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The First Turnabout

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August 3, 9:47 AM

District Court Lobby

Oh boy.

Thirty minutes before the start of my first trial, I arrived at the lobby of the district court. Even though I wasn’t the one on trial, I felt like a dead man walking. My hands were sweaty, and my entire body was shaking. If I could see myself in the mirror, I was sure that I look as pale as a sheet.  

Right off the bat, I saw my boss, Hillary Rodham, standing in the middle of the lobby with her back against me. She was a year younger than me, but she had already acquired a lot of experience as a defense attorney. She was a legend in the legal circles. No one in the district did not know the name Hillary Rodham. Someday, I hoped that I would be like her.  

She was also one of the reasons why I became a defense attorney.

Why is that so? I’ll reserve that for later. There was a much more pressing matter at hand.

As if she had eyes on her back, Hillary turned around to greet me.

“Clinton!” she said cheerfully.

“Oh, hiya Chief,” I greeted back, my voice stuttering.

She smiled at me, which only made me more nervous. “Whew, I'm glad I made it on time. Well, I have to say Bill, I'm impressed! Not everyone takes on a murder trial right off the bat like this. It says a lot about you... and your client as well.”

I rubbed the back of my neck sheepishly. “Um... thanks. Actually, it's because I owe him a favor.”

Hillary was taken aback. “A favor? You mean, you knew the defendant before this case?”

“Yes. Actually, I kind of owe my current job to him. He's one of the reasons I became an attorney.” The other reason was you, Hillary. And I hope I could tell you that soon.

“Well, that’s news to me!” She rested her chin on her hand as if she was waiting for me to tell a story.

“I want to help him out any way I can! I just... really want to help him, I owe him that much,” I declared with conviction.

I was about to tell my story when suddenly, we heard a man wailing from afar.

It's over! My life, everything, it's all over!”

Hillary looked around to see where what wail come from. “Isn’t that your client?”

I sighed. “Yeah, that’s him.”

Death! Despair! Ohhhh! I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna die!!!

“Oh my, Bill. Your client wants to die,” Hillary blinked twice.

“Yeaaaaah.”

“BILLY!” The source of the wail approached us, sobbing my name all across the lobby. I felt multiple pairs of eyes glaring in our direction, and I just want to disappear in shame.

“Hey, there Joey.” Though this guy was my friend, I wasn’t too thrilled to be near him. Not with all the melodramatic stuff that he had been doing inside the lobby.

“Dude, I'm so guilty!! Tell them I'm guilty!!! Gimme the death sentence! I ain't afraid to die!” He wailed again. More and more pairs of eyes were now glaring at us.

“What’s wrong, Joe?”

“Oh, it's all over... I... I'm finished. Finished! I can't live in a world without her! I can't! Who... who took her away from me, Billy? Who did this!? Aww, Billy, ya gotta tell me! Who took my baby away!?”

Uhm…they police say…it was you, Joe. You killed her.

Here's the story: My first case is a fairly simple one. A young woman was killed in her apartment. The guy they arrested was the unlucky sap dating her: Joe Biden, my best friend since grade school. In the 23 years I've known him, it's usually been true. He has a knack for getting himself in trouble. One thing I can say though: it's usually not his fault. He just has terrible luck. But I know better than anyone, that he's a good guy at heart. That and I owe him one. Which is why I took the case:  to clear his name. And that's just what I'm going to do!


August 3, 10:00 AM

District Court

Courtroom No. 2

The judge had finally entered the courtroom. When she did, everybody stood up. I was so disoriented that Hillary smacked me into standing up as well. Oh no. I am such mess right now. How am I supposed to defend Joey at this state?

Hillary noticed the grimace that I didn’t know that I was making. “You look like shit, Clinton. First rule of being a defense attorney: A lawyer is the one who smiles no matter how bad it gets. Your client is looking up to you right now. Do you want to let him down?”

I swallowed hard and shook my head. I know Hillary wasn’t satisfied with my lame response, but it would have to do.

