I'm not really sure what this is. We were told to write a fiction piece, so I did... but it turned out rather different than I had expected.

STARBUCKS

Erik Southwood of the New York Police Department stood next to the courtroom door, a half empty cup of Starbucks coffee in one hand and a ballpoint pen in the other. He sighed and leaned against the greasy wall, glaring at a couple of rambunctious kids as they passed. Juveniles. The 29-year-old ran a hand through his long black hair and looked through the dirty window of the courtroom, glancing at his watch in anticipation. He motioned to an attractive young woman, finally catching her attention with frantic waving. She smiled nervously at him and then refocused her concentration on the judge, who appeared to be quite befuddled and exasperated. Erik sighed with annoyance and buttoned his coat. Just then, an impertinent and loud voice from inside made him cringe:

"She's insane, that one! Never in my lifetime have I seen such abomination!" The rash voice belonged to Professor Sear Mentur. An intellectual, he had received his PhD in the Classics from Dartmouth and now taught at Harvard University as a distinguished professor of History. However, his brain did not make up for his poor manners. Erik barely moved out of the way in time to avoid being hit, for the courtroom door swung open with overwhelming fury and a short blond woman stomped out, her face streaked with tears and mascara running. When she saw Erik she pointed at the direction from which she had just come.

"Don't trust a word of what is said in there! I cannot believe people accuse me of such things!" She headed towards the exit of the court house but stopped when a tall, thin man came out of the men's restroom, his glasses perched on his nose and tie askew.

"Dr. Gett A. Liphe! What a relief! I almost thought my case was lost!" she cried, clinging to his blue-checkered shirt. "You must plead on my behalf!"

"Now, now, my dear nurse Betty, there is nothing to fret about. I employed your services at Beacon Hospital knowing that you are an excellent physician's assistant. Rest assured, Oxy will not win this case."

"I most definitely think not!" said Betty's attorney, Donovan, as he exited the courtroom. "We have an excellent witness to the event who is testifying right now." He smiled and suddenly caught notice of the silent Erik. The brown haired attorney quickly turned to him, who during Betty's rant had resumed his practice of leaning against the wall, trying to stifle a consecutive line of yawns.

"And you are?"

"Erik," the police officer replied shortly, flashing his badge. "NYPD."

Donovan snorted. "And your purpose for being here is?"

"My fiancée is in that courtroom, testifying," he said curtly.

"Oh, the wonderful Miss Margaret Giry! Teaches musical theater at Hofstra University, correct? I did not know she was engaged," Donovan said with a hint of jealousy in his voice.

Erik smirked and put the ballpoint pen in his pocket. "Surprise."

"Now, Betty dear, did you tell his Honor exactly what happened?" Dr. Liphe said gently.

Betty nodded tearfully and blew her nose. "I told him that Miss Giry and Professor Mentur were both witnesses to the entire thing. But only Miss Giry decided to tell the truth! Professor Mentur is a good ol' friend of Oxy's and he won't say what really happened." At this thought, Betty broke down again, causing Erik to involuntarily roll his eyes.

Miss Giry emerged ten seconds later from the courtroom, her light brown hair damp from sweat. She smiled sweetly at Erik but shook her head when Betty approached her with eyes full of hope.

"His Honor is taking a much needed recess. The verdict will be known in about thirty minutes." She took Erik's hand in hers and grimaced. "Professor Mentur nor Oxy will remove themselves from their chairs. They told me that they are exhausted from trying so hard to shed light on the truth. I had to resist the impulse to vomit."

Donovan groaned and rubbed his temples, tearing his eyes away from the teacher. "Now Betty, if you are declared guilty, we can always appeal the case to a higher court. This courtroom in New York is not the end of the line."

Betty let out a wail and fell to her knees. "Oh no! Mr. Donovan sir, I am not guilty! Oxy did it to himself! And Miss Giry and Professor Mentur saw him in the act! I merely tried to save him!"

