Kristen and the Moot Court
Copyright© 2002. All rights reserved.
Here in northern Arizona it was midmorning on a bright Friday in May, but my mood was anything but bright. I was glooming around my apartment when the phone rang, and my voice reflected my depressed mood when I answered, "Hello, Kristen Useless speaking."
"Hi, Kristen, this is Joan. Judging from your greeting you haven't found a job yet."
"No, not yet. I haven't been looking too hard because I really don't want to take a permanent job. I liked working at the truck stop, and they promised to recall me if business picks up or if one of the other mechanics quits."
"If you're interested, I have a temporary job for you. The pay's not very good, but you'll be doing my sister Jean a big favor."
"Jean's still going to law school, isn't she?"
"Yes, she's in her final year, and she really needs your help."
"How can I help her?"
I was very suspicious, because just about every time I get involved with Joan's family I get tied up a lot. Bondage is fun in the right circumstances, like when I'm having sex with a man, but with Joan the bondage can go on for days, and two hours is about my limit.
Thinking about sex depressed me further. I have a close relationship with Joan's brother Jim, and he'd been gone for weeks, attending an out-of-state training course. This was part of his job as a deputy sheriff, and being chosen for this course usually meant early promotion, but I really missed him.
Joan explained, "Jean has an important moot court starting Monday, and the person who was going to act the part of the defendant has the flu. If Joan can't find a substitute she could fail the course."
"I don't understand. I thought those moot courts were just paper exercises. Why does she need a real person as the defendant?"
"Jean's course is Criminal Procedure. Jean is acting as a defense attorney, and she's got to show that she can handle all parts of a case, starting with the arraignment and going on to the sentencing hearing. Part of the exercise is getting the information she needs from the defendant, so you would have to memorize a background story. It also means the defendant has to appear in court and maybe testify, so it has to be somebody who doesn't have to go to a job or classes. Finding a student now would be impossible anyway, because final exams are starting next Tuesday. The trial might take several days, and you could be required to take part in a follow-up session after the trial. Please say you'll do it; I don't know of anybody else to ask."
I thought about it. I did want to help Jim's sister, and it wasn't like I had anything else to do. If this was going to be at the law school then Joan wasn't involved and I should be safe from her passion for keeping me helpless. In spite of everything Joan and I were friends, and I had paid her back for some of her tricks. I took a deep breath and said, "OK, I'll do it."
"That's great! I'll tell Jean that she can stop worrying. I'll be by your apartment this afternoon and give you the script and the instructions."
Over the weekend I read the script; it wasn't very complicated. I was supposed to be an armed robber named Bonnie Parker (original name, huh?). Her accomplice, Clyde Barrow, was wounded and captured by the police after the robbery of an armored car, but Bonnie escaped with over $500,000, which she hid under her grandmother's trailer. The police arrested Bonnie because of her past association with Clyde, but there was no real evidence implicating her except for the armored car guards' vague description.
In real life I would expect a case this weak to be tossed out for lack of evidence before it went to trial, but the moot court would probably go through the entire trial just for the practice. The instructions didn't say much; I was to dress as if it were a real court appearance and report to Room 112 in the law school building at 10 a.m. Monday morning. Supposedly, Bonnie had been released on bail after her arrest because of the slim evidence, and the moot court would start with the arraignment.
It's almost impossible to park at the university without a permit, so Sunday I had called Joan and she agreed to give me a ride to the campus the next morning. Monday morning I was ready in plenty of time, but Joan was late and it was after ten when she finally arrived at my apartment.
"I'm sorry I'm late, Kristen. I don't have a class until eleven today, and I forgot all about giving you a ride."
"I don't expect that it will matter much. The moot court is probably as unpunctual as the real courts. I remember once when I had jury duty the judge was always at least an hour late."
For once the traffic wasn't too bad, so it was just before ten thirty when we got to the law school. I said, "I don't imagine the arraignment will last more than a couple of hours, so how about if I meet you in your office in the Psychology Building?" Joan's a graduate student and teaching assistant and on Monday her last class is over by 2 p.m.
"OK by me. I'll see you later." She drove away and I entered the law school building.
Room 112 was a small room that was longer than it was wide. It was divided into three parts; first by a desk with a middle-aged woman seated at it, and next by a waist-high wooden partition near the back of the room. Two young women were seated behind the partition and against the back wall. From what I could see of them they were dressed much like I was, so I guessed that they would also be defendants in the moot court proceedings. Two large men wearing khaki uniforms were standing next to the door.
