Pamela shifted her position, crossing her legs obstinately.
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"Yes." Her eyes flickered to Mike for a second, as long as she dared. This was not something she was going to enjoy.
"Right. Describe what happened when you got home."
"I went in, and called for Ethan. He was in the kitchen, and I think the front room lights were off, and so was the T.V., which I thought was a little odd.
"So, I went into the kitchen, and there was a strange man sitting at my dining table."
"Where was Ethan, Miss. Reynolds?"
"He was at the kitchen counter, in the middle of making coffee, I think."
"What was your intial reaction upon seeing the strange man in your kitchen?"
"The first thing I did was drop a glass which I'd picked up on my way through the living room. Then, I believe I screamed."
"And, what did the Defendant do?"
"He said something, I'm not sure what, I was confused. I didn't know what he was doing in my house. My first coherant thought was for Ethan, and his safety, so I grabbed a tin of something, that was sitting on the worktop. I, I leapt for him, yelling at him to get out, and tried to hit him with the tin. Ethan was grabbing my arm, talking to me, and trying to stop me, but I didn't listen, and kept lashing out.
"Then, then the one of the blows caught Mike on the nose, and he was bleeding everywhere. I handed him a cloth to stall the flow."
"So, you broke his nose?"
"Maybe, I don't know. It was just bleeding a lot.
"Anyway, Ethan had gone upstairs at this point, he was trying to tell me who the man was, and went to fetch one of his videos. And, I knew what he was trying to tel me, but, I just couldn't, you know, believe it. What was a world famous actor doing in my kitchen.
"And, you hear things, don't you? Ethan mentioned that they chatted online, and that was it. I saw red and was off again. 'You met him on the internet?' that sort of thing. I may have made some hasty decisions regarding Mr. Mack's intentions, and he denied them.
"Then, I think I might have slapped him."
"You slapped him? As well as breaking his nose with a food tin?"
Mikey cleared his throat noisily, and Baskin turned, reigning in his sarcasm.
"Yes," she replied. "I was acting on impulse by this point. Almost unaware of doing things until after I'd done them."
"Then what, Miss. reynolds?"
"Then, I turned to question Ethan. He confessed to giving Clare the night off. And, I admit, I shouted. What mother wouldn't under the same circumstances? Anyway, Mike tried his best to alleviate the situation, without much success."
"Do you mean that he tried to calm you down?"
"How did he do this, for example, did he restrain you, hold you in any way?"
"Object. Your Honour, he is leading the witness."
"Over ruled. Miss. Reynolds, continue."
The two women exchanged acerbic looks. "No, he tried to talk me out of over reacting. That's it. He never laid a finger on me."
"Ok, then what?"
"Then, he had a phone call and went into the kitchen to take it."
"Sorry, you'd moved from the kitchen?"
"Yes, in to the living room.
"Anyway, when I went back in the kitchen, he was just finishing his call, and the interlude had allowed me time to breath and take a check of the situation. I felt awful for going off the way I did, so I apologised.
"After that, we talked about things-"
"What sorts of things?"
"Erm, about the troubles that Ethan had been having. About Mike's own son. He, he told me what had happened to James, and became quite emotional."
"Did you question why he was there again, Miss. Reynolds?"
"Yes. And he told me. He said that Ethan had needed a friend, and that that was what he was. He told me that Ethan was special for being able to empathise with people, and had helped him. He said he didn't want to let Ethan down."
"Did you believe him when he said this?"
"Yes, very much. It's hard to lie when your eyes tell such truth. I believe him."
"Did anything of note happen after that?"
"Yes," she chuckled. "Bea Ingles came thumping on the door.
"She wanted to be let in, demnding to know what had happened. Made out that she'd heard the glass smashing and came straight over. Of course, I didn't believe her."
"Mr. Baskin, that glass had been smashed a good twenty minutes earlier. Even for all Beatrice Ingles' creaks, she can move when she wants to. Had she really wanted to move when the glass had smashed, she'd have called much sooner."
"Uhuh. Did she seem concerned?"
"Concerned with finding out if there was anything worth knowing about." Pamela rolled her eyes. "She asked questions, yes. 'Was anyone hurt?', that sort of thing."
"And, were you honest with Mrs. Ingles about what had happened?"
"No, Sir, I wasn't."
"Because it was none of her business. Everyone was fine, and there was no need for her to worry about anything. I had the situation sorted.
"I told her Ethan had done something, I can't remember what, exactly, but I made something up, to stop her prying, and made her leave."
"Why didn't you simply tell her the situation?"
"What? And have representatives from every news paper in England camping on my lawn? No thanks."
"Miss. Reynolds, do you deny that the Defendant spent the night at your house?"
"No, I do not. He slept on the couch, that we set up for him. Ethan and I retired, and Mr. Mackenzie left the next morning, after making us breakfast in exchange for letting him stay."
