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Covid Law: Mojave: A journal of survival during Trump's Pandemic

Covid Law: Mojave: A journal of survival during Trump's Pandemic

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Covid Law: Mojave: A journal of survival during Trump's Pandemic

283 pagine
4 ore
Jan 4, 2021


The Trump Pandemic ravaged the United States. Civil unrest caused both by his dictatorial rule and a deadly virus brought the country to the edge of disaster. In the high desert of Kern County, Juan Mohamed Highorse, public defender, survived COVID-19 and practiced law. A year later, he was still doing what he did best, practicing law and defending the rights of his clients, while battling his own demons, but for how long? Mojave High is a journal of lawyers practicing law in the midst of the pandemic and a brutal critique of president Trump’s lack of leadership during the pandemic and its disastrous effects on the economy, the constitution, race relations, and democracy.

Jan 4, 2021

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Correlato a Covid Law

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Covid Law - Joaquin Arturo Revelo


Chapter 1

A mountain of bodies higher than any modern war fought by the United States of America should give a reasonable person cause to pause and question whether we were right in killing our republic and handing it to that man. We made him king, and we buried our dead, as our cities burned because we lost sight of the fact that when law succumbs to power, liberty dies. At some point, it all seemed so unreal, marching military boots on the streets of America, tank engines killing the sound of birds at dawn, police shooting at the press while Trump held a Bible high for other cameras. It was never our country; it clearly belonged to them. Trump made many promises; some, he kept, and others, not so much. His wall lay in ruins, so did the economy. Whenever something didn’t go his way, he blamed others; losers, he called them, the worst, or nasty women. For a dictator, he sure was frugal with words. Whether he admitted or not, his Great America was pelted with the mass graves of those who died because of the pandemic, hunger, lack of medical care, poison from his medical advice, or bullets—those he ordered to be shot when looting starts, the shooting starts.

Even if he didn’t want to take credit for those things or the riots or throwing the military on defenseless civilians seeking redress of grievances, he was undoubtable the architect of the biggest disaster in our nation’s modern history. His attorney general at the time certainly had a better handle of the language than his boss. William Pretty Boy Barr said, When history looks back on his decisions, how do you think it will be written? History is written by the winners, so it largely depends on who’s writing the history. Even on that, they lacked originality. It was the Romans who coined the phrase Vae victis.

We lost, hence, they wrote history as they pleased. If you are powerful, you can be choosy with something as malleable as the truth. The White House went dark one night as he ran to a bunker, and smoke billowed over the sky like a harbinger of doom. But as long as his own family, and the very rich who adored him, were safe, who gave a fuck about the rest of us? Certainly not Trump.

The Trump Pest was the perfect opportunity to surround some state capitols with his militias armed to the teeth and push his racist agenda. Liberate Michigan! Liberate Virginia and save your great Second Amendment. It is under siege! They came in droves to take over the streets, flying confederate flags and holding guns.

In the middle of all that, in the early days of confusion, the hell that was the pandemic barreling down on the country, Juan was trying to practice law. One day, he saw a young couple in the basement of the courthouse in Bakersfield. It was an impertinent extravagant display of physicality that made him sick to his stomach. There was nothing sensual nor obscene to it. Was it perhaps an act of rebellion? It was nothing beyond a simple act of recklessness, a public display of idiocy. The sheer stupidity of it provoked an intense anger in him, an animalistic need to run as quickly as possible from such a raw display of humanity, in those days when humanity was a sublime act of decadence. What the fuck is wrong with this picture? Assholes! he thought instantly as he recoiled against a wall in fear. The young man, his lips licking hers, one hand first and then another, one to her shoulder, the other to her breast. He walked away. The thought that toilet paper was still scarce was fresh in his mind, hundreds were dying every day, and social distancing was a curse to reproductive rights. It almost made him vomit, and then it came to him; for a cruel instant, thoughts of her forced a smile of delight on his face, and he felt alive for just that moment.

