This short appeared June 8, 2006 at Tribe’s Flashing in the Gutters.
I squirmed in the too hard chair. I really needed a bathroom, but the judge was intoning something, and the jury was filing back in. My lawyer reached over and squeezed my hand. It just made me think of my bladder, and I wished I’d wake up already so I could drag myself through the dark to the toilet.
But this was one of those dreams that goes on and on and on, with no end in sight. I crossed my legs instead, admired my black patent Laboutin pump. A steal.
Judge Blowhard was talking again. “Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a verdict?”
A mousy middle-aged frump with a gray bun stood, holding out a piece of paper, which Barney Fife walked over to the judge. He started up again. My lawyer pinched my forearm. I stood tall.
“In the case of Davis v. the State of Tennessee, we the jury in the aforementioned case find the defendant, Lisa Davis, guilty of murder in the second degree.”
There were gasps from the audience. I turned and saw my mother, weeping softly into a white linen handkerchief. On the other side of the aisle, Buck Davis, my father-in-law, was smiling broadly. He gave me one of those looks and spoke loudly.
“You bitch, you shot my son. Now the world knows he didn’t kill himself. I hope you rot.”
He turned and swept out of the courtroom. The heat rose in my chest and I was blinded for a moment, furious. This was bizarre. I searched the crowd. Where was Troy? My golden haired boy man, the one who’d swept me off my feet, loved me true. It’s only a dream, silly, I chided myself. You’ll wake up and Troy will be laying next to you, warm and solid.
I turned back to my lawyer, who was making murmuring noises in my ear. Something about minimum security, a psychiatric hospital. Promises to come see me soon. Then I was handed over to the bailiff, cuffed and walked from the room.
The panic began in a slow well. The handcuffs were tight, biting into my flesh. I started to thrash, trying to force the dream away, but the bailiff pulled my right arm down hard enough that the joint popped and I hissed in pain.
“Knock it off, girlie. We’re going for a ride.”
Before I could protest, he pushed me through the doors of the courthouse. A distant roar started in my ears.
“They’re taking her out the back!” People were scurrying about, flashbulbs started going off. A white van pulled to the curb, and the bailiff pushed me inside. I smacked my forehead on the door frame. I really needed to pee.
It felt like we arrived within minutes. The lawns were green and long; the building at the end of the drive looked more like a Victorian mansion than a sanitarium. At least my dream weaver has good architectural taste. The van jogged to a stop and the guard grabbed my forearm again.
“Put those panties back on, girlie,” he grumbled in my ear. “They’ll catalog your clothes and we can’t have any missing.”
I’d try the trick that’s worked so many times before. “Sure, whatever. Can I use the bathroom now?”
“Once you’re inside. Thanks for the lay.”
“Not a problem.” We exited the van, the sunlight stinging my eyes. A shadow moved across my frame. I squinted…
“TROY!” I launched myself into his arms. “I can’t wake up. Will you help me?”
“Sure, babe.” The dark, gaping hole that had shreds of blood and tissue smack in the center of his face moved again. “You’re going to like it here. I’m sorry I can’t stay. I have to get back to the graveyard.”
“Don’t go.” I snuggled in close. “Troy, they tried me for murder.”
“I know. It’s perfect, isn’t it? I needed some way to keep you safe, darling. This way, you’ll always be taken care of. I love you.”
And with that, he was gone. I looked at my new home and smiled. Troy would never let me be alone. Now, where the hell was that bathroom?
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