They Came in Pairs II

The Uniforms asked for a table to work at, so we made our way, in a slow procession, to the kitchen. I wondered if the bare walls and minimal furniture would seem suspicious to them, given my ‘unique position’. It would have seemed suspicious to me.


According to whispers, a lot of people sold up before they disappeared, or joined the resistance or whatever else the whispers called it. They would write long, winding letters, ceremoniously pay off debts, delete profiles, close accounts, return all their library books. According to whispers, it was all so romantic, so noble. Only the brave would have the willpower to kiss their children one last time. To give their lovers long, lingering looks that could turn ‘bereft’ into ‘proud’.

But I know those whispers are not true. People would just walk out of the door and not come back. Leave a lot of things behind and not come back. Leave everything behind; their family, their friends, their jobs, their soon to be spouses and not come back.


In the kitchen, The One I Did Not Know set himself up at the table, pulling out tools for my submission from his many pockets as I sat opposite, waiting to be probed. The One I Did Know stood behind him at the counter. This did not seem like protocol. Granted every spot check I’d had in the past was in the company of others, but we would be expected to stand while the Uniforms examined us.  I didn’t believe he was doing it to be vigilant. I could tell from the way he would not meet my eyes that he was nervous. Or was it shame? He must have met a lot of old friends along his travels. How many had he sent in for ‘rehabilitation’? It had to be shame he was feeling. To stand in a spot you’d stood in so many times before, laughed and joked before, but now as a bagman could only fill you with shame. But was it the shame of his past or shis present?

The One I Did Not Know produced a cotton swab from his pocket.

Open up.

Aren’t you supposed to ask me if I consent to you taking a DNA sample?

Well, really. I thought we were past all that.

Past the law?

The One I Did Not Know smiled a tight smile. The One I Did Know shook his head quickly.

When you invited us in, I took that as a willingness to be compliant. Don’t ruin it now.

I didn’t say I wasn’t going to do it, I’m just saying, why not do it properly?

You a stickler for rules?

As he asked he leaned in, his head cocked to the side.

When they involve me.

I like that. 

He took hold of my chin and tilted it towards him.

I bet you run a very tight ship around here.

Behind him, The One I Knew braced, and I knew it was because The One I Did Not Know was not talking about my home.


For the longest time, I had no idea what was happening. I’d been there that night, I’d seen him, I’d spoken to him, but none of it made sense. I went over it and over it in my head.

He said he was going on a work trip. Last minute. Had to leave right away.

I knew something was off, given the way he was packing.  He was usually so careful. Even when he was stressed, he had this level-headed control about him- It was one of the things I loved about him. But that night, he rushed from room to room, tucking things under his arm, such random things too. He picked up the first bag he saw, an old laundry bag we had from when the washing machine broke down and we had to ferry our dirty clothes up and down the high street. It was covered in dust and one of the arms was torn. He didn’t even notice, just shoved his things inside.

And there was nothing I could do. He said he had to go, and I trusted him. I had no reason not to trust him. So I just stood aside and watched him.

When are you going to be back?

I don’t know. Could be a couple of days, could be more. 

He turned to me then. Looked me right in the eyes.

I’ll call you. 

Call me. Call me? We never called each other. We’d never left each other’s side long enough to warrant a call. Even when he was at work we were constantly in contact. One time, he forgot his keys and I was asleep so I didn’t hear him knocking. Instead of calling me, he climbed next door’s fence and broke a window.

It was all so wrong but I just didn’t think- I had no reason to think he wouldn’t come back.

I had no idea everything he’d told me about himself up until that point was a lie.


I didn’t like the way The One I Did Not Know gripped my jaw. I didn’t like the way he lingered with the cotton swab. I didn’t like how far into my mouth he reached with it. I didn’t like the way he stared into my eyes as he did it. I didn’t like the way The One I Did Know was shifting about from one leg to the other like he was standing on hot coals. Like he had something he wanted to say or do, but couldn’t. And I did not like the fact that I was alone with these men and they had all the power.

I could feel all the hairs on my body rise. This was not the time or the place, but when you feel threatened your body reacts involuntarily. They call it fight or flight. And my body fought in a way that made me a threat, that earned me the tags that broadcast to the world that I was not like everyone else. If this was a test then I was about to fail it.

I tried my best to stay calm. Tried to remember all the letters of the greek alphabet, to tap out the national anthem in morse code with my feet. I clenched my fists, digging my nails into my palms and tried to focus on-

Oh, of course.

Now it made sense.

The Neighbour. Why I was so focussed on the Neighbour.

The Neighbour was-

Holy shit, who was he?

 


I called him every day that week. No answer.

After that, I called his mum. She had no idea where he was.

After that, I called his workplace. No one knew what I was talking about. Worse still they didn’t know who I was talking about.

After that everything merged into one long, terrible blur. I know that I called him a lot. I know that I cried a lot. I know that his sisters came round. I know that his mother asked for the engagement ring back. I know that, all the while, The Neighbour would come out into his garden and smoke a cigarette at the same time I would go outside to smoke a cigarette. Every day, without fail, we would stand facing each other, without saying a word.

By the time I started looking through his stuff, I wasn’t upset anymore. I was angry. I know that when I’m angry, I give off pulses. People like me, it’s how we can sense each other, warn each other before we snap.

So while all of that was happening, while I tore through folders, and spent hours trying to guess passwords, and searched name after name, The Neighbour knew what I was. He was spying on me. He had ratted me out.


Almost done here. Just need to make sure you don’t have any illegal devices in the house. Do you have anything to declare?

No.

Well then, this should be nice and quick.

