The Boy and the Sea Dragon
Lawyer of His People
The next day, a tall Cingala woman showed up at Shequyle’s office. Her black, straight hair hung to her waist. She wore a business dress and black leather shoes. She walked through the doorway. She walked up to the desk.
Shequyle sat behind the desk. He looked at her. They knew each other. She spoke Jalapean, “Shequyle, I hear you have a Cingala boy in custody. Why? Is he charged with anything?”
Shequyle said, “Yes, we do have the boy. He was found with a body of a murder victim, Shulngeniu. He is not charged with anything, yet. I am trying to ask him questions. He doesn’t understand me. I don’t know Cingalia.”
Shulngeniu was a Cingala lawyer. She had been practicing law in the city for years. She mainly represented Cingala sailors in trouble. She said, “I am here to represent him in this matter. I want to talk with my client, alone.”
“Follow me,” Shequyle said. He got up. He led her to the previous interrogation room.
They entered the room. He said, “The boy will be here, shortly.”
Shequyle exited the room. Shulngeniu sat at the table. Shequyle got Zuangeng himself. He returned with Zuangeng. They entered the room. He spoke Jalapean, “Here is the boy. I will now leave him with you.”
Shequyle exited the room. He closed the door behind him. He returned to his office.
Zuangeng stood still. He looked at Shulngeniu. She studied him. He appeared rather nervous and very unhappy. His mouth was turned down at the corners. He was cisibly shaking. His eyes were watering. He seemed almost in tears.
Shulngeniu congenially spoke Cingalia, “Please, have a seat.”
She indicated the chair on the other side. Zuangeng brightened somewhat at the sound of his native language. The left corner of his mouth turned up into a half smile. He nervously walked over to the other side of the table and sat. He still seemed nervous and frightened. She said, “Hi, my name is Shulngeniu. What is your name?”
He said with a nervous twinge in his voice, “I go by the name of Zuangeng.”
Shulngeniu said, “Well, Zuangeng, pleased to make your acquaintance. Are they treating you all right?”
He said, “As well as can be expected. Hard to get any sleep with all the racket. Bed isn’t all that comfortable, either. Don’t much care of the company.”
She said, “Do you know the language of this country?”
He was starting to calm down more. He said, “Only enough to get by on the streets. I don’t understand most words. I don’t know why I’m here.”
She said, “You are here under suspicion in the death of someone.”
He became nervous and upset again. He said defensively “I didn’t do it!”
She said, “Calm down, Zuangeng. I’m here to help you. You have not been charged with anything. Where are your parents?”
He said, “I’m told my mother is dead. I don’t know my father. Nobody admits to knowing him. The man who had been raising me is out at sea. I’m here by myself.”
She said, “Why aren’t you with him?”
Zuangeng was calming down, again. He seemed less nervous and frightened. The frown had disappeared. His mouth was a straight line. He said, “I got separated from him by a storm. I’m trying to get back to him. He should be heading this way. I was hoping to meet him here. Now, this happens!”
She said, “Do you know anybody in this country?”
He said, “Only five kids, I met in the streets.”
She said, “I was told that they found you with a body.”
He got defensive, again, “Yes, I was. But, I did not kill him!”
She said, “Take it easy, Zuangeng. Nobody is saying you did. Do you know who did?”
He said, “I saw the murder take place.”
She said, “Can you describe the person who killed the victim?”
He said, “Yea. It was a man. He was short, about my height. He was old and grey. He was dark skinned. He had a scar on his left cheek.”
She said, “What happened?”
He said, “I walked into the alley. I saw him fighting with a taller man. Then, he pulled out a gun and shot him!”
She said, “Shequyle is going to ask you some questions about this.”
He said, “If he is who I think he is, he already did. However, I couldn’t understand the questions. I think he got mad. He frightened me, almost made me cry.”
She reassured him, “Don’t worry, Zuangeng. I’ll be here with you for support and help. Are you ready?”
He said, “I guess.”
She said, “Wait here.”
Shulngeniu exited the room. She encountered another officer on her way to the stairs going up. She said in Jalapean, “Will you be a dear and get Shequyle? We’re ready for him.”
“Yes’m,” the officer said. He walked up to get Shequyle.
Shulngeniu walked back to Zuangeng. When she arrived, she went to the other side. She sat next to Zuangeng.
Shequyle entered the room. Shulngeniu stood up. She spoke Jalapean. Zuangeng looked at them. She said, “Shequyle, before we start, I need to talk with you.”
Shequyle said, “Come over here.”
They walked to the nearest corner. Zuangeng watched. Shulngeniu said, “His name is Zuangeng. During the previous interview, you scared him.”
Shequyle said, “That’s what I thought. I did not mean to. Now, let’s get this done.”
They walked back to the table. Shequyle sat opposite of Zuangeng. Shulngeniu sat on Zuangeng’s right.
Shequyle opened with, “Zuangeng, I’m sorry I scared you.”
Shulngeniu translated. Zuangeng said, “Your apology is accepted.”
Shulngeniu translated, again. The three of them went through the questions. Shulngeniu served as the intermediary, translating between them. Zuangeng groped for her left hand. She held his right hand.