"I know, I know," Donovan said, little sympathy in his voice. "But still, judges can by swindled by anything."

Dr. Liphe patted her back soothingly, mumbling incoherent words under his breath. "I am sure his Honor will see the absurdness of this case and understand…"

"Understand what?" said Professor Mentur. He stood in the frame of the open courtroom door, looking extremely smug. Betty stifled a sob and buried her face in Dr. Liphe's thin chest.

Miss Giry placed her hands on her hips and frowned at the professor. Donovan merely sighed and proceeded to write something in his Palm Pilot while Betty continued to cry. Erik looked around the group and decided to speak to fill the awkward silence.

"Understand that you are the most arrogant person on the face of the earth," he said smoothly, looking at his fingernails in a mocking sort of fashion. Professor Mentur gasped and his face went white.

"I am a graduate of Dartmouth College with a PhD composed in Latin!"

"And I graduated from American University in Washington D.C. with a 3.0 GPA. Impressed?" Erik said, hiding a smile. Miss Giry looked harshly at her fiancée but relief and admiration were in her eyes.

"American University is an excellent school, although not quite up to par with Dartmouth," said Dr. Liphe in a philosophical manner, oblivious to the weird stares he received from Donovan.

"I think…" began the attorney, but he was interrupted as Oxy burst out of the courtroom, knocking his loyal witness to the ground in the process.

"I thought I smelled Starbucks," he said, sniffing the air. His watery eyes latched on to Erik. "You have it."

"Why, yes, I do. But it's the fattening kind. You probably wouldn't like it. Too much sugar."

"Oxy," Miss Giry said, approaching the deranged man wearily. "I saw you try to commit suicide in Time Square by continuously running into the poster advertising the Broadway play Julius Caesar. And even though the professor denies it, he was shopping in Saks along with me and saw you as well. I am quite curious to know what he was doing in the women's department of Saks. Anyway, Nurse Betty here was giving me some information on the best dress to buy for the premier of Julius Caesar when she saw your incessant attempts. If it hadn't been for her, all would've been lost. She saved your life. You should be grateful."

"Wait," Erik said, scratching his head. "You're going to the premier of Julius Caesar and didn't tell me?"

"It- it was going to be a surprise," she said sheepishly. "Although it isn't now…. but I had tickets for both of us." Miss Giry smiled at Erik's shocked expression. "I have my connections."

Professor Mentur looked up weakly at his friend. "You have the right to sue…" he murmured and then passed out.

"I have the right to sue!" Oxy screamed, his voice shrill. "I wanted to die! I didn't ask to be saved!" He stared hard at Betty. "I am an official judge in Rock Bottom, Kansas, for Pete's sake! I know my rights!"

Betty's lower lip trembled and her sparkling blue eyes overflowed with tears. Erik handed her a handkerchief and grabbed his fiancée's arm, his eyes set in stone.

"Come, let's all leave," he said, gathering Donovan, Dr. Gett A. Liphe and Betty in a circle. "This is a joke."

"You can't leave!" cried Oxy as they began to make their way towards the exit. "Stop, you traitors!"

Erik laughed haughtily and glanced back at the sniveling man. "Et tu, Oxy?"
Miss Giry grinned at the comment. "We'll be back in thirty minutes, don't you worry, Oxy," she said. Erik turned to the group. "Right now, I think Le Chateau Blanc sounds rather appetizing, don't you?"

"White Castle?" scoffed Donovan.

"Did you have something else in mind?" Erik inquired.

Donovan said nothing in reply. They went to White Castle and came back just in time to hear the verdict, overstepping a still passed out Professor Mentur on their way into the courtroom. It appears the Judge found the case ridiculous and locked Oxy up in an insane asylum, pinning a warning on the outside of his cell. Betty felt sorry for him and tried to share her cheeseburger with the psychologically inept man, but he had his heart set on Starbucks. No one could force him to change his mind.