I was wearing my one and only suit, made of navy blue wool, and a white silk blouse. I was also wearing shoes with two-inch heels and pantyhose; this rig made me glad that my usual working clothes were coveralls and safety shoes. What I missed most were the pockets; it was unnatural for me to carry a purse.
The woman behind the desk looked up from a pile of papers and said, "You must be Kristen. You're late."
"Sorry, my ride didn't show up on time. Am I too late?"
"You have to talk to your student attorney before the court starts, and we have to get the paperwork taken care of first. Was everything explained to you?"
"Yes, I'm supposed to take part in a trial and maybe the follow-up session."
"That's correct. Do you agree to stay until everything's over? Once you start you can't quit, because that would disrupt the program."
"Yes, I'll stay. How long do these trials usually last?"
"A trial normally takes a day or so. Your trial is the third in line, so it'll be a few days before it starts. If you don't have any more questions please sign the contract and the release." She produced a multi-page document and said, "Initial each page at the bottom and sign and date the last page, next to where it says 'notary'. I'll fill that in later."
I skimmed through the document, which was written in legalese. There was no way I could read all of it now, and I had only a vague idea of what it said, but I noticed one unusual item and asked, "Why is this contract with the university's Psychology Department?"
"They pay the participants because they're the only ones that have a budget to hire experimental subjects. Hurry up and sign, we're running late."
I signed the contract and gave it to her. "Now what?"
"Go with the bailiff to the interview room. Your student attorney will explain the details of the program and what's expected from you."
She gestured and one of the large men opened the door. I followed him out and he showed me into a small room across the hall. Jean was sitting at a table studying some papers. She exclaimed, "Kristen! I was starting to worry that you wouldn't show up. I really appreciate it that you agreed to help me with this trial, and Joan thanks you too."
"I'm glad I can help. The woman at the desk said that you would explain the details."
"Yes, but I'll have to be quick because I've got to get to court. I'm handling three cases at once, and it's a challenge. Briefly, my job is to get 'Bonnie' acquitted of the robbery charge. There isn't much evidence against her, so I can probably do it. If you're acquitted that's the end of your participation, but if you're convicted then you'll be transferred to the follow-up session, which is where Joan comes in."
When I heard this a feeling of impending doom swept over me. I asked, "What does Joan have to do with the moot court? She's in the Psychology Department."
"Didn't she explain? She's the graduate assistant for the incarceration study, and you'll be one of her prisoners if you're convicted. It was her idea to combine the moot court trial with the incarceration study because she felt it would be more realistic than just sending the subjects to prison directly."
I was frightened now, and my voice shook when I exclaimed, "I can't believe this! She never told me anything about being a prisoner! What is this incarceration study, anyway?"
"The Psychology Department is conducting an experiment to determine the best techniques for rehabilitating convicts. This project has a lot of outside support because the way prisons are operated now has produced such poor results. The idea is to discard the conventional penal techniques and conduct carefully controlled experiments to evaluate different methods. Some of these methods are new and radical, but others, such as corporal punishment, have been used in the past but discarded."
"They wanted to conduct the experiment at the state prison, but it was too difficult to set up controlled conditions and the prison authorities thought that some of the techniques they wanted to try were too harsh. As an alternative, they converted part of the university's old experimental farm into a prison camp and recruited mostly students to be the inmates. Since all of the participants in the incarceration study are volunteers who have consented to their imprisonment the civil rights restrictions won't apply, as they would if real convicts were involved. The experimental subjects are divided into several groups, and each group is treated differently. The control group will be in a 'country club' environment, and the others will experience more stringent conditions. Since you enjoy bondage, Joan has arranged for you to spend the entire three months on a chain gang."
I was in shock. I croaked out, "Three months? On a chain gang? As Joan's prisoner?"
"Yes, it'll end after three months, unless they get a new grant to extend the program."
I panicked. I jumped up and ran into the hall and turned towards the outside door. I managed to take two steps before khaki-clad giants appeared on each side of me and grabbed my arms, and I was stopped and bounced back like I had reached the bottom of a bungee jump. I stomped down on a foot with my high heel and heard a cry of pain, but I wasn't able to break free. My arms were pulled behind me and I felt handcuffs close around my wrists and heard a lot of clicks as they were tightened down.
