The shower wasn’t hot but it felt good. He washed quickly, wasting no time in getting clean. He knew he had only two minutes to shower. To wash the dirt, grime and soap from his body before the guards escorted him back to his cell for the night. It only required being pulled out of the shower once partially rinsed to make him cognizant of the time constraints imposed on him. Clean and rinsed he stepped from under the shower wrapping the small towel around his waist, tucking the edges in as best he could. He slid his feet into the flip-flop before raising his arms, placing his hands behind his head, and interlacing his fingers. He waited patiently for the guards to return.
The scrape of the lock in the door announced their arrival. His gaze remained on the floor. Something that went against every fibre of his being but he made sure he didn’t raise his eyes. The guards had shows him exactly what happened to prisoners that eyeballed them. The half dozen beatings he took were enough to make even him learn keeping his gaze on the floor was best.
The guards shackled his wrists and legs efficiently before pushing him forward out of the showers and down the hall to his cell. As he walked, one of the guards ripped the small towel from his waist, laughing the sight of him walking through population naked. He ignored the catcalls and whistles from the other prisoners as he was led to his small cell at the end of the prison block.
He waited patiently as he was unshackled before being shoved inside his cell. He did not attempt to turn or catch the towel as he waited for the guards to lock his cell and leave. He stood facing the barred window until he heard both guards move away from his cell and down the corridor. Only then did he pick up the small towel, hang it over the end of his bunk before climbing in naked. He pulled the rough cotton sheet and blanket over him, exhausted from the days labour and within minutes fell asleep, his dreams taking him home.
The next morning he dressed and ate his large breakfast quickly prior to the guards’ arrival. It would be the only meal he would get until evening. He assumed his standard position and once shackled followed the guards outside. He climbed into the truck quickly despite his shackled wrists and ankles, sat down on the floor bed of the truck with two guards flanking either side of him and waited to see where today would take him. It would either be the marble quarry to move stone or to one of the area farms to work. Either place would mean twelve hours of hard physical labour before returning to jail. Something he was familiar with growing up and had become quite used to in the past sixteen weeks.
Harv Smithfield walked into the small county courthouse and walked out forty-five minutes later completely disgusted. This was going to be a bit harder than he had originally thought-hard but not impossible. He immediately began making a mental list of all the calls he would need to make as he drove to his hotel. The first phone call would be to Southfork and the family. They would need to know what they were facing.
It wasn’t good.
In fact, it was worse than they originally thought.
But for all of J.R.’s faults and peccadilloes Harv knew John Ross Ewing, Junior was not a rapist- a bastard and a son of a bitch…YES… a rapist, NO! All Harv and Scotty had to do was prove the allegations were false and J.R. Ewing would be a free man.
Harv just hoped the sayin’ was as easy as the doin’.
The court had come to order. This was the sixth day of the trial. The prosecution was determined to paint J.R. Ewing as the devil- evil incarnate and while most in Dallas would agree that J.R. could give Lucifer a run for his money on a good day, he was not evil incarnate.
Scotty watched the prosecution try to browbeat Cally Harper, the alleged victim. Scotty was surprised when he discovered that it had not been Cally but her brothers who had brought up the charges against J.R. In fact, Cally vehemently denied that any sexual intercourse, consensual or otherwise had taken place between her and J.R.
“Miss Harper, do you expect the court to believe that you and Mister Ewing, a man whose reputation as a womanizer…,” began the prosecuting attorney.
“Objection, Your Honour. Mister Ewing’s reputation is not on trial here,” said Scotty.
“Sustained. Rephrase your question counsellor,” replied the judge.
“Yes, Your Honour. Miss Harper,” the prosecutor began, “you say Mister Ewing and yourself spent the entire night talking. If all you did was talk then please explain to the court why your brothers found you in his room and in his bed, with no clothes on the following morning?” asked the prosecutor.
“We fell asleep while talking. My shirt was off but I still wore my t...,” Cally said before the prosecution interrupted.
“Your shirt was off?” interrupted the prosecution.
“Yes but my t…,” Cally tried to add.
