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Gag Order – Installment 12 – Court Steps are not a Soapbox

The brisk morning sun cut through the tiny glass window and flooded the pantry with a subdued warmth. Staff was reporting to work and the bullpen outside stirred to life.

Krasten and Wilona were making their morning drinks when Jeevan appeared and slapped a tabloid newspaper on the table.

‘Was that really necessary?’ asked Jeevan.

There was a spread on the rape case and with Bastien Tee’s face prominently featured on the page. Yolanda Ang’s name was on the by-line.

‘What she needs is a padded room and a straitjacket!’ said Krasten. He sipped his coffee and made a face. He added more sugar to his drink. ‘Can you not get some decent coffee?’

‘Try Starbucks,’ said Jeevan.

‘You would like that, wouldn’t you, so you can save on your coffee,’ said Krasten.

‘How far back do you two go?’ Wilona asked.

‘Don’t you remember, I started here after you,’ said Krasten.

‘She meant you and this Yolanda woman,’ said Jeevan with some mild exasperation. He capped the sugar bottle and took possession of the candy jar.

‘I represented her on some legal matter,’ said Krasten.

‘They were an item when he first got here,’ said Jeevan. ‘You know, white guy running wild and playing the sarong-party-girl field.’

‘We were never an item.’

‘And you remember all the women you ever dated?’

‘I would have remembered her!’ said Krasten, and he turned on Wilona. ‘What are you smiling at?’ And back to Jeevan. ‘Now, can we get back to the case?’

‘She’s gone to town with this. And also posted an on-line article,’ said Jeevan.

‘15,000 hits overnight and counting,’ said Wilona. She tasted her coffee and grimaced.

‘You too?’ asked Jeevan.

‘Yeah, you too?’ added Krasten.

‘I meant, she made a face at my new coffee,’ said Jeevan.

‘And I meant, you too, like you too read the crap Yolanda passes off as journalism!’ said Krasten. ‘And she’s right, the coffee is crap too.’

‘That foul-mouthed woman’s got a large following, Krassi. You should have been more careful before shooting off your mouth. The more controversy, the more eyeballs, the more revenue for her. You know how it works,’ said Jeevan. ‘And what do you mean my coffee is crap? I got a good deal on this.’

‘Good deal? What’s that, a euphemism for crap?’ said Krasten. ‘And give me that candy jar. ‘ He grabbed the jar from Jeevan’s hand.

‘Use your mouth, you make her happy,’ said Wilona.

‘What do you mean shooting off my mouth, what did I say?’ Then, he turned to Wilona and said, ‘What did you just say?’

‘Don’t you remember?’ asked Jeevan.

‘I know what she said, I want to know what she meant,’ said Krasten, his attention on Wilona. And she gave him a naughty smile.

‘I meant the press, don’t you remember what you told them?’ asked Jeevan.

‘Not all of it.’

‘Well, Yabba-Yabba Yolanda filled in the blanks for you,’ said Jeevan.

Wilona choked on her coffee and, dabbing her lips, she smiled.

‘What if Bastien is innocent?’ said Krasten.

‘So he is innocent! The court steps are not a soapbox.’

‘I’m doing what’s best for our client,’ said Krasten.

‘Just stick to our norms, our practices. We do some strange things here, I admit, but they work for Singapore. Leave things as they are,’ said Jeevan.

‘That’s right, let’s put evolution on hold,’ said Krasten.

Zinnia appeared and that tensed Wilona.

‘Mr. Bronn, Mr. Joe Bernard here to see you,’ said Zinnia.

Krasten dipped into the candy jar and made a show of pulling out and sticking a candy stick in his mouth. He brushed past Zinnia but she did not shift, relishing his closeness. Wilona noticed with some annoyance. But not Jeevan. He was busy screwing the cap on the candy jar.

*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2017 ***

*** Continuation Saturday, July 22 ***