I've never liked wearing police-type handcuffs, and the ones clamped on my wrists now were way outside my limits. They were hinged handcuffs, they were tight, and my palms were turned outwards. Jim handcuffed me like this once and in less than five minutes I was begging him to release me.
I totally lost control and started screaming, which went on for about ten seconds before a big hand was clamped over my mouth and nose. I couldn't breathe, and I was desperate by the time the hand was finally removed. I opened my mouth and gasped for air, but only got half a breath before a ball gag was jammed into my mouth and the strap tightened behind my head. The ball was so large that it completely filled my mouth and strained my jaw.
One of the gorillas held me by my arms while the other locked leg irons on my ankles, and then they dragged me back into Room 112. One of the men said to the woman at the desk, "You were right, Jesse. She did try to duck out."
"Yeah, she looked like a quitter. Put her on the bench."
One of the gorillas opened a gate in the partition and the other dragged me through it and shoved me down so I was sitting on a bench between the other two women. There was a chain bolted to the floor and he padlocked my leg iron chain to it. When I leaned forward to try to ease the strain on my arms he noticed that the right cuff was digging into my wrist, so he tightened the left one a notch and double-locked the cuffs on my wrists and ankles.
I was close to hysteria, but I worked hard to calm down and stop crying. The ball gag plugged my mouth completely, so if my nose clogged up I could suffocate before anyone noticed. After a while I was able to clear my nose by snuffling and snorting, and once there was no danger of immediate death I was able to take some notice of my surroundings.
The women on either side of me appeared to be coeds, and they were remarkably alike, even though one had brown hair and blue eyes and the other had black hair and brown eyes. Both of them were in chains, but their hands were cuffed in front. A chain connected the handcuffs to the leg irons, but because they were sitting on a low bench they were able to touch their faces, an ability I really envied. I knew that my face was a mess, with the tears, snot, and drool flowing together and dripping off my chin. I leaned farther forward, so the runoff formed a puddle on the floor instead of soaking my skirt.
Seventeen minutes later the phone on the desk rang. I knew this because there was a clock on the wall and I was watching it. Jesse exchanged a few words with whomever had called, and then she and one of the men took Blue Eyes out of the room. Forty seven minutes later Jesse and the man returned alone, and eleven minutes after that they removed Brown Eyes.
If this pattern held I could be out of here in less than two hours, and I wasn't going to come back. I hated to let Jean down, but I didn't want any part of the moot court if I was going to be handcuffed like this, and I absolutely refused to take the slightest risk of spending three months on a chain gang and be subjected to Joan's inventive torments. I decided that once the arraignment was over I was going to take the bus back to my apartment, get in my car, and drive out of town. I'd phone Jean from L.A. or someplace and give her my apologies.
Jesse returned alone fifty three minutes later, and nine minutes after that she approached me. By this time I was in so much pain that I was crying again. My hands were numb, but my wrists were on fire and my arms and shoulders ached. I thought my jaw was ready to drop off, and that would have been acceptable if it meant it would stop hurting.
Jesse asked, "Are you sorry now that you tried to escape, Bonnie?"
Bonnie was sorry and Kristen was very, very sorry. I nodded frantically and blinked my tear-reddened eyes, mutely imploring her to remove the gag.
"I'll take the gag out, but don't you say anything, or it goes right back in. You can whisper in your lawyer's ear, and you can answer direct questions, but that's it. Understand?"
I nodded again. Yes, yes, I understand. Please, please take it out.
Jesse helped me to stand up, and then unbuckled the gag and pulled it out of my mouth. She wiped off my face with a paper towel while I worked my cramped jaw muscles until I was able to swallow instead of drool. She unlocked the handcuffs and I groaned as my arms fell limply to my sides. My hands were dark red, and the pain of returning circulation momentarily overwhelmed all of the other pains.
Jesse walked back to the desk. I rubbed the deep, red grooves on my wrists and moved my arms and jaw. All too soon she returned with a transport chain. She wrapped it around my waist, put a cuff through the keeper link, and locked the cuffs on my wrists. She squeezed them until they were snug but not tight, and double-locked them. My hands were held close against my belly, but this was a lot less painful than it could have been, and I was glad that I hadn't stomped on her foot.
Jesse unlocked the padlock fastening my leg irons to the floor and guided me out of Room 112 and down the hall to the courtroom. I had been there before, when I was the victim of another of Joan's pranks. A gray-haired man was seated behind the bench, and Jean and another woman were seated at separate tables near it. We went to Jean's table and Jesse helped me sit in a chair next to her.
