- 24 Jul - 30 Jul, 2021
- 13 Jul - 19 Jul, 2019
New York City, 1:55a.m., near Lincoln Street, two young adults, Benjamin Schimberg and Evelyn Kirkpatrick, were walking on the street. Street lights were bright enough to show them the path.
“So, did you think about my proposal?” Benjamin asked Evelyn, a little hopelessly.
Evelyn didn’t reply and kept walking.
“Eve! Did you or did you not think about my proposal?” He asked again, sternly.
“Benjamin, please,” she replied annoyingly. “I am not in mood to talk about this. Leave it, please.”
“For how long will you avoid this, Eve? We have been together for almost two years. And I think that you are not taking this relationship seriously.”
“No, Benjamin I am. I am honest about this. But now is not a good time.”
“That’s what you always say. How come it’s not a good time? You live alone, you have no parents or anyone you are answerable to. Then how come you don’t find this to be the right time?”
She was speechless for a while.
“Okay, now that was a bit disrespectful. Please don’t talk to me like that again,” Eve said.
“Alright I’m sorry but Evelyn you know how much I love you. And the only reason I’m asking you to marry me is because of your well-being.”
She didn’t respond and kep walking. Benjamin was getting angry.
“Look Evelyn I want an answer today.”
“Okay, okay,” she answered trying to calm him down. “You will get the answer today. Now please don’t spoil the night.”
Benjamin closed his eyes, getting fed up. He wondered:
I gave up everything. I gave up all my friends and all of my bad habits for her. And this girl can’t even make a simple decision for me.
Evelyn tried to change the topic.
“So when are our classes commencing?”
“…I think after two weeks,” he answered after a while.
“Oh I see, well that’s exciting.”
They kept walking in silence for a moment.
“So our course registration ends this week?” Evelyn asked him.
Benjamin stopped walking and she stopped after him.
“Look Eve, stop beating around the bush. Today I came just to get my answer. I want to know now. Will you or will you not marry me? I want an answer now,” he finally said.
“You want an answer. Alright fine. Then hear me out…”
Quite unexpectedly, a vehicle came from behind. The two of them were startled. Benjamin was hit on his leg and not injured too bad. But Evelyn on the other hand was so badly hit that she rolled over from above the car. The car stopped on the road.
Benjamin got up and looked at Eve. She was lying injured on the road. He then looked up at the vehicle. He read the vehicle’s number plate and easily memorised it. He then tried to get up but his hand slipped and he fell down again.
As he opened his eyes, he saw someone stepping out of the car. A tall long haired guy of his age stepped out of the vehicle. He walked towards Evelyn. He stood for a while but then moved back and went inside his car.
The car’s engine turned on and the vehicle was driven away. Benjamin got furious and tried to get up. He saw around five people coming towards them. They all had witnessed the accident. One of them was the security guard who helped Benjamin stand up.
The others gathered around Evelyn. They looked at her face. There was blood everywhere.
Benjamin stood up.
“Who was this person? He asked.
“Forget him,” the security guard said to him, “we need to get your friend to the hospital.”
Benjamin looked at Evelyn and began weeping.
“Oh God, please no.”
One Week Later
Benjamin was sitting deeply upset in his room. The moments from the past seven days flashed in his mind.
Days back, he was standing opposite to the doctor.
“I’m sorry but we couldn’t save her. Evelyn Kirkpatrick has passed away,” the doctor had said.
As he remembered this moment, he shut his eyes and tears fell. He then remembered the day of the funeral.
Two days back, he was standing and watching the casket. Evelyn’s body was inside the casket. He was looking at her as if he couldn’t believe what had happened.
While remembering this, he wiped off the tears and remembered his father hugging him days back. His father had been supporting him throughout the tragic incident. Then he also remembered his father’s suggestion:
Do you know what you should do son? You should take this matter to court.
Benjamin stood unable to control his tears. He walked towards the music player and turned on the music loud to distract himself.
Mr. Schimberg walked inside and turned off the music.
“Benjamin, for God’s sake, control yourself,” he said.
Benjamin didn’t answer and just turned his face away. His father came closer to him.
“Look I know that you’re upset. But sitting here and listening to music won’t solve anything. You need to get out of the house and do something.”
“As I told you before, we can take this matter to court. We can file a lawsuit and get an arrest warrant for the person who did this.”
“First of all as you told me before, that you remember the number plate of the car, isn’t that right?”
“Yes I do.”
“So what we can do is that we need to first locate that person who did this. And after identifying him, we can send him the court’s notice.”
“I don’t want to involve court into this,” Benjamin replied. “I just want to take the law into my own hands.”
“No Benjamin, we can’t do that. We are law abiding citizens, we are going to follow the rules of state’s law and hope for justice from the court.”
“Okay, well do you know any lawyer? A good lawyer?”
“I don’t, but a friend of mine does. He knows a good criminal lawyer who can help us. But first we must identify the car and the criminal.”
“I can do that. I remember the face of that devil. I may not be able to forget it. Not ever.”
“Alright well I’m going to make a call. Let’s see how soon we can get this started.”
His father left the room. Benjamin looked at him going out and realised that he was too alone and weak without him. He then also realised that despite Evelyn’s flaws and shortcomings, she was his strength and he wasn’t too strong without her.
