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“There you are.”
Turning her head from where it was buried in her hands, Rafaela squinted against the sunlight coming through the storm drain opening, barely making out a head turned sideways looking in. The shimmering lock of dyed red head confirmed who had hunted her down. “Jenna.”
“The one and only.” Her friend carefully stepped into the round opening to walk on the curved inside of the pipeline. “So what is it this time?”
Leaning back from here she had been curled against her knees, the Latino-American waited for her friend to join her. Once Jenna reached where Rafaela sat, she braced her feet against one side of the drain and her back against the other. Her dark hands rested against the concrete surface steading her in the semi-awkward position. For a second her eyes closed and she stroked the concrete. After breathing a sigh of relief, she opened her koi-lined eyes and brought her hands to her knees.
“Just thinking about the case.”
“Oh god, you’re taking it? The guy is as guilty as shit.”
The right side of Rafaela’s mouth turned up and she shrugged.
“Don’t give me that lawyer crap of confidentiality.” Jenna waved both her hands. “You forget, coz, you had me touch the evidence.”
“Like my psychometry cares when that level of emotions is involved. The money was his, the gun his, my god his emotions from when he shot the officer were so strong. He hated Officer Galuppi’s guts, personally, not just because he was a cop.”
Rafaela winced at the rush of words and the truth behind them. “But the drugs were not.”
“The guy is a drug dealer.”
“Still the drugs were planted by the cops so they didn’t need a warrant to search his car and that is how they found the gun and blood-coated bribe money. Thank you for seeing that.” Rafaela squeezed her left hand into a fist and released it a few times. “I really wish they hadn’t planted evidence.”
“Nunez would have dump the gun before they had a chance to get a judge’s signature. That bastard has killed before.” Jenna leaned forward and whispered. “I think he’s an ejecutor.” Returning to bracing herself against the curved surface, Jenna slapped her hands against her legs. “How can you defend a criminal?”
Contemplating her left hand, Rafaela squeezed it into a fist and released it a couple more times. “Because it protects the innocent.”
“Everyone needs their day in court. It’s how our justice system works.”
Jenna’s hands swept wide. “He’s guilty. Justice is going to jail.”
“In this one particular case, maybe, but not if the whole system is going to work.” Rafaela looked into her friend’s dark eyes. “Only by protecting the rights of each individual are we able to protect the rights of all individuals.”
Shaking her head, Jenna soften her voice. “I never realized you were a social activist.”
“Yeah, well.” Rafaela shrugged and looked deeper into the shadows of the dark side of the drain pipe. After nodding at something that wasn’t there, she stood in the pipe. She hunched much lower than Jenna, being just shy of six foot instead of Jenna’s short five foot two height.
Rolling on her hands and knees to stand, Jenna led the way to the lip of the drainpipe. She tossed her hair to look over her shoulder. “Care to give a girl a lift?”
“Not a problem.” Rafaela reached forward, touching Jenna on the shoulder and then closing her eyes against the bright afternoon sun beating its way into the darken pipe to focus on her task.
Once Rafaela muttered “All done,” Jenna bounced outside of the drainpipe and quickly ran up the steep sides of the concrete channel. “God, I love that!” She continued to bounce in a circle at the top, reaching heights of five and six feet while waiting for Rafaela’s more sedate ascent to the top of the drainage system.
Rolling her black eyes, Rafaela made an adjustment to the gravitational field surrounding Jenna and herself, bending the light, making them effectively invisible. Jenna’s whoops continued to echo throughout the city drainage system.
(words 698 – first published 9/25/2016)