It was the way he said it. It was the way he smiled. I’d been in situations like this before, situations where something was going on that I was somehow not a part of but also the main event for. The One I Did Not know stood up and stretched.

Care to show me around?

It’s not a big place, I’m sure the two of you can figure it out.

But it’d be quicker if you came with me. Make sure I can get into everything.

I looked at The One I Did Know. He swallowed but didn’t say anything, wouldn’t look at me. I’d seen him like this once before. When he’d stood on the steps of my parent’s house and told me that his mum had died, and he didn’t have any shoes on. I knew I was going to have to go with the other one. And I knew if he tried anything, I would have to defend myself. I unclenched my fist.

Fine.

Lovely.

 

I drew back my chair slowly.

I really don’t suggest we split up.

The One I Did Know spat it out as though he were yelling after someone who was about to go over a cliff. It wasn’t clear which one of us he was warning, though. His partner turned around, a little irritated.

Why not?

Well, she- Have you checked her clearance level?

Are you worried I won’t be able to take her? I’ve had worse.

We have to check it. It’s protocol. I can’t risk her- can’t risk you getting into danger.

His eyes darted between us. He was stalling.

Make it quick.

The One I Did Not Know stood over me while we waited, looking me up and down. The One I Did Know fumbled with his scanner. His partner grew impatient.

What’s taking so long?

It’s not working.

What do you mean?

The Scanner. Hold on. Maybe if I change the batteries.

His hands were shaking. It should have made me feel better that he was trying to help, but it didn’t. Seeing how nervous he was, how angry his partner was getting, was only making me feel worse. I didn’t want to give anything away, but behind my eyes, my head was swimming and I could feel myself slipping out of control.

I’ll do it. 

The One I Did Not Know pulled his scanner out of his pocket and started fiddling with the buttons. He was distracted and if I was going to act, now would be a good time. I glanced at the One I Did Know. Beads of sweat sat on his brows. He couldn’t save me. But I knew he wouldn’t stand in my way either. I parted my lips, about to pour poison in his partner’s ears, when the doorbell rang.

It scared me.

I’ll get it.

It came out in a whisper as I rushed out of the room.

I flung open the door, ready to run into the street.

But I wouldn’t get that far.

It was The Neighbour.

And he held a finger to his lips.

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Persy: Drapes

The thing about Aiden is- he always gets what he wants and he gets it by doing nothing. Honestly. One time we had a decade-long argument about the drapes in the front room. He insisted they were peach. I said they were salmon. He said it probably didn’t matter anyway, but he was sure that I was wrong. So I said-

‘If it doesn’t matter, then why bring it up?’

‘I don’t know, Persy.’ He replied, ‘I just thought you cared about that stuff.’

I should probably provide some context. Our living room, at the time, had a colour scheme which had been mostly informed by the drapes.  The drapes had come from the old house, a house that had never needed drapes but was filled to the brim with them. At one point, we had drapes disguised as throws, as rugs, as table cloths. Drapes on drapes on drapes, even. It had been a little joke of ours since our old, old house had been so- I suppose desolate is the only nice way to describe it- that we had made a pact to go ridiculously over the top decorating the next one.

There were many houses between that house and the very last one. And by then the drapes had completely lost their jovial, light-hearted warmth. They were instead a reminder of a place that we were both slowly realising we could never go back to. They went up with no joy. They filled the room with no love. We never walked past it and prodded the other, saying-

‘Drapes on drapes on drapes, eh?’

We just didn’t talk about it.

Didn’t talk to each other at all. Aiden had work. I had work. We had split the domestic duties so that he got the kids and I got the house and there was no overlap. No reason to interject while the other was sinking further and further into the empty nothingness of modern day life.

Until the drapes.

I can’t remember what he opened with. or how he closed. I just couldn’t get the thought that all my work had come to nothing. That something was wrong in our showroom home. It was my job. It was one of my only jobs. And somehow, without me realising, it had changed colour with no warning and no prompting. Or had it?

If I had been looking at it objectively, and I can never look anything objectively when Aiden is around, I would have been able to decipher his coded message. For clearly, what he had wanted to say was-

‘I can’t bear to look at those drapes every day, Persy. I can’t comprehend how much has changed since we lived in Florence, and Marrakech, and Constantinople and Carthage. I know in the beginning it was bad, sitting on uncomfortable stone thrones, sleeping on a wooden bed that was too small. Your mother would visit and make you cry. You couldn’t get anything to grow down in Hades. But somehow, now, I think it was good. Am I crazy, or do you see it too? We thought we had nothing, but, in fact, we had everything. We had each other. We sacrificed so much to have the chance to grow together and it seems growing has actually torn us apart. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I’d never taken you with me all those years ago.’

Something like that.

But Gods forbid he actually say it. Actually do something.

So he left the thought with me. Left it to me to destroy what was left of our marriage. Because I heard a different message in the following silence. I heard-

‘Take it down and start again.’

And I knew the minute it settled in my head that I could not start again. Not again. Couldn’t repeat the pause and reset combination again. I was spent. I was overdrawn.

There comes a time in every 2000 year old’s life when she must make peace with the fact that some things, some obstacles are insurmountable. That patience and love and understanding are not a fountain, but a well and the well will run dry if you dip in too much and too often. Being married to a man who is scared of his own voice is a sure fire way to turn that well into a cavernous abyss. And the abyss will start within you and then move between you. And then swallow one of you whole.

Aiden got what he wanted. I took the drapes down. I took the drapes with me, and I left. For good. The thing about me is- I never get what I want. But I’m very good at tricking myself into thinking I do.

 

Third Deposition

CERTIFIED EXCERPT

Transcript of Witness G.

