"AND THEN HE PICKED up her gun on the floor and aimed right at me," said Robin, sitting on the witness stand looking for that sympathetic juror as if that were her camera's eye line. Her fingers and her hands were anxiety wrought knot in her lap. "And what he said next is just horrible!" She looked away. She paused. Her honey hued hair was pulled back in a perky ponytail. She spoke. "I was in tears. I was crouching on the floor, helpless at what had just happened. He kicked me and screamed at me and told me to get with it. He told me how we were going to get rid of the body that he just killed. He said we were going to cut the body up and use it as fertilizer in my garden. 'Oh, God,' I said, 'I can't do it,' and he kicked me again and said 'Tough! Bitch!' and then I said doing that is just so against my human and spiritual sensibilities. Then he put the gun to my right temple. And then he said in a steely voice, 'You do it or I'll kill you!'"
Her body began to rock like a grieving Middle Eastern widow. She had taken out her handkerchief and she wiped her eyes. She blew her nose as she was sounding the concluding paragraph of her testimony. She stared over at me. "You know all this is true. Augustine. It's true!"
The twelve riveted jurors turned their heads and directed their disdain at me. Seven furrowed their eyebrows at me. Five lips angled in disgust. All were emphatically repulsed.
"You horrible animal!" she exploded.
I saw her in her eye that she actually thought that's the way it happened.
That's good acting. I realized that's how the sociopaths do it.
I wished that I had that talent. I wished that I could lie as well as her. But isn't that in the percentages? How many people in this country actually make it? I wonder how the numbers are crunched between the winners, the almost winners, the normal saps and then the disabled. I think things like this all the time because I have the time when I sit in my holding cell.
I simmered in the seat next to my lawyer the great and famous Ambrose Binge. He glanced over at me disheartened. She had the jurors right where she wants them. She had a high TVQ. She couldn't even buy a pack of tampons without someone stopping her and asking for an autograph. And what was I?
I like to think that I am likable. I can tell you a joke and hopefully it will make you laugh so then you will like me. Within the gale of your laughter, I have opened you up so that I crawl inside and be your friend. Isn't that how it works?
I want to be liked like we all do. Don't you?
But if she told you a joke not only would you laugh, but you would be charmed. How could you not be? She glistens and emotes. Her face has a plasticity that only avails itself in real life. She is dainty and is much smaller than you anticipate from seeing her on television. She is the electron mirage in your head and then when you see her in front of you, she then has another dimension. A human one. No matter how deliberate, contrived and duplicitous as that may be.
I am so sick from what has happened to me. How it happened to me. I am beyond shaking my amazed head at my sad fate.
I cover my face in a net of fingers. This is my only temporal escape.
I have nowhere else to go to but to the cupped cave in my palms. I rub my eyes wearily. I don't smell the blood on my hands that the jurors think that I would be sniffing. I smell what is there. My sweat and my innocence.
I inhale to exhale and think back to how I got here.