Clipboard, Slater, and Brooks sat at one side of the conference table. Court had been going quickly that night: two curfew violations, three fence violations, one robbery, four brawls, and one indecent exposure, which had been dismissed as a simple misunderstanding. They were waiting for the last five cases, who would be tried all at once for what Brooks called Kreznerkrime, urination or defecation outside a latrine. Those five would each get six hours of community service for their crime against public health–and were the most likely to be defended by Schick.
“You know, it’s funny. With all these Monday night court cases, we’ve never had a single accusation of rape or sexual assault,” said Slater. “Maybe this outbreak has been bringing out the best in people.”
“Give it time,” replied Brooks. “People will never change. Men will never change. Trust me.”
They both looked at Clipboard, whose face registered a momentary flash of discomfort before an instant return to his normal unperturbed placidity. Most people would not have noticed. Slater and Brooks were expert poker players.
He noticed they were staring at him. He cleared his throat and quietly said, “I don’t think that we’re going to have a problem with rape in the Zone.”
“I told some guys in Corpse Corps the story of Oneball Johnson.”
“The guy who did rape someone back in the earliest days of the Zone.”
“The guy whose left ball you crushed with your plumber’s wrench.”
“Yeah. Old Oneball. After that, he was a marked man. None of the women in the Zone would sleep with him–word travels fast, especially among pissed-off women. Everyone knows that. He got taken by a mob of zombies soon after that. Some people say the girl’s brother was in his squad. Whatever. Makes no difference. He’s long gone now. But his legend lives on.”
“One ball? Why not both?”
“Oh, there are plenty of reasons, they say. Maybe the first one’s a warning. Maybe it’s in case we need the breeding stock. Maybe it’s because a guy gets most of the testosterone he needs. He can live. He just isn’t real happy about it. But I did add that in order not to be cruel about it, you let him pick which one he could keep. Legend has it that he chose the right one.”
“But why isn’t Schick screaming about cruel and unusual punishment? Or why doesn’t anyone figure out that the story is a complete lie? Oneball Johnson? Could you have been any more obvious?”
“C’mon. Not even Schick would defend a rapist, and besides, does it matter if it’s obvious? Do you think any guy in the Zone will be the one to risk that the story’s fiction? We probably have the safest red light district in America right now. Why mess with a good thing?”
Slater laughed. “Save your wrench for Zack, Bernie. I don’t think that we’re ever going to have to deal with it. Unlike these five pissers and their crappy attorney.”
Schick walked in, his five defecators and urinators in tow. As he started to yammer on about discrimination, due process, and witness impeachment, Brooks ran her fingers along the two parallel jaws of her wrench. “Just give me cause, buddy,” she thought to herself. “If you so much as looks cross-eyed at a girl at the baggage claim, you’ll be defending your clients while singing soprano.”
The thought made her smile to herself before she told him to stuff it and summarily sentenced his clients to their six hours (to be served before next Monday) before pounding her wrench on the table twice to finalize the sentence and adjourn court for another week.