Date: May 27, 2012

Case: The Royal London Research Institute -v- European Court of Human Rights

 

ON BEHALF OF PLAINTIFF:

LAMIA GRAHAM, ESQUIRE

JAMES F. BROOKS, ESQUIRE

MICHAEL GEERHADT, ESQUIRE

ROMILY J. ORFANEDES, ESQUIRE

THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS

 

ON BEHALF OF DEFENDANT:

ILANA WILKINSON, ESQUIRE

RONAN BERMAN, ESQUIRE

STEVEN A. MYERS, ESQUIRE

LORNE NICOLS STERLING, ESQUIRE

ROGER ABRAMS, ESQUIRE

CARROLL NOBLE, ESQUIRE

THE ROYAL LONDON RESEARCH INSTITUTE

 

VIDEO SPECIALIST: The court reporter today is Brenda Huff. Would the reporter please swear in the witness.

WITNESS G. having been duly sworn, testified as follows:

 

EXAMINATION BY COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF BY MS. ORFANEDES:

 

Q: Good morning, G.

A: Good Morning.

Q: Due to the sensitive nature of the information you have, your identity has been changed a few times, hasn’t it?

A: Yes

Q: I imagine that has been quite troublesome.

A: That is an understatement.

Q: But on the scale of things you suffered while at the Institute’s facility, probably not the most painful.

A: I don’t have a scale. I live in a constant state of wretchedness.

Q: Of course. I apologise. For what it’s worth. I ask you to think back to point where you were rescued form the Facility. Or more, the point when you thought you had been rescued.

A: Which time?

Q: The first time.

A: Okay.

Q: You had been living in general population, at this point?

A: I was living on the cell block, yes.

Q: And what did your days consist of?

A: Psych tests, Memory exercises, torture.

Q: Torture?

A: What I considered torture, Yes.

Q: And can you clarify what that was?

A: I had arrived at the facility with my brother. I was told, if I participated in the exercises, we would both be allowed to ‘return home’. It was not my own desire to participate in those exercises. In fact, they hurt immensely. But they said I could see my brother again. They kept saying that, even though my brother had died 3 days after our capture.

Q: And what were these exercises?

A: The supervisors would bring people in and have me mine them for information until I was physically ill.

Q: And how often would this happen?

A: That I would be sick or that they would bring people in?

Q: Both.

A: So, if I mined 5 people a day, I would be sick by the 7th day.

Q: And what would happen when you got sick?

A: They would give me a break.

Q: For how long?

A: A couple of hours.

Q: Sorry?

A: A couple of hours.

Q: So, you’d still see people that same day?

A: Yes. Sometimes, we wouldn’t even get a break. They’d just mop us up and tell us to keep going.

Q: We?

  1. BERMAN: Objection, beyond the scope.
  2. ORFANEDES: Your honour, I am establishing the witness’s routine.
  3. BERMAN: You’re supposed to be asking about the escape.
  4. ORFANEDES: You mean the faux escape that your clients orchestrated.
  5. HOLMES: Enough. Ms. Orfanedes, continue with your questioning.

BY MS. ORFANEDES:

Q: G, who did you mean by we?

A: All the subjects with mental abilities. The had us work on the same corridor. If one of us was unsuccessful with a test, they’d pass the test to another. We would have lunch together. It’s how I met-

Q: G?

A: Sorry?

Q: It was how you met who?

A: It’s not important.

Q: We’ll decide if it’s important or not, G.

A: It’s how I met [Witness F].

Q: I see. Were the two of you friends?

A: When?

Q: While at the facility?

A: No. None of us were really allowed to talk to each other.

Q: But you ate lunch together-

A: Under supervision, yes.

Q: So, did you not talk because you didn’t want to or because you didn’t want to be seen?

A: Sort of both. Everything was being recorded.

  1. BERMAN: Objection, beyond the scope!
  2. ORFANEDES: How?
  3. BERMAN: The witness could not possibly know that.
  4. ORFANEDES: He was there.
  5. BERMAN: Your Honour, it has already been established that information from this period is unreliable. The subjects were purposely misinformed to keep the experiment unbiased-

WITNESS G: I know what I’m talking about.

  1. BERMAN: I’m sure you think you do.

WITNESS G: I know I do. I mined members of staff throughout my time at the facility. Seeing as the only other person with the ability to manipulate memories was murdered at the facility, I am confident that the memories I gathered were authentic.

  1. BERMAN: G, you have no way of knowing if your brother was murdered

WITNESS G: I saw it. I saw it in his supervisor’s memories.

  1. BERMAN: A witness whom you murdered before they could testify, so how can anyone really know.
  2. ORFANEDES: Your Honour, Mr. Berman is hijacking my examination of the witness.
  3. HOLMES: Mr. Berman, you will wait your turn, or you won’t have one. Have I made myself clear?
  4. BERMAN: Yes, Your Honour.
  5. ORFANEDES: May we continue, your Honour?
  6. HOLMES: Please.

BY MS. ORFANEDES:

Q: How did you know you were being recorded?

A: Because I knew, despite what we were being told, that we were the subjects of the experiment.

Q: And how did you know that?

A: how do you think I knew that?

MR HOLMES: G, please just answer the questions. We don’t need you to pose them.

BY MS. ORFANEDES:

Q: How did you come to know that you were the subjects of the experiment?

A: I had mined it from a Supervisor.

Q: And how often were you doing that?

A: At first, all the time, and then after we moved to cell block, only when I could get away with it.

Q: And when was that?

A: During breaks, meal times. The kitchen staff and orderlies were not…the brightest. Sometimes, I’d take memories from the others.

Q: The others?