The judge motioned everybody to sit down. Everybody did so, except for me and the prosecutor who was so old, he looked like he might be dead tomorrow.

“The court is now in session for the trial of Mr. Joe Biden,” the judge’s voice rang across the courtroom.

“The prosecution is ready, Your Honor,” the old guy said.

“The defense is ready, Your Honor,” I sounded like a teen in his puberty.  

“Well, then. Can you please state the facts of the case Mr. Sessions?”

Hillary leaned into my ear and whispered. “You do remember Jeff Sessions, right? He is dubbed the Rookie Killer for slaying newbie defense attorneys in their trials.”

I gulped.  Suddenly, the memory of that old guy surfaced in my mind.  Jeff Sessions. Didn’t think I’d see him this soon.

“You know that myth isn’t true, right?” Hillary smirked.

I nodded fervently. Somehow, Hillary’s reminder calmed my nerves a bit.  

I was brought back to reality when I heard Session’s high-pitched voice.

“Yes, Your Honor,” Sessions nodded and went to the empty witness stand. He cleared his throat, which sounded a child’s cough, and began to address the court.

“The victim for this case is Janet Napolitano, a freelance model. She just came from a trip from Paris. She was struck once by a heavy object. Specifically, this statue of The Thinker.”

The bailiff carried a statue of The Think into the desk in front of the judge for everybody to see. The judge carefully examined the evidence.

“I see. The court accepts this into evidence,” the judge said.

I was struck in awe as I watched Jeff Sessions narrate the facts of the case. I was like in a dreamlike trance but my boss certainly wasn’t. She must have noticed the dumb look on my face so she forcefully nudged me in my ribs, breaking me from my trance, and I let out a small “Ow!”

“Clinton!” she whispered urgently, “pull your head from the clouds and take notes! You’ll need to look at every detail if you want to have a decent chance of saving Biden! Leave no stones unturned!”

“Yes, Chief,” I scrambled to open my notes and jot down what Sessions just said,

As soon as I finished writing, the judge had given permission to the prosecution to call its first witness.

“Thank you, Your Honor. The prosecution would like to call the defendant, Mr. Joe Biden to the stand.”

“Hold on, Your Honor!”

I stood up in impulse and moved to halt the prosecution’s move. What the fuck? Why hadn’t anybody told me about this?

“What is it, Mr. Clinton?” the judge asked.

“The defense objects to the prosecution’s move,” I replied shakily.

“And why is that?” The judge raised her eyebrows on me.

“The defense finds it…unfair!”

I could hear Hillary smack her forehead from her seat. I was pretty sure she wanted to melt in utter embarrassment.

Uh-oh.

“And what part of that is unfair, Mr. Clinton?” the judge challenged my motion.

“I…I wasn’t informed about this?” I replied sheepishly.

Session let out a screechy laugh that almost made my ears bleed.

“Ah, I almost forgot. Mr. Clinton is a rookie. It must be your lucky day, for you have been lucky enough to be graced by the presence of the Rookie Killer,” Sessions sneered.

Urgh, the nerve of this guy with Mickey Mouse ears. If I weren’t in court, I would have punched him in the face.

I turned around towards Hillary for help.

“Chief, what do I do now?”

“Pay attention. You don't want to miss any information that might help your client's case. You'll get your chance to respond to the prosecution later, so be ready! Let's just hope he doesn't say anything unfortunate,” she replied. Her soft smile was her vote of confidence in me, and it felt like a swig of Bacchus.

I can do this.

For Joe.

For Hillary.

I apologized for my interruption and went back to my seat. Sessions cleared his throat again (this time, it sounded like nails on a chalkboard. Gaaaaah) and proceeded to interrogate Joe.

I just hope Joe would go well. He could get excited easily. This could be bad.

“Ahem. Mr. Biden. Is it not true that the victim had recently dumped you?” Sessions asked.

“Hey, watch it, buddy! We were great together! We were Romeo and Juliet, Cleopatra and Mark Anthony!” Joe barked from the witness’s stand.

