Catfish Defense

“I did it,” Jay grinned as he turned to face the jury. “And each waking second I think back, and wish that I could do it again. And again. I’d kill every single one of her Zeros too, given half a chance.”

“No further questions your honor,” the lawyer that convinced Jay to testify said with a broad smile.

“Defense…,” The bald, wrinkled judge nodded at the defense attorney, then at Jay on the stand. The attorney stood with a sheet of paper, he held it up for Jay.

“Does this look familiar, Mr. Torres?” Jay leaned forward and squinted for a moment, then nodded.

“Yeah, I filled one out before the trial,” he said. The attorney nodded, then handed the sheet to the bailiff to pass around the jury.  The attorney turned to address them as each one inspected it, then passed it to the next.

“You and every other character witness. It’s a simple questionnaire,” he explained. “Things like favorite foods, movies, and so on. Would you please tell the jury what your favorite food is?” he asked.

“Fried catfish,” Jay answered into the microphone.

“Fried catfish!” the defense said emphatically. “Did you know, out of everyone that answered those questions, you are the only one whose favorite meal is fried catfish. The rest of the respondents chose either pizza, Chinese, or fried chicken. What about your favorite book?”

“Objection!” the prosecutor stood. “What does this have to do with murder?”

“Counselor?” The judge looked at the defense with questioning eyes.

“Your Honor…,” the defense gestured at Jay, then the gathered character witnesses; a group sitting in their own section across from the jury. “This is impossibly new territory for all of us here,” he turned and gestured at the gathered camera crews filling up the back half of the courtroom. Everyone was interested in the first case where a person testified against themselves. “I feel the situation calls for a healthy amount of leeway.” The judge thought for a moment, then nodded.

“You have some leeway, counselor. Though, I recommend you don’t waste it all this one point.”

“Thank you, your Honor,” he turned back to Jay. “Favorite book?”

“The Bible,” Jay grinned.

“Which version?” Defense asked.

“Sharp Standardized Testament, of course.”

“Of course,” the defense attorney nodded. “However, again, you were the only one whose favorite book is the Bible. Any version.” At this, the defense turned to face the Jury. He pointed at the group of character witnesses.

“That group of men and women over there is just as diverse as this jury. Each one is an individual with their own likes and dislikes. Each one has their own mind and decision-making faculties. They may look alike. Gender aside, they are all arguably the same person as my client,” he turned and pointed at Keith sitting at the defense’s table. A mid-20s man in an ill-fitting suit. Jay on the witness stand looked like an older version of him. The group of character witnesses consisted of male and female variations of him at all ages.

“Just because one or a few of his Zeros murdered the same woman does not guarantee this Keith murdered her on this Earth. This one seems proud of it. He might be able to stomach murdering someone,” he pointed at Jay. “But my client can’t even stomach catfish.”

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