A: The other-

Q: G, please answer.

A: The other people like me.

  1. GRAHAM: Your Honour, may I request a recess?
  2. HOLMES: Ms. Orfanedes? Mr. Berman?
  3. ORFANEDES: I’m fine with that.
  4. BERMAN: Yes, same.

VIDEO SPECIALIST: We are off the record at 12:35.

(A recess was taken.)

VIDEO SPECIALIST: We are back on the record at 13:40.

BY MS. ORFANEDES:

Q: Let’s jump forward a little. At the point, when you thought you were being rescued, how many people were left in the facilty?

A: I don’t know. I only know who was in my cell block.

Q: How many was that?

A: Seven.

Q: What had happened to the others?

A: What had we been told or what had actually happened to them?

Q: Both.

A: They told us they had been reassigned to another cell block. That’s what they had told me about my brother too.

Q: And what had actually happened?

A: (No verbal response.)

Q: G?

A: I heard 0504 die. She had been glitching all afternoon-

Q: Glictching?

A: It’s um- It’s a thing that happens to people with mental abilities. Sometimes it’s nose bleeds, blackouts. It’s the wear and tear we suffer for using our abilities, only it can become- I don’t really know how to describe it- It’s different for everyone. For me, I can get trapped in memories. For- For Witness F, She has episodes of dissociation. It’s basically like your ability takes over and you lose control of yourself.

Q: Hyper Disassociation.

A: Yeah, but we call it glitching. You know, from when we thought that we’d had these abilities implanted in our heads.

Q: I see.

A: Community slang.

Q: So you heard 0504 die and then?

A: And then in the morning, we were told she had been reassigned.

Q: And what did you do once you made the link?

A: Nothing.

Q: Nothing?

A: What could I do?

Q: Were you worried?

A: No. I am not afraid to die.

Q: Is that why you went along with the escape plan?

A: To a degree.

Q: What other reason was there?

A: If I was out I could find the Good Doctor and do to him what he had done to me.

Q: and by that you mean kill him?

A: By that I mean find him, bind him, torture him and kill him. Yes.

  1. GRAHAM: Can we have a sidebar?
  2. HOLMES: You’ve just had a recess. Either continue with your line of questioning or release the witness.
  3. GRAHAM: Okay.
  4. ORFANEDES: No further questions, your honour.

VIDEO SPECIALIST: We are off the record at 14:00.

(A recess was taken.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking Liberties: Julius Caesar

So recently I watched a production of  Julius Caesar and it struck me that Shakespeare, who I thoroughly enjoy, can be a bit, well, verbose. I think it’s something I struggle with too, but it’s much more noticeable when peppered with doths and thous.

I usually have an unfair advantage with theatre, in that I’ve read a lot of plays. But I have not read Julius Caesar, and for the first time in a long time, I found myself noticing the play and not following it. So it got me thinking:

Why is it when theatremakers want to ‘modernise’ Shakespeare they always just end up changing the setting, or the  costume, or the genders of the characters?

Is there a way to keep the imagery and metaphors while at the same time, making the play a little easier to follow?

As a generally muted person, how can I relate to the overwrought emotions of a Shakespeare performance?

So I decided to have a go at tackling those questions by rewriting the scene where Cassius visits Brutus after the death of Caesar. Read on.


 

I want to leave, Brutus.

(Approaching him) Now, Cassius. This is the time for us to stand together, brother.

I’m not your brother! Okay? I’m just a member of a conspiracy you happened to get involved in! One that should have ended a long time ago, but, for some reason, some oversight, has twisted into this- abomination that I don’t recognise. I don’t want any of this! I did what I set out to do and the results are what they are. There is nothing I can do about it now, so let me go home. I need you to let me go.

This feeling will pass.

You don’t understand! If I stay here any longer, I’ll lose my mind.

You’re exaggerating.

And you’re not listening!  I shouldn’t have come this far in the first place! Let me go. Please. I’m not doing you any favours by being here.

You’re doing me many favours, actually, without even realising.

Then, let me rephrase: You’re not doing me any favours by keeping me here. We will lose-

(Turning away from him) Stop it, Cassius-

We will, though, unless you send me away! I am not a warrior, Brutus. I’m not a commander. I’m a man. A man who spoke too rashly and acted too quickly. You will lose if you continue to take my advice.

Then don’t consult me about the war! We can talk about something else.

What else is there? The games? The Lupercalia? Should we sit and discuss the murder we committed? Run through it scene by scene, like a play? (Forcing his knife into Brutus’ hand) You take this knife, and I’ll pretend to be Caesar! (Kneeling) Put me out of my misery, Brutus.

(Throwing the knife aside) This isn’t a game, Cassius.

(Jumping up) Yes! Exactly! It was never a game. What we did with our two hands was snatch a life. We took control of something that was never ours to control.  We were stupid- I was stupid to think that killing Caesar would be a quick fix, an reversal, a slight shift. What we have created- What I led us to create, and I can take full responsibility, is worse than what came before. (Turning away) We thought we were liberating Rome by killing one of her fathers but what have we given her instead? Freedom or Chaos?

Chaos is not something to fear. In the beginning, there was chaos.

Yes and nothing else. For centuries. Is that what you want? Is that why you plunged that knife into his heart, so we could be ravaged by war for centuries? In the beginning there was chaos, yes. But this is not the beginning. Life has already started. We have this great land, this spirit, this history. To return to chaos would be backwards, would be wrong. A sin against the very state that we made Caesar bleed for. What we created, what I missed in my patriotic mania, my jealousy even, was that we are a civilisation now. And we damage our own foundations when we behave in uncivilised manners.