It was my turn to smack my forehead.

Um... didn't they all die?

“I wasn't dumped!” Joe was red in the face now. “She just wasn't taking my phone calls. Or seeing me... Ever. WHAT'S IT TO YOU, ANYWAY!?”

I could see an annoying smirk from on Session’s lips. I’d like to wipe that smile off your ass face…

“Mr. Biden, what you describe is generally what we mean by "dumped." In fact, she had completely abandoned you... and was seeing other men! She had just returned from overseas with one of them the day before the murder!”

“Whaddya mean, "one of them"!? Lies! All of it is lies! I don't believe a word of it! La la la la la,” Joe covered his ears with his palms.

Sessions submitted another evidence. “Your Honor, the victim's passport. According to this, she was in Paris until the day before she died.”

“Indeed, the victim appears to have returned the day before the murder,” the judge nodded.

“Dude…no way…” Joe was at loss for words.

“The victim was a model but did not have a large income. It appears that she had several ‘Sugar Daddies’”

“Daddies…Sugar?” Joe was almost on the verge of tears, his voice was almost cartoonish. Poor guy.

“We can clearly see what kind of woman this Ms. Napolitano was. Tell me, Mr. Biden, what do you think of her now?” Sessions turned to Joe.

Hillary whispered in my ear, “Clinton... I don't think you want him to answer that question.”

I gulped. Joe’s mouth was indeed more efficient than his brain. And true to my pronouncement, Joe was already talking before I could make my decision.

“I'm gonna die. I'm just gonna drop dead! Yeah, and when I meet her in the afterlife... I'm going to get to the bottom of this!” Joe was wailing again.

Sessions looked satisfied. “I believe the accused motive is clear to everyone.”

Oh boy. This was not looking good.

“Next question! You went to the victim’s apartment on the day of the murder, did you not?”

Joe simply gulped. Large beads of sweat began to form on his forehead.

“Well, did you or did you not?” Sessions pressed harder.

“Me?” Joe squeaked like a mouse laughing nervously, “Well, maybe I did, or maybe I didn’t!”

I literally banged my head on the table. That the lamest response I have ever heard.

“The witness doesn’t seem to be cooperating. Do you have another witness, Mr. Sessions?” the judged asked the prosecutor.

Sessions nodded. “Yes, Your Honor. Our second witness is the man who found the victim’s body. Just before making the gruesome discovery, he saw the defendant fleeing the scene of the crime!”

The courtroom audience made a collective gasp. Hillary gasped too.

“Order! Order in the court!” The judge banged her gavel. “Mr. Sessions, the prosecution may call its witness.

“Yes, Your Honor.”

This is it, Bill. The real showdown. Hillary squeezed my shoulder as a sign of support. I felt a little more confident. Her smile never failed to lift me up. I responded with a smile and a gentle nod.

Sessions introduced the witness to the court.

“On the day of the murder, my witness was selling newspapers at the victim's building. Please bring Mr. Darrell Issa to the stand!”

The middle aged man was brought to the stand. He had a very quiet, somber demeanor that reminded me of Hillary. But somehow, I felt a little uncomfortable with the guy. I just couldn’t pinpoint what it was, but I just felt that there was something more to him that met the eye.

“So Mr. Issa, you sell newspapers, is this correct?”

Issa nodded his head. “Yes, Mr. Prosecutor, Sir!”

There it was again. Why is my stomach lurching at the sight of this guy?

“Mr. Issa, you may proceed with your testimony. Please tell the court what you saw on the day of the murder,” the judge ordered Issa.

I took a deep breath. My first witness testimony. I closed my eyes as I intently listened to Issa’s testimony.

I was going door-to-door, selling subscriptions when I saw a man fleeing an apartment. I thought he must be in a hurry because he left the door half-open behind him. Thinking it strange, I looked inside the apartment. Then I saw her lying there... A woman... not moving... dead! I quailed in fright and found myself unable to go inside. I thought to call the police immediately! However, the phone in her apartment wasn't working. I went to a nearby park and found a public phone. I remember the time exactly: It was 1:00 PM.
The man who ran was, without a doubt, the defendant sitting right over there.”