Chapter 2

Mojave, California

Deputy Benito Castro’s report, Monday, March 1, 2021

It was the early morning hours, 0400 hours to be precise. I was on patrol on the 300 block of Shasta Street. The vehicle was legally parked, but for reasons still unclear to me, I decided to perform a welfare check; meaning that I was going to approach a vehicle with fogged windows and possibly catch a desperate young couple inside, engaged in an act of sublime idiocy. That was something you heard other deputies talk about, an ass flying into space, with reddish, hairless moles in inappropriate geographical places, containing no point of reference. His pants hanging from the calves, the distant paleness of the inner thigh of a woman, and the gasping sound of a soul approaching climax. I placed my service flashlight in one hand, and my other rested on the hardness of my Glock 22. This allowed one to explore the inside of the vehicle, while the other rested on my service weapon, to account for the possibility that the roaming anger of humanity could wake up a beast in the suspect, thereby becoming the target for the angular soul of a firearm aimed appropriately at center mass.

I knocked with my flashlight on the window of the Ford truck parked on the east side of the road, took a step back, and kept my other hand on my pistol, waiting for a response. The electronic sound of the vehicle as the unknown suspect turned the key in the ignition gave way to the mechanical sound of a window rolling down slowly as it opened.

What can I do for you, Officer? The voice inside came from a man, who spoke with a raspy and tired voice, with unkempt hair and a two-day beard. He was wearing a T-shirt smelling of sweat and was reminiscent of a homeless desert rat at rest. This was, after all, Mojave.

Can I see license and registration, please? I replied, promptly relying on my training and experience.

You can see whatever you want, Officer. I’m meaning no disrespect, Deputy. It just won’t be mine or, well, not today, said the man, with a faint smile on his face, thereby, resisting in my investigation for his welfare. He was touching his shirt, as if looking for something. A weapon? I suspected.

I then saw a bottle of what appeared to be an open alcoholic beverage on the passenger seat. At that point, I determined that probable cause for an arrest existed, based on a possible violation of Vehicle Code Section 23221, an open container of an alcoholic beverage in a vehicle, or, even worse, a driving under the influence case. At that point, I proposed to detain the driver of the truck.

Step out of the vehicle, sir, I ordered the man, and he appeared to be failing to comply with my command, or at the very least, he was delaying my order.

Son, you better think real hard as to how much shit you want to start this early in the morning. The suspect wasn’t buying it, and I thought to myself, A head shot may be required to proceed with my contact. Backup, I thought.

It was like an afterthought, as he pulled his gun and became consciously aware of the patrol car coming from behind. Sweet Jesus, backup!

Chapter 3

There was always a lingering doubt when you woke up in the morning. It was when you must trust that little voice within you that functioned as an alarm to guide that fragile adventure, which was living. It was forcing you to become alert and calling you to push yourself out of your warm bed and move. Somehow, routine, I guess, made me get ready with a quick shower, clothes already chosen the night before, a boring bagged sandwich, and then an open door into the darkness. It did not take long to get to the freeway. The city of Tehachapi, was a sleepy, pale shadow at the edge of the Sierra. You could see the lethargic march of the fog, entombing the world in doubt, as it crawled through the canyons like a funeral march at dawn. It was always cold in the mountains, at the edge of the lonely desert. You saw everything with new eyes early in the morning—the shadows, the light spouting timidly from the depth of the cold night, and the sun, asleep beyond the mountains east, a memory of what was to come; a desert waking up cold and stiff to the pounding of the sun above.

It was perhaps to be expected that a truck stop had no elegance, particularly on Highway 58, barely a few miles west of nothing, on your way to even less. Here I was, facing the child of corporate architecture and the poor sister of a family of corporate whores, seeking utilitarian decadence based on cost effectiveness and sidestepping any artistic goal when building such structures that nobody truly cared to admire. But then again, what is to be expected of anything at five o’clock in the morning on your way to the middle of the desert? I thought to myself. Fog teetered at the age of nothingness, carrying its frigid touch down the mountains like a dying animal seeking shelter. I pulled my coat up instinctively as I left my car and tried to stay warm as I entered the lobby. The clerk, a rather plump kid of about twenty, give or take a month, with a peach fuzz mustache, was obscenely chirpy for such a dreadful morning, so I approached with caution.

Ten on five, sport, I said, placing the bill and taking a step back—a socially acceptable middle-of-the-road position now that the crisis was looming but not yet here, when being an asshole could still be concealed in the mantra of the doctrine of social distancing in the second year of Trump’s Pest.