What should we have done then, Cassius? Do you think democracy would have saved us? Do you think we could have talked Caesar down?

Down from what exactly? From ambition? From pride? From our pride? Our ambition? No, Brutus. It has never been the task of men to judge their peers and cut down those whose senses are heightened. That belongs to the gods. That is why we have the Fates. Caesar’s crime was being beloved, and being beloved is not so great a height, when you remember how fickle the rabble is. I was beloved once. You were beloved once. And now we are here. Called traitors and conspirators. (He paces the room, distracted)  Nothing is permanent, Brutus, and if we had practiced patience- (He changes direction) Who would have thought that such a quick act would have led to these long and tumultuous years? If I’d known- (He turns to Brutus) But isn’t that always the way?

So impatience and jealousy led us here?

That is what I have finally understood. At my very core, I am impatient, I am jealous and you must not let me lead you again. Send me home, Brutus. Or better still, don’t send me home. Don’t let me face my mother, my children, my countrymen while I  wear this shame. Exile me. Exile yourself! It’s what we deserve for robbing Rome of a father, and robbing ourselves of Rome as we knew it. For after this nightmare will come another and I would sooner gouge my eyes out than witness my city burn.

First Deposition II

CERTIFIED EXCERPT

Transcript of Rueben Z. Corazzo, Esq.

Date: May 27, 2012

Case: The Royal London Research Institute -v- European Court of Human Rights

ON BEHALF OF PLAINTIFF:

LAMIA GRAHAM, ESQUIRE

JAMES F. BROOKS, ESQUIRE

MICHAEL GEERHADT, ESQUIRE

ROMILY J. ORFANEDES, ESQUIRE

THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS

 

ON BEHALF OF DEFENDANT:

ILANA WILKINSON, ESQUIRE

RONAN BERMAN, ESQUIRE

STEVEN A. MYERS, ESQUIRE

LORNE NICOLS STERLING, ESQUIRE

ROGER ABRAMS, ESQUIRE

CARROLL NOBLE, ESQUIRE

THE ROYAL LONDON RESEARCH INSTITUTE

VIDEO SPECIALIST: The court reporter today is Brenda Huff. Would the reporter please swear in the witness?

RUEBEN Z. CORAZZO, ESQ. having been duly sworn, testified as follows:

EXAMINATION BY COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF BY MR. BROOKS:

Q: Good Afternoon, Mr Corazzo. I’d like to go back to you encounters with Ms. Eugene.

A: Okay.

Q: You’re a legal aide, in your own words, swamped with work and a woman is messaging you on a weekly basis. What do you do?

WILKINSON: Objection. Asked and answered.

HOLMES: Sustained.

BY MR. BROOKS:

Q: Did you tell your mentor at Welch and Fowler about the messages?

A: No.

Q: Did you tell any of the other lawyers that you worked with?

A: No.

Q: Did you tell the police?

A: No.

Q: Why not, Mr Corazzo?

A: I thought it was harmless.

Q: What about when Ms. Eugene approached you, did you tell anyone about that?

A: I told my girlfriend.

Q: But none of the senior staff at your workplace?

A: No.

Q: Why not?

A: I don’t know. I figured it was not a work matter.

Q: But you knew why Ms. Eugene was approaching you. According to you, it was to offer you a job. Why not tell your mentor so they could intercede on your behalf or provide the LRI with willing council?

A: I assumed if that was what Ms. Eugene wanted, she wouldn’t be pursuing me personally.

Q: So you knew that she was interested in you personally?

A: I assumed, given her dedication to the cause, there was something about me, in particular, yes.

Q: And had she let you know why she was interested in you personally?

A: Dr. Quentin liked my work.

Q: Just your work? Not your colleagues? Mr Davenport or Miss Shrewsbury for example.

A: (No audible response)

Q: Mr Corrazzo.

A: I don’t know.

Q: But you did talk to Mr Davenport and Miss Shrewsbury about the LRI approaching them.

A: (No audible response)

Q: Mr Corazzo, we have a copy of their sworn depositions where both of them claim to have spoken to you about the LRI and Ms Eugene in particular.

A: Right.

Q: So you knew that Ms. Eugene was actively pursuing all those who had worked the case that you met Dr. Quentin on?

A: Yes.

Q: And so you advised Mr Davenport and Ms Shrewsbury to go to HR about Ms Eugene’s attempts to get in contact with them. Is that true?

A:(No audible response)

Q: Mr Corazzo, it’s a simple yes or no answer.

A: I said if it was bothering them they should do something about it.

Q: But you made it apparent that by ‘do something’ you meant ‘let Welch and Fowler know what was going on’?

WILKINSON: Objection, leading the witness-

HOLMES: Overruled. Answer the questions Mr Corazzo.

BY MR CORAZZO:

A: I don’t remember what I said exactly. But I could have said that vaguely.

Q: And by going to HR, you knew that if anything happened in the future between Welch & Fowler and the LRI, you knew that Ms Shrewsbury and Ms Davenport would be exempt from working for them.

A: I didn’t know that.

Q: You didn’t know Welch and Fowler’s Fit and Proper policy? I have a copy here that you signed that year, would you like to read it again?

A: (No audible reply)

Q: So I did you or did you not know the rules concerning relationships between clients and members of staff, Mr Corazzo?

A: I didn’t make them go to HR.

Q: Please answer the question addressed to Mr. Corazzo.

A: (No audible response)

HOLMES: Mr. Corazzo, may I remind you that you are under oath, and we are under time constraints. MR Brooks repeat the question, Mr. Corazzo answer it.