Panic rose in my chest. Issa’s testimony completely contradicted what Joe told me! How could Joe lie to me like that? I shot a dirty look at Joe, whose jaw was on the floor.

“Incidentally, why isn’t the phone working in the victim’s apartment building?” the judge inquired.

“Your Honor, at the time of the murder, there was a blackout in the building,” Sessions replied.

“Aren't phones supposed to work during a blackout?” the judge asked thoughtfully.

“Yes, Your Honor... However, some cordless phones do not function normally. The phone that Mr. Issa used was one of those. Your Honor... I have a record of the blackout, for your perusal.” Sessions submitted the blackout record to the judge.

“Alright, you may proceed with the cross-examination, Mr. Clinton,” the judge said.

“C-c-cross Examination,” I stammered.

“You don’t know what a cross examination is?!” Hillary instantly detected that I had no idea what to do, her face terrified.

I shook my head. Hillary’s eyes went wide with horror.

“Why, you expose the lies in the testimony the witness just gave!”

I blinked. “The witness was lying?!”

Hillary raised her eyebrows. “Your client is innocent, right? Then that witness must have lied in his testimony! Or is your client really... guilty?”

“But how to we prove he’s not?” I asked desperately.

“You hold the key! It's in the evidence! Compare the witness's testimony to the evidence at hand. There's bound to be a contradiction in there! Once you've found the contradicting evidence... present it and rub it in the witness's face!” Hillary’s eyes were practically glowing when she told me what to do.

“Alright,” I took a deep breath and once more, I went over Issa’s testimony over my head.

I was going door-to-door, selling subscriptions when I saw a man fleeing an apartment.

I thought he must be in a hurry because he left the door half-open behind him.

Thinking it strange, I looked inside the apartment.

Then I saw her lying there... A woman... not moving... dead!

I quailed in fright and found myself unable to go inside.

I thought to call the police immediately!

However, the phone in her apartment wasn't working.

I went to a nearby park and found a public phone. I remember the time exactly: It was 1:00 PM.

1:00 PM.

1:00 PM.

Gotcha.

“Objection!” I stood up and strode towards the witness stand with a pep in my step.

I didn’t know whether it was the stroke of confidence in my logic, or Hillary’s encouragement that gave me the self-assurance I never knew I had. But either way, I knew that moment that I had a fighting chance to save Joe. And before the this day ended, Joe would walk away a free man.

“You found the body at 1:00 PM. You're sure?” I asked the witness.

Issa nodded fervently. A little too fervently for my liking. “Yes. It was 1:00 PM, for certain.”

I let out a sardonic laugh.

“Frankly, I find that hard to believe! Your statement directly contradicts the autopsy report. The autopsy notes the time of death at sometime after 4PM. There was nobody to... er... no "body" to find at 1:00 PM! How do you explain this three-hour gap?”

I looked back at Hillary, who was giving me triumphant smile. That gave me a little more boost.

Issa was laughing nervously, his facade broken. “Oh, that! Uh...”

“Perhaps the witness simply forgot the time!” Sessions tried to salvage his witness’s botched testimony. Ha, you can’t salvage a testimony as shitty as that!

“After his testimony, I find that hard to believe. Mr. Issa... Why were you so certain that you found the body at 1:00 PM?” the judge asked, her eyes closed in deep thought.

“I.. er... well, I... Gee, that's a really good question!” It was now Issa who was sweating bullets.

I returned to the defense bench and Hillary gave me a nod of approval, her eyes glowing with pride. “Great job, Clinton! Way to put him on the spot! That's all you have to do: point out contradictions! Lies always beget more lies! See through one, and their whole story falls apart!”

“Wait, I remember now!” Issa told the court.

“Would you give your testimony again?” the judge asked

Issa nodded.

