I knew that “Roger” had gouged out my eyes and cut off my ears. It had all played out in these same hallways, at night. But here in the daylight I could not convince them he was dangerous.
Roger was a mod. He had a billowy purple shirt, tight white jeans with thin pinstripes in primary colors. Blow-dried hair, perfectly parted, sideburns. He was charming. He kept trying to lead my colleagues into a side-room. I knew if he got them there he would gouge out their eyes and cut off their ears, just like he had mine.
I tried to show them. But they didn’t even notice that I had no eyes or ears. I began to alternate between thinking I had eyes and ears still, and thinking I did not.
I could not counteract Roger’s charm. Everyone’s ears were cut off. I heard the screams from the side-rooms.
The last thing I remember was Roger in prison, holding a copy of his self-serving autobiography, “Pass the Hatchet.” In the cover photo he was in tweed and looked stern.
* * *
I couldn’t find the city council meeting. I checked the list of councilors to see if Eric was one, but most of them were called Eric. Eric P., I told the front desk. There were three Eric P.’s.
* * *
I returned to Sarasota to take up a case. I was meeting in the administration building at Pine View School. It had been a year since I graduated. When I got there, Adam Richards was arguing with the Vice Principal, Mrs. Abrams.
“The Civil Rights Center is our space, and it is supposed to be well-equipped.”
“You can ask Mr. Robinson there why we had to cut the funding. He’s the one who negotiated $15,000 as compensation for staying in school through his senior year.” I had just walked into the room.
Adam Richards stood up for me. “$15,000 is nothing for the privilege of graduating a fine lawyer like Mr. Robinson.”
I hadn’t seen Adam Richards in a year. No longer red-cheeked and buck-toothed, he had morphed into a formidable advocate. He openly told Mrs. Abrams that the campus cops were “plus-sized.” “All cops are just big onions,” he said. I couldn’t believe how brazen he was.
We went into the Civil Rights Center. All of the computers had been stripped out and sold. Obama was already at the conference table, in drag. His blond wig came down to his thighs.
We began to discuss the case.
“I have one thing that might be useful,” he said, taking out an Alaska statute book. “When I was in law school, I worked for a professor, and I found this Alaska rule… They published my memo somewhere, let me see…”
We were defending a boy who had committed a horrible crime, leaving a toddler to die in a car. But it was unclear whether the toddler had died because the car was too hot, or the car was too cold. One of our team had designed an orange and blue graphic with a little spinning needle to show the jury the difference between hot and cold. The boy had tried to pin the crime on the toddler’s mother. Still, we liked him, and our cause had drawn national attention.