Boyd Guthrie, already a lobster in the soaring heat of the unconditioned Georgia courthouse, turned even redder.
There had been bad blood between the lawyer and judge Barrera since last Christmas, when an eggnogged Guthrie had wanted to throw an insult towards the judge’s expressionist dining room painting but had mistakenly thrown a shrimp cocktail.
The resulting feud had cost him a fair amount of sustained objections. This morning, the counter stood at twelve, and the lawyer was ready to explode. But judge Barrera, cool as ever, merely asked if he had any further questions for the witness.
Little did she know he did.
“Mrs. Poliakov, how many times has this judge overruled my objections?”
“I didn’t count.”
“There were twelve. Would you call that an excessive amount?”
“Is there a purpose to this line of questioning?” the judge intervened.
“Goes to the ethics of the witness,” Guthrie deadpanned, as he continued his cross-examination. “You may answer the question.”
“I’d call that excessive, yes.”
For the first time since the lawyer could remember a drop of sweat rolled over judge Barrera’s forehead, towards a throbbing vein half an inch above her left eye.
“I will hold you in contempt of court, Mr. Guthrie.”
“The court itself is contemptuous!”
“You are out of order.”
“And you’re a spiteful old bat.”
“I have every right to be spiteful, Boyd. You threw shrimp at my Gorky!”
“It was an improvement!”
“Overruled! How do you like that?”
Judging by the pace the judge’s gavel hit Boyd Guthrie between the eyes, not very much.
In the public stands, two kids who had come to see a triple murderer stand trial, pulled their mothers sleeve.
They’d made up their mind.
“When I grow up, I want to be a judge.”
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