“Alright. Listen very well, Mr. Clinton,” the judge referred to me.

“Yes, Your Honor,” I said confidently.

Issa told his testimony once more.

You see, when I found the body, I heard the time.

There was a voice saying the time...

It was probably coming from the television.

Oh, but it was three hours off, wasn't it?

I guess the victim must have been watching a video of a taped program!

That's why I thought it was 1:00 PM! Terribly sorry about the misunderstanding...

Hmmm...Issa’s testimony was flimsy as fuck. But a flimsy testimony could not prove that what he just told was a lie. I had to find another angle to discredit him.

Was the victim watching a video taped program? That was odd.

Odd, indeed.

“Objection!”

“Yes, Mr. Clinton?” the judge was waiting for my argument.

I pointed my finger towards Issa. “You couldn't have heard a television... or a video!”

“WHAT?!”

I shook my head dramatically, as if I was in a movie. “The prosecution has said there was a blackout at the time of the discovery! And the blackout record proves it!”

“Gaaaah!” Issa was clearly terrified inside the witness stand. He was gripping the stand so hard, I was sure the wooden barricade would break in his clutches.

“The defense has a point. Do you have an explanation for this, Mr. Issa?” The judge was squinting on Issa.

“No, I... I find it quite puzzling myself! Quite! ... Aah! W-wait! I remember now!” Issa was panicking now.

“Mr. Issa? The court would prefer to hear an accurate testimony from the very beginning. These constant corrections are harming your credibility. That, and you seem rather... distraught.”

“M-my apologies, Your Honor! It... er, it must have been the shock of finding the body!” Issa told the court nervously. Ha. No one would buy that lame excuse.

“Very well, Mr. Issa. Let's hear your testimony once more please.”

Actually, I didn't "hear" the time.

I "saw" it! There was a table clock in the apartment, wasn't there!

Yeah, the murder weapon!

The killer used it to hit the victim! That must have been what I saw.

I had to suppress my laugh after hearing that testimony. Issa was making it too easy!

“Mr. Issa!” I addressed the witness rather forcefully.

Issa almost jumped in his seat. “What now?”

“The murder weapon wasn't a clock. It was this statue! Now how is this supposed to be a clock?” I pointed at the statue of The Thinker, and all eyes in the court fell upon that wretched statue.

“You! Why do you care if it was a clock or a statue?” Issa barked at me.

I wasn’t budging an inch. “Just answer the question, witness.”

“Your Honor, if I may...”

Oh shit. I forgot Sessions was still here.

“Yes, Mr. Sessions?”

Sessions gulped. “As the witness stated, this statue is indeed a clock. The neck is a switch. You just tilt it, and it says the time out loud. As it doesn't look like a clock, I submitted it as a statue. My apologies.”

Why you annoying Mickey Mouse.

The judge nodded. “I see. So the murder weapon was a table clock after all. Well, Mr. Clinton? It appears that the witness's testimony was correct. This is a clock. Do you have any problems with his testimony now?”

Sessions was clever to bring this up, but I knew this was all a red herring.

“The only way he could have known the weapon was a clock is to hold it in his hand. Yet the witness testified that he never entered the apartment! Clearly, a contradiction!”

“Indeed!” said the judge.

I was prime for a one-two punch. “The witness knew it was a clock, because he entered the apartment! You're lying! You were inside the apartment on the day of the murder!”

“Oh yeah? Prove it! Prove I went in there!” Issa challenged me, the desperation evident in his voice.

I strode towards the witness stand and tried to intimidate Issa with my physique. “I'll do better than that! I can prove you were the one who killed her! You struck her with the clock, and the shock of the blow triggered the clock's voice! That was the sound you heard!”

The court audience once again gasped and chattered amongst themselves. The judge hammered her gavel to silence everyone.

“Order in the court! Intriguing. Please continue, Mr. Clinton.”

I nodded.