My life would get so disturbed one day, he wondered. I had never thought of that.
He looked at the small portrait kept on the table as a decoration piece. A selfie of Evelyn and him was framed in it. It was too difficult for him to see that picture.
Maybe it’s all my fault. I was expecting too much from life. I shouldn’t have set my hopes too high.
After a few minutes, his father came.
“Hey Benjamin, I just got the lawyer’s number. Should I get an appointment for tomorrow?”
“…Okay, yes you can,” Benjamin replied after thinking for a while.
His father left, dialing a number on his cell phone.
Meanwhile at William Spacey’s home, who was one of the state’s most rich and influential personalities, just learned about the incident from one of his servants. He was quite stressed.
“My son killed someone several days back, and you’re telling me about this now?” he said.
“Sir, Simeon did not kill anyone intentionally. I was with him in the car. It was an accident.”
“It doesn’t matter if it was an accident. The truth is that somebody died and now my reputation is at stake.”
“Don’t worry sir. Nobody knows about the incident. You won’t get in trouble unless someone files a case. And I don’t think anyone would.”
“You’re wrong, Baron,” William responded. “Someone would. Someone will definitely take the matter to court and then we’ll be in trouble.”
“But you know how to handle such matters.”
“…Well you’re right. Money is the perfect tool to shut mouths.”
“Where is Simeon anyway? I want to talk to him.”
“Okay, I’ll call him”
The servant stood up and walked out of the room.
Next afternoon, Benjamin and his father were at the office of a lawyer, Stephen Armstrong. Stephen was sitting opposite to them on his desk.
“So kid tell me, do you know the exact time of the incident?” he asked Benjamin.
“Yes it was two o’clock in the night.”
“And the incident happened exactly the way you just described it before me?”
“Are you sure you’re not missing any details?”
“I don’t think I am.”
“Think again kid,” Stephen replied. “You need to give me all the details if you want to win your case. If you’ll hide anything from me, it would get difficult.”
“Well I am not deliberately hiding anything. But there’s a possibility that I might have forgotten something since it was too tragic.”
“I see, but anyway do you know what really matters here? What matters is how they plead?”
“They’ll plead not guilty most probably,” Benjamin’s father answered.
“Not necessarily. But yeah that’s the probability.”
“…But Mr. Stephen,” Benjamin said after a moment of silence, “we haven’t identified the criminal yet. So how are you going to send them the court’s notice?”
“Don’t worry about that? This number plate is enough. I’ll just send my men to go and find the owner of this vehicle. And when they do, I will just send you the pictures. And then you’ll have to tell me that whether or not I have the right person.”
“Oh I see. Well that’s easy… But what if it’s not him.”
“We can still file the case.”
“Alright it was nice meeting you Mr. Stephen,” Mr. Schimberg said after a moment.
They shook hands. Benjamin also shook hands with him and then stood up.
Two Days Later
Benjamin was sitting quite upset in his room when he heard his cellphone beep. He checked the WhatsApp message he just received. It was a picture of William Spacey sent by Advocate Stephen. Benjamin paid attention to the face but then realised that it wasn’t it.
“Sorry, this is not the face I remember,” he replied.
He kept his phone aside getting a little more depressed.
Then after several seconds, he heard his phone beep again. He checked the WhatsApp message. It was another picture sent by Stephen. As Benjamin clicked open the picture, he recognised the face at once.
It’s him. Yes, he was the one.
He felt so delighted that he dialed the lawyer’s number. After few rings, his call was answered by Stephen himself.
“It’s him sir. It’s definitely him.”
“Okay good. He is not the owner of the car but the son of the owner.”
“Oh, well so now that we have identified him, what’s next?”
“I’ll just send them a court notice.”
v v v
Few Days Later
William Spacey was shouting angrily at all his servants.
“I knew it. I knew this would happen. This court’s notice was inevitable.”
He picked the envelope from the table. “You guys are all responsible for this. I should have warned you idiots before. Never hand over the cars’ keys to Simeon, never?”
“Don’t worry sir,” Baron the servant said, “I have a suggestion.”
One Week Later
Inside the courtroom, Advocate Stephen and Benjamin were seated at the plaintiff’s table. Close to them, Simeon along with his father William and the defense attorney was seated at the defendant’s table. Benjamin’s father was seated behind them.
“So did you find out how they are going to plead?” he asked Stephen.
“No, I haven’t. But don’t worry. Today is just the first hearing. They will begin the actual trial after few days.”
Stephen turned and looked at the jury of twelve members. They all heard the bailiff’s voice:
Everyone in the courtroom stood up seeing the honourable judge enter. She was an old woman.
“Prosecutor you may present your case,” she said.
Stephen stood up and began his speech. Benjamin looked at Simeon’s face for a while. He seemed a bit odd and different than before. He also looked at the defense attorney’s face who was giving an expression of cunningness. Benjamin wondered:
This won’t be good. These people appear quite complicated to me.
Stephen after finishing his speech went back and sat next to his client.
“And how do the defendants plead?” the judge asked.
Stephen and Benjamin both looked at the defense table quite curiously.