This article is a work of fiction. So far.
Reggie eyeballed the clamp he selected, trying to visualize whether it would make the right fit to repair the latch to the console of his truck, when he heard the man standing in line in front of him guffaw at his smartphone. Tap, tap, tap, and the FBI seal disappeared from the home screen as the suited man texted the source of his amusement in a font large enough for Reggie to read from his vantage point. Reggie could read the man’s name from his FBI ID badge: “Peter.”
“Trump’s supporters are all poor to middle class, uneducated, lazy POS that think he will magically grant them jobs for doing nothing.” The person on the other end of the text conversation responded. Peter nodded his head unconsciously as he wrote back, “Hey, I can get some tickets from that reporter if you’re still available this weekend?”
“Does that mean we’ll need to give her some tidbits between innings?” The other party responded.
“Everyone does it, even the deputy leaks.” Peter wrote back.
Reggie shifted uncomfortably as he watched the cashier scan Peter’s purchases. Was he supposed to be seeing these texts? Peter turned to make eye contact with Reggie, seeing that he had been caught. Peter gave Reggie a non-verbal look of dismissal as if to say, “So? What are you going to do about it?”
Reggie decided to wait until his next stop before gluing and clamping the latch. The glue could dry while the truck was parked for the day. American hands had used steel to fabricate the same latch in his father’s truck decades ago, instead of the imported cast plastic from Mexico in his truck. He continued gluing and patching together the truck, which did double duty as his personal truck and the work vehicle for his nascent HVAC repair business. His wife’s catering business would need a new van this year, so it was her turn next at the used car lot.
At the courthouse, Peter guided his Acura into the reserved parking. He jauntily bypassed the line at the metal detector with a flash of his badge, and quietly slipped into courtroom. Jury selection was already in progress.
“Director, what an honor to have you come for our jury selection!” Peter whispered, greeting the boss from on high.
“Glad to see my agent in court. When do you go on?” the director asked.
“Tomorrow morning after opening statements. How is the public relations response going?” Peter responded.
“There’s no shortage of opinions about us out there. I will tell you that the opinions I care the most about are the opinions of the people who actually know us, and know us through our work. So I’m focused on what the juries think when our agents take the stand,” said the director.
“Speaking of which, the defense is starting his voir dire,” Peter said, hoping he didn’t cause offense by implying it was time to pipe down.
“Ladies and gentleman of the jury, one or more federal agents may testify in this case. Do you members of the jury panel understand that the testimony of a law enforcement officer is not to be given any more credit or believability than that of any other witness, including the defendant, simply because he or she is an FBI agent?” the defense attorney boomed in his stage voice.
“I look at how our recruiting is doing,” the director continued, answering Peter’s question in a lowered voice, “I look at how our retention is doing. We get about 12,000 plus people for example trying to be special agents every year, our admission rate, 5 percent, that’s better than the admission rate at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or Stanford.”
From the bench, the presiding judge silenced the director with a harsh look. If he could hear the director’s whispers from the bench, then the whole courtroom could too.
“Is there any member of the jury panel who would not be able to listen to the testimony of an FBI agent and be fair to both the prosecution and the defendants? Or be more likely or less likely to believe the testimony of a law enforcement officer solely because of the officer’s position?” It was the prosecution’s turn to voir dire the jury.
“Sir, prospective juror number 34?” the judge asked, referring to a chart on his bench.
“Why is that guy staring at you?” the director asked Peter.
Peter turned to see a familiar looking man standing in the jury box. The name patch on his overalls read “Reggie.”
“Can you please remove your hat while court is in session?” the judge asked.
Reggie removed his MAGA hat and returned to his seat, never taking his eyes off Peter.
The director sat up in his bed with a jolt, awaking from the nightmare.