The Cup Bearer
A tall, fair haired young man walked to the witness box and made his oath while Gypsy glowered at him from under eyebrows drawn angrily together. He gave his full name as Peter Cunliffe Grafton.
Duffy smiled at him. "Mr. Grafton, we appreciate you coming all the way from Tamarigo to offer your evidence; I hope you won't be kept here too long. I wish to question you about a gay magazine you are alleged to have found, containing five nude photographs of a young boy; exhibit eight, M' Lord. Can you name the boy?"
"Yes, his name then was Emilio Gomez."
"Objection, M'Lord." Edward rose to his feet. "This magazine shows pictures of a good looking ten year old lad, supposedly posing in the nude on a very hot day, but in fact wearing shorts the photographer took pains not to show. If he had been a girl, these photographs would have graced page three of newspapers currently on sale in this country, and no one would have batted an eye lid. In fact, these photographs were taken by a man who posed as someone on vacation taking snaps of the place. They were published without my client's knowledge or consent. They are certainly not pornographic and as such there is no legal reason, except in countries where religion forbids it, why a male or female cannot have a picture taken and published in a magazine, gay or otherwise.; unless, of course they are published without his knowledge of permission."
"Thank you, Mr. Grafton, objection sustained. Mr. Duffy, I fear we are getting our wheels deeper in the mud at the roadside while trying to avoid the puddle in the middle of the road. Would you mind explaining the importance of this line of questioning? I see little to link this publication with the death of the deceased."
"M' Lord, it isn't the photographs the witness wishes to bring to the court's attention, but the text which accompanies them. I would not have offered the exhibit but for the defendant's attempts to cover up his earlier liaisons with the deceased which the witness is anxious to reveal to the court."
"I see, yes. Carry on, Mr. Duffy, but please remember that although juvenile morals are to be taken most seriously in this country, we are dealing here with the far more serious case of murder."
"Yes, M'Lord, thank you. Now, Peter, perhaps you would be so kind as to read the caption in question."
"Certainly M'Lord, it reads, Tamarigo, a lovely romantic island in the South Atlantic, offers you a warm welcome with beautiful beaches and excellent hotels. There are glorious mountains and many sites of historical interest to visit, and there, in the sparkling capital city of San Margarita, Emilio waits to guide you on your holiday and give you all the affection you need. Turn the page for more pictures of the cutest boy on the island."
"Why are you so sure these pictures are of Emilio Gomez?"
"I should know him, he's my foster brother."
"Are these the same photographs which your father saw and prompted him to search for the defendant when he disappeared from his home in the mountains?"
"But you knew what the defendant was a long time before this, didn't you? Would you tell the court about that?"
"We'll, I was sixteen and at public school in England. I went home for a holiday and had some of my friends staying with me. Emilio was working as a house boy. We knew his family was very poor, a lot of people round there were, and he offered us entertainment in return for money and food."
"By entertainment, you mean that of a sexual kind?"
"You are gay, are you not?"
"Yes, I'm not ashamed of it."
"And your friends?"
"Did you accept the boy's offer?"
"Not at first, but he said he would tell my father about us if we didn't accept."
"So, he was a child prostitute?"
"He must have been."
"Objection, M'Lord, counsel is leading the witness."
"My apologies, M'Lord. Peter, let us talk about the time your father found the defendant and fostered him. Your father took to him so much that he set up a trust fund for him with money that should have been rightly yours. Would you say that your father was gay?"
"Up to him fostering the boy, I would have said no, but with hindsight I'd say it was obvious. I mean why would a normal man spend all his money on a filthy little street urchin from nowhere -? "
"Young man," The judge glared at Peter over his glasses. "Your anger may be justified but I must ask you to curb your language in court."
"Sorry, sir - M'Lord."
"You may continue, Mr Duffy."
"Thank you, M'Lord. Mr. Grafton, have you any more evidence that would confirm the alleged relationship between your father and the defendant, formerly known as Emilio Gomez?"
Edward rose to his feet. "M'Lord, I do object to this line of questioning. It has no relevance to this case."
"M'Lord," Duffy countered quickly, "if the court will allow me to finish, I wish to show the defendant as a very cunning young man who knows how to charm people into bending to his wiles."
"Very well, Mr. Duffy, objection over-ruled but please make your intentions clearer."
"Thank you, M'Lord. Mr. Grafton, you have a poem your father wrote, would you read it out please?"
"Certainly, it reads - The secret of our love we cannot tell, yet could we only speak our thoughts aloud.
And describe convincingly this magic spell, all heaven would our lonely world enshroud.
That day we walked along the windswept shore and tossed the pebbles in the flowing tide.
I wept because I could not hold your hand, for from the world our love we had to hide."
Yet gladly would I be those pebbles tossed if yours the hand that sent me to my grave.
So, too, I'd bear the weight of worldly scorn, if this, our love, eternal sanction gave.
And now we are apart I feel a pain so terrible I wish that I could die.
And yet, in dying, I should possess the pain of loving, even hopelessly."
"Who has the original copy of that poem?"
"The defendant has it."
"Who wrote it?"
"Have you seen the original?"
"And you can confirm that it is written in your father's handwriting?"