The prosecution interrupted her again. “Was your shirt off or on?”
Cally didn’t answer immediately.
“Miss Harper…was your shirt off or on?” asked the prosecution again. “Miss Harper…answer the question. Was your shirt off or on?” he reiterated forcibly.
“Off,” Cally answered softly.
“No more questions, Your Honour,” the prosecution said smirking at J.R., Harv and Scotty as he retook his seat.
Scotty stood and walked over to stand in front of the young woman. “Miss Harper, what did you and the defendant Mister Ewing talk about all night?” he asked gently.
“Everything,” answered Cally.
“Everything Miss Harper?” asked Scotty. “Can you be more specific?”
“Objection…relevance,” said the prosecution.
“Your Honour, Miss Harper claims she and the defendant talked all night. I am simply trying to establish what they spoke about,” Scotty explained. Scotty knew it was a gamble but he hoped the judge was as tired of the prosecutions antics as he was.
“Overruled,” she proclaimed. “Continue your line of questioning Mr. Demarest.”
“Thank you Your Honour,” replied Scotty. Turning back to Cally Scotty asked again, “What exactly did you talk about?”
Cally smiled remembering the enjoyable conversation with J.R. Scotty fought the smile that threatened to break out. Cally’s reaction was perfect for the jury to see. “Family…friends. Favourite memories. Places he’s been too…people he has met.”
“You say he spoke of family. Anyone specific?’ asked Scotty.
“Oh yes,” replied Cally smiling. “He spoke about his mama, Miss Ellie and how his daddy and her met and married. He spoke of his daddy, Jock Ewing and his brothers Bobby and Gary. He talked of how they used to play football on the front lawn and how one time when he was about fourteen his mama had made brownies for some to do at the ranch but wouldn’t let him and his brothers have any. Bobby, that is his youngest brother, was only four and really wanted a brownie. So J.R. snuck into the kitchen and took four brownies.”
“Four? Why four?” asked Scotty.
“He said he took four so Bobby could have two since he really liked chocolate,” replied Cally.
“And did he get caught?”
“Not immediately. But his mama caught him eating his brownie outside the barn…he made Bobby and Gary eat theirs inside the barn so they wouldn’t get caught,” said Cally. “He said his mama took a switch to him and when his daddy got home he was grounded for two weeks…but he said he didn’t mind… his brothers…especially Bobby enjoyed the brownies.”
Scotty smiled in response to the soft laughter from the jury. “Did he talk about anyone else?”
“Yes,” answered Cally. “His wife and his son.”
“He talked about his wife while lying in bed with you?” asked Scotty, surprised.
“He was lying on the bed. I was sitting up against the headboard,” explained Cally. “It was the only place to sit other than the floor,” added Cally.
Scotty walked and stood in front of the jury box. He turned back to Cally and asked, “What did he tell you about his wife?”
Cally looked over at J.R. and smiled softly remembering how J.R. sounded as he spoke about Sue Ellen. “He told me how they met. How he was a guest judge at the Miss Texas contest and how he knew she was the woman he wanted to marry as soon as he saw her.”
“Because she was beautiful? Worthy?” asked Scotty, recalling all the stories as to why J.R. really married Sue Ellen.
“No… he said there was something about her, something different. She was beautiful but it was more than just physical beauty. He said he fell in love with her on sight. Unfortunately, she didn’t seem to like him when they met or so he said. He told me it took him weeks before she finally agreed to have dinner with him. And took him two years to get her to marry him.”
“And did he tell you he had a good marriage?” asked Scotty. He was taking another gamble, he knew what the J.R. Ewing’s marriage was like and hoped the gut feeling he had would pay off.
“No... their marriage wasn’t good,” Cally said. A loud indrawn hiss could be heard behind the defendant. Scotty didn’t even have to look to see who made such a sound. He knew it had been Sue Ellen.
“But not because of his wife Sue Ellen,” Cally explained quickly. “J.R. said it was his fault that their marriage wasn’t good. He knows he is to blame for her alcoholism and all of her affairs. If he hadn’t treated her as he did or had countless affairs she wouldn’t have needed to drink or find solace with someone else.”