“Yes, Your Honor. Mr. Issa, the sound must have left quite an impression on you. Understandable, since the murder weapon spoke just as you hit the victim! That voice was burned into your mind. That's why you were so certain about the time!

Sessions was as nervous as his embattled witness. “W-w-what's the meaning of this? This is all baseless conjecture!”

“Baseless...? Just look at the witness's face!” I pointed my finger on Issa, who almost bubbling in the mouth.

“Would the witness care to elaborate? Did you strike the victim with the clock?” the judge was now cornering Issa.

The witness was now breathing heavily, his face more sweaty than ever. His body was paler than usual. If I had to wager, he probably looked the same as I was before the trial had started.

“I... I...! That... that day... I... I never! Look... I... the clock... I heard, no! I mean, I saw...Saw... nggg! Gwaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Shutupshutupshutup! I hate you! I-it was him, I tell you! I saw him! H-he killed her and he should burn! Burn! Give him death!” Issa was now babbling nonsense.

“Your Honor, a-a moment please! There isn't a shred of evidence supporting the defense's claims!” Sessions tried this weak excuse of an argument.

“Mr. Clinton?” the judge turned to me.

“Yes, Your Honor?”

“You claim the sound the witness heard came from the clock... Do you have any evidence?”

The judge was right. How could I prove that the sound Issa heard was from the clock? We can’t prove what someone had heard from a few days ago. Unless...

I got an idea.

“Let's sound the clock now, here in this court. Your Honor, may I have the clock? I ask the court to listen very carefully....”

The court fell silent as I took the clock from the judge’s bench. The tension was palpable. All eyes were on the clock that lay gingerly on my hand. I gently flipped the switch on the statue’s neck, and as I conjectured, the clock did make a sound.

...*beep*... [I think it's 8:25.]

The judge blinked. “That certainly is a strange way to announce the time.”

I chuckled. “Well, he is "The Thinker," after all.”

So, we've heard the clock. What are your conclusions, Mr. Clinton?”

I strode towards the prosecution bench, my hands in my pockets. “Mr. Sessions, can you tell me what time it is now?”

Sessions looked at his watch. “It’s 11:25...ack!”

The prosecutor went as pale as the countable strands of hair in his head.

I looked back to the judge and the witness. “As you can see, this clock is exactly three hours slow! Precisely the discrepancy between what Mr. Issa heard and the actual time of death! So, Mr. Issa, try to talk your way out of this one!” Issa scowled at me as I let out my most smug smile.

“You forgot one thing!” Issa’s voice was desperate, but he ain’t giving up yet. Persistent twat.

For some unknown reason, I felt uneasy at his challenge. Was there something I had forgotten?

“While it may seem like that clock IS running three hours slow, it proves nothing! How do you know it was running three days slow on the day of the murder!? If you can't prove that, you don't have a case!” Issa’s laugh was a mixture of triumph and distress.

He's right! How am I going to prove that!? Dammit! I was so close!

I thought about the question Issa posed. I racked my brain for answers, but I came up empty. I tried to read and re-read my evidence notes and the testimony retained in my memory, but nothing seemed to prove that the clock was indeed running three hours slow on the day of the murder. I had no other choice but to admit that I had no answer. I looked towards the judge and shook my head in defeat. As I did so, I felt all the energy being sucked out of my body. I have failed Joe and Hillary. They put their faith in me yet I let them down.

Perhaps I was not meant to be a defense attorney after all.

“This means I cannot let you indict the witness. Unfortunately, this ends the cross-examination of Mr. Darrell Issa” the judge declared.

“I come all the way down here to testify, and look what happens! They treat me like a criminal! A criminal! You lawyers are all slime!” Issa was laughing hysterically as he got down from the witness stand.

I wanted to drag Issa back to the witness stand. My instincts had told me that Issa was up to no good, and I was right. I knew he was the killer. I knew it! My conviction was as strong as it could be! There was no doubt in my mind that he killed Janet Napolitano and framed Joe for the murder! However, my beliefs could only do so much in court without concrete evidence.