Jean whispered in my ear, "Bad news, Bonnie. The police showed your picture to the guards and got them to say the robber could have been you. This will probably be enough to get the case sent to trial, but I'm sure I can discredit the witnesses then. I'm confident the prosecution doesn't have much chance of getting a conviction."
I had expected a trial; the purpose of a moot court is to give the fledgling lawyers trial experience, so it would be pointless to dismiss a case before then. I looked at the stack of notes Jean had prepared and felt guilty about running out on her, but I knew what Joan was capable of if she got her hands on me, and I wanted no part of it.
The judge banged his gavel and announced, "The next case is the State versus Bonnie Parker, charged with armed robbery."
Jean stood up and motioned for me to stand also. When we were standing the judge said, "Let the record show that the defendant and her counsel are present. How does the defendant plead?"
Jean answered, "Not guilty, Your Honor. I move that this charge be dismissed for lack of evidence."
The judge asked the other woman, "Can the State show cause why this motion should not be granted?"
"Yes, Your Honor." She handed a document to the judge. "These are sworn depositions from the armored car guards. The police showed them a photo lineup, and they picked out the defendant's picture as looking like the robber. There is also an affidavit from the police investigator testifying that the defendant is a known associate of Clyde Barrow, who was captured at the scene of the crime."
The judge asked, "Did Barrow identify the defendant as his accomplice?"
"No, Your Honor, he hasn't said anything at all."
Good ol' Clyde, a real stand-up guy.
The judge looked at the papers, and then said. "The motion is denied, and the defendant is ordered to stand trial." He looked at another paper, and said, "There are pleas in the other two cases awaiting trial, so I'm going to schedule this case for 10 a.m. next Wednesday. Is there anything else before we adjourn?"
The woman playing the prosecutor said, "I move that the defendant's bail be revoked and that she be held in custody until the trial."
The judge replied, "The presumption is that a defendant is entitled to bail. Why are you asking that it be revoked."
"Parker was late reporting for her arraignment this morning. She also attempted to escape from custody, and during this attempt she assaulted a bailiff. This act of violence shows that she would be a danger to the public if she is allowed to remain at large. Also, she doesn't have any ties to the community, and there is over a half-million dollars missing, so this makes her a flight risk."
Jean interrupted, "Objection, Your Honor. There is no evidence that my client has that money."
The judge replied, "The objection is sustained. However, the State's other points are valid, so I order that the defendant's bail be revoked and she be placed in custody."
He banged the gavel and said, "Moot Court is now adjourned; let's go to lunch. Both of you ladies presented your cases very well, and I look forward to the trial. I also want to thank our defendant for taking part in this learning experience."
The judge left the courtroom, followed by the prosecutor and Jean. I wanted Jesse to remove the chains, but she seemed to be waiting for something. Jean ducked back in and said, "I almost forgot, Aunt Jesse. My mom would like you to call her."
"OK, honey. See you later."
Jesse looked at her watch and then pulled a black nylon hood out of her pocket. "Hold still, Bonnie. I'm going to hood you so you won't try anything while we're walking to the cell block. It's in the basement of this building."
I was alarmed by the hood, but then I understood; Jean and Aunt Jesse were having a little joke on gullible Kristen. All that stuff Jean told me about the 'incarceration study' must have been part of the joke too. My bondage safeword is 'Jingle Bells', and I started to whistle it.
"Why are you whistling that song? It's May, not December."
"You know that's my safeword, Jesse. I've caught on to the joke, so you can let me go now."
"What joke? You agreed to take part in the moot court, and that includes being in jail. Having a client actually in jail puts a lot of realistic pressure on the attorney."
OK, so she wanted to carry the joke a little farther. I held still as she slipped the hood over my head and tightened the drawstring around my neck. There was a hole opposite my mouth so I could breathe, but I couldn't see anything. Jesse guided me out of the courtroom and along a corridor, then we turned left and went along a longer corridor. I could occasionally hear the footsteps of other people, but nobody said anything, and I wondered why they weren't surprised by the presence of a chained, hooded woman.
We stopped and I heard a door opening, and Jesse said, "We have two flights of stairs going down. Take it slowly, one step at a time."
