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» Hatrack River Forum » Intergalactic Medicine Show » Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show » Rights and Wrongs, by Brian K. Lowe

Author Topic: Rights and Wrongs, by Brian K. Lowe
Scott R
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"Tell me again who I pissed off to get this job?" Carefully unwrapping my roast beef on wheat, I used the paper as a holder to keep mustard off of my lap.

"I thought you wanted the job," Rusty said. "I thought you were taking it as some kind of personal challenge." Russ Becker and I ate lunch together almost every day. "Rusty" was another assistant district attorney, and we'd bonded over a mutual disdain for other lawyers. Things being what they were, though, sometimes we got drafted to work the other side, and I'd drawn the short straw here, with Rusty as my prosecutor.

"Hell, no, I didn't want it! The Jan'i killed my parents, Rusty. I had to break into their house and find them on the floor, blood coming out of their ears. I couldn't even bury them; they had to burn down the house with them still inside." I stopped to pull myself together. "This is somebody's idea of payback, probably Bertoli. She's still mad at me because she thinks I screwed up the Andelson case."

"All right," he said. "What's done is done. But she's doing you a favor here. Nobody expects you to win this one; heck, nobody wants you to win this one. The only reason the alien's even getting a trial is because the administration wants to make this look like a regular murder instead of another terror attack. It's not like we're pushing for human rights for non-humans here. You sit next to him, I present my case, the judge finds him guilty. They'll be strapping him down for an injection before we can find an open bar."

"Wait a second," I said, putting up a hand. "Are you saying I should throw over the defense? Just phone it in?"

"No! No. I'm saying it's not going to hurt you when you lose. You take one for the team, Bertoli leaves you alone."

"Good. Because I'm going to give that alien son of a bitch the best defense I know how. You're going to have to work to convict. And when you do, and they strap him down and put those needles in him --

-- then we can have that beer."

Brian Lowe is a graduate of the UCLA Creative Writing program living in Southern California. He has a day job in a law office where he spends most of his time denying that he is a lawyer, or ever considered being one. "Rights and Wrongs" is his 15th published story. A complete list of his work, along with his rambling and sometimes odd insights into writing and the literary life, may be found at www.brianklowe.wordpress.com.
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Scott R
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From the Story Behind the Story:

Sometimes when you speculate about the near future, events will overtake your story and render it irrelevant. So if you're going to write a story about the near future, write it fast.

"Rights and Wrongs," on the other hand, took five years. It startedrights-and-wrongs 9000 feet high in the New Mexico mountains, at the 2008 Taos Toolbox workshop, where Walter Jon Williams gave me some of the most valuable advice I've ever gotten: "Write what you care about."

What did I care about? I cared about being a writer. Why else was I spending two weeks at a ski lodge so high in the air it took two days before I could walk to my car in the parking lot? But stories about writers are a dime a dozen, so what else did I care about?

Read the whole story!
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