Submitted into Contest #95 in response to: Start your story with someone being presented with a dilemma.... view prompt


Crime Fantasy

In writing this I am fully aware that the tale is no Perry Mason epic; neither is it John Deed. It is simply a fantasy about good and if I may say so evil intent, where honesty wins.

It had been another trying morning. The session was adjourned. At least it gave some folk some time for a quick refresh, regroup and coffee. For James Higgins also known as Jim, it gave him the opportunity to refer to information that would help him and his colleagues make a decision. It was a little walk down the corridor to his office, but the necessity turned out to be a blessing in more ways than one. Obtaining that which he had left behind, courtesy of his able secretary, he thanked her and closed the door quietly. He was conscious of the fact that there were others in the vicinity but was not really interested in the gossip.  Even so, his ears pricked when he heard a familiar voice, say,

“Won’t be long now Geoff. Higgsy is getting so close to retirement, I doubt if he does anything more than a nod as he listens.” derisive laughter followed “or is he prone to sleeping?”

“I’ve noticed it too Bernie.” said the smiling Geoff ‘well at least this one is fairly straightforward. It is a plain as a pikestaff what happened. Another little monster bites the dust.”

Jim disliked both Geoff Strong and Bernie Walsh, whose egos far outweighed their consciences, though not necessarily ability. Though it was a trivial comment, it irked him no end; which made his resolve to do the right thing, all the stronger. He walked determinedly towards the gentlemen concerned and smiling said,

“Gentlemen, as I have some information pertaining to the case at hand. I wonder if I could have a few moments of your time? Now would be convenient. Thanks.”

“Yes Judge” they replied in unison, looking like guilty schoolboys.

James Frances Higgins was the elder son. Born into poverty he knew what it was like to go to bed hungry, to fight for what was yours, and to accept punishment without a word, for fear of reprisals. His father imbibed too often and as a result, he could not keep a job; hence the debts were high, the clothes were torn and one had to be tough to survive. Jim’s mother died giving birth to her third child, a daughter who also died. Jim and his brother were adopted by distant relatives. Though the couple who took them in were better off than his parents, Jim learned the value of money and also appreciate ambition. Growing up, he considered the priesthood, as he so wanted to give something back to society, but as time progressed, was considered a “brain”, hence he embraced Law. His brother Bob, was also clever but became a school teacher. These days the brothers had very little to do with one another, high days and holidays visits were considered acceptable. 

Over the years, there were too many times when presiding over a legal case Jim could see clearly both sides of the argument, whereas a barrister had to be seen to support the client. He had had his fair share of difficult cases made more so, by his own ego. He recalled the times when he began his surmise with the words “The facts, in this case, are…” only to find that had he pushed a little further the facts would have led him down another road. On this day somewhere between poverty and the COVID 19, a distinction had to be made. He welcomed his colleagues into the room, once again with a benign smile.

“He’s guilty: as guilty as sin.” expostulated Bernie “why can’t you see that Judge?” Bernie took a deep breath “why should his friend suffer when we know he is capable of …”

“How do you know what the youngster is capable of Mr Walsh? Does it follow that because he is poor, he, therefore,

knows how to entice a young woman for a hay tumble…? Isn’t just as likely that the other youngster batted her eyelids at him and was ignored therefore a few tall tales were told?”

Is he poor though, Judge?” asked Geoff “he’s thin but…”

“I know what poor looks like Mr Strong; I see it in the face of the accused, thin, pale and if you noticed the jacket, it has been patched. I know what the ‘resigned to one’s fate’ expression looks like; I have been there. It’s a hunger in your belly when the cupboard is bare, it’s watching your father drink what he calls prune juice and yells at you because of something you did not do. It’s knowing the bills cannot be paid. My father stopped short of beating my mother, only because she yelled back at him one time with his belt in her hand.  You know the rest of my childhood; clearly, you two haven’t experienced anything like it. That is why I thought we would have a chat. By the way, I heard that it was ‘as plain as a pikestaff who was guilty’. I tell you it is not. Therefore, let’s look at the camera footage and try to establish what the crime is; don’t try any games with the old codger who supposedly nods off at the trials. Based on our findings let’s get somewhere closer to the truth, before passing judgement. Have I made myself clear?”

“Yes Sir.”

Watching the camera footage there was no evidence to support that the young man was guilty of the alleged crime of misconduct, not as far as Jim could see. Looking over at his younger colleagues he could also see their discomfiture. It was time to resume the hearing.

Jane Hall stood with her head held high. She looked composed and striking, with just a little makeup and her hair styled and shiny.

Bernie Walsh stood before her.

Now Miss Hall can you tell us in your own words what happened in the Corner Store on the afternoon of April the fourteenth?”

“Sure.” she smiled “he came into the store.”

“For the records Miss Hall who came into the store?”

“But you know…” she broke off when she saw the warning look from Jim. “Him.” Jane pointed “Richard Gibbons.”

“I see, then after he came in?” Bernie smiled

“He picked up a chocolate bar put it in his pocket then brushed against my blouse, you know sort of…”

“No, we don’t know, tell the court if you please.”

“He touched my chest, and then his hands wandered…”

“Dear me,” said Bernie “I wonder…”

Jim intervened

“Mr Walsh remember the coverage.”

“Yes, Indeed I was about to suggest that it be viewed now.”

It showed Jane and Richard in the shop and Richard indeed picking a chocolate bar up. Jane was standing just behind him; her voice was heard

“Hi, Richard. Are you hungry?” she giggled

“Hi, Jane, Yes,” Richard answered.  Could you…?”  

 The camera footage showed him stepping towards Jane clearly wanting to move away, but he did not see a small box on the floor. He tripped and fell against her. Recovering his balance, he mumbled something inaudible but with the exception of retrieving his balance did not touch her, inappropriately.

“Thank you, Miss Hall, would you step down now.” Bernie was smiling

“But I…”

“That will be all, oh unless my learned colleague has a question of you!”

“No none at this stage but I do have a witness,” said Geoff “If I may Your Honour, the proprietor of the Corner Store, Mr Paul Stoker”

“You are Paul Gerald Stoker?”

“Yes, I am” 

“Mr Stoker, could you recall the events of the fourteenth of April?”


“Did the altercation between Richard Gibbons and Jane Hall occur?”

“I cannot say it was an altercation as such. Young Richard came into the shop a whisker before the young lady.”

“Did he have the chocolate bar”

“I believe he did but..”

“Thank you, did he pay for it?

“No, he did not, I paid for it, the kid gets precious few treats.”

“Why is that?”

“His personal situation …” Stoker hesitated “his people are as poor as church mice.”

A few onlookers gasped

“Does Miss Hall come into the shop?”

“Yes, occasionally.”

“What do you think of her.”

“Objection….” said Bernie

“Overruled please answer,” said Jim

“I would not trust her as far as I could spit. Begging your pardon, Your Honour,” said Paul Stoker defiantly.

Later, Jim Higgins suppressed a smile as he reflected on the day’s events.

“Geoff Strong was right,” he thought “another little monster bites the dust.”

May 28, 2021 06:16

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Rayhan Hidayat
18:10 May 31, 2021

Well, you were right, honesty did triumph in the end, which is always satisfying to see🙂 I’m not sure if this qualifies as a fantasy tale though, seeing as these events could very well happen in real life 🤔 All the same, good stuff!!


Claire Tennant
04:34 Jun 17, 2021

Well, it could easily be real life except there would be a few holes my non-lawyer imagination Thank you for your comments.


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