The Bottleneck Years
by H.E. Taylor
|Chapter 97||Table of Contents||Chapter 99|
The Second Day, March 21, 2061
On Monday morning, I watched the second session of Jon’s trial alone in my office at CCU. I didn’t have a class until mid-afternoon, so time was not an issue.
Jon was led into the courtroom in shackles, his hands bound in front of him, his feet less tightly bound. He was wearing a bright orange one piece suit. As he moved I could see his hands and feet were wired to a metal saucer shaped connector that hung about his knees.
He was deposited in a steel chair beside Bergmann.
The judge, an old white haired guy, took his time reading a long list of charges, then leaned forward and said, “Mr. Fontaine, you have been charged with attempted genocide. How do you plead?”
Jon stood up and said, “First, I want to fire my lawyer.”
There were gasps and excited comment throughout the room. The judge rapped his gavel for order. Bergmann smiled ruefully and shook his head. Then he stood and moved to a bench behind Jon.
“Secondly, I want it known that what I did, I did for love of my country.”
“Mr. Fontaine, you may make a statement later if you wish. For now, will you respond to my question.”
“Why? The way I see it, it doesn’t much matter what I say or do, because you are going to convict me anyway. So I might just as well tell you the truth. The west is doomed unless we can rid ourselves of the Asian menace.”
“Mr. Fontaine, you will confine yourself to responding to those matters put to you.”
“Why? Is it going to change anything? You’re obviously not listening…”
“The prisoner will be quiet.”
“Why? Are you afraid to hear what I have to say?”
“Bailiff! Silence that man!”
For a second the bailiff looked stunned. He wasn’t sure what to do. Then a deputy leaned over and whispered in his ear. The bailiff nodded and the deputy moved quickly from the courtroom.
Jon meanwhile, had taken the opportunity to deliver a lecture on Chinese injustices. “Did you know that during the chaos of the Hungry Years, the party selected the top 20% of Chinese society to survive and let the rest fend for themselves? There is today a huge chasm between these two groups — the Party and the Fighters, as they call themselves.”
“Mr. Fontaine, will you please be quiet.”
“Why? You’re going to…”
The deputy came back into the courtroom with a big roll of duct tape.
Jon caught sight of the deputy and momentarily fell silent.
“The survival of the western world…”
“Bailiff, if you would,” directed the judge.
The bailiff held Jon down by the shoulders and his deputy put tape across his mouth.
“Okay, first there is the matter of representation,” said the judge. “Mr. Bergmann do you intend to remain in court?”
“Your honour, I have been retained by the defendant’s brother and will remain to advise whoever the court appoints to represent the defendant.”
“Very well. Court will recess while I consider the matter of representation.”
I read several journals until, an hour and a half later, the trial resumed. A young fresh-faced advocate sat beside Jon. Bergmann remained on the bench behind them. Jon was still bound and gagged.
The young advocate rose and said, “Your honour, my client refuses to speak with me, so I will plead innocent by default.”
The judge nodded and directed the prosecutor to proceed. He made a short speech of what he intended to prove and then called his first witness, Jack Connor.
As soon as Connor approached the witness box, Jon started keening through his nose. It was quite loud and irritating.
The judge sat back in exasperation. “Court is recessed until tomorrow.”
Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor
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Last modified June 24, 2014