July 12, 2010

Double Vision

A 1990 venture into crime fiction... The young girl sat on the witness stand. Her eyes were full of tears that threatened to fall at any moment. Her arms and legs, generally narrow enough to be called painfully thin, appeared emaciated in comparison to her bulging midriff. She knotted her hands in her lap, her knuckles whitening with the pressure she exerted. The District Attorney removed a gleaming white handkerchief from his pocket and handed it to her. She didn't seem to see it. He replaced the handkerchief and continued with his questions. "Now Callie, who was it that put that baby in you?" Callie began to sob openly. "Mark Brewer, he took me up to his cabin. We used to be friends. I went to his cabin lots. We'd go play with the marbles. He has lots of pretty colored marbles." The barrister took a slow, deep breath. "Did you like to play at Mark's house?" "Yes, except when he put the baby in me." "Tell me about that time." "I went up the stairs to Mark's house, because it was Saturday. I knocked on the door, and Mark let me in. I started to get out the marbles, but Mark said he knew something that was more fun than playing marbles. He took me in the other room and started to take off his shirt. Then he tried to take off my dress. I didn't want him to, but he did. Then he put the baby in me. That hurt. I never went to his cabin again. I didn't want Mark to hurt me again." "Thank you Callie." He glanced at the Public Defender, who shook her head to indicate that she had no questions. He helped Callie from the stand to her seat, then turned toward the jury. "May I remind the court that even had Callie been a willing participant, both her age…15, and the fact of her mental retardation are grounds for statutory rape. The prosecution rests." The public defender quickly dashed tears from her own eyes before rising from her chair to face the jury. "After that touching testimony, there is no doubt in my mind that, on the morning in question, Callie Monahan went to the cabin of Mark Brewer, and that someone met her there and raped her. However, she has identified the wrong individual. I'd like to call Mark Brewer to the stand." Mark stepped to the witness stand with a lithe grace, and seated himself. He promised to tell nothing but the truth, then the barrister stepped close to the stand. "Why would Callie have gone to your cabin that morning?" Mark grinned, a smile that crinkled his entire face and danced in his eyes. "Callie usually came up around nine every Saturday morning. I have a large collection of marbles. We usually played marbles or checkers out on the porch." "So usually you spent Saturday mornings playing marbles with Callie." "Yes. Saturday mornings are a particularly heavy workload for Mrs. Monahan, so I'd help her out by keeping an eye on Callie. I usually get my weekends off." "Where were you on the morning of June 12th?" "Here in Bretherton." "Why?" "I needed to pick up some lumber and supplies to repair cabin 21." The counselor turned toward the jury. "According to the register at the resort, Mr. Brewer checked out a truck at 8:00 am. It is a 45 minute drive from the resort to Bretherton. This receipt," she handed a piece of paper to the head juror, "from the lumberyard is stamped at 9:07 am. Obviously he drove straight from the resort to town." She handed a second piece to the juror. "This is the receipt from the hardware store, with the time 9:57 printed on it. Mr. Brewer could not possibly have arrived back at the resort before 10:45. "According to the hospital records already admitted as evidence, Mrs. Monahan and Callie arrived at 10:30. This means that they left the resort no later than 9:45 am. Mr. Brewer may have passed them on the road, but there is no possible way for him to have been at the resort at the time the crime was being committed. The defense rests." The jury deliberated less than two minutes before proclaiming Mark Brewer a free man.
* * * * *
Callie Monahan sat on the stoop of her mother's cabin watching her two-year-old son play in the dirt. Joshua was a beautiful baby. She was happy that her mom helped her take care of him, so that she could keep him. She shivered despite the heat of the morning's sunshine. Today was her birthday. She hated her birthday, because that was the day...it had been three years since Mark had put Joshua in her. Timmy, a rambunctious 12 year old, poked his head around the corner of the house. "Hey Callie! I found a huge box of marbles. Come see!" Callie very carefully picked Joshua up and took him inside, telling her mum that she was going to go play with Timmy. She came back outside and followed Timmy into the woods. At first she didn't realize where he was leading her, but then she recognized the now-overgrown railroad tie stairs. Callie froze. Timmy climbed several more steps before he realized that she'd stopped. He stopped as well, and turned. "What's the matter?" Callie's voice wavered. "We're going to Mark's house." "Who's Mark?" "He put Joshua in me." "Oh. Well, we're not going there, we're going to my Uncle Geoff's house. That's where I stay when I come to visit in the summer." "Oh. All right." Callie brightened. Maybe Mark had moved away like her friend Teresa had. They arrived at the cabin. Timmy got out two huge canisters of colored marbles. "See? I told you there were lots!" The two began to set up the biggest marble game ever. Mark poked his head out of the kitchen. "Hi Callie! It's nice to see you again." Callie looked up at the sound of the voice, and panicked when she saw who it was. She jumped to her feet. "I gotta go home, Timmy. Mom's baking me a cake." Callie ran out the door. Blinded by fright, she didn't see the figure coming up the path until it was too late. They collided. Strong hands put her back on her feet. She looked up to say thank you, then screamed and continued down the hill even faster than before. Callie slammed the door behind her as she entered the house. Sobbing, she told her mother that Timmy had taken her to Mark's house, only he'd called it his uncle Geoff's house, and she'd seen Mark. Twice. A week later Callie was still insisting that there were two of Mark. Callie's mother called the detective that had been placed in charge of the case three years earlier. Several hours later he returned her call. "Mrs. Monahan, very good news! Callie may be right in insisting that there are two of Mark. I've done some checking, and it seems that thirty years ago Mrs. Brewer gave birth to identical twins, Jonathan, and Mark Geoffrey...