I felt weak. Weak because I could not use the power of the law to bring justice. I became a defense attorney to help those who needed the power of the law on their side. I want to defend the helpless and the disadvantaged. Seeing a criminal walk away and let an innocent man be convicted in his place...it made my stomach churn.

Little did I realize that at that moment, I too needed help. I too was disadvantaged.

And there was one brilliant lawyer who rushed to my defense.

“Hold it!” Hillary’s voice rang powerfully across the courtroom.

I was stunned by Hillary’s sudden outburst. I turned around and saw Hillary standing up in the defense bench, her biggest smile present in her ever-lovely face.

God, she’s so beautiful.

“Hillary! I...I mean Chief!” I stammered.

“Listen up, Clinton! Don't throw this one away, not like this!” she spurred me on. “Think!”

“But, Chief, it's over,” I raise my hands in surrender. “I can't prove the clock was slow the day of the murder! Nobody can prove that!”

“Yes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t win!” Hillary’s voice was full of determination, and it somehow lifted my diminished spirits. “Try thinking out of the box! Don't waste time doubting the facts.”

I was listening to her every word carefully.

“Assume the clock was three hours slow,” she pointed her finger to her temple. “Think through it! Ask yourself, "Why was the clock three hours slow"? Figure out the reason, and you'll have your proof! Right, Clinton? Can you think of a reason as to why the clock would be three hours slow?”

I went back to the bench. All eyes followed every footstep I made. Everyone knew that the case hung on my final answer. Joe’s life was on the line. Justice was on the line. I only had once chance, and there was no room for error.

Once again, I reviewed the evidence in my arsenal.

The autopsy report gave told us the cause of death.

The Thinker was the murder weapon. We know knew that it was a clock.

The blackout report helped us establish that Issa entered the apartment.

Napolitano’s passport...the passport...what was it for?

I tried to recall what Sessions said when he submitted the passport as evidence. He said that the victim just came home from Paris the day before the murder. So what?

Paris. She just came home from Paris.

Oh shit.

The clock wasn’t three hours late. It was nine hours fast!

With a triumphant smirk on my face, I strode back to the witness bench, where an unknowing Issa chuckled smugly at me.

“Mr. Issa, I think that you’re going to jail.”

“Oh ho ho! Where did you get this newfound attitude?” he tried to taunt me.

It won’t work. Logic and evidence are on my side.

Time to put the final nail on this guy’s coffin and set Joe free.

“The victim had just returned home from abroad the day before the murder. As we all know, the time difference between here and Paris is nine hours! When it's 4:00 PM here, it's 1:00 AM the next day there. The clock wasn't three hours slow, it was nine hours fast! The victim hadn't reset her clock since returning home! That's why the time you heard when you struck her dead in her apartment was wrong! Proof enough for you, Mr. Issa?”

Issa’s smirk turned into a scowl as my smile widened. He was breathing hard against my face. We both knew there was no way out. Slowly, his anger turned to despair. And his despair was enough to set him to a mad rage.

The courtroom audience went into a commotion as the judge ordered the arrest of Mr. Issa. Sessions, who for some reason was now paler than his hair, was shooting daggers at me. I did not mind, though. My best friend was free and I had won my first victory in court. Nothing could ever destroy the euphoria that I felt then.

But those two achievements seemed to dwarf when I saw the proud look on Hillary’s face.

As I returned to the defense bench, she stood up to greet my with a warm embrace. As we locked arms, I felt like I have won a thousand trials. She was whispering something in my ear, which I could not hear but I was pretty sure they were words of congratulations. Everything seemed to be in a blur except for Hillary.

Only the two of us were existence in that infinitesimal speck of time.

As she withdrew from the embrace, my senses began to turn back on. Just in time, I had heard the judge declare Joe’s innocence, and the courtroom erupted in applause.

Little did everybody knew that the only applause that mattered to me was Hillary’s.