"Miss. Reynolds, do believe that the Defendant ever intended to harm, or abuse your son, in any way?"
"No, I do not," she answered firmly.
Sharkie grinned broadly at her. "No further questions, Your Honour."
The Prosecuting attorney stood, and stalked across to the witness booth, not breaking eye contact with Pamela, staring her down.
When she spoke, there was a callousness to her voice that had only been hinted at until that point.
"Miss. Reynolds, how old is your Son?"
"Yes, that's what I thought. Who buys his videos, Miss. Reynolds?"
"Erm, I do?"
"And, have you ever purchased a Mikey Mack title on behalf of your son, Ethan?"
"I may have, I don't remember. Possibly."
"Are you aware, Miss. Reynolds, that every Mikey Mack release is certified, by the British Broadcasting Network, as at least a Certificate Twelve?"
"Vaguely aware. Yes."
"And, yet, your son has an extensive Mikey Mack collection, doesn't he, Miss. Reynolds?"
"Yes, I believe he does."
"Can you account for that?"
Sharkie sighed, "Objection, Your Honour. He could have got those himself, and I feel his watching habits are irrelevant to the case."
Lemon Head rubbed his temple. "Sustained. Miss. Plimpton, please cease that avenue of questioning."
"Very well, Your Honour."
"Miss. Reynolds, did you often work late?"
"That's a matter of opinion, Madam Prosecutor. I work late more often than I would like to, certainly."
"And, when this is the case, you always make sure he has adult supervision when he comes home form school?"
"Yes." Her tones were indignant. What was this suited up hussy implying?
"Okay. Miss. Reynolds, are you aware that the stunt you pulled with the food tin, could be construed as assault?"
The roles had taken a turn for the worse. Plimpton had become the predator, and a damned determined on at that. Pounding at the door of the witness' defenses, and when one angle wasn't working, backing up, and coming in at another, equally as forceful.
"I am fully aware of that. And, I'm also aware that my actions are not being investigated, Miss. Plimpton. Mr. Mackenzie has never pressed charges for that, and I don't believe he will."
Jessica swallowed hard, meeting resistance once again. Her patience was wearing thin, that much was visable in the set of her jaw.
"You said that your first thoughts were for you son's safety, Miss. Reynolds, and also that you talked of the Defendant's son, James Mackenzie. Are you aware, Miss. Reynolds, of the two boys' resemblance to each other? For the record, James Mackenzie is deceased."
"Yes. Mike told me they have the same eye colour."
"This is not the only similarity, Miss. Reynolds. Would it interest you to know, Miss. Reynolds, that James Mackenzie had blond hair, just like that of your own son? Or that he was eleven years old when he-"
Don't say 'died', you heartless Cow? My son was murdered. Don't you dare say 'died'.
Mikey all but thumped the table, stopped only by Baskin's warning hand on his arm.
"No, it wouldn't. I'm sure there are many eleven year olds with dusty blond hair and green eyes, Miss. Plimpton. The fact wouldn't interest me in the slightest."
"Not even, Miss. Reynolds, if I were to suggest that it has been brought up that Mr. Mackenzie may have, sub-consciously or otherwise, been looking to replace his own son, with a living substitute?"
"But, he wasn't," she cried, her voice drowned out somewhat by the voice of Mr. Baskin.
"Objection. That is pure speculation, Your Honour. My client has never suggested as much, nor has he attempted to abduct, or bribe that child."
Lemon Face sighed. He was getting hungry, an open and shut case turned into a three ringed circus, and all over an overrated actor.
"Sustained. Miss. Plimpton, you will stick to fact else face being held in contempt."
Plimpton openly winced, suddenly aware that she was in over her head.
"No, no further questions," she stuttered returning to her seat to presumably lick her wounded pride.
"Okay, next witness."
"Defense calls Mr. Tony Neilson to the witness stand."
Mikey choked. They'd got Nails? In his corner? It was almost too much to believe, and Mikey forgave himself for having suspicions.
The doors were thrust open, and Tony Neilson's equine figure strutted through them, thundering up the central isle.
As he took to the witness box, beside the Judge, Mike couldn't shake the images of Fay Wray and King Kong.
"Tony Neilson, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?"
He locked eyes with Mikey, daring him to challenge. "Yeah. Yeah, I do."
Baskin edged himself over to his customary spot in front of the stand, and glanced at his clip board.
"Mr. Neilson, erm," his eyes were taking in the bulk, trying to put it into perspective, sure the box must have been bigger when the last witness had been sitting in it. "You are aware that you are here under the guise of character witness only, and the you will not be questioned on the events of the day in question, rather, on the days and weeks leading up to it?"
"Yeah. I know."
"Okay. Here we go. How long have you known the Defendant, Mr. Neilson?"
