This is for Dr. Robyn, whom someone had the unmitigated gall to flame.

As usual, the guys aren't mine and I don't make any money from this. I am, however, grateful to their creators for their existence and for not suing me.

This story basically happened to me but, as usual, it manages to translate

Putting Out The Fire


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"Now, Mr. Sandburg. Would you tell the court, in your own words, the events on the evening of September 25th of this year?" The Assistant District Attorney kept his face carefully schooled from showing any emotion. He'd been practicing for this for several days, knowing that the case could be lost if he didn't maintain control.

"Um, yes, sir. I had stopped off at the convenience store on Main on my way to work that evening." He saw the lawyer's expression, wanting him to get on with it, so he cleared his throat and continued, blushing in embarrassment. "Anyway, I walked into the store to get some coffee, when I spotted the defendant beating up on the clerk. The clerk's an older guy, mid to late sixties, Mr. Donnatelli. Well, I yelled at the guy to leave him alone, and he turned and attacked me, knocked me down and kicked me in the side. Then he went back to beating up Mr. Donnatelli. I got back up, grabbed the fire extinguisher from behind the counter. Oh, when he knocked me down, I fell behind the counter, so when I looked up, there was this fire extinguisher." Blair trailed off, looking nervously at the defendant, who was blushing even more than Blair himself, was.

"What did you do with the fire extinguisher, Mr. Sandburg?" He was careful not to ask why Blair, as a police detective hadn't pulled his firearm.

"Uh, I pulled the pin and yelled at the defendant to leave Mr. Donnatelli alone. He turned back to attack me, again, and I squirted him in the face with the fire extinguisher."

There were momentary gasps of surprise from the other people in court, followed by a few stifled chuckles and giggles. Even the judge seemed to be having a hard time keeping a straight face.

"You shot him with the fire extinguisher, Mr. Sandburg." The Assistant DA prompted.

"Yes, sir. He seemed a little surprised. I told him to chill out and "

He was interrupted by sudden laughter at his choice of words, followed by an admonition from the judge, who was also fighting laughter.

"Sorry, sorry. I told him to leave Mr. Donnatelli alone, again, and he came at me, instead. I squirted him in the face again, and he turned back to Mr. Donnatelli, so I squirted him again. I was yelling at that point. Telling him to just get away from us. Then I heard, I guess it was his girlfriend. I realized that she'd been saying 'get him, honey' when I first came in. After I had squirted him with the fire extinguisher, she started calling him and saying 'come on, honey, let's go.' Just repeating that, over and over. I guess neither of us was getting through to him, though. He couldn't seem to decide whether to come after me or go after Mr. Donnatelli. Every time it looked like he was going to try to hit one of us, I'd squirt him with the fire extinguisher. By the time he finally decided to back off and leave, he " Blair had to pause to swallow, his blush deepening, as was the defendant's.

"Take your time, Mr. Sandburg." The lawyer said, soothingly.

"Well, his girlfriend kept calling him, and finally he started to back towards the door. I, uh, followed him, to make sure he actually left. Ready with the fire extinguisher, in case he changed his mind. I guess he couldn't see very well, by then, from the chemicals in the extinguisher? Because he walked into the door and knocked himself out." The court erupted in laughter and it took a couple of minutes for the judge to restore order, finally, Blair was allowed to continue, "Mr. Donnatelli called 911 and the cops arrived before he woke up and they arrested him for aggravated assault, since he had broken Mr. Donnatelli's arm and nose, and had cracked one of my ribs."

"Thank you, Mr. Sandburg." The Assistant DA smiled at him, then turned away, "Your witness," he said to the defense attorney.

"Mr. Sandburg, what made you use the fire extinguisher as a weapon?"

"Well, I knew that the defendant was bigger and stronger than I am," there was tittering and whispering from the audience, the defendant was about six-foot six and weighed close to three hundred pounds, "he'd already hurt me and I didn't want to try and get too close to him. I just wanted him to stop beating up on Mr. Donnatelli, is all."

"Aren't you employed as a detective with the Cascade Police Department?"

"Yes, sir."

"Why didn't you draw your firearm?"

"I didn't think the situation warranted it."

"Why not? My client is much larger than you are, and you have testified that he struck you, knocked you down and kicked you. That's not reason enough for a police officer to draw his weapon?"

Blair looked puzzled, wondering why this guy sounded more like a prosecutor than a defense attorney, "I don't know. He was unarmed and a gun seemed like excessive force. I looked for something else a little less deadly to use for defense." He wasn't about to say that his gun had been in his backpack, which had fallen to the floor and been forgotten in the heat of the moment.

The lawyer decided to change tactics, "You have never seen the defendant before?"

"No, sir. I have not."

"Why did you decide to become involved, Mr. Sandburg?"