BY MR. BROOKS:

Q: Did you know, that by going to HR about Ms. Eugene and the LRI, Mr. Davenport and Ms. Shrewsbury would not be allowed to work with the LRI should they be made clients?

A: Yes.

Q: Did you tell Mr Davenport or Miss Shrewsbury about your interactions with Miss Eugene?

A: No.

Q: Did you tell HR about your relations with Ms. Eugene?

A: No.

WILKINSON: Excuse me. Can we go off the record for a minute and take a break?

BROOKS: Sure.

VIDEO SPECIALIST: We are off the record at 14:48.

(A recess was taken.)

VIDEO SPECIALIST: We are back on the record at 15:00.

BY MR. BROOKS:

Q: And then you got made partner after how long at the company?

A: A year and eight months.

Q: And in the thirty years Welch and Fowler had been around before you joined, how long roughly did it take a lawyer to become partner?

A: Anywhere between six and a half to thirteen years.

Q: But you made partner in a year and eight months. Did this strike you as odd at all?

A: Maybe.

Q: It either did or it didn’t, Mr. Corazzo.

A: I don’t think odd is the word I would use. It caught me by surprise.

Q: And why did it catch you by surprise?

A: (No audible response.)

Q: Mr Corazzo.

A: I didn’t expect it to be that quick.

Q: So we can say that your being made partner after a year was an unusual occurrence?

A: I suppose.

Q: At least to you and your practice.

A: Yes.

Q: And naturally, being a man of great intelligence-

WILKINSON: Objection. Speculation.

BROOKS: Speculation of what?

WILKINSON: Of my client’s intelligence.

BROOKS: He’s an Oxford graduate.

WILKINSON: Postgraduate. And that proves nothing. You’re an Oxford graduate. Boris Johnson is an Oxford graduate and he, as our mayor, got on, and then got stuck on, a zip wire. School is not an accurate measure of intelligence.

BROOKS: What would you consider to be an accurate measure of intelligence?

WILKINSON: Who knows? But the burden of proof is on you, Mr. Brooks, not me.

HOLMES: Mr. Brooks, please rephrase your question.

BY MR. BROOKS:

Q: Were you quizzical about your promotion?

A: No. Not really.

Q: So an unusual occurrence took place, involving you, and you had no questions about it, made no inquiries about it?

A: No.

Q: Why not?

A: Because I was taught not to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Q: That’s a good saying. Have you heard the one about something seeming too good to be true?

WILKINSON: Objection. Relevance.

HOLMES: Mr Brooks-

BROOKS: I’ll rephrase it.

BY MR BROOKS:

Q: So you just took the job?

A: Yes.

Q: Did you wonder why they offered it to you?

A: I assumed I was their last resort.

Q: You assumed that in a company of how many- sixty seven lawyers- all of them turned down the chance to become partner apart from you?

A: No. my department knew that they were looking for a partner in our field. I assumed the other lawyers in my department had turned it down.

Q: And how many people would that be?

A: Seven.

Q: Seven senior lawyers-

A: Five seniors.

Q: You thought five senior lawyers turned down partner and the company didn’t consider a new hire, or sending some other senior off for more training?

A: I figured I was probably cheaper.

Q: Did you know before your promotion that LRI was about to become a client at Welch and Fowler?

A: No.

Q: Did you know once you got your promotion that you’d been a condition in Welch and Fowler winning LRI as a client?

A: No.

Q: So as far as you were concerned your relationship with LRI had nothing to do with your promotion to partner.

A: At the time, that is what I believed.

Q: despite how instrumental you had been in narrowing the pool of candidates.

WILKINSON: Objection. My client has already attested to the fact that he did not make anyone go to HR. This is irrelevant.

BROOKS: It is not irrelevant to my argument if you would let me finish making it.

HOLMES: Mr Brooks, please continue to the point.

BY MR. BROOKS:

Q: Mr Corazzo, you never reported the emails. You never reported the gifts. You never reported meeting Ms. Eugene. You encouraged other potential candidates to go to HR with their complaints and then you got made partner because of it. You benefited entirely from LRI being a client of Welch & Fowler and you used that same shrewd and ambitious acumen once you started working directly for the Facility, didn’t you?

A: No. No-

Q: You knew what was going on and you were there to help them cut corners.

A: No! No. I did not know about the kids. I did not know about the kids in East Block!

HOLMES: Mr Corazzo, calm down.

CORAZZO: I did not know! You have to understand that I did not know that was happening in that house.

WILKINSON: Excuse me. Can we- Can we-

CORAZZO: I told them-

HOLMES: We’ll hold you in contempt, Mr. Corazzo.

WILKINSON: Can we take a break?

BROOKS: I’m fine with that.

VIDEO SPECIALIST: We are off the record at 15:28.

(A recess was taken.)

 

 

First Deposition

CERTIFIED EXCERPT

Transcript of Rueben Z. Corazzo, Esq.

Date: May 27, 2012

Case: The Royal London Research Institute -v- European Court of Human Rights

ON BEHALF OF PLAINTIFF:

LAMIA GRAHAM, ESQUIRE

JAMES F. BROOKS, ESQUIRE

MICHAEL GEERHADT, ESQUIRE

ROMILY J. ORFANEDES, ESQUIRE

THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS

 

13 ON BEHALF OF DEFENDANT:

ILANA WILKINSON, ESQUIRE

RONAN BERMAN, ESQUIRE

STEVEN A. MYERS, ESQUIRE

LORNE NICOLS STERLING, ESQUIRE

ROGER ABRAMS, ESQUIRE

CARROLL NOBLE, ESQUIRE

THE ROYAL LONDON RESEARCH INSTITUTE

 

VIDEO SPECIALIST: The court reporter today is Brenda Huff. Would the reporter please swear in the witness.

