.”
       “Say what you saw or make it up?”
       “Say what we saw.”
       “He make any promises?”
       “No. Just said we were two of his best students which everyone knows we are and we probably were going to pass with high marks.”
       “Oh so he promised you both good grades if you talked against us, now I get it.”
       “I didn’t say that.”
       “What did ya say moron?”
       “Objection!” said master rising from his seat. “Mr. Stone is being abusive to the witness.”
       “Mr. Stone, please stop that behavior,” said the judge.
       “No problem. So Mr. Randy Sliney, you don’t like any of the accused boys including myself and you say master brought up the subject of good grades while you was talking to him about what you were going to tell the judge?”
       “We get good grades anyway and master was just saying it in passing.”
       “What exactly did he say?”
       “He said what I said, we were good students and probably would get good grades.”
       “How ‘bout you Johnny Sliney? What did master say ‘bout your grades?”
       “Said the same thing. I’d get good final grades because I was a responsible student.”
       “Didn't you think that he was a'tryin' to bribe you or something with grades if you’d say bad things at the court today?”
       “What did you think?”
       “I think he thought it was the responsible thing to do.”
       “What was?”
       “Tell what happened”
       “Or what didn’t happen?”
       “You lied for good grades?”
       “Objection judge!” yelled Whittemore.
       “You lied because myself, Jeremy, Brooksy, Mike and Jimmy all say we never did any of those things.”
       “Not true. You did ’em.”
       “Your brother convinced you to lie cuz I dumped you in a barrel and he said he was goin to get revenge! Isn’t that what really is a'happenin' here Hiney’s brother?”
       “Objection!” yelled Whittemore.
       “You lied didn’t you?”
       “No way!”
       Jack then turned to the class and said during a stream of noisy objections from Whittemore, “Stand up and say the Hineys are lyin' if you think they is and that we are innocent!?”
       At that the whole class stood and yelled “Innocent! Innocent!” and “the Hineys are liars!”
Mike and Jimmy and me stood on our benches and yelled at the top of our voices, “Masters a cheat! Masters a cheat!”
Then the whole class except the Slineys chanted:
      “Master’s a cheat! Master’s a cheat! The Hiney’s are liars! The Hiney’s are liars! Liars and cheats! Liars and cheats!”
      “Shut up! Shut up!” Whittemore screamed. He finally asked the judge what was the verdict.

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