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    raminaesilva: THE JUDGES

    The court structure outstood among the other buildings. Its marble staircases , its gigantic gateway, its decorated windows, everything seemed to be made in order to impress the people. At the entrance, the enormous statue of Themis, the Goddess of Justice, blindfolded and holding a set of scales, allegorical personification of the moral force that presumable underlies the judgments, called the attention of everybody that passed by the building. Women could not come into the building dressed in trousers but only with circumspect gowns. They could not wear scandalous necklines, and they should cover their knees. Bared midriff was insufferable The lawyers should wear coats and ties. The litigants could not come in wearing slippers, shorts or shirts. The judges required that people should be dressed adequately in order to combine their dressings with the importance of that house of law. In here you breathed solemnity and respect.

    One of the more impressive of its rooms was the one destined for the collective judgment. It was the plenary tribunal. Here the panel of judges of the Highest Court would give the final word about appeals that came from the lower instances. There was a circular room in an upper level with walnut in wrought tables where now there were twelve judges in their white wigs and black togas, lose draped garments decorated with red ribbons. They were here to decide about the destiny of the culprit.

    The culprit was there, seated in the middle of the room in a little stool. It was the Giant Rat of the Sewer, an enormous rodent two meters tall and with a tail more than four meter long. The offender was handcuffed and two guards took care of him, in their irreproachable uniforms. They were equipped with weapons that sparkled with cleanliness. Everything was perfect.

    His Excellency, the President of the Tribunal, started the trial, not before making a brief of the honorable history of the court, and invited the lawyers to the bench.

    The debates, although sometimes heated, never became disconnected of the high level that deserved that illustrious Court of Justice. Everybody was treated with deference. During the whole trial you could hear “Your Excellency”, “Noble lawyer of the defense” , “Meritorious Accuser”, and plenty other respectful palliatives.

    Finally, after hours of discussion, solemnly everybody got up in order to listen to the verdict. Unanimously the illustrious members of the Court decided. They concluded that really the culprit was a Giant Rat of the Sewer, by the evidence of his pelage, his fetid scent and mainly, an argument that nobody could refute, his four meter tail. Yes, the pelage could be sheared. The horrid smell could be softened with bath and perfume. But how could the town accept someone with four meter tail moving around up and down, destroying the gardens, bothering the citizens, disturbing the traffic? It was a nuisance and a terrible danger, mainly for the children. At that argument, from de public attorney, nobody could reply. The Giant Rat of the Sewer`s advocate gave up. A gloomy silence pervaded through all the room. You could listen people murmuring:- “Yeah, four meter tail… that’s too much, the argument is irrefutable”…

    So, eventually, the Giant Rat of the Sewer was condemned to death. The dignified community could not tolerate such a repulsive creature living among them.

    His Excellency, The President of the Tribunal, praised the elegant manners, the courteous behavior of the honorable representatives for the accusation and defense, and closed the section.

    At the Tribunal`s exit, when going through the door, in a cue, one after the other, walking slowly and ceremonially, between the Illustrious members of the judicature there had to be a minimum distance of four meters.

    It was the size or their respective tails, that stretched tallowy, under and beyond their long, elegant and distinguished garments.

    At the front of the Court, among the multitude that anxiously waited for the end of the judgment, there was a little boy, holding his mother`s hand and licking a lollipop. He looked at the huge statue of Themis, the Goddess of Justice and naively asked:- “Mammy, if she is blindfolded, how can she tell which of the pans weights more?”

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