Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the [Angels] of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. ~ Genesis 6
We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another. ~ Luciano de Crescenzo
I hear Judge Diavolo droning down at me from the bench:
“Since you came here to our town last Fall you have been accused of possessing a fake ID, underage drinking, public drunkenness, lewd acts in public, arson, pot smoking, shoplifting, trespassing, illegal entry, vandalism, under age driving, reckless driving, speeding, driving both motorcycles and bicycles without a helmet, going the wrong way down a one way street, jaywalking, assault, … Ahem! Is this boring you, Mister Angelo Grigori?”
I roll my eyes, “Oh, no, sir, Your Honor. I find myself to be very exciting.”
Court Recorder Ms Mary Ashley tries to hide her grin. I am sure that she can recite my sins by heart. She is like a mother to me, giving me motherly advice whenever I’m in the Angel Falls Juvenile Court.
Judge Diavolo rumbles at me, “Mister Angelo Grigori, you are not yet nineteen years old and Miss Angela Amoretti …,” he looks down again at the court document, “…is fourteen!”
I am thinking: Why you dirty old pervert, Judge Diavolo; are you jealous?
I look over at my Angela sitting with her father, and I say, “Yes, you are right, Your Honor, but Miss Angela Amoretti,” and my Angela squirms and stifles a giggle while looking back at me, “is very mature for her age.”
Angela’s father suddenly heaves himself erect and prepares to launch at me and good ol’ Judge Diavolo stops him by pounding the bench as if he is pounding Mister Amoretti with the gavel, roaring, “ENOUGH! SIT DOWN! SIT DOWN THIS INSTANT!”
Then Judge Diavolo turns back to me like Moses who has just smashed the Ten Commandments, and he prophesizes, “The first souls punished in Hell are the ones overcome by lust! There is a Hell, Mister Angelo Grigori, and in that Hell there is an endless tempest that will blast you back and forth forever!”
I have no fear of that and I ask defiantly, “Hell? Your Honor, what is this: a church or a court?”
Judge Diavolo blasts me with, “THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE AS FAR AS YOU ARE CONCERNED,” shaking both of his fists above his head while holding the gavel. I think: What a drama-queen!
Judge Diavolo’s squall ends suddenly and he calms back down with just a spasm or two. He mutters, shaking his head, “You were supposed to be Miss Angela Amoretti’s tutor, her guide, her…”
I say sarcastically without thinking, “Her Guardian Angelo? I just wanted a job.”
Angela’s father cannot contain himself and he cries to the Judge, “How could our young daughter know what this degenerate was capable of? Where were the Library Authorities?”
I broadside Angela’s father, asking, “Where were you, Mister Amoretti? Angela was at the library all the time because she’s afraid…”
Angela interrupts fearfully, “No, no, I was just… lonely!”
Mister Amoretti growls at me, “I am not on trial here! You are!”
Judge Diavolo too is growling at me, “Mister Angelo Grigori, that does not give you the right to do what you have done,” but it is Mister Amoretti who shoots a nervous glance back at Judge Diavolo when he hears that statement.
I growl back at both of them, “I do what I want!”
Mister Amoretti now bares his canines at me, “That is because your own father has forsaken you!”
He wants me to cry? Does he want me to cry?! I holler back at him, “And your own daughter has forsaken you! There is something going on at your home that is fucked up if she’s looking for it that young!”
Mister Amoretti splutters, “Looking for it?!”
Angela covers her face, shrieks in embarrassment, and bows down to hide in her lap.
Judge Diavolo lashes once again at us, “ENOUGH,” and we three are mowed down into silence. Ms Mary Ashley’s stenotype machine chatters on for a few seconds more, sounding like shattered fragments hitting the floor.
Jude Diavolo finally speaks, asking me, “Mister Grigori, just how far do you intend to fall before this court can help you no longer?”
I, smart ass, answer, “I’m going for the record.”
I know that my father’s Witness Protection Program won’t let anything happen to me.
Even if I don’t know where my father is right now.
Angela is standing up, shaking away her father’s hand as he tries to make her sit down, and she says, “Mister Judge Diavolo, Angelo is my best friend. He isn’t a bad person. He knows about the Bible and everything. We didn’t do anything bad. I wanted to…,”
Mister Amoretti hisses, “Shut your mouth, shut your mouth,” and he grabs for her.
Angela dances aside, saying, “…but we only kissed. I swear.”
Judge Diavolo is looking in amazement at Angela and Angela continues, “Angelo told me about how both our names come from the word angelos that means ‘messenger’. Angelo says that we are like special adopted children of God and we don’t have to take shit from anybody…,” and she clasps her hands around her mouth and blushes
Mister Amoretti cries, “Angela!” and he finally grabs her and pulls her back beside him to sit down. He then gives Judge Diavolo a pleading look.
Judge Diavolo turns to me and asks suspiciously, “The Bible, Mister Angelo Grigori? Really? Have you fallen to using the Bible as a way to seduce young girls?”
Mister Amoretti shakes his fist at me saying, “You Satanic rapist!”
Judge Diavolo snaps at Mister Amoretti, “QUIET,” then he turns back to me again, asking, “Well, Mister Grigori?”
I stick my chin at him and answer, “Angela was really down, really sad and she was asking me questions about why God would let bad things happen to kids. Sure, I know all about the Bible. My dad was…, is always telling me about the fucking Bible. Sorry. Always. And I don’t like it! That’s right! People would laugh at my dad but he wouldn’t care. He said we had to do what was righteous no matter what. And what did it get him? The people he worked for were crooks and he told the cops but they arrested him and then we had to leave our home.”
Mister Amoretti bursts, “I knew it! I knew it.”
Judge Diavolo looks at Mister Amoretti and says, “For the last time: you will be quiet,” then he beckons to the back of the courtroom.
Oh, crap, it’s Sheriff “Boulder” Brock. He’s the one who always seems to be right there to apprehend me. Sheriff Brock could punch down a tree but he has never been mean to me.
Of course I have never been a smart ass to him, either.
Sheriff Brock approaches the bench and he and Judge Diavolo are whispering to each other. Then Sheriff Brock stands aside and turns around. His face looks like commandments carved in stone.
Judge Diavolo says firmly to Mister Amoretti, “Court will hold a two hour recess. Mister Amoretti, in that time Sheriff Brock will escort you to Social Services for an interview.”
Mister Amoretti stands up and stutters, “What? What? What is this? Is this because of what that degenerate,” his finger stabs at me, “that liar, has been saying? Why are you listening to him?” Judge Diavolo frowns fiercely but Mister Amoretti doesn’t stop, “We all know he’s going to end up in prison!”
Judge Diavolo continues, “Mister Amoretti, I am afraid that this is now a necessary… formality. This is about statements made by your daughter.”
Sheriff Brock steps toward Mister Amoretti and Mister Amoretti turns pale. They exit the courtroom with Mister Amoretti starting to shake and Sheriff Brock rolling behind him.
Judge Diavolo pounds the gavel and then he stands up saying, “Two hour recess. Miss Ashley, will you take these two young people to the lunchroom, please?”
Angela runs over beside me.
Judge Diavolo is looking at both of us and he says something weird:
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
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