Chapter 1

Chapter 1

A Chapter by Louis Shackleford

Meet Jack and Billy


            Beads of sweat trickled down Billy’s neck and onto the collar of his shirt. He scanned the courtroom with a hint of uncertainty. A glance at his watch told him the trial would start shortly. Wiping his neck with a napkin, he stopped pacing to think. This is bad, and it’s getting worse. In all my years of experience working point on security for government agencies, I’ve never tried anything this rash. I could go to prison for what’s about to happen. It’s all because of Jack, I should never have listened to him!

            Jack came waltzing toward Billy with a relaxed gait, wearing a streaked pink button-down and a smile on his face.

            “Billy goat, where’ve you been? It’s about to start.”

            “We shouldn’t be doing this, Jack.”

            “Doing what?”

            “Faking evidence,” announced Billy with a grave emphasis on all the syllables.

            “But no one knows we’re doing it.”

            “It’s illegal.”

            “Not if we don’t get caught,” said Jack matter-of-factly. “You’ll love this, anyway. All you have to do is sit back and watch the magic happen.”

            Billy attempted a response but was cut off by the judge’s gavel. The relative silence was almost too much for him to handle. So immersed in his own thoughts of doom, he heard nothing the judge said in introduction. He looked around at all the people: the jurors, the judge, the audience, the security guards, and the defendant. The defendant, Mr. Rutgers, struck fear in Billy for an unexplainable reason. Billy had never feared anyone before; the sentiment was alien to him, leaving him with no way to handle it. For a guilty man, Rutgers looked reasonably confident. Billy revisited reality.

            “Where is our attorney?”

            “He’s taking a break.”

            “Taking a break? He’s supposed to be here for the opening statement! How long will he be?”

            His partner shrugged. “He’s got a whole bucket of Kit-Kats, and it takes five minutes to eat a Kit-Kat, so…um…uh…forever.”

            “Jack, listen to me. We need to win this.”

            He smiled in his sly way. “I always win. I’m Jack Daniels.”

            The judge addressed Jack. “Where is your attorney?”

            “I’ll be making the opening statement, your honor.” 

            Without waiting for a response, Jack stood up in the way he thought most lawyers should. He more or less strutted to the open area in front of the desk and planted his feet firmly. He paced in circles as he spoke.

            “Let me start off by saying that this is an incredible day. The weather’s nice, the girls are fine, and that man is about to go to jail.” He pointed at Mr. Rutgers as he said this.

            The defendant smiled, comfortable. “Don’t you know it’s rude to point?”

            “Don’t you know it’s rude to produce, smuggle, and distribute heavy narcotics, place hits on political figures, and falsify legal documents? Let’s get something straight, jury. This is Billy Rutgers, not to be confused with our very own Billy goat, who says that you are a ba-a-a-ad man.”

            “Can you elaborate on the charges you have insinuated, Mr. Daniels?” asked the judge.

            “I’ve told you everything, pretty much. That’s not the important part. The important part is that I can prove all of this with such a damning piece of evidence. Briefcase me, Billy!”

            Billy did nothing.

            “Okay, I’ll get it,” said Jack. He arrived at the briefcase and procured a manila folder held together with a lone paper clip. Billy felt as if it symbolized his life, held in place only by a flimsy, primitive device that Jack had made.

            Jack refocused. He made eye contact with the oldest member of the jury. Preparing to speak more, he inhaled deeply. Billy resettled his glasses. When Jack resumed, his tone was graver, his words came slower and more accented.

            “Words of wisdom. This man is a good criminal. He runs an organization that has power over the entire south. Every good criminal keeps a blueprint of his dealings. I’m telling you; that blueprint is in this folder that I hold before you.”

            “That’s preposterous! You do not have such a blueprint!”

            “So…you have it?”

            The attorney hesitated. It was obvious that even he did not know the truth; he was just a man on a salary.

            “I call Mr. Rutgers to the stand,” announced Jack. As the defendant covered his distance, Jack maintained a harsh eye contact with him. Jack knew he was guilty, but Jack didn’t have the evidence.

            “I take it you’re going to reveal this amazing piece of evidence?” taunted Mr. Rutgers.

            Jack pursed his lips. “No, I was going to let you do it.” A wave of shock swept through the room. Jack began to think it through. He’s feeling reassured right now because he knows I don’t have the evidence. But I only need to ask the right type of questions to catch him off guard. Then I need to focus the attention away from my folder and toward his. His thoughts were interrupted by his cell phone.

            “One second,” he threw out. The message read I hope you haven’t forgotten about us. Jack smiled. He had.

            “Okay, okay okay,” sighed Jack. “I thought this would be much cooler, but the evidence is in Mr. Rutger’s briefcase. He lugged it here just in case he got pinned on a lesser charge and his property was searched. You’ll find everything you need in there. Now I need to go. See you all later.”

            The judge insisted and even ordered that Jack should stay. Quickly packing the folder into his bag, Jack made his way to the door. As Billy cleaned his glasses and marveled at the disarray in the courtroom, Jack only looked back to smile and wave.

© 2012 Louis Shackleford

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Added on August 10, 2012
Last Updated on August 10, 2012
Tags: adventure, smart, witty, novel, chapter


Louis Shackleford
Louis Shackleford

Memphis, TN

I love to read fast paced adventure stories. I play music as well as write a little on my own. Art has interested me for a long time. more..