My heels smacked the courtroom's marble floor at the decibel of the gamelan gongs of my Indonesian childhood. I had never before opened my mouth in open court.
There was that time during the exploding nose case that Celeste permitted me to schlep her royal briefcase to the bar. But, I was a butt filling a seat, albeit an upscale derrière at two hundred dollars an hour. I was just one more attorney on Lord & Brooks' intimidating, not to mention attractive, team of legal beagles.
My bench-warming experience did nothing to prepare this trembling fourth year associate for my task today: I needed to convince the Honorable Anthony Williams to protect my client from the pimps and madams of Jakarta's red light district.
I glanced at Dewi, my pro bono client, who swiveled in the pleather chair beside me. She swirled the water in her cup with the fluid motion of a connoisseur. If she noticed the runoff over the sides of the Styrofoam, she did nothing about it. Neither Dewi's neatly manicured fingernails, nor her pinstriped suit provided a whiff of her past.
The judge cleared his throat, rustled through the papers one last time, and looked down at us over the top of his spectacles. "Well?" he said.
I touched Dewi's arm to get her to stop swiveling and pay attention. I could feel sweat beading my forehead as my pulse rate increased. This was it: my one chance to take care of Dewi and secure my own future in the legal profession. I stood with my legal pad in my hand and stared directly into Williams' eyes. "Your honor," I said, "dis ho is a sweetie and don't deserve no shiznit from de pimps. Take care of her, she'll blow you for free."
With a sigh, I sat down and smiled. I knew my argument was watertight.
Opening: Emily Laird.....Continuation: Anon.