The kid took the bill and said something that did not sound like an insult, and I walked out of there, not certain life had any meaning. Of course, it did; it always had, on the way to earning your paycheck, even if the work sucked, and especially if it did. The tank filled twenty-four cents short of the ten tendered, and I donated that money to a shit corporate entity somewhere in a hideous cave offshore. That way, I didn’t have to see the chemically induced happiness on the face of the dick at the register and save myself the effort not to punching on his perfectly chiseled nose. Back on the freeway I went, right behind a couple of semitrucks going eastbound, carrying fine California weed to the waiting pipe of some East Coast sod. Marijuana consumption had steadily climbed, as any bona fide survivor of the big 2020 Toilet Paper Scare needed something to numb their psyche. Things had changed so much and so little, but the first thing to change was our ability to encounter the American core of tetrahydrocannabinol-induced denial. How many died? At some point, it was easier to forgive those who tried to kill you than those who killed someone else you knew; it was a tad more complicated. That was not the right question. At this time, anything was the wrong answer. This early in the morning, ten miles west of the Mojave, going to work, for fuck’s sake. It was only Monday, and I already hated myself.

Chapter 4

The voice of Bloodwork could be heard clear across the substation. Bloodwork was not his real name. His name was Sergeant James Blackburn, but he got the nickname after a lieutenant insisted he got one done after receiving a report that he was drunk on duty. That was years before anybody remembered him being anything other than the big fat fuck everybody thought he was. Usually, he had the quiet, lethargic demeanor of an old Mojave green rattlesnake in ambush, but when he was about to chew up someone’s ass, his booming voice had the effect of freezing people with terror. Nicknames never disappeared in law enforcement or the Army. He was not really yelling at the kid, but it sure sounded like he was, in those closed quarters. Benito was shaking like a leaf, standing at a position of attention, because the man did not want him sitting down when he wanted to drill him a new one.

Ultimately, he said, with his face red in anger, it is not up to me what happens to you, child. He bit on his pen angrily. It is up to the Old Man, and I hope that if you, by some miracle, survive this thing you did, you are commanded to spend the rest of your worthless existence patrolling in the city of Ridgecrest—a city that makes shit look cool—and then one day, a Mojave green injects enough poison in your system to jumpstart that pile of shit you have for brains! Get the fuck out of here and go see the Old Man. God have mercy on your soul because you won’t get any mercy from me, boy!

There were six deputies in the squad room, as it had normally happened every morning, trying to look like they couldn’t hear and trying to keep a straight face as the young man did his best to walk out of the office with what was left of his dignity. He was flush red, and his face was enough to show how he felt. He closed the door as he was ordered, and the deputies showed no sign that they could see him walk apprehensively toward the door to see the Old Man or that they knew what had happened. He knocked at the door and waited. Sergeant Sam Yoshio Nishina had been the man in charge of the Mojave station since the day he replaced Junior Hartman, who was on his way to be someone important in the office of the sheriff’s department. Nishina was a good man, a bit of an oddball, according to what he had heard, but fair by all accounts; and Benito was praying to all the saints in heaven that it was true what they said.

Come in and close the door behind you, son, said the voice in response to Benito’s gentle knock at the door.

Deputy Fredrick Benito, reporting, Sergeant Nishina, the kid replied.

Have a seat. Make yourself comfortable, said Nishina without looking at the kid, and Benito’s heart sank.

Chapter 5

Deputy Pedroza saw him walking toward the door, and he turned to Adam, the civilian guard, to say something rapidly. The man, with hair unkempt and a heavy winter jacket on, pulled on the heavy door and walked in casually. He didn’t say a word as he placed his briefcase on the conveyor belt. The X-ray machine showed nothing of interest, and the man picked it up. The man handed the deputy a bottle of tequila. The deputy opened it and smelled it.

Holy water, eh, Juan? said Pedroza with a smile on his face that told him he had already heard.

Yeap, forgotten in the car, and here it is, the man said as he walked past the metal detector and picked up his case and bottle.

Yeah, I heard about it, Pedroza said as Juan walked away. You know, you shouldn’t sleep in your truck. You have a house, for Christssake. If you do it once in a while, it is okay. On a Monday?

Yeah, well, it saves on gas. A little contribution to saving the planet. But one of these days, Juan replied, I’ll give it some thought, just for you. Besides, it is a comfortable truck.

At least you should say something to us whenever we have a new rookie in town that does not know you, Pedroza said. It would solve…issues, you know?

That’s a thought, Juan said without turning around. I’ll ponder on that too. Can I go now or am I under arrest?

