#55 I, Isabel Scheherazade, finally figure out what to do; it isn’t spectacular; it won’t make headline news; it might not even make a difference; but at least it’s something. Something from nothing.
Ducks can seem calm on the surface, while underneath they’re paddling like crazy. That’s how I am during the back and forth with Mimi and Pop about the killer, um, this Mr. Smith and what law he’s broken.
At first I keep calm in my voice, but my heart and mind race.
Isabel: Mom and Dad are dead because this guy ran the light. They rolled down a hill! Over and over.
Mimi: Mr. Smith knows he’s guilty, but not criminally guilty.
Pop: He wasn’t speeding or drinking or doing drugs. Those are criminal actions.
Isabel: So how come the police don’t charge him with breaking the “I-killed-people-with-my-truck-but-I’m-not-a-criminal law?”
Pop: It’s called Plea Bargaining. Mr. Smith says he’ll plead guilty to a law that says it’s unlawful to drive CARELESSLY and cause a death.
Isabel: What if the two sides can’t agree on which law he’s broken?
Pop: Well, then there will be a trial.
Mimi: We don’t want a trial. And neither does Mr. Smith.
Isabel: But..but..but (I sound like one of those put-put cars from the olden days) But, I DO!!
Dad: Why, Isabel?
Isabel: ‘Cause–‘cause– I want to be a WITNESS. I want to tell the judge how that guy wrecked our lives.
Pop: You CAN communicate with the court.
(He talks like his words are eggs he’s placing on a table with no edges).
Pop: You can write a LETTER to the judge and tell him how you feel.
Isabel: And that will make a difference, Pop? (I sniff.) I don’t think so!
Pop: You’re wrong, Isabel. Anyone in our family can write to the judge, and what we say could influence the punishment.
I chew on my muffin and this morsel of information I hadn’t known.
Isabel: Okay, Pop. I’ll write a letter.
Pop and Mimi look at each other and sip their juice.
I scrape the last crumbs off the muffin wrapper and think, What a crumby idea.
–Isabel Scheherazade who in #13 found the Red Tailed Hawk feather in Beauty and the Beast and thought Dad was telling me to find and climb a tower in order to cure my heartsickness. I don’t know WHAT he’d say about a LETTER as a TOWER. Dad? (BTW I’m no longer like a duck; I’m not calm on the surface or paddling like mad. I’m just worn down and still.)