"Thank you, Mr. Grafton. No further questions, M'Lord."
"Mr. Grafton, do you wish to question the witness?"
"Thank you, M'Lord. Mr. Grafton, we know each other well, do we not?"
"You are my nephew, are you not?"
"Members of the jury, to make matters less confusing, I will address the witness by his first name. Peter, in your statement just now, you said you were blackmailed into having sexual relations with the defendant, that he demanded money and food in return for keeping quiet about what you and your friends were up to at your father's villa. Yet in your written statement you say, and I quote, 'he used to put up a fight.' Aren't you rather contradicting yourself? Would you have the court believe that the defendant was demanding something with one hand and fending you off with the other? Which statement is the truth? Was he panting for it, or fighting you off?"
"I … don't understand the question."
"All right, Peter; let's explore a different line for a moment. How did you meet my client?"
"Like I said, he worked at the villa."
"That isn't quite true is it, Peter? There was another boy employed at the villa called Benito, wasn't there?"
"And you had already lured Benito into your clutches and you used him to lure my client into your web, didn't you?"
"Remember, Peter, you are under oath to tell the truth. Did your father come home unexpectedly one day and catch you and your friends using my client and Benito as sex slaves?"
"It wasn't like that, we were only having fun."
"Fun? You call, tying the boys to a garden frame by their wrists and ankles and taking turns raping them fun?" This is what your father caught you doing isn't it?"
"Er … yes."
"Father gave me a whipping and sent my friends back to England."
"And what happened to my client."
"His father was sent for and told to deal with him."
"You mean his step father?"
"Rather like the old saying, from the frying pan into the fire0 for my client, wouldn't you say? He was dumped from your grubby little hands into the hands of a monster, as we shall find when I call my client to the witness stand, later on. Isn't that correct?"
"I wouldn't know about that."
"Perhaps not then, but certainly later on when you learned that your father was going to foster him. Let's examine that situation, shall we? Will you admit that during the last few months of your father's life, you, on several occasions declared your hatred of the defendant to your father, and caused so much distress to both your father and the defendant that your father cut you out of his will?"
"Yes. I hated him, I still do."
"Why is that?"
"He turned my father against me. My father's estate should have come to me on his death."
"And you are prepared to go to any lengths to cause trouble for the defendant so that may still happen? Are you still a peeping tom?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"I refer to a trick of yours while you were at school. Grange Public School is an old building is it not? Remember, Peter, I and my brothers went to that school."
"With a few holes in the ceilings between the lofts and the bedrooms; which you so conveniently used to spy on the younger teachers and their wives?"
"I deny it?"
"Come now, Peter, that was the reason you were expelled, wasn't it? You upset a friend and he informed the head master, and it was your Uncle, Thomas Grafton who had the unhappy task of dealing with an irate head master over the affair? Did you also take great delight in spying on your father and my client when they were together and read the wrong signals?"
"All right, so I watched them. It was obvious what they were up to"
"Isn't it natural for a boy and his foster father to be together, as you and your father would have been if your own shameful antics had not driven your father to dislike you?"
"Not the way they were, sunbathing all the time and stroking each other."
"Goodness me, Peter; are you actually expressing revulsion at the showing of affection between two males? You do surprise me. What is the weather like in Tamarigo? Very hot is it?"
"In the summer yes."
" And on one particular day, your father and my client went out on a fishing trip, didn't they?"
"And the boat's engine broke down and both of them suffered severe sunburn to their shoulders and backs while trying to repair the engine?"
"Yes, so what?"
"So what you actually saw, when they finally got home, was your father rubbing soothing lotion on my client's skin, and if you had begun your snooping a little earlier you would have seen my client doing the same to your father. Indeed, is it not true that on all other occasions when you saw them sunbathing together, that this was what they were doing; to protect themselves from the harmful rays of the sun?"
"I suppose so."
"And is it not true that you made up these allegations out of spite; for the same reason you sent a package to my client, on his sixteenth birthday and the anniversary of your father's death, containing your father's signet ring, some photographs and the birthday card your father gave to my client the day your father was murdered."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"I think you do, Peter. The package was sent from a London post office close to where you have been living for the last two years and not in Tamarigo as you would have the prosecution believe. If you did not send it, then how was the package found to have clear set of your fingerprints on it? It seems to me, Peter, that you only came forward with all this rubbish you call evidence, because of your desire to blacken my client's name and claim your father's estate and the contents of the trust, by default."
"Yes, the trust your father set up for my client's future welfare on one condition, that he must in no way dishonour the name of Grafton. You set out to make sure he did just that, didn't you, Peter. You are so mad at being disowned by your father for you own stupid and despicable actions that you would do or say anything to make the trust forfeit, even to the point of perjury. Is that not true?"
"You meant to get even with the boy your father picked out of the gutter you helped create in the first place, is that not so Peter?"
"That's a ridiculous idea."
"Is it? I only hope my client has enough compassion in his heart to forgive you for the misery you have caused him, not just today, but all those years ago when you first weaved your perverted spell around him; no further questions, M'Lord."
"That ends the case for the prosecution, M'Lord."
"In that case, court will adjourn till ten o' clock tomorrow morning."
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