---

It turned out that Darrell Issa was a common burglar! He posed as a newspaper sales-man to check and see when people were out of the house! That day, when Joe went to her apartment, the victim wasn't home. After he left, Mr. Issa let himself in to do his dirty work! While he was searching her place, the victim returned! Flustered, Mr. Issa grabbed the nearest blunt object he could find...

---

August 3, 2:32 PM

District Court Lobby

Hillary was beaming at me as she, Joe and I left the courtroom in very high spirits.

“Clinton, congratulations!” she patted my back.

“Thanks, Chief. I owe it all to you.”

Hillary waved her hand in dismissal. “Not at all, not at all! You fought your own battles in there. It's been a while since I've seen a trial end on such a satisfying note!”

I've never seen the Chief looking this happy. If she's this glad, imagine how Joe must feel!

Somewhere, I hear a familiar voice, wailing.

“My life is over,” Joe was crying again.

“Joe! You're supposed to be happy! What's wrong now!?” We all sat on the empty couch in the lobby.

“Aww, Billy... Don't worry 'bout me! I'll be dead and gone soon!” he wailed.

“Good! Wait, no! I mean...Bad! Bad bad bad! Joe, you're innocent! The case is closed” I patted his back, trying to cheer him up.

“... But... but my Janny's gone, man! Gone forever!” Joe was crying like a cartoon character.

Uhm, Joe...Janet has a...never mind.

“Congratulations, Jack!” Hillary greeted Joe.

“J-J-Jack?” Joe blinked.

“Yes, you! I can practically see the headlines now: "Jack Biden, Innocent!" Hillary beamed at a sobbing Joe.

Suddenly, Joe’s frown turned upside down. I could easily read his mind, and my sense told me that Joe had already found a new apple of his eye.

Heh... um... thanks! I really owe you one!” Joe was blushing profusely. “I won't forget this, ever! Let's celebrate! Dinner? Movie? My treat!”

Hillary, to my relief, declined politely. “No, no, I couldn’t”.

“Oh okay,” said a slightly crestfallen Joe, “but here! Take this! It’s a present!” Joe gave a statue of The Thinker to Hillary.

Hey! I was the one who got you off the hook, you bastard! Why are you showering her with favors? And when do I get paid for my work?!

“A present? For me?” Hillary was flattered. “Wait..wasn’t this the evidence?”

Joe shook his head. “Actually, I made this clock for her! I made one for her and one for me!”

Hillary’s eyes were wide with wonder. “R-really? You? You made this? Well, thank you. I'll keep it as a memento.”

Hillary thanked Joe for his gift, and he took off somewhere else. I was left in the couch with Hillary, who closed the distance between us. She rested her hands on both of my shoulder, nudging me to look at her.

“Bill? I hope you see the importance of evidence now. Also, hopefully you realize, things change depending on how you look at them. People, too. We never really know if our clients are guilty or innocent. All we can do is believe in them. And in order to believe in them, you have to believe in yourself. Listen. Learn. Grow strong. Never let go of what you believe in. Never.”

I listened to every word she said as if they were passages from the Bible. I was sure that I won’t forget her teachings, her words of wisdom, as they help me learn and grow. I knew that after this trial, I was one step closer to being a successful lawyer just like her.

“Well, I think our work here is done! Shall we be off?”

I nodded enthusiastically. “Yes!”

“Say, how about dinner. On me? We'll drink a toast to innocent Biden!”

“Yeah!” All the courtroom drama left me starving. I could use a large cheeseburger and fries.

“Oh, speaking of Joe, you were saying part of why you became a lawyer was because of him.”

“Mm-hmmm?”

“You'll have to tell me more about it sometime! Maybe over drinks?” Hillary smiled as we excited the courtroom building.

And so, my first trial came to a close. Joe slapped me on the back and said, "Gee, Billy, it's good to have friends!" But I was pretty sure he's not going to pay me. Unless you count the clock he gave Hillary. I didn't know it then, but that clock was soon going to be at the center of another incident. And my promise to tell the chief about me and Joe would be one promise that I thought I wouldn't be able to keep.