Adam was on the witness stand. “I don’t remember where I was that night,” he said, brokenly. “I walked around… I don’t remember. I was too shook up to stay home.”
“You don’t remember,” said Adam, the prosecuting attorney, politely. There was nothing but polite interest in his tone, but his disbelief was clear to everyone in the courtroom. The jury coughed and swayed and looked piercingly at Adam.
Adam was seated in the gallery, dressed all in black, as was appropriate. Occasionally he buried his face in his hands and sobbed quietly, until one of the people next to him rubbed his shoulder and spoke soothing words. “I’m all right,” he stuttered, “it’s just being in the same room with… with him…” The soothing person would eye Adam, sweating next to his public defender. “It’s just… it’s hard.”
“Shh, shh,” they said, and he nodded and tried to stop crying. Adam wouldn’t meet his eyes. The weight of his probable guilt hung between them.
The judge was silent except for the patient clicking of his beads. The jury kept pace with him, starting over when they reached the end of the string, lips moving, breathless, judgemental, soundless, serious.