Chapter Eleven

This entry is part 11 of 36 in the series Bend

Chapter Eleven

It was ten o’clock. Once again, Al and Pio were seated in the two chairs by the card table. The Judge was standing behind the pool table. There was a serious look on his face.

Once again, the crowd had gathered, today they were quiet. They were gathered in small groups, grinning and smirking; reminding Al of a pack of wolves. They wanted blood, his blood! The man, Reyes, was nowhere in sight. Al wondered if he was still standing in the corner.

The Judge picked up one of the cue sticks and beat on the table demanding complete silence. This time he got it. For a minute he stood there looking the crowd over then he spoke.

“Listen all of you, I am the judge here, and I am the law. It is my duty to see that justice is dealt. I will tolerate no demonstrations; anyone attempting or suggesting violence will be jailed.” He let that sink in for a moment. “Maybe some of you won’t agree with my decision, but keep this in mind; I am the Judge, not you!

He must have made his point because there wasn’t a sound. He continued, “As Mr. Mackey says there is no evidence showing any motive for him to free the prisoner. Give him some boots and arm him with a rifle.”

Al could hardly believe his ears. The guy seemed to be taking his defense.

The Judge continued, “There are no witness that saw him free the captive. Also I can find no motive. If there was a witness or a motive I would have him shot to death.” Once again he was pacing slowly back and forth, one eye on the prisoners the other on the crowd.

“However…”

‘Here it comes,’ Al thought.

“However I do find him guilty of another crime” The two men had breathed easier for a moment, now what? “The escaped man now has a pair of boots and a deadly rifle. Without these, no doubt he would have been captured again.” A murmur of approval came from the audience.

The Judge continued, “If Mr. Mackey had not been here the man would still be our prisoner. Had he not left his gun and boot unguarded, the man would not have them now. He probably did not intend for the man to have these items, but the fact remains these were his responsibility. I find him guilty of extreme negligence. There is no charge against the other man. He is free to go. Now, Mr. Mackey, step forward and I will sentence you.”

Their belongings were once again piled on the table. The Judge picked up Al’s passport. “Without this Mr. Mackey you can never get out of this country.” He picked up the book of travelers checks. “You must be quite a wealthy man. There is over five thousand dollars here.” He stopped talking and once more started pacing back and forth.

“Why didn’t he just finish the sentencing?” Al thought. The Judge sure liked to play cat and mouse games. He felt a sudden urge to get up and kick the hell out of the guy.

The judge was talking again, “In your pocket book, which I returned, are many credit cards, as well as two hundred dollars worth of Cordobas. These Mr. Mackey I am going to let you keep. I am also returning to you all your personal belongings, including your rifle and the two pistols.”

Once again he started slow pacing, it was getting on Al’s nerves. He probably intended it to do just that. Suddenly he stopped in front of Al. There was a faint smile on his face when he spoke.

“I hear you are a very good shot with a rifle Mr. Mackey.”

Al nodded.

“I also understand you like to hunt big game, such as the tiger?”

Al nodded again.

“I am glad to hear that,” said the Judge, “because you are going on a hunting expedition.”

Al’s passport and traveler’s checks were in the Judges hand. “These, Mr. Mackey, I will keep until you return. Do not try and leave this country, or you will be shot. If you did manage to escape from here you could not leave the country without you passport.” The judge picked up the rifle and handed it to the astonished Al.

“Yes, Mr. Mackey, I am sending you on a hunting expedition, one that you will never forget. It is your fault that the killer is at large so you are going after him. When you bring him back I will return to you the rest of your belongings. Then you will be a free man. Good hunting Mr. Mackey!”

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