"Since we was at school. We weren't at the same school, just both in school at the same time."
"So, How is it that you had contact with the Defendant at that time?"
"We was in the Boxing Leagues together."
"Right." He was visibly perspiring now, and mopped his brow with his handkerchief before continuing. "So, you have known Mr. Mackenzie for a long time then. How would you describe your relationship with the Defendant since then?"
"Since we fought, and he ended my boxing career, I'd probably be justified in saying I can't stand the Son'- I mean, the Defendant." He sneered at Mikey, and Mike nodded back in agreement.
"Erm, fine. Mr, Mr. Mackenzie works for you, doesn't he, Mr. Neilson? Can you tell us how that works out?"
"I'm a movie porducer. He acts. He brings in the big money. It works out."
"Ok, I think that's enough background info, there. On to the matter at hand. "In your experience, is Mr. Mackenzie a satisfied employee?"
"He gets paid. So long as he turns up, I really don't take much notice." Mikey glared at him. "Yeah, okay, he did express wishes, recently, to terminate his current contracts in order to pursue a more 'fulfilling' career."
"Did you yield to those wishes, Mr. Neilson?"
"Check your language, Mr. Neilson."
"I apologise, Y'Honour. No, I didn't. And I gave my reasons to Mr. Mackenzie at the time."
"And, how long ago was it, that the Defendant approached you, with regards to terminating his employment contracts?"
"Couple weeks ago. About three. Three weeks ago, he made a private visit to me in my office." He looked markedly at Mikey.
Damn it, Nails. Play nice!
It's like playing Third Hand Cat and Mouse, in here.
"Had you any prior knowledge of the Defendant's dissatisfaction at work? Or was this startling revelation?"
"No. I knew he was dissatisfied. Had been the same for about two years, but this was the first time he'd had the stones to do something about it."
"Did you notice any other usual behaviour in the lead up to the day in question?"
"Not really. He wasn't due to come in for filming, seeing as how we was doing the action scenes using stunt doubles. As far as I'm concerned he was doing whatever he did, whenever he wasn't being in my face."
"Were you aware of the Defendant's activities, regarding his use of the internet?"
"No further questions for this witness, Your Honour."
Baskin almost ran back to the defense table, as if determined to put it between him and the giant as quickly as was possible. He steadied his nerves by busying himself with tidying his hair.
"Prosecution, your witness," said Judge Dread, and Jessica Plimpton calmly rose, dragging her clip board along the table as she moved in front of it.
"Mr. Neilson, would I be right in asuming that you and the Defendant share a mutual dislike of each other?"
"That's one way of putting it."
"So, why, Mr. Neilson, would you employ him? Indeed, why, in your opinion, does the Defendant continue to accept work from you?" She was obviously going for the errosion approach with Nails too. trouble was, Nails was a about as adamantine as a man could get, without wearing his boxers over his pants.
"Money, Lady. Purely monetary. I'm the best at what I do, and he knows it. And, as I said before, he can earn his right to work for me, with no problems."
"Did you know Mr. Mackenzie's son, Mr. Neilson?"
"Not personally. Mike 'Kenzie was always very guarded when it came to his private affairs."
"So, he was secretive?"
"No. He didn't like to be gawked at. And, as I understood it, he wanted to protect his offspring from the flashbulb lifestyle."
"Does the name Joseph Murphy mean anything to you, Mr. Neilson?"
"He was the individual involved in, and ultimately charged with, the murder of James Mackenzie. You did know the circumstances of James' death, didn't you, Mr. Neilson?"
"Yes, I know of them. But, Mr. Mackenzie and I never discussed it much."
"Quite. Now, knowing the Defendant as you did and do, how, in your opinion, did the events of that most tragic loss of life, affect the Defendant?"
"I suppose, the death of his son sent him over the edge.
"He came back to work straight after the trial, and threw himself into it like you wouldn't believe. Work-a-holic. When he wasn't working, I gather he turned to drinking. Ultimately driving out his wife."
"Did you know Paula Mackenzie?"
"A little. We were aquainted."
"So, Mr. Mackenzie became an alcohol abusing, work-a-holic following the death of his son. Did this effect his work at all?"
"Not so as you'd notice. If anything his ratings went up. Double edged sword, that media thing."
"In your opinion, how much of a push would have been needed to thrust the Defendant out of his duldrum lifestyle, drifting from movie to movie on a waves of alcohol induced paranoia, into a pro active indiviual intent on controlling his own destiny?"
"I don't follow, Lady."
"How signifcant an event would have been needed to, for instance, encourage the Defendant to take action regarding his binding contracts?"
"I'd say that would have to be one hell of an epiphany, Lady."
"Do you believe the Defendant would be capable of carrying out the things for which he is charged?"