As if I had been intending to run. Jesse steadied me with her arm around my waist, but even so I was afraid of falling and I slowly stumbled my way down the stairs, accompanied by the un-musical jingling of my chains. When we reached the bottom Jesse stepped away from me and I heard her unlock and open another door. We walked another ten paces or so and stopped. She pulled off the hood, and when my eyes adjusted I got an unpleasant surprise.
We were in a room that had bare concrete walls and a bare concrete floor, and I guessed its dimensions to be about twenty feet by fifty feet. Along one of the long walls was the 'cell block'; five ten-by-ten cells with walls and ceiling made of sections of chain-link fencing, like the temporary fence that you'd see around a construction site. The pipes along the edges of the fence that touched the concrete were fastened to it by metal straps and embedded bolts, and the other edges were bolted together. The four end cells contained beds and other furnishings, but the one in the center was empty, except for a folded blanket in one corner.
The cell block door opened and a woman wearing black jeans and a black tee shirt hurried inside. It was Joan! What was she doing here? I was afraid I knew the answer to that question.
Jesse said, "It's about time you got here, Joan."
"I'm sorry, Aunt Jesse. I had trouble finding a substitute to teach my afternoon class."
"I've got to go. You take care of Bonnie." Jesse hurried away.
Joan said, "Hello, Kristen."
"Hello, Joan. Why are you here?"
"Aunt Jesse has other things to do so I took this shift. Besides, when I heard you were a going to be a prisoner here I couldn't stay away." She licked her lips, and I had a mental picture of a cat watching a bird with a broken wing.
I accused, "You lied to me. You didn't say I would be in prison."
"I didn't lie. I told you about the follow-up session, I just omitted some of the details. And you aren't in prison yet; Jean is a good lawyer, and you may be acquitted."
I thought back over our conversation and realized that Joan hadn't told me any falsehoods, she just neglected to mention little things like the chain gang. I wasn't in an advantageous position, so I decided not to debate the point.
Joan smiled like a kitten in a creamery. I looked at her and knew that my life was going to become very interesting, in an unpleasant sort of way. Joan unlocked a tall metal cabinet standing against the room's other long wall and took out a collar made of nylon webbing, with a metal box a little smaller than a deck of cards riveted to it. She tightly wrapped the collar around my neck with the metal box at the back and closed a locking clamp.
Joan said, "This collar material is reinforced with fibers made of a super plastic that's very difficult to cut, so you won't be removing it unless you have the key to the clamp."
The outside 'walls' of the cells had doors made of steel bars built into them. Joan unlocked the door of the bare center cell, led me into it, and spread the blanket out on the floor.
She ordered, "Lay on your back on the blanket."
I didn't know what she was planning, but I did as she said, dropping to my knees and rolling onto my back. She reached in her pocket and took out what looked like a TV remote control. She pointed it at me and I felt an indescribable sensation, and then I was dazed and I couldn't control my arms or legs. This must have lasted for several minutes, and when I had recovered enough to lift my head Joan explained what had happened.
"That box on your collar contains a stun gun that I can trigger with this remote control. You're going to be required to do some things that you don't want to do, and this will avoid arguments. We used to have to call in our musclemen when force was needed, but this is much more convenient. If you see me pointing the remote at you get down fast, because you'll get hurt if you fall on the concrete."
I can be slow-witted at times, but even I could tell that this wasn't a joke. I shrieked, "You can't keep me here! This is unlawful imprisonment!"
Joan was as calm as I was upset. She replied, "No it's not. Legally, it's like you're an actress who is tied up or imprisoned for a movie role. When you signed the contract and agreed to be the defendant in the moot court you specifically authorized us to use confinement, restraint, and corporal punishment. We can do things to you that the sheriff can't do to convicts in his jail. The only restriction is that we can't deliberately inflict permanent scars or damage. We also have to supply your basic needs, such as water and air, and let you sleep some. The wimpy lawyers made us put that in the contract."
I fought to keep some semblance of control. I took a deep breath and said, "So I'm going to have to stay in here until the trial on Wednesday?"
"Yep. And if you're convicted you'll be part of the incarceration study for as long as that lasts."
While I was pondering the implications of that statement I looked around. All of the commotion had attracted the occupants of the adjacent cells, and Blue Eyes was watching me from one cell and Brown Eyes was watching me from the other. They didn't say anything and they didn't make eye contact with Joan.