Blair looked at the man, incredulous. "Your client makes two of me, and at least two of Mr. Donnatelli who has a heart condition, besides his age. I have been acquainted with Mr. Donnatelli for several years, now, and he's a nice man. He's the only convenience store in my neighborhood that stays open all night. He was in trouble and I tried to help him. As for why I used the fire extinguisher, it was the only thing close at hand and available. If you think I'm stupid enough to let a behemoth like your client have a second chance at hurting me, you have another think coming." Blair's voice rose with his agitation. The entire courtroom burst into laughter at the little bantam cock who took on a man twice his size and won.

The judge, stifling his own laughter, pounded his gavel and called for order in his court, threatening to clear the courtroom if there were any more such outbursts.

The defense attorney, realizing his mistake in cross-examining this particular witness, said "No more questions, your honor," and sat down.

Blair was dismissed. Mr. Donnatelli was called to the stand, his arm still in a cast. The Prosecutor was gentle with the frail older man, "Now, Mr. Donnatelli, why don't you tell us what happened, all right?"

"Yes, sir. I was working in the store, it was about ten, ten-thirty. I saw Bobby come in. He saw me and started talkin' trash to me. Calling me names and making threats. I told him to get out of my store or I'd call the cops. He grabbed me by the arm when I reached for the phone, that was when he broke my arm. His girlfriend told him to hit me, and he did. I don't know how many times. He hit me in the face and broke my nose, then he held me up against the counter and just punched me in the body, mostly. Mr. Sandburg came in and tried to make him stop, but Bobby's so much bigger than either of us, that he just knocked Mr. Sandburg down and kicked him a few times. Then he turned back and started to hit me, again." He paused to take a deep breath, then continued, "When that young man got back up, I couldn't believe it. He told Bobby to leave me alone and when Bobby went after him again, he shot him with my fire extinguisher. Before Bobby left, Mr. Sandburg had just about emptied the thing on him. Bobby hardly looked human. He was covered with that yellow dry chemical stuff from the top of his head to his shoes. His eyes looked like two little black holes and you could hardly see his nose or mouth. I don't know how he could breathe, I got a sore throat just from the backwash. I still have trouble accepting that Mr. Sandburg managed to stop Bobby." He shook his head, wonderingly.

"You've called the defendant Bobby, from that, I take it that you know him from before?"

"Oh, yes. I rented him an apartment. I had to have the police move him out, after he'd failed to pay rent for six months and I had to evict him. He trashed the place so bad that it was almost less expensive to demolish and rebuild. It took six months and twelve thousand dollars to repair the damages he caused."

"You said you had evicted him, did you receive a judgement from a civil court?"

"Yes. Not that I've ever seen a penny, I was just glad to get rid of him and his girlfriend," he shook his head, "I have a professional management company manage my rentals, now. I didn't want to ever have to go through anything like that again. He threatened me in civil court and the judge there put a restraining order on him."

"When was that, Mr. Donnatelli?" The prosecutor asked.

"Last spring. April, some time. I don't recall the precise date."

"Thank you, Mr. Donnatelli. Your witness."

'Bobby' stood before the court, the jury had found him guilty. The police had pictures of him, covered with the dry chemical from the fire extinguisher, it was pretty convincing evidence, not to mention amusing for the jurors, more than one of whom had been overheard to mention that they had never considered fire suppression equipment as a weapon. The judge looked sternly at the defendant as he sentenced him.

"Mr. Davis, you have been found guilty on two counts of aggravated assault, do you have anything to say before I pass sentence on you?"

"No," he blushed as he heard the people in the courtroom snickering, even though they were trying to hide it, it was still obvious. After the testimony of the two main prosecution witnesses, his lawyer told him that he didn't have a prayer. Between the two witnesses and the surveillance tape, which was shown to the entire court, not just the jury, it had been pretty obvious that he was guilty. He could have saved himself and everybody else involved a lot of time and trouble by simply pleading guilty to begin with.

Blair was met on the courthouse steps by his friend and roommate, Jim Ellison. There were no reporters around to pester him, which was nice, Jim's amused grin was bad enough.

"So, how'd it go, Chief?"

"Just about like you expected. Everyone seemed to think it was funny, the little guy taking on the big guy with a fire extinguisher and winning." He smiled, thinking about it.

"Yeah, I can imagine. What'd he get?"

"Five years for aggravated assault. The judge really told him off, too. He said something about it taking a fire extinguisher to put out the flames of his anger and that it was a good thing that there was someone around willing to put out the fire." Blair replied, stretching to get the kinks out of his spine from sitting so long in the courtroom.

Jim laughed, "Good. So, David, what say we go get some lunch? My treat."

Blair looked up at his friend and smiled. "Sounds like a plan, Goliath. Sounds like a plan."

Laughing, the larger man slapped the shorter one on the back and, leaving his arm across Blair's shoulders, they made their way down the courthouse steps.

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