Clink clank, the sound of chains broke the silence, the sound of metal that rang through the court from times immemorial.
I’m sure there were plenty of people who found this constant jingling to be unpleasant. To an extent where there were people in the gallery looking at Claudia with twitching eyebrows.
She looked as if she was struggling for her life, and as it also looked as if she was trying to wriggle free and run, Prosecutor Schaefer pointed at Claudia.
“M’lud, just what does it look like the defendant is attempting to do right now?”
“Hm? What the defendant is doing… to me, it doesn’t seem as if she’s doing anything particularly special…”
“What are you trying to say?” I objected without a moment’s delay. “She’s just…”
… Just doing what?
As I tried searching for my next words, I was interrupted.
“Just struggling, is that what you’re trying to say?”
“Are you listening, Mr. Lawyer? It is true her conduct may seem incoherent. Arrested by the police, when she had taken on an exceedingly cooperative attitude, she suddenly lashed out, attempting escape after escape, as if she has no consistency to speak of.”
“Therefore, I’ve asserted a number of times that she lacks the ability to appreciate her situation.”
Tsk, tsk, tsk… the prosecutor touched her index finger to her lips, clicking her tongue as if making a fool of me.
“She isn’t struggling. It’s the opposite. She’s putting all her effort towards calmly cognizing her current situation. As a result, she had no choice but to take illogical actions.”
Prosecutor Schaefer took a document fastened with a clip in hand, and continued on.
“Here, I have the defendant’s psychological evaluation from a reputable psychiatrist. By the doctor’s diagnosis, the client has a severe case of security blanket syndrome and nothing more.”
I returned the word I didn’t have any familiarity with.
“Safety blanket syndrome. A psychological disorder. Do you have a grandchild, m’lud?”
“Me? Yes, I’ve a grandson who’ll turn three this year. He’s just the cutest, and…”
“Since he’s m’lud’s grandson, I’m sure he’s simply adorable.”
“Ohoh. The truth is, he came over to play the other month and…”
“Excuse me! What relation does that have to the case!?”
It sounded as if the judge’s story was going to drag on, so I objected before I knew it, but the prosecution just gave a cold reply of, “Isn’t it obvious?”
… I hate these guys.
“Then to return to the main topic, when he sleeps at night, does your grandson sleep alongside a stuffed animal, or something of the sort?”
“Oh, I’m surprised you knew. The truth is, I gave him a stuffed bear for his birthday, but he always walks around without parting from it, and that’s just the cutest, or should I say it’s a sight for sore eyes, or should I say, he holds it in his small hands and does his utmost to never left it go…”
The judge’s grandson bragging continued, but it didn’t seem very relevant to the case.
“And that’s safety blanket syndrome.”
The prosecutor interrupted the eternal continuation of the judge’s grandson talk with perfect timing.
“The condition where a small child is not able to sleep at night without their favorite plushy or blanket is called safety blanket syndrome. By embracing that stuffed animal, your grandson is able to go to bed with some peace of mind.”
“Oho, so that’s how it is. I didn’t know that. The truth is, my daughter’s been worried lately. Over what to do if he never lets go of that bear to the time he becomes an adult…”
“You’ve no need to worry. As long as he ages, he’ll eventually learn to sleep without it in his arms.”
“W-wait a second!”
Just what is she talking about?
“The prosecution has just asserted the defendant to suffer from safety blanket syndrome. But isn’t that a matter of children? The defendant is already…”
I pointed at the defendant. And I thought… was eighteen still considered a child, or an adult?
I was worried over which it was, but I’m sure both were correct, and I got the feeling neither was wrong. In that case, I need only pick the option most convenient to me.
“The defendant is already… an adult. She’s still young, but she isn’t as small as m’lud’s grandson.”
“Exactly,” the prosecution easily admitted. And she spoke, “That’s exactly why it’s a problem.”
“When plaguing a child, safety blanket syndrome poses no particular problems. It’s a problem when it continues on to adulthood. Just look at the defendant’s feet. Her nervous tics are coming out, and she can’t help but rattle the chains on her legs again and again, right?”