Please, by all means, go. Just keep in mind, Juan, that just for wearing that outfit, there is probable cause for an arrest, but I worked all night, Pedroza said, laughing. Good thing that the CHP officer knew you and stopped the kid from punching your ticket.

Didn’t know you were not my fashion consultant, Pedroza. In any case, and if it makes you feel better, I am not happy that kid aimed that gun to my head. Not on a fucking Monday, Pedroza, Juan replied as he faced him. It could have ended badly…for me.

For the poor kid, too, living the rest of his life with that guilt and all that paperwork, suspension, ugh, Pedroza replied, smiling. Bloodwork had a piece of his ass this morning, and he is talking to Nishina now.

Well, shit, that’s something. He walked away ever so closer to the public defender’s office. Hope that they are nice to him. They should not be too hard on him. Nice kid. I like him. He’ll be okay with some fine-tuning in a few years.

He kept walking, and Pedroza followed him until he turned away from him, walking north on the corridor toward the West Wing. It was seven sharp when Juan Highorse finally opened the door to his office.

Nishina was still looking at the paper he had in front of him on the desk, as if he was trying to find an answer out of the sheer madness that was the formula he had come up with. Knowing that he didn’t want to interrupt his boss, Benito looked with curiosity at the walls of the small cement block office as he waited. Usually, the offices of the senior officers in the sheriff’s department were covered by awards. There were pictures of people slightly famous and their police cruisers, sometimes real guns, maps, and evidence photos from old cases, but not this guy. Nishina’s was covered with pieces of butcher paper taped to the walls and formulas of various highly flammable or explosive chemical compounds drawn there, with a few rudimentary sketches. Benito looked at them for some time until finally, Nishina shook his head in frustration and turned to face the kid.

Oh yeah, Benito, right? said the sergeant, smiling. Good. Take a seat. Oh you did, already? Good, initiative, I like that in people here.

Yes, sir, Frederick Benito, reporting as ordered, sir, the kid quickly replied. You told me to sit, sir.

Sure, I did. They call you Fred or what, kid? Nishina asked. Tell me?

Well, yes, Fred at home, or Fredo, but just my mother, answered the kid.

Well, I think I am going to call you Benito, Nishina said. "Sorry, I did not get a chance to talk to you before when you first came, but so that we are clear, we try not to shoot defense attorneys in their cars during weekdays, particularly not on Mondays. Do you know how long it would take his office to send someone from Bakersfield to finish the calendar? Don’t answer that. You’re new here. Let’s say it takes way too long to get another body, okay? So it is bad, muy malo, to shoot attorneys, particularly on Mondays. It would make the people here at the court really upset with you because they would get out of here way too late. It’s a long-ass drive to Lerdo from here, and those people from transportation are very sensitive. Many have hemorrhoids. Google it. Besides, everybody here likes Highorse. Heck, even I do."

Yes, sir, I won’t do that again, he said, apologizing.

"Horosho, I’m glad you agree with me, said the sergeant, showing him the door. You can go, unless you know how to create a semisolid matrix out of ammonium perchlorate and powdered aluminum. Well, do you? One that won’t deform by sudden changes of pressure generated by great speed and extreme barometric changes?" asked Nishina, smiling.

Sorry, sucked at chemistry, sir, answered the kid. No can do.

Well, that is all right. Just don’t suck at police work around here, and we’ll be fine, Nishina said, showing him the door. Take care, and nice meeting you, Doc. You can go now.

Benito walked out of the office and then exhaled deeply. His legs were shaking, and he needed a moment to steady himself. He then, really not knowing what to do, walked to the squad room where Bloodwork and six other deputies turned to look at him. Nobody said a word until Bloodwork barked.

Good thing you caught the Old Man in a good mood, kid, said Bloodwork. Well, kid, welcome to Mojave High! So with that, the other deputies got up and greeted him, laughing.

Chapter 6

Highorse walked into his office, and Silvia, the office manager, was already there working furiously. A monkey can do this work as long as you are here, he had said that to her the first week of work, after he had seen what she did. He believed it. She nodded in reply, as she also looked at the clock on the wall.

Hey, you slept in your truck last night, again, she said dryly, and scared the crap out of that poor kid Benito. You should be ashamed of yourself.

What, you’re my supervisor now? Good Lord! How long does it take for the news to travel in the West Wing? Juan said, hanging his coat on the rack and grabbing a tie. "Everybody knows? You guys are

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