"No. He's too much of a," he floundered, trying to think of an unoffensive term. "He's too weak, for something like that."
"Yeah, like I told you, no balls."
"You don't believe that his recent elusiveness is cause for suspicion with regards to the incident?"
"Lady, ask any member of the press, anywhere in the world. They'll all say the same thing. 'Elusive' is Mike 'Kenzie's middle name."
Jessica emitted a low growl, conceeding defeat.
"No further questions," she muttered, slinking back to her seat.
Nails gave Mikey a wink, as he stepped down, and stamped out of the court room, amidst the daring chatter from the public gallery.
Mikey watched the sizable back round the corner, aware that he'd been granted a huge favour by whatever Gods were listening. Not many people could oppose Nails, or would, for fear of what wrath that might incur, and he crossed his fingers, silently hoping that the people who made the decisions had been paying due attention.
Sharkie was going on.
"...Clarke to the stand." Paula? Mike had forgotten that she was testifying.
Since their chat, things had gotten better between them, the atmosphere evaporated. Indeed, as she strolled through the doors, her air was calm, aloof. She was wearing a chocolate coloured casual two piece, with a cream blouse. The trouser legs swayed in time with her sashaying hips, seeming to Mike to sweep away all of his fears with each step she took in order to defend him.
She sat, elegantly, and smiled directly at him. He might just be alright. He could almost feel it.
"Paula Mercedes Clarke, do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"
She had been nodding, once for each 'truth', and answered, "Yes. I do."
"You understand that you have been called in as a character witness for the Defendant, and will not be questioned on the actual events of the day in question?"
Baskin sounded relieved, as if he'd felt the same sense of approaching adjournment.
"Yes. I understand completely."
"Ms. Clarke, what is your relation to the Defendant?"
"I am Michel Mackenzie's wife of approximately fifteen years. We had a son together, who has since been taken from us, and have been separated since, for approximately five years."
The Shark raised his eyebrows at the concise response. "Yes. Now, this would give you an extensive insight into the Defendant's character. More in depth than indeed anyone who has testified today. Would you agree with that?"
"Yes. That would seem to be the case."
"Now, you say that you have been separated from the Defendant for approximately five years. During that time, have you maintained contact at all with my client?"
"Consistant contact, Ms. Clarke?"
"That would depend. Certainly, far more than the average pre-divorce couple, mr. Defender. About once a month would be the average frequency of our exchanges."
"And what form did this contact take, Ms. Clarke?"
"Mostly phone calls, and there was a constant stream of communication with Mr. Mackenzie's mother."
"Indeed. Now, given your singular insight into the character of this man, with whom you shared a home for ten years, how would you describe his actions with regard to the allegation which have been made against him on behalf of the child, Ethan Reynolds?"
"I'm not sure what you're asking of me."
"Very well, how typical of Mr. Mackenzie was it to have stowed himself away after the allegations were brought against him?"
"Quite typical. In fact, I'd say it was to be expected. Mike hated confrontations, of any sort, especially ones which involved his reputation coming into question."
"You wouldn't, for instance, necessarily, view that as an admission of guilt?"
"Not at all. As I say, and I don't doubt has been brought up already. My husband is a very private man. He sees his work as any other man does. A job. It is his belief that he should be allowed to leave that job behind when he isn't doing it. The press expects him to perform whenever he's around, as if it's their right to demand of him.
"When faced with the allegations, I believe Mr. Mackenzie acted well within character, in going to ground as he did, to avoid heaping more stress up on himself."
"Ms. Clarke, would I be correct in saying that since these allegations came about, that you have been spending more time with my client?"
"Yes, that is correct."
"And, why is that, Ms. Clarke?"
"Because he needed someone he could trust. And, despite the fact that we have indeed been living apart since the death of our son, I do care for my husband, and didn't want him to feel that he was alone."
"I see. Ms. Clarke, in your opinion, do you believe that the Defendant intended any harm to the child, Ethan Reynolds?"
"No. Definately not."
"Why so sure?"
"That man is not capable of harming a child. Neither would he put another parent through the sort of distress that we ourselves were forced to endure at the hands of the man who took Jimmie."
"And, have you any reason to believe that your husband would be looking for a sustitute to what he lost in your son, Ms. Clarke?"
"No. Mikey loved James, dearly. And as I said, he would never knowingly inflict such a loss on another parent, by an attempt to lure their child from them."
It's not easy having a good time. Even smiling makes my face ache.- Frank N. Furter.
So, How Cool Is This? Part 27. So, How Cool Is This? Part 25. So, How Cool Is This? Part 24. So, How Cool Is This? Part 23. So, How Cool Is This? Part 22. So, How Cool Is This? Part 21. So, How Cool Is This? Part 20. So, How Cool Is This? Part 18. So, How Cool Is This? Part 17. So, How Cool Is This? Part 15.