June; Schlemiel, California
Slowly, John Williams came awake to the sound of drums. He half-expected that as his eyes focused, he would see Kid Rock right in his apartment, but instead he realized the sound that he thought were drums was actually a throbbing headache. Disoriented, and sluggishly confused, he thought, where did the red come from? Oh, his eyes weren’t open. John opened them to see a room full of dust and neglect. He was in his top floor apartment. He sighed with relief. At least this time he was in the apartment, and not in some hotel room with a girl who was as downtrodden as he was. Maybe it was a good thing he had bought the small flat over Smithy’s Bar. Often, he needed Smithy to escort him up to the flat, when he was in one of his many periods of blackouts.
Groaning, he forced himself out of his makeshift bed. The “bed”, that was actually a raggedy old couch, barely was long enough to fit his long frame. Finally on his own two feet, he started toward the bathroom. As he stumbled along, he spied parts of his apartment through double visioned eyes. To fix this, he had to walk around the apartment with one eye shut. The apartment looked the same; as it had no signs of being trashed more than usual due to his drunkenness. The kitchen, if you can call it a kitchen, was typically dusty and dirty with a two-burner stove, a small island with a couple of chairs around it, and a tiny three-door cabinet. Beside the cabinet was a small sink with a few unwashed dishes in it. The living room, across from the alcove where the kitchen was, was just as unkempt. The furniture in it consisted of a couch and a small coffee table that had a tiny television on it. The whole apartment was just slightly bigger than a Motel 6 room.
Squeezing by the toilet and the bathtub in the bathroom, John went to the sink to wash his hands and face. The little mirror above the sink revealed that he looked just how he felt. His face had a grayish-yellow tinge to it. Too much liquor dulled his eyes of azure. His whole face sagged and went well with the baggy shadows under his eyes. The brown hair that was usually shaggy needed a good brushing. Gosh, he thought, I need a makeover.
John was interrupted from his thoughts when a knock sounded on his door. Wiping his hands on his pants, he strode to the door saying, “Hey, who’s there?”
Opening the door, John’s eyes widened. What was a police officer doing here?
“Excuse me, sir,” the police officer said, “but is this the residence of a John Williams?” At John’s nod, he continued, “I have a warrant for your arrest.”
Shocked, John stumbled back a step. He peered at the cop, who had an official looking paper in his hand. His nametag read Sergeant RSesorgeant Ross. Wait?! Sergeant RSesorgeant Ross?! Then he realized he had both of his eyes open; so he closed one. There that’s better. It’s Sergeant Ross! He came back into the present, and comprehended what the officer was saying.
What did he do? He was a drunk, John admitted to himself. As a drunk, he is known to get into a lot of trouble when he has his blackouts.
“What happened? Did I do something to the bar downstairs, or get into a fight?” By now, Sergeant Ross had stepped inside and had taken the handcuffs off his belt.
“You are John Williams?” When John nodded, he said, “I am arresting you on charges of sexual abuse and sodomy.”
John’s face went ghastly white.
Sergeant Ross needed to take a leak. He hated this. Arresting sexual perverts was not the highlight of his day. He had girl of his own, and could imagine what the father of this girl was thinking. If it was him, he’d want to castrate and shoot the guy. As it is, one of his buddies would now have to make sure that doesn’t happen. In his eyes, the system really suckes sometimes! To Williams’ credit, Sergeant Ross could tell that he was shocked. Shocked that he was found out? Or shocked that the girl had actually told someone, even after three months of silence?
“I have to take you in.” At that, Sergeant Ross clamped the handcuffs on John’s wrists.
Outside, John’s mind was whirling with questions. One, however, went rampant in his mind: Why?
May, two years later, Schlemiel’s courthouse.
“On the charge of first-degree sexual abuse, we find the defendant guilty,” a Juror droned. “On the charge of first-degree sodomy we find the defendant guilty. On the charge of second-degree sodomy we find the defendant guilty.”
The words reverberated throughout John’s head. Guilty! A girl had said he molested her, that he had made her do all those things! All through his life he had had no inclinations to any sort of that activity. The girl had identified him though, so he must have done it. The thing is, he couldn’t remember her face. He had told the court that he was a severe alcoholic and probably did it during the middle of one of his blackouts. He also said that he hoped he didn’t do it.
He felt like screaming out his injustice, and at the same time he wanted to cry because it really gnawed on him that he couldn’t remember. It also sickened him that he would be able to do such a thing, but the 13-year-old said he did molest her in the bar below his apartment. It seemed he had let her in the bar while the owner was away for a couple of hours. Since it was during the day, the bar was empty. She had told the jury that she just wanted to talk to her friend on the phone. While she was on the phone, he molested her, and then after she had to hang up, he sodomized her.
“Mr. Williams?” It was his guard, ready to take him to his cell. John went, stunned.. As he walked, John asked himself: Why?
* * *
Next day, at Smithy’s Bar
“Bartender, can I have another one?”
After the bartender complied, the man on the barstool opened his newspaper. He wore a mechanic’s suit with a name tag that read: Steven Adder.
Steven Adder gazed about him with a contented smile. As he looked about, his eyes caught his reflection in the mirror on the bar’s wall. He frowned. He would have to get out in the sun some more, he thought. His skin looked really sallow. His blue eyes were really a bit too dull looking for his taste, and he had bags under them. Plus, his brown hair looked very unruly.
Steven looked at the newspaper again. One headline glared up at him. “Native man found guilty of molesting girl,” it said. Steven smiled.