Chapter One Hundred and Twenty Nine
Before I ruled on the case I asked her, "California, why do you want to flaunt human tradition and sensibility to decorate your motorcycle? Don't you realize that any human that saw what you had done would think you were heartless and evil?"
She looked at me, stunned. "Heartless and evil? Haven't you been listening? I LOOOVED Flash, he loooved me," she began sobbing wretchedly. "I was going to Turn him but he died. His body is all I have left. I want him with me."
Pink tears coursed down her cheeks. I saw suddenly what was happening. I got off the bench, which is what my fancy judge chair and desk were called and went to her. I heard a slight gasp go up from the crowd. Probably the Ancient Pythoness didn't take such a close up and personal approach. Well, a new broom sweeps clean, as Gran would say.
I spoke to her in a soft kindly way. "I see you are out of your mind with grief. Due to this overwhelming grief you are not thinking clearly. I order you to visit Anna Hita and get your mind restored to sanity. I order you to bury Flash or cremate him in keeping with his religious or cultural background. You need grief counseling, not a dead human tied to your hog. This case should remind us all that we were human once and can still head off in the wrong direction now and then."
I looked around from face to face, hoping nobody challenged my ruling.
Eric bellowed, "Is this just? Is this fair?"
He regarded the audience with a determined glint in his eye. Nobody was going to go against him.
"Yes," the audience said a tad more feebly than I would have wished. They might have wanted my first case to have a more dramatic conclusion than grief counseling.
A stone faced Eric scanned slowly around as if memorizing every one there. In a softer voice he repeated, "I asked, is this just?"
He was like a cheerleader with menace instead of pom poms.
"YES!" everyone said with gratifying enthusiasm.
"Pythoness, Augustus has requested a hearing. Will you hear him in chambers?" he prompted me. He wanted Augustus's cronies to know I wasn't just blowing him off.
"Certainly," I said grandly.
"Then this court is adjourned. ALL RISE!" Eric commanded.
Everyone stood up and I swept out of the room. Woohoo! I had pulled it off, my first case. The butterflies were gone, replaced by the warm knowledge I had helped in this situation.
I sure hoped every royal on Earth wasn't going to start having problems since I was mandated to hear all of them. No wonder the judge had the ability to postpone the trial indefinitely.
Now I just had to deal with that pain in the neck Augustus. At least it meant he was still alive. Eric went to retrieve Augustus wherever he had him stashed.
I went back to the conference room where Merry and the Narlock girls stood and congratulated me on the successful conclusion of my first case. They hadn't come into the courtroom so as not to distract the vampires in the audience without elf proofing. They sure were listening though. They stood up and beamed at me.
"Excellent use of allocution," Merry said in a proud-mother kind of way.
"What's that?" I asked, sitting down so they could sit too.
"Allocution is a procedure during sentencing by which a convicted person is given opportunity to address a judge and the judge can respond," Merry explained.
"Where I come from that's just called talking," I said.
"You are the High Court Judge, your every word and decision carries much weight now and in all future cases," Merry said. "Besides, the law likes to have a fancy word for everything people do."
"Like doctors," Hy added. "They call a bruise a 'contusion'."
Eric knocked once and entered, bringing an irate Augustus with him.
"This is an outrage!" Augustus sputtered. "I was removed from the court before I had a chance ..." His voice trailed off as the supernatural charm of the three elves wafted over to him.
His eyes traveled up and down the three women, the two normal height Narlock sisters and the much shorter older elf. His gaze settled longingly on Merry Dixon. As I suspected the cute little lady had the most charm of the three. Perhaps they got more charming with age as vampires got stronger with the years. The three elves stood up, perhaps preparing to flee if he lost control of himself.
"Why hello there," Auggie said smoothly, twinkling his fingers in a coy flirtatious wave at Merry. "Why has no one informed me you were here?" He drifted over towards her like a pull toy.
"That's because you entered the room talking before anyone could say anything," Merry pointed out dryly. "I'm standing right here, you should have seen me." She moved further away from him, putting the round conference table between them.
"My bad," Augustus said, grinning from ear to ear. "I could never forget the joy of being in your presence. I just didn't recognize you at first. Have you done something special with your hair?" His hand reached out towards her little head, though he was too far away to touch her.
She patted her dull brown and grey hair. "As a matter of fact I did try a color rinse," she said, blushing with pleasure.
Her hair was the same color as a muskrat's fur if the muskrat was also going gray and it's fur was thinning. I hadn't noticed any difference but apparently Auggie had. He had no protection from Merry's blue elf charm so each detail about her person was vividly wondrous.
"It becomes you," he said, edging closer, "Though it is gilding the lily." He finally got within grabbing range. He lunged for her hand and planted a long heartfelt kiss on the liver-spotted blue-veined back of it.
When he was done smooching on her hand he looked up at the rest of us and blinked, confused. He had forgotten why he was here. Ha! Bless Merry and her elfin ways.
"I brought you here to warn you against making more Children," I said sternly. "You are way over your limit and even though, unfortunately, you lost a portion of your nest, that is not a reason to begin making more Children. Is that clear?"
He glanced at Merry and must have felt under pressure not to say or do anything that would diminish his standing in her faded greyish blue eyes.
"Of course, of course, that goes without saying," he muttered.
"Then you are dismissed," I said regally, pointing at the door.
He glanced tragically at Merry, not wanting to leave her presence. Eric pointedly opened the door and a reluctant Augustus shuffled out, looking back several times to get one last look at Merry.
"Goodbye dearest lady," he called as Eric firmly shut the door.
"Bye bye," all three elves called.
I said to the room, "I don't know how long it's going to take before he figures out he didn't get what he came for but I suggest we skedaddle right now."
"Get while the getting's good," Merry agreed. The elves grabbed their coats from the closet, Eric got his cloak and my wrap, Hy turned off the lights and we hot footed it out of there, using the back way.
We said our good nights in the parking lot. Merry and the Narlocks took off in one direction in her vintage Nash Rambler, Eric and I in another.
"That went well," I said, leaning back and relaxing as Eric launched us into the night, shifting gears until the 'Vette was tooling along well over the speed limit.
"Too bad you have another trial so soon after this one," Eric said.
"What?" I asked sitting up in surprise. "What trial?"
"I have some things to confess. I have been lusting for you in my heart. I wanted to obstruct justice by ripping your robes off and ravishing you, causing disorder in the courtroom."
"As Gran would have said, 'Thinking is not doing', I can't try you for having naughty thoughts," I laughed.
"Who said they were only thoughts?" he asked, his right hand sliding up the inside of my leg.
"Are you trying to influence the judge?" I asked pseudo-outraged.
"With all my heart," he answered.
"Well ...." I sighed, enjoying his touch, "It's working."
He drove faster.
more to come .... (Happy Saturday folks! The flu bug has hit my hubby and daughter so I'm going to take a week to get back to this blog. Til then ... stay well! Thanks for visiting and your patience.)