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The Eye In Justice
Zipping by in a frenzy, thoughts zoom into the brain’s headquarters. Options shout at random, each trying to make their impressions. Pieces of common sense crash into each other causing mayhem among personal experiences and principles. Like the brain’s version of door openings on Black Friday, thoughts, values, ethics, and morals push, pull, and trip one another, racing toward the grand prize –to be the “chosen one.” The human brain does this every day when trying to make the right decision. A Judge must do the same on a regular basis –except for today in the court room of Judge Grey Hendrix.
Judge Hendrix is a stout middle-aged man who carries high stature in his back pocket. At home he is a loving family man; in the court room he is all business. A thick black goatee overpowers his strong features, bleached with vitiligo a skin disease that mottled his cocoa colored skin until it was a spotless porcelain. The unnatural alabaster pigment that lies beneath his dark hair; dark eyebrows, eyelashes, and facial hair only enhances his sickly appearance. In his youth, when the blotches of brown and white skin tone hadn’t evened out, he was often the subject of much ridicule. Though the taunting built up his backbone and proved the old adage “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” it still scarred him emotionally for life. He now has strong opinions on eyesight and wishes the world were a blind place –where people are judged based on actions, not based on ones resemblance to a Dalmatian. There lies the reason behind his drive to become a judge –to bring justice to his fellow Dalmatians.
Hendrix graduated top of his class from Penn State with his undergraduate degree in criminal justice and later graduated with honors from Harvard Law School. Accordingly, he takes law very seriously and tolerates no monkey business in the work place. He adds an ominous, yet well-respected tone to his court room of 32 years. Hendrix inspects every piece of evidence as if his life depends on it and always takes extended recesses before coming to a verdict to ensure the fairness of his decision. He enjoys bringing justice to the world, yet occasionally, a glint in his deep hazel eyes reveal a glee for justifying punishment.
As he straightens his robe in the mirror before entering the courtroom, a certain confidence envelopes him as he takes in the authoritative man looking back at him. This is the day Hendrix has waited for his entire life –the day he takes karma by the reigns and serves it on a silver platter to his childhood bullies, Fred Gilder and Tony Chinski. These two effortlessly have scarred Hendrix for life, which is why he has always been hell bent on revenge –something he has thought about twenty -four/seven. He takes a deep breath and sucks in the overwhelming feeling of excitement, and several other emotions, whose names and origins are unascertainable, before entering the court room and commanding his rightful spot.
Gilder and Chinski’s goals in life, as adolescents, were to make Hendrix’s life as miserable as possible. Now aging, Gilder, an Irish fellow, sports a tuft of red hair, a plentiful set of freckles, and a temper to top all! Chinski, a slightly heavyset man from the Philippines, displays features that always seem to be contorted into a mischievous expression.
Though both are equally scary, they seem incomplete without their “leader” guiding them. Rudy Hoff, the leader of the pack of bullies, is nowhere to be seen, which is expected since he is the murder victim for today’s case. Hoff was a baby-blonde, with eyelashes eerily white. He wreaked cockiness, always had a snappy comeback, and made sure he made Hendrix’s life a living hell. He ordered Gilder and Chinski to make sure that a second did not go by when Hendrix was not being taunted. Hendrix was made ashamed of his appearance by the hurtful things the boys said and did.
Boys can be cruel –so much so that Hendrix still woke up some nights in a cold sweat after having a nightmare in which he relived some of his worst memories with Hoff. He believed that when Hoff was born and the doctors examined his body, they put a check mark noting that all of his vitals were in good condition, but a big “X” must have gone next to “heart” because he was hard pressed to believe Hoff had one.
While some mourn Hoff’s death, Hendrix is in a state of shock; who would mourn the death of a low life scum like him? He had wished on countless stars that the day would come where one of the “3 musketeers” would enter his courtroom, and now the day is here that both Gilder and Chinski are the prime suspects for the murder of Rudy Hoff!
Gilder and Chinski hang their heads as they shuffle to their seats accompanied by their attorney. Lawyers present their cases. Evidence is shown. Questions are asked. Answers are produced. The murder itself has left a fairly grotesque body. Photos show Hoff’s eyes gouged out of his head by thumbs, but the fingerprints are too unclear to decipher. The gouging is a detail that nobody could quite understand, but one that left taunting empty sockets. Beyond that there is nothing but a giant slit through Hoff’s jugular, and two gashes resembling the letter “x” directly over Hoff’s heart.
Gilder and Chinski stick to their alibis, stating that “yes,” they were with Hoff the night he was murdered. They had been at Hoff’s house, innocently watching football one Saturday night, eating steaks freshly charred on the grill, drinking some beers, and rooting for the 49ers on Hoff’s 64” flat screen T.V. –the node of his “man cave.” The suspects recall several people strolling by during the evening, but according to them, no one seemed to be out of the usual except for a shadowy figure that passed the window several times, but they assumed it was a teenager “goofing off”. Once the game ended, Gilder and Chinski spotted Gilder’s sister and her boyfriend walking by so they left Hoff’s house and tagged along with them. They claim to have left at 10:43, seven minutes after the end of the game, and eleven minutes before Hoff’s death. This seemed to be a fair enough alibi with no kinks besides the detail that traces of Hoff’s blood appeared on two freshly used steak knives that were covered with Gilder and Chinski’s finger prints.
No other suspects could be found. Chinski and Gilder repeatedly plead innocent, begging Hendrix for mercy, not recognizing that the person holding their fate in the palm of his hand is the person that they shamelessly taunted and teased long ago. They try to convince the judge that they have been framed, that they would never kill Hoff, stating that he was one of their best friends. It is well known, though, that Hoff was a gambler and there is no doubt in anyone’s minds that Hoff probably owed them money. Those that had known the three in their adolescences understood that Hoff was the ring leader and were hard pressed to believe that Gilder and Chinski did not mind always being second in command.
The proceedings pass by in a blur and Hendrix seems antsy for his chance to announce a verdict that he has pre- determined. A confession could not be produced. Still, the jury unanimously found them to be guilty based on the evidence of the presence of Hoff’s blood on their knives. As sweat beads slither down his forehead, Hendrix is tickled with joy while announcing his decision. Though some may deem it harsh, the men are not just being chastised for murdering their fellow man, but for all the emotional distress they have caused Hendrix and countless other targets. Hendrix is finally getting his sought after revenge. A feeling that “everything is now fair in the world” overwhelms Hendrix as he sentences the two to the death penalty, and raps his gavel in closing, just as a blonde eyelash slips from beneath his thumb nail.