The clothes they had been wearing for the arraignment were gone, and now they were wearing orange dresses. These dresses were actually more like sacks or tubes of cloth, extending up from just above the knee to the armpits and held up by shoulder straps that buttoned in the front. The women obviously weren't wearing bras, and I didn't see any panty lines. They also had stun collars on their necks, and wore bracelets and anklets made of the same material as the collar, with a long chain locked to the right anklet. Their feet were bare.
While I was looking at the other prisoners Joan had made a trip to the cabinet and returned with a six-foot chain. She padlocked one end to a D-ring on my collar and the other end to an eyebolt set into the floor near the center of the cell. Once I was secured she removed the handcuffs and the leg irons. She let me rub my wrists for a few minutes and then locked bracelets and anklets on me. They were about two inches wide, snug but not tight, and had a sturdy D-ring.
Joan explained, "Handcuffs can cause nerve damage if they're left on too long, but you could be suspended by these webbing cuffs. It would hurt, but you probably wouldn't be damaged."
Thanks, Joan; that makes me feel much better.
Joan commanded, "Take off your clothes and give them to me."
I didn't want to strip in front of everybody, but I didn't doubt that Joan would stun me if I refused, so I took off my jacket and handed it to her, and she hung it neatly inside a plastic garment bag. My skirt and blouse followed, and they were also carefully placed in the bag. I took a deep breath, and then stripped off my shoes, slip, pantyhose, bra, and finally my panties, and gave everything to Joan. I felt very exposed, vulnerable, and embarrassed standing naked with three people staring at me.
Joan packed everything into the garment bag and hung it on the wall. Then she said, "Turn around and put your hands behind your back."
I obeyed, and she fastened my wrists together with a padlock through the D-rings. Once I was secured she took the chain off of my neck and locked it onto my right anklet. She commented, "This cell is far from escape-proof, so we use the ankle chain to keep you from wandering around."
She took the garment bag and left the cell, locking the door behind her. I cried, "Wait a minute! Don't I get an orange dress? Are you going to leave me naked in this bare cell, and with my hands locked behind my back?"
"Yes. The Psychology Department classified you as a Recalcitrant, so you don't get any privileges, such as clothes or a bed. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you the rules. When you're in your cell during the day you've got to stand up. Until lights-out you can't sit, kneel, lay down, or touch the blanket except during rest periods. By contract, you get a twenty minute rest period every four hours; there's a buzzer that goes off to let you know when it starts and finishes."
"There isn't a toilet in here and I have to pee. What do I do?"
Joan pointed to a small grating near the center of the cell and said, "You can squat over that drain. Somebody will bring a bucket around once a day so you can dump." She held up the garment bag and said, "You'll get these clothes back for your court appearance. Jean has your purse; she said she'd take care of your apartment."
Joan left the cell block and I heard the outside door slam and the click of a lock. Once she was gone Blue Eyes said, "Hi. I'm Lizzie Borden and that's Moll Flanders in the other cell. What's your moot name?"
"Bonnie Parker." Who chose these names?
"You've got a nice body, and I see you're a natural blonde."
"Thanks." Did she start all of her conversations that way? Of course, most of the people she met for the first time probably weren't naked.
"Are you a student? I haven't seen you on campus."
"I'm an unemployed diesel mechanic. Say, all of this 'incarceration study' stuff is just a joke, isn't it?" I held my breath while I waited for her to agree and laugh at my gullibility.
"I wish; I'll be spending the summer at the prison camp. The only bright spot is that I'll be in the control group. A friend of mine took part in the study's test phase last summer and she was on the chain gang. They worked her so hard that she lost almost thirty pounds in eight weeks, and she wasn't all that heavy when she started."
That wasn't good news. I wondered why anyone who knew what was happening would get involved in this so I asked, "If you knew that, why did you volunteer to be a moot court defendant?"
"I was caught cheating on an exam, and moot court was the lesser evil."
"I don't understand. What could they do, expel you?"
"That and send me to a real prison. After that big cheating scandal in Phoenix a few years ago a law was passed that defines cheating at a state university as fraud. I could have gotten a felony conviction and three years imprisonment, so when the Dean offered to drop the charges if I volunteered for the moot court I was glad to do it. He also said I'll get a parole from the incarceration study so I can attend classes when school starts again in the fall."
Moll interjected, "The same thing happened to me, except that I bought a term paper over the Internet and it turned out my instructor wrote it." She continued, "Lizzie, do you want to exchange videos?"