RUEBEN Z. CORAZZO, ESQ. having been duly sworn, testified as follows:

EXAMINATION BY COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF BY MS. GRAHAM:

Q: Good morning, Mr. Corazzo.

A: Good Morning.

Q: I know you’re a lawyer, and we’re days into the deposition, so I’m sure you’re familiar with the rules.

A: Yes.

Q: I just want to go briefly over your history. If you can just tell me about your education background, college and law school.

A: I went to the LSE for undergraduate, and then Oxford for Post.

Q: Okay. And when did you graduate from LSE?

A: 2002 and from Kings College in 2005.

Q: Thank you. And in 2005 you went to a law firm. Is that right?

A:  I did. I went to work at Welch & Fowler, which is a law firm here in London.

Q: And what did you do for them, practice as a litigator?

A: I represented health facilities that were being investigated for unexplained deaths.

Q: Okay. Is that litigation?

A: It was an array of activities that also included litigation.

Q: And how long were you there for?

A: From 2005-2008.

Q: And that’s when you started working for LRI?

A: I was working for LRI while at Welch too.

Q: How does that work?

A: I was headhunted and subsequently offered a job at LRI.

Q: When you say headhunted, what exactly did that entail, and how did it come about?

A: Doctor Quentin attended a hearing that I was counsel for in 2006. After the verdict, he approached all of us on the bench.

Q: All of you being

WILKINSON: Objection. I’m going to object because it’s beyond the scope and is not really relevant to what the four corners of the – I mean, general background, but it doesn’t relate to the case-

GRAHAM: I don’t — we don’t need to go over everything that was done in the courtroom, but, rather, with respect to the background of Mr. Corazzo and why he was chosen by the LRI, I believe this line of questioning is relevant to the scope.

HOLMES: Overruled. Ms. Graham, please continue. Pointedly.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

BY MS. GRAHAM:

Q: What did Dr. Quentin say when he approached you and your colleagues?

A: He commended us on a job well done. He explained that he was from the LRI and that they could use counsel like us for an upcoming operation. My colleague, the lead defence, advised him to contact the practice but Dr. Quentin explained that, given the size of the operation, they would need ongoing in house counsel. He asked if any of us were looking for ‘career growth’. My other colleague, who was second chair, displayed an interest. Dr Quentin then asked for all of our business cards. I didn’t have one at the time so I just told him my name. He then asked who wrote the closing argument and I replied that it was me. Then we went our separate ways.

Q: Why did you not have a business card?

A: I was still a legal aide at the time. At Welch and Fowler, legal aides do not have business cards.

Q: Was it normal for a legal aide to write the closing arguments for a case?

A: No, but at the time we were juggling a lot of cases. I wrote something for each and every one, just so we could keep our heads above water. Welch & Fowler were a fledgling practice during the recession. Without people like me, it wouldn’t still exist now.

Q: So out of all three people approached, you were the least qualified?

  1. WILKINSON: Objection-
  2. GRAHAM: least senior, then?

A: Yes.

BY MS. GRAHAM:

Q: Was that the last time you spoke to Dr. Quentin?

A: For a while, yes.

Q: and in the interim, you had no dealings with the LRI?

A: Not exactly. I was contacted that week and subsequently every week by the Head of HR at the LRI.

Q: Can you identify this person by name?

A: Constance Eugene.

Q: And what form did this contact take?

A: A host. Emails, phonecalls, letters. Invites to LRI Events. Gifts.

Q: To your place of work?

A: To my place of work, my flat, my childhood home, my then girlfriend’s tenement in Buenos Aires where she was volunteering at the time.

Q: I’m sorry?

A: Ms. Eugene had found out that I was visiting my girlfriend in Buenos Aires for 2 weeks and sent us tickets to the opera.

Q: How did she find this out?

A: I don’t know. I don’t know how she managed any of what she did, to be honest. If you ask me, it wasn’t natural.

WILKISON: Objection. That last bit was irrelevant, unadmissable. He answered the question with ‘I don’t know.’ Everything following is unnecessary.

GRAHAM: Are you saying that your client’s testimony is unnecessary?

WILKINSON: I’m saying he answered the question and you paused to allow him to implicate himself.

GRAHAM: Unfounded.

HOLMES: Ms Wilkinson, are you accusing Ms. Graham of leading the witness?

WILKINSON: I am asking that only Mr Corazzo’s first answer be admissible.

HOLMES: Sustained.

BY MS. GRAHAM:

Q: Back to this contact, was it a back and forth between you and Ms. Eugene?

A: I missed the first couple of calls. I replied to an email inviting me to LRI for a chat, and explained I was swamped with work and would not have the time, that I appreciated the interest but I was happy at Welch. There were more calls and emails after that that I did not reply to. Then Ms Eugene intercepted me on my way back from court to Welch.

Q: How long after your first encounter with Dr. Quentin did this happen?

A: About a month. Just over a month.

  1. Were the other people who met with Dr. Quentin also being pursued in this way?

A: If they were, it wasn’t for very long.

  1. So would you say Ms. Eugene and the LRI were focused on you?

A: Out of everyone in my circle, yes. I can only speak to that.

Q: And were the gifts sent during this time?

A: No. After.

Q: What was the nature of your fist encounter with Ms Eugene?

A: She had understood that I was too busy to talk at the LRI, so she brought the chat to me. We shared a cab back to the office.

Q: What was discussed at this meeting?

A: Mostly me.

Q: Can you go into any more detail?

A: She asked me about school, about Welch and Fowler.

Q: Did she tell you why the LRI wanted in house counsel?

