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A Stranger's Gift

The Judge sat at the stand viewing the evidence deciding his verdict. There seemed to be a hurting look in his eyes. He looked like a family man, the kind of guy who you'd expect to see in those Kodak moment pictures of the perfect family. The Prosecutor sat across the aisle from me, dressed in a black suit and black sunglasses. In the right light his black hair seemed to have a hint of red, but i could be wrong. He sat with a smug smile on his face, he knew he won the case.
Those thirty seconds waiting for the Judge to decide were thirty years worth of Hell. I knew I was guilty. Why does he prolong the verdict? Get on with it.
The Judge cleared his throat. He made his verdict. I may be wrong, but i could swear I saw his eyes were red and puffy.
"The court finds the defendant guilty on all counts." The judge choked out with a hurt sound in his voice. "I sentence the defendant to eternity of separation from the One who loves him, or" OR? There's an Or? What is it? "or the defendant can choose to pay upfront a fine of one million dollars." Ugh, why did that have to be the 'Or'? "Which will it be son?" Again he choked out the question.
I didn't have the money and i needed to answer him.
"I don't have that kind of money."
He had a horrified look in his eyes which screamed NO.
"Well then I'm sorry son, but I have to-"
"STOP," a voice laced with emotion screamed out from the gallery. "I'll pay his fine."
Who said that?
A man stood up from the gallery seats. Tear-filled eyes and a hand already half way to his wallet. This man was in no way beautiful and some could say he was even little ugly. If anything he looked more poor than I did before this whole problem started. Yet something stronger than appearance pulled me to him.
"No, I can't let you." I yelled to the man, but he didn't even pay attention to my screams. He just started walking towards the stand digging through his wallet. He pulled out a credit card card, (credit not debit, which means he didn't currently have the money which also means debt.) "No! You can't do this for me!" but he kept walking.
By now i could feel tears streaming from my eyes but I didn't care. Some stranger was paying money he obviously didn't have on my account.
He reached the stand and handed the card to the baliff who ran it and nodded to the judge.
"Alright, well son," he looked at me, "looks like you're off the hook."
The stranger then turned to me, smiled the kind of smile only a proud father could give, and said, "Welcome to the Family."



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