Fight for Justice

“I’m motivated more by ensuring his failure than my success,” Bhavin Patel said. The beer in front of him, his fourth, sloshed over the sides of the glass as he slammed it down on the bar for emphasis.

“He deserves nothing but scorn, contempt, and disdain. I’ll give him all I’ve got.”

Quality Abrazo, Bhavin’s friend since high school, sat with a bemused expression suggesting he enjoyed the rant, as Bhavin continued.

“If murder were legal—even if it were illegal but the penalties were something I could live with—I’d kill him. Or I might hire it done. It would be a public service.”

Quality glanced around the room before he responded. “If you want to win the race, you probably shouldn’t talk about having your opponent killed. At least not in public.”

The only other person in the bar who could have heard the conversation was Crutcher, the bartender, who stood at the other end of the bar, fiddling with the glass washer. The few other patrons who were in the bar when Bhavin and Quality entered had long since left.

“Okay, you’re my campaign manager, so I guess I better listen to you. It’s the beer talking, you know? I’m probably not doing myself any favors over-imbibing, either. What’s say we blow this pop-stand?”

Quality nodded his approval. He slid a five dollar bill across the bar where Crutcher would see the tip when he finished washing his glasses.

“See you later, Crutcher. We’re outta here.” Quality turned toward the exit.

Bhavin slid off the bar stool and followed him.

Bhavin entered the race for district attorney at the last minute, just before the filing deadline, the sole challenger to Duncan Speck. Speck had served as district attorney for ten years and had a deserved reputation as a harsh crime fighter. He sought and achieved convictions and long sentences on cases he prosecuted, no matter the crime. He was as hard on a college student convicted of possession of marijuana as he was on a serial child molester.

Speck made a single public comment about Bhavin when a reporter asked what he thought about his challenger. “Mr. Patel has nine years’ experience as an attorney.  I spent twenty years practicing law before becoming district attorney ten years ago. It’s up to the voters to decide which of the two of us they want representing their interests.”

When Bhavin told Quality that he intended to enter the race, Quality offered his support.

“You gotta know from the start that you’re at a serious disadvantage. You’re a thirty-five year old guy with brown skin and a funny name going up against an old white guy with lots more experience. You live in a conservative city. But if you’re committed, I’ll do everything I can to help, Bhavin.”

“I know it won’t be easy. But somebody has to take this guy on. And I think I can get people to look beyond my name and skin color. And there are a lot of conservative people with sons and daughters in jail for weed. I think I can do it if you’ll agree to be my campaign manager.”

“Of course I will. Let’s start by talking about how you’re going to deal with the inevitable question. ‘Are you in this race because Speck prosecuted your sister?’ You know that’s going to come up.”

Though he knew the issue would come up, the fact that Quality mentioned it right away surprised Bhavin. It stung that his friend mentioned it. He knew it would sting even more when reporters would bring it up later.

[Just playing with dialogue and setting. The real story is brewing.]

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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