(The scene is set in a bijou photographers studio in a picturesque, rural location. Inside the photographer, Vik Russon, is preparing for a shoot with a client who hasn’t arrived yet. His assistant is out on an errand and due back in an hour. He opens a cupboard, smiles at the contents then closes it slowly. There’s a knock at the door and he shouts “Come right in!” A tall, distinguished gentleman in his sixties enters and walks over to shake the photographers hand. As they exchange pleasantries, the gent winces at the strong grip. The photographer ushers him over to his computer to show him examples of his style. They are both looking at the slide show, which is unseen by the viewer, and the gent begins to frown and then to be visibly shaken. The photographer whispers something into his ear and the gent stifles a tear as he sheepishly walks in front of the camera to begin the shoot. That sets the scene.)
Vik: David, you’re a bit stiff, you need to be more natural. People can relate to a natural look, it puts them at ease. Even the shark smiles just before the big bite (laugh)
David: (Through a heavy sigh) Of course! I’ll try to relax. It’s a long drive from the city and I’ve three high-profile cases to fight.
Vik: Please, David, call me Vik. My friends call me Black Russian. On account of my sense of humour.
(David stares at him wide-eyed then looks at his hands which are shaking)
David: I like that a lot. My friends call me…they call me…uh…oh…I-I can’t remember my nickname. My caseloads are huge. I’m a QC for the defence and I have to endure bare-faced lies every day.
Vik: Spot a liar can you?
David: You get a sense…but not everyone is on the radar…not everyone…(whispered) please let them go.
Vik: Now, David! We have a shoot to do and an image to maintain. You need to be dignified and restrained with little emotion on show. It’s all in the eyes…all in the eyes…(grins at David who begins to sob again)
David: I think I should wear my wig and gown, Vik. It should be formal
Vik: Or a formality? Some people shouldn’t be defended, should they? I mean, you read their charge and you are aware of the evidence and the case is open and shut. And then the bank opens and the dinner bell rings and all the fat hogs descend upon the trough. There’s handshakes and misdirection and then the foreman delivers the walking papers. In a blink of an eye…or a shutter click…the pigs are set free. Blind justice and the last cigarette before dodging the bullet.
David: But it is not always that clear-cut and circumstances change throughout a trial. It is the job of the prosecution to convince the court of guilt. If they can’t…? You must understand that!
Vik: I understand that you play god. Since I can’t get an answer from the man in the sky then you will have to do.
David: They’re my family…
Vik: What about my family? What about the justice for my family. My god says eye for an eye. That’s why I’ve invited a guest today. The woman you set free. A drunk, rich killer that is here to get what she was meant to get at sentencing.
(Vik goes to the cupboard and opens it hastily reaching inside and pulling out a bound and gagged woman. The woman is crying and shaking and, as he throws her in front of David, she screams pleas from beneath the gag.)
Vik: David, you remember Lorna McDougall. She mowed down Olivia Russon and her son, Vladimir at a zebra crossing and switched seats with her corrupt husband then drove away like it was nothing. You remember defending her and laying card after card on the table to confound the jury and finally ‘persuading’ the foreman to acquit.
The foreman died in a hit and run a week ago.
Driver never found…
David: Please, Vik, It wasn’t like that. Donald McDougall is a statesman and he appealed. It was out of my hands. Circumstantial is not concrete.
Vik: Your family want you to do the right thing, David. In fact, they’re counting on it. (Vik moves to the computer screen and turns it to face David. It is apparent why David is so upset. His family are bound and gagged together with an explosive device on a detonator. Vik picks up his phone and says “Siri, call bomb!” David shouts out as the device next to his family begins to count down. Vik speaks to his phone again “Siri, disengage!” The counter is stopped. Vik then opens his desk drawer and hands David a pistol. David stares at the gun and then looks at the terrified sobbing Lorna)
David: Vik, I urge you, don’t do this. Revenge is not the way. You can still stop this and we can leave and never speak of this. I know that you are angry and devastated but we have all suffered. Lorna is divorced and I have a tumour.
Vik: Shut up! What do you know of suffering, lawyer? What do you know of loss. What do you know about burying your future? I lost everything and had to pull this meagre living out of the ashes. Now, shoot her through the head and go home. The disarm code is 4235. If you shoot me, I’ll detonate and your future is in ashes. Shoot her now!
David: Please Vik, don’t…
David: (mouths to Lorna “I’m sorry” who screams under the gag) God forgive me…(David aims the gun at her head and pulls the trigger. Lorna flies backwards knocking over a light and spraying blood everywhere. David drops the gun and runs out of the studio, jumping into his car and driving away)
Vik: He’s gone, Lorna. You can get up now.
(Lorna stands and wipes the fake blood from her hair. She wraps her arms around Vik and gazes at the ring he bought her)
We sacrificed so much for our love and we are almost home free. A fresh start far away from it all. Well, we took care of your husband’s divorce lawyer. Now for the final act, to take care of your husband.
Original written work by Richard Bell
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