A: Not until I asked.

Q: What was her reply?

A: That the LRI had been tasked with investigating an existing condition in its early stages and that the experiment would be quite large, involving multiple subjects, and spanning a couple of years. They needed someone to keep an eye on the ethics of the experiment.

Q: Were those her exact words?

A: She probably used more words, but it was to that effect.

Q: That the LRI had been tasked? As in asked to undertake this research?

A: Yes. That was what was communicated to me.

Q: What was the outcome of this meeting?

A: Much like before, I thanked her for her interest in me, but I assured her that I wanted to make partner at Welch and I wasn’t interested in anything else until then.

Q: And what was Ms Eugene’s reply?

A: She was cordial.

Q: And after this, your contact ended?

A: No, it ramped up. This is when the gifts started, when we went to the Opera in Buenos Aires.

Q: And how long did this period last?

A: Until I was made partner.

Q: And when roughly was that?

A: (No verbal response.)

Q: Mr Corazzo?

A: Three months later.

 

 

 

In My Dreams, We’re Still Screaming and Running Through the Yard

‘I’ve got light up trainers, do you wanna see them?”

She stood before me with her hands in her shorts’ pockets, her scabby elbows pointing out in right angles. The light summer breeze was rippling the Barbie t-shirt that she always wore, and flicking blond curls around her forehead. We must have been about 8 years old; yes, I distinctly remember a wad of Pokemon cards that kept falling out of my dungaree pockets. There were still wooden park benches on the green behind my block of flats and my grass stained Nikes hadn’t lost their peeling pink ticks yet.

When she spoke, I was completely dumbstruck. I repeated the words again slowly in my head: light up trainers. I still couldn’t believe it. Those shoes only existed on television, in the musical breaks between Fun House and Hey Arnold, my mother had said. If Alison owned a pair of these fabled shoes, then her parents must have performed some kind of incredible feat. Pulled them straight out of the television, or something. Because at 8 years old, I struggled to believe my mother could possibly ever lie to me. If she said those trainers were hard to get, then they were hard to get and Alison’s mum must have suffered very greatly to get them. So I definitely wanted to see them. I wanted to see them and touch them and smell them and then share the odyssey that these shoes had encouraged with my mother, in the hopes that she would also sacrifice her well-being to acquire them for me. Especially now that the likes of Alison had a pair. It’s odd actually, to think I had no concept of deception when I was younger, but knew exactly how pride worked.

‘Yeah, alright,’ I said eventually, still trying to process the information as Alison bounded back up the stairs of the tower block she lived in towards her flat. She slammed the landing door so fiercely in her excitement that she made me jump in mine. After a brief pause, and an exasperated warning from her mother, the sound of thudding footsteps echoed in the stairwell. She was so eager that she was jumping down whole flights of stairs. But not just jumping, flashing too, with dazzling pink lights where her heels had once been.

When she reached me, she began parading up and down, an ecstatic smile on her chubby, childish face. She pointed to the white trainers as she did so, to the floral accents, the neon Velcro straps, and of course the magic lights that twinkled on and off in time with her footsteps. It was as though I had stepped into the advert, and she was selling the shoes to me. Soon I was convinced that I needed a pair, watching her marching up and down, beaming with her large green eyes and toothy grin.

“They’re the best, aren’t they?” she exclaimed, jumping up and down and making her tight ringlets bob along with her.

“My dad got them for me when he went on holiday; he’s the best!”

Ah. So that explained it, to me anyway. They were foreign. Foreign was a place like Narnia, a place where anything could happen. Of course she’d got her shoes from foreign. I’d call my dad as soon as I got home and ask for a pair from his new home in foreign.

We raced around the green as she showed me all the things her shoes could do that basic, substandard trainers could not; illuminating a cartwheel, for example, so that when she spun around she glowed like a Catherine Wheel. Or brightening up a dance routine so that no one’s eyes were on the mediocre choreography; or dazzling the rope turners when she jumped so that she never got caught in the death trap of double dutch.

Finally, when she had exhausted these pursuits, we flopped down on the grass, staring up at the sky and searching for the sun that was warming our damp skin.

“You know what,” she said in her dream like, distracted, 8 year old way, “you can borrow my shoes whenever you want. Because you’re my friend. My bestest friend in the whole world, and we can share my shoes forever!”

She took them off then, and let me try them on. I remember being so happy. Almost a bit light headed with it. Not just because I had the best shoes I’d ever worn on my tiny prepubescent feet, but because I genuinely believed her. All we needed to be happy was each other and one pair of mega special trainers. We were about to embark on a multitude of adventures. There was scaffolding that had just gone up on the other side of the estate. We’d be flashing all over that soon. Bright eyed and young and overwhelmingly optimistic.


 

I saw her the other day pushing a pram along the pavement. I’d say I was surprised but it was bound to happen; none of my friends from home ever really moved away, we just never stayed in contact. I’d like to blame the pair of trainers for dividing us, but it was probably the pride. There is only so long that someone can put up with being put down. When I saw her, she looked old. Really old. Not just in a ‘it’s been 12 years so I’ve grown taller’ way, but in a life way. Her shoulders were hunched like they had carried a heavy load for a long time; her eyes were downcast like they had seen some trying times. Her curls were straggly, she was uncomfortably thin. The sort of things you can imagine when someone mentions the phrase ‘shell of a former self’. I barely recognized her, and she didn’t recognise me at all. Just swept past in that obnoxious teen mum way, face contorted into a grimace, bomber jacket flapping in the wind. The child wrestled with the safety grips of the chair.  I couldn’t really see, but I got the impression that she didn’t have those blinking trainers anymore.