This story is a composite based on some real events and some news stories. Insofar as it concerns me personally, it is fiction.
It's based partly on a story I wrote ten years ago and abandoned, only to be revived when Mike Nifong tried to fuck over the Duke players; but this story was NOT inspired by that case.
It is also NOT a stroke story.
I was arrested on a Friday morning.
It was an otherwise unremarkable morning, pleasant even for late December, though spending New Year's Eve in jail was a little unusual.
Arraignment waited until Monday morning, which is when I learned I'd been charged with rape.
Of course I pled not guilty. I WAS not guilty.
That did not stop the throng of reporters and camerapersons (?) from descending on my innocent self, on the day school took back in, a day when I should have been in class teaching math to a horde of barely-interested high-schoolers.
I'd met only briefly with my attorney, a court-appointed fellow, pleasant enough but seemingly too young to have any legal acumen. He'd walked me through the arraignment process, and then through the bonding-out process, before hustling me out of the jail facility and into his waiting SUV.
My wife was barely speaking to me, convinced as she was I must be guilty. She hurled stinging invectives at me during the times we were together; I believe the word 'divorce' was uttered a time or ten.
Obviously the school district wanted nothing to do with me. While the young woman I was accused of having assaulted was not a student, and thus obviously not a student of mine, they wanted no part of having a lecher on their payroll. I was put on paid leave, with an eye to discontinuing my employment at the earliest opportunity.
I explained to my attorney how I was innocent, and did not know the young woman in question. I knew who she was, to be sure: her name was Becky, her family lived next door to mine, and her father Paul and I had had skirmishes over minor things, his dogging shitting in my yard, his guests throwing liquor bottles over the fence. Like that.
When I mentioned that, he frowned. How well, specifically, had I known the young woman?
She had said hello to me, my wife, or both, on a few occasions, I replied. Honestly, I should add.
My attorney frowned some more.
Three weeks later, my wife had me served with divorce papers; she moved in with her parents. My house was vandalized. I was officially dismissed from my job as a teacher.
I was twenty-seven; I'd lost everything, and was about to be convicted of a crime that could imprison me, given my health, for seventy years.
My life was out of control.
My trial was fast approaching: three days to go, six months since the allegations were made. My divorce was final; my wife had washed her hands of me, completely. Not even a claim on the house.
My attorney was parsing every word in the case file. "Can you add anything?" he asked.
I shook my head.
His look told me it was futile.
The trial had begun. The first three days were over; the "victim" had told her story, and it had been corroborated by a friend of hers, a little cunt named Sherry.
I was walking around my living room, my left knee giving me hell. I'd been injured playing football in high school, and while it was usually not a problem, stress brought out a bit of pain. I used a small cane to help me on those days.
Arthur, my attorney, said, "Please, do two things for me."
"Name 'em," I said.
"First, tell me I'm not living in a fool's paradise, that you really are innocent."
I stopped, looked at him in disbelief; then realized it was his career, too. "Arthur," I said, "I never touched the little bitch. What's the second thing?"
"Second," he said, "stop pacing around with that FUCKING CA..."
He had stopped, dead in his sentence. "Cane," he finished softly.
He stared at my leg. He reached out and grabbed the cane. "Walk toward me," he commanded.
"Old war wound?" he asked, looking me in the eyes.
"Football," I replied, and told him the story.
A smile spread across his face. "Drop your trousers," he said, gleefully.
"What?" I demanded.
"You heard me!" he said, sharply, a laugh in his voice. "Drop 'em!"
I looked at him for a moment, then unbuckled my belt and dropped my pants.
Arthur grinned, leaned forward, and grabbed my calves, squeezing lightly; then repeated with my thighs.
"Arthur," I said, "are you gay?"
"No," he laughed, "we just won."
The next day in court, the prosecution rested. Since the little bitch and her friend had testified against me, Arthur had the right to call either of them to the stand.
He called Sherry to the stand; she understood she was still under oath.
"You witnessed this alleged attack?" Arthur asked.
"Yes," she said.
"Was my client clothed or dressed during the attack?" he barked.
Sherry looked a bit stunned; she looked at Becky, who looked at the prosecutor, who in turn frowned. The prosecutor, a young manhating woman, shook her head. There was no objection to be made.
Arthur said, "Don't look at them, look at me. Dressed or naked?"
Sherry said, "Uh, he was partly naked."
"PARTLY NAKED?" thundered Arthur.
"So he was PARTLY CLOTHED?" said Arthur.
"Uh, he, uh, yeah. Partly clothed," finished Sherry, weakly.
"WHICH PART?"Arthur demanded.
Sherry was losing some tears at this point. "His bottom was naked," she blubbered.
"No pants, but a shirt on?"
"And you did NOTHING to stop him?" he demanded.
"No more questions," said Arthur, quietly, calmly.
Once Sherry was excused, lunch was called.
"What the fuck is THIS SHIT?" screamed the prosecutor. She was waving a sheaf of papers. "You're calling the victim's father to the stand?"
"Just a couple of questions," said Arthur. We turned to walk away.
"What questions?" she bellowed.
Arthur flipped her off, and we walked on.
Paul, my erstwhile neighbor, had been called to the stand.
Arthur said, "You dislike my client."
Paul hesitated. "Had better neighbors in my day, but no, I don't dislike him. Not as such."
Arthur whirled. "Did you make up a rape story with your daughter?"
Paul was taken aback. "No!" he said, "it happened just the way she said."
"You were there?" Arthur pressed.
"No! Of course not, just ... whatever my daughter says, I believe her," he finished weakly.
"Did you," Arthur demanded, "tell her to lie? to say she'd been raped when she had not?"
Paul was apoplectic. "I did NO SUCH THING!" he screamed.
"No more questions," Arthur said mildly.
There was some confusion as Paul was escorted from the witness stand, and Becky was called.
Arthur punched me lightly. "Watch this," he whispered, "and for GOD'S SAKE, don't react, no matter WHAT I say."
I nodded; he grabbed a manila folder, stood, and approached the witness box.
"Hi, Becky," he said in his most pleasant tone.
She looked around, a little confused. "Uh, hi," she responded after some hesitation.
"Now, Becky," he continued, his face becoming serious, "I suppose you heard Sherry's testimony earlier... ?"
"And can you confirm what she said? That when my client allegedly raped you --"
"He DID," she countered.
"When the alleged attack occurred," he continued, "he was not wearing his pants. Correct?"
Becky nodded vigorously.