“Is that all he said?”
“No,” answered Cally. “He said she is a great mom... a far better parent than he could ever be and it is only because of her that he had any sort of relationship with his son.”
Scotty allowed the jury to digest that piece of information before he asked his next question. “Miss Harper, you and the defendant fell asleep while talking, correct?”
Scotty faced the jury. “Were you dressed?’ he asked.
“Well…yes,” answered Cally.
Scotty turned to face Cally. “Explain please,” he asked.
“J.R. had his boots and socks off along with his shirt. He had a t-shirt and jeans on. I had my top shirt off and I was wearing my t-shirt and jeans. It was a bit warm in the room and we had the windows opened. He had closed the door because the screen door had a hole in it and bugs kept flying into the room.”
Scotty turned back to the jury. “So at no time were you or Mister Ewing nude?”
“No…not at all,” Cally said strongly.
“Thank you Miss Harper. No more questions Your Honour,” said Scotty walking back to his seat.
Today was the day. Today was the day J.R. took the stand. Harv and Scotty just hoped their plan didn’t backfire. J.R. had no idea of the plan and its success hinged on his honest reactions.
Harv questioned the Harper brothers while Scotty sat back and enjoyed the older man’s style. By the time Harv was finished with the brothers there was no doubt of both men’s greed. They saw J.R. Ewing and their sister as a means to an end. It wouldn’t surprise Scotty when this trial ended and J.R. acquitted that both Harper brothers didn’t find themselves facing numerous charges of their own.
Harv returned to his seat.
John Ross Ewing, Junior was called to the stand and the real trial began.
J.R. glared at Scotty and the judge. He couldn’t believe they were asking him to do this.
“Mr. Ewing, please stand and remove your jacket and shirt. Or I will have the guards to it for you,’ said Judge Esposito. She didn’t know what the Ewing defence team had in mind but she was sure it had something to do with certain guards at the county jail. And if it did, then it would be her pleasure to bring charges against every single one of those jackasses. Judge Esposito watched as Mister Ewing stood and removed his jacket then unbuttoned his shirt before turning around and presenting his back to the jury.
The shock and surprise that filled the courtroom died down as Judge Esposito brought the courtroom back to order.
During the course of the trial, Sue Ellen had noticed how much weight J.R. had lost and how fit he seemed to be. But she hadn’t realized to what extent until he removed his shirt. His arms, chest and back were well-toned and defined. J.R. had always been a good-looking, attractive well-built man. Her favourite part of him after his eyes was his chest and biceps but now with the added muscle definition from his enforced labour Sue Ellen found herself looking forward to being held in his arms. She shook her head at the image of him holding her up against the door of their Southfork bedroom.
“These whip marks on your back are the result of a beating, correct Mr. Ewing?” asked Scotty.
“Yes,” J.R. answered sitting down fuming and shirtless.
“Why were you beaten? Was it because of a rule infraction?”
“No,” answered J.R. “I was beaten because I wouldn’t admit to raping Cally Harper. Her brothers paid the guards to try to convince me to admit to the rape. I refused… so they whipped me.”
“Objection,” cried the prosecution.
“Overruled,” replied Judge Esposito. “And counsellor you are still on notice concerning your antics earlier. Don’t make me find you in contempt,” she warned.
The prosecution sat down. As the defence continued to question Ewing, the prosecutor knew his case was lost. He just hoped his freedom wasn’t also.
“Have a safe trip J.R.” Cally said as she reached up and kissed his cheek.
“Thank you Cally,” said J.R. “Remember what I said, if you ever come to Dallas give me a call,” he added kissing her cheek in return. “Good luck with school and if you ever need anything…,” he said.
“I’ll call. I promise,” she said as she opened the driver side door and closed it after he got in. “Now git…your family is waitin’ and J.R….”
“Yes?” he said.
“Don’t screw this chance up. You might not get another,” Cally said softly. She moved away from the car. J.R. nodded and pulled away from the curb, waving as he drove off.
Cally waved back. “Good luck and god speed cowboy,” she whispered before heading into the house, her future set.