"Sure. I watched 'Shawshank Redemption', so I'll trade it for 'The Green Mile." Let's remember to ask Joan the next time she's here. There's nothing worth watching on cable tonight."
I asked, "Why do you get all that when I don't even have a bed?"
Lizzie replied, "I've been here ever since I 'volunteered' two weeks ago. For the first few days I was classified as a Recalcitrant, and I got the same harsh treatment you're getting. Then I confessed to the moot court charge, got reclassified as a Repentant, and moved to this furnished cell. My confession guaranteed that I'd go into the incarceration study, but my lawyer told me that the evidence was so strong I'd be convicted anyway, so I didn't have anything to lose."
"I thought that a conviction was always a certainty." Jean said I would probably get off, but I couldn't really believe that.
"Not true. The Psychology Department wants as many prisoners as they can get, but the Law School insists on a fair trial. The Psychology Department controls this jail, so they'll try to make you confess if they can."
This setup was designed by an expert. It was going to be much harder to resist confessing if I had to endure this bare cell while I could see the comforts provided to the other prisoners.
There was some more idle chatter, but eventually Lizzie and Moll drifted back to whatever they were doing before I arrived. I wanted them to talk to me, because without any distractions I felt every discomfort. My arms ached, my feet were cold, and all of this standing was giving me a backache. I lusted for the blanket, because the air was too cool to make my nudity comfortable.
Some time later Joan returned. She was carrying an orange dress, and after she entered my cell and unlocked my wrists she tossed it to me and said, "Put this on. The detectives want to talk to you."
"Students from the Police Science Department. Everyone wants to get in on the act."
The dress had 'Prisoner' stenciled on the front and back in big black letters. I pulled it over my head and found that it was loose around the waist, but other than that it wasn't too bad a fit. Joan padlocked my wrists together behind my back. She took the chain attached to the ring in the floor off my ankle and connected my ankles with a short chain. She pulled the hood over my head and tightened the drawstring around my neck.
Joan held my arm and guided me out the door to the cell block and along a corridor. The chain on my ankles was so short that I had to scurry to keep up with her; luckily, we didn't go very far before she opened another door and pushed me through the doorway.
A male voice asked, "Is this Bonnie Parker?"
Joan answered, "Yeah. Page me when you're finished with her."
The door closed and my hood was removed. I was in a small room with a man and a woman. They were both wearing suits, but they looked like undergraduates. The man pushed me into a metal chair in the center of the room. It felt really good to sit down, but I was afraid the good feeling wasn't going to last.
He growled, "I'm Detective Sergeant Marlow and she's Detective Drew. You're going to tell us where you put the money, Bonnie."
Staying in character, I said, "I don't have the money."
Marlow slapped my face and said, "Wrong answer, bitch. Where's the money?"
I repeated, "I don't have the money", and he slapped the other side of my face. The blows weren't very hard, but they stung, and it was humiliating to be slapped around by this kid.
Marlow grabbed the D-ring on my collar with his left hand and pulled back his right fist. He snarled, "One more time, bitch. Tell me where the money is or you'll be missing some teeth."
He looked like he would enjoy hurting me and I was very frightened. I couldn't speak; all I could do was close my eyes and shake my head as I waited for the blow.
Drew interrupted, "Don't hit her, Phil! Go outside and cool off."
The fingers were pried off of my collar and I opened my eyes in time to see Drew push Marlow out the door. She turned to me and used a tissue to mop up the tears streaming down my face.
She put her arm around my shoulders and said in a soft voice, "I'm sorry, Bonnie. Finding the money is very important to him, and he has trouble controlling his temper. I'll do what I can to protect you, but he is in charge of this case. Please, tell me where to find the money. I don't want to see you hurt any more."
She played the good cop so nicely that I didn't laugh in her face. Instead, I replied, "Thank you, Detective. I can see that you're a nice person, and I'd tell you if I could, but I don't know where the money is."
I was watching her face while I said this, and a kaleidoscope of emotions crossed it, ending with anger. She stalked to the door, opened it, and said, "Your turn with the bitch, Phil."
"I told you that routine wouldn't work, Nancy. Wait out here while we do it my way."
End of Part One
Copyright© 2002 by Zack. All rights reserved.
I welcome your comments. Email me at [email protected]
& the Moot Court
Continues in Part Two
story continues in Kristen & the Moot Court