A Compulsory Decision
His legal assistant was just two steps behind him, and thought for a second that he might stop him before he jumped. The shock of seeing the judge walk toward the open window twelve stories
high and contemplating suicide froze the assistant. He couldn't even utter the words, stop, don't do it.
However, the assistant reached the window just in time to scream in horror, then watch the judge helplessly fall toward the ground silently, twisting and arms flailing as he grew smaller with the plunge. The assistant grabbed the window sill and braced for impact as the judge made contact with the sidewalk below. The assistant stared in total disbelief and then started screaming as loud as he could.
Judge Robert Pine was a hated man. He ran his courtroom like a Nazi prison camp. It was very difficult getting through to him. If you committed a crime he would do his best to throw away the key. He was a racist, anti-gay, anti-feminist and so old school it made the young lawyers cringe. He devalued black and Latino lives, and he hated money-bag Jews. He insisted that the black people were always heavily in debt and virtually unemployable. He also once said that if the Latinos didn't clean toilets or cut grass they too would be unemployable. When a young female lawyer walked into his courtroom, he'd turn a disgusting eye to the sky and to tell God that the world is going to hell in a shit basket. He gave no one a break, even if there were extenuating circumstances.
He once ordered over twelve excavations for a murder case involving two young black men and a senior citizen. No one had the stomach to risk disturbing anymore graves, but Pine had the legal whip, and kept ordering and ordering.
Judge Robert Pine found out he was dying, and a dying old man should not hate. He couldn't help it, he just felt that so many people break the law and expect to go on as if nothing happened. Big shot lawyers help people get away with murder, but not if he's sitting on the bench. He wanted to change the legal system, but it wasn't going to happen in his lifetime.
The death sentence he received from his doctor gave him the strength he needed to write the suicide note. He left it for his assistant to read after he jumped. He had no idea that his assistant read it three times while he was still in his office pacing and contemplating. His assistant also made himself a cup of coffee before reacting to what he just read. Three creams and four sugars, and he also stirred it twenty seven times. His assistant thought, hey why stop a man who doesn't have much time to live.
The judge was plastered all over the sidewalk below the window and it took the assistant several minutes to recover from the shock. The jump took seconds and the assistant wondered if he really did have enough time to help him. The fall however seemed to last for hours. He swore that the judge looked up at him and thanked him for not stopping him. Judge Pine floated for what seemed like an eternity to the assistant, almost like a kite in the sky. The assistant was almost begging for the sidewalk to claim the bloody mess.
A crowd got to the street and circled the body's impact on the sidewalk below, and the dead judge's decision to jump for that crowd was complex and satisfying.
The assistant held the suicide note, which he had never put down during his rush to try to save Judge Pine. The letter felt a lot heavier as he stood in the window frame, looking down at a horror scene, watching the first onlookers move up to the casualty. Almost as if they wanted to applaud. It was a compulsory decision.
© 2016 Frank Atanacio
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