Damning Hand

Currently, horrible person Andrew Squervil is on trial for the theft of a valuable anklet. The trial is not going well for him. The twelve jurors on the trial are of various ages and cultural backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common: they hate Andrew Squervil. The facts of the case have led each juror to come to the conclusion that Andrew is a truly terrible person concerned only about himself. From the perspective of Andrew and the female attorney he hired to represent him, it seems very likely that the jury will find Andrew guilty of his crime.

The judge on Andrew’s trial has placed Andrew on home arrest for the duration of the trial, meaning that while the trial is ongoing, Andrew is bound to his current place of residence at all times, except when he is in the courthouse, attending his trial. To make sure Andrew doesn’t violate the home arrest and/or try to flee, he has been forced to wear an electronically monitored bracelet on his left ankle at all times.

At the moment, Andrew and his female attorney are in Andrew’s current place of residence, which is the apartment of Andrew’s friend Martin Pimbly and Martin’s girlfriend Pustilla. Martin and Pustilla have been letting Andrew stay in the apartment indefinitely and rent-free. Unbeknownst to Martin, Andrew has been carrying on a secret affair with Pustilla.

At the moment, Martin and Pustilla are both away at work. Andrew and his female attorney are the only ones in the apartment.

Andrew’s attorney is a beautiful woman named Riora. Per Pustilla’s request, Riora agreed to represent Andrew, and without charging him for her services.

At the time that Riora agreed to represent Andrew, Riora wasn’t happy about the arrangement. Though she found Andrew attractive, and though they had once dated, Riora had come to the conclusion that Andrew was a sleazy loser. She wanted nothing to do with him, romantically, professionally, or otherwise.

However, Riora’s perception of Andrew has changed over the course of the trial. She has come to believe that Andrew Squervil isn’t a bad person; that there is a good, honorable person buried underneath all that external horribleness. Riora has fallen in love with Andrew. She believes that she can change him.

Riora and Andrew are discussing the case.

“It’s not looking good, Andrew,” Riora says. “All the jurors hate you. They don’t see the good that I see in you. I’ve done everything I could, but I can’t change their perception of you. It seems very likely that they will find you guilty. But all hope is not lost. I was on the phone with the prosecuting attorney a few minutes ago. She’s willing to offer you a plea bargain deal. The deal is that you’ll plead guilty in exchange for six months of community service.”

“Six months?” Andrew says.

“It’s a very good deal being offered,” Riora says. “And it’s certainly better than some of the punishments you could potentially receive from the judge if you’re found guilty. I think you should take the plea bargain.”

“I don’t know,” Andrew says. “Isn’t there any better alternative?”

“No,” Riora says. “But you don’t have to decide right now. Think it over a little. But the prosecuting attorney wants an answer by tomorrow.” Riora kisses Andrew. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” she says. “I love you, Andrew.”

“I love you too,” Andrew says, lying. He needs to keep her happy so she’ll continue to not charge him for her services.

Riora leaves the apartment.

An hour later, someone knocks on the apartment’s front door. Andrew isn’t expecting any visitors, and Martin and Pustilla are both not to return home from work for another few hours.

Andrew opens the front door. Much to his surprise, an attractive woman is standing before him. At first, he thinks that she is a complete stranger, but then he realizes that the woman is the judge on Andrew’s trial. Without her judge outfit, she looks radically different.

“Hello, Andrew,” she says.

“Hello, Judge Spindler,” Andrew says, confused by her presence.

“Please, call me Sindra,” the judge says. “May I come in?”

Andrew lets her into the apartment.

“You’re probably wondering why I came here,” Sindra says.

“Yes,” Andrew says.

“I came here because… because… because I’ve fallen in love with you, Andrew Squervil,” Sindra says. “When your trial started, I thought you were a sleazy loser. However, my perception of you has changed over the course of the trial. I have come to believe that you’re not a bad person; that there is a good, honorable person buried underneath all that external horribleness. I have fallen in love with you, Andrew. I believe that I can change you. So I guess the reason I came here is to see if there is any chance you might have feelings for me too.”

Andrew realizes that he has an opportunity to manipulate the judge into giving him a very lenient sentence if he is found guilty. “Yes, Sindra,” Andrew says. “Your feelings for me are not unrequited. Ever since my trial began, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you. I love you, Sindra.”

“I love you too, Andrew!” Sindra says.

They kiss each other.

Two hours later, Sindra is getting ready to leave the apartment.

“We must keep our relationship a secret until your trial is over,” Sindra says. “So people won’t think I have a personal bias toward you in your trial.”

“Do you have a personal bias toward me now?” Andrew says.

“Yes, Andrew,” Sindra says. “I want to be a fair, unbiased judge, but I can’t be with you. I love you too much. And I promise you that if those horrible jurors find you guilty, I will give you a very, very, very lenient sentence; a sentence so lenient that people will think you’ve escaped punishment entirely.”

“And then we can get married,” Andrew says.

“Oh Andrew,” Sindra says. “Do you really mean that?”

“Yes,” Andrew says, lying.

Later, after Sindra has left the apartment, Andrew places a phone call to Riora. Riora answers her phone.

“Tell the prosecuting attorney that I reject her offer,” Andrew says.

The next day, Andrew is in the courthouse, attending his trial. Riora is also present, next to Andrew.

Sindra is also present, standing behind a podium overlooking everyone else in the courtroom. She discreetly winks at Andrew, a wink unseen by all but him.

The jury reaches a verdict. The verdict is announced. Andrew has been found guilty of his crime. Andrew is at ease, confident that he is about to escape punishment, thanks to his secret relationship with Sindra.

Sindra is about to issue her sentence to Andrew. “Andrew Squervil, you have been found guilty by a jury of your peers,” Sindra says. “For that crime, I hereby sentence you to… to…”

Sindra stops talking. She has noticed something: Riora has placed one of her hands on one of Andrew’s hands, trying to comfort Andrew. It has become clear to Sindra that Andrew is in some kind of romantic relationship with Riora; that their relationship is not strictly professional; that Andrew is not really interested in being in a committed, monogamous relationship with Sindra.

Andrew sees Sindra looking at Riora’s hand on his hand. He realizes that Riora has inadvertently doomed him.

Sindra proceeds to give Andrew a very, very, very harsh sentence.