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The Secret of Tayburn Zoo: 20

by DougalOfBiscuits


A/N: I remember really enjoying writing this chapter. I dunno if it's because I got to write a new setting, which was uncommon for this story, or because I had a really clear plan of what the chapter should be from the start, but I really had fun on this one. To the extent that I remember that enjoyment a year on from when I wrote it. Hope it shines through!

---

The trial came around quickly, suspiciously quickly as far as Patrick was concerned. Every day for a week and a half there was a new story about him. Almost never was there new information, but this scandal was like living breathing fire, and everybody had a 'hot take'. And finally, just as the two week mark since the raid on the zoo was approaching, with the buzz beginning to die down, Patrick found himself on the way to face his fate.

The sleek black car that had slid by to pick him up had dark, tinted windows, which Patrick was very glad of after a few minutes of travel. He was being taken from his cell in a small police station on one side of the centre of Glasgow to a court on the other side of the centre of Glasgow, so the ride was very short, but mobs of journalists bookended it at either side.

As he was marched through the wide, marble halls of the old building, he wondered if each paper had a journalist at either end and they texted each other details of his movements, like tag teams.

Well, he thought, at least my last thought will be a vaguely amusing one.

All eyes were on him as he was ushered into the room. He supposed it was no surprise that the setting of his trial would be public, with galleries jutting out from fairly high up the walls on both sides. If talking animals and a mad scientist wasn't a big money case, he didn't know what was.

He found himself in a wood-panelled booth, about as big as a pirate box at the theatre. There was a battered black plastic chair in the centre, which Patrick suspected might be a hastily arranged luxury for those at the age of sixty-two. But the attention of the media for a fortnight was tiring; he needed the rest, even if it meant admitting to being a fragile old man.

He was even more glad for the chair's support as the trial unfolded. The things the slimy young man accused him of - as if he would ever force the monkeys to put their lives in danger for him. It was their own idea to do all the tracks; they had been so bored before. But it never seemed to be his turn to speak, and even when it was his own court assigned lawyer put a well-meaning but bloody patronising hand on his arm and spoke about him in the third person as if he wasn't even there.

Finally, after some of the longest hours of Patrick's life, he was called to the stand. He strode purposefully out of his booth, desperate to walk like someone would if their knees didn't typically crack every time they stood up. The gate was opened for him and he sat slowly down on the well-kept leather chair.

He looked down at the prosecution lawyer, whose short light brown hair was slicked around in a huge lick, like a little LEGO figure, and his slim grey suit fit him well. Patrick did his best to straighten out the creases in his one navy waistcoat, then cleared his throat, ready to begin.

"Mr McAfferty, when you were first arrested, you claimed to be on the payroll of a company called Neuromax Pharmaceuticals. Is that correct?" The young man blinked up at him expectantly, holding his gaze.

Patrick frowned. His previous employment had been thoroughly debunked over the past fortnight, by both the police and the media. Still, he obviously couldn't lie. He leaned awkwardly forward, starting to lean his elbows against the gate but realising it was far too low. He fidgeted with his fingernails. "Yes, that's what I said."

"And do you stand by that story?"

"Yes, I do," Patrick said.

"Why do you stick by that story, sir?" The man looked over to the jury as he waited for Patrick's answer.

"Because it's the truth," Patrick said.

"But it's not," the man said, looking up to the galleries now. "Neuromax have released their records and there is no evidence that you have ever worked for them. Bearing that in mind, why do you stick by that story? What are you hoping to achieve?"

Patrick shifted in his seat. His own lawyer, a man somewhere in between the ages of the young lawyer and Patrick himself, had told him all about how the questioning would likely be led strongly in one direction. He was also told that this would probably not be useful questioning for their case. But something about this question... Patrick wanted to answer it.

"I need people to believe me about Neuromax," Patrick said, choosing each word carefully, "because they have other animals. Six that I know of, at least three of which are fully talking."

The young lawyer whirled around to face him. "And why have you not told us this before? Actually, I'll answer that one. You haven't answered because you haven't been asked - not by a panicking government, a presumptuous press, or even by a defence lawyer who hasn't even interviewed you for fear you'll slip up and say something out of line because you're too old to keep up with saying the right thing."

Patrick just sat there, stunned. He flicked his eyes towards the galleries, where all eyes were wide and all jaws hung open.

Patrick swallowed to try and moisten his dry throat, then leaned slightly forward, as if he was trying to whisper to the young lawyer. "Was, um, was that a question?"

"That was a goddam resignation," the young lawyer muttered. Louder, he shouted over to the jury. "This man has done some messed up stuff, but at the bidding of a messed up company! I implore you, postpone this trial until Neuromax Lanarkshire have been properly investigated."

And with that he stormed out of the courtroom, slamming some files off the desk that had previously been his on the way past. The double doors swung in and out on their hinges once he was gone, the only noise in the whole room.

Finally, a deep quiet voice to Patrick's left said, "I call a thirty minute recess while we... pick apart the remnants of due process."

Patrick looked round at the judge, a pot bellied man with wispy white hair. His eyes were half-closed, tired. He flicked his hand at Patrick, which Patrick figured was a dismissal and let himself off the stand. He looked toward his lawyer, who beckoned him over with a single wagging finger.

Treego was never even that patronising.

“I’ll be right back,” he called, then stumbled out the room.

He was first out, before any of the jury, and found the young lawyer leaning against the wall across the corridor.

The young lawyer pointed at the water fountain beside him. “Need a drink, Mr McAfferty? You seemed pretty hoarse up there.”

Great, Patrick thought, even the helpful one treats me like a child.

“I’m fine, thanks,” Patrick said. He crossed the corridor to get out of the way of anyone who might leave the courtroom, and turned to face the young lawyer. “And thank you for… that. What made you… Why did you even agree to take the case against me?”

He shrugged with one lithe, eloquent shoulder. “I’ve never had a problem with the spotlight. And you are being wronged. The lawyer who’s meant to be putting you behind bars comes out in favour, capturing the hearts of the nation?”

Patrick frowned. “And what makes you so sure I’m telling the truth?”

“Because the number of times I’ve spouted absolute nonsense up there.” He shook his head. “And I’ve been to your place. I’m not saying I always knew something was up, but you could tell those animals were happy.”

Patrick nodded. “I’m glad you think so. Well then, do you… think you’ll have made a difference with the judge?”

He shrugged again, with both shoulders this time. “Don’t know, don’t particularly care. There’s a much faster route.”

He was quiet for a few moments, and Patrick had no idea what to say. But finally the jury and a few of the more involved spectators started to file out of the courtroom. The young lawyer waited until they were all lingering around, chit-chatting with each other but all directing furtive glances right at him.

He clapped his hands and strode down the corridor, towards the exit. The crowd followed him in drips and drabs, but Patrick couldn’t even be bothered pretending. He darted to catch up with the young lawyer, then stayed on his heels the whole way out the door, into the grey clouded sky of a Glasgow afternoon. Into a pack of journalists.

The young lawyer raised his hands wide, and started to speak.


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Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:42 am
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ShadowVyper wrote a review...



Heya Bisc,

I'm out of excuses for why these reviews take me so long to get around to, but the recent tag reminded me I need to get back on this -- so let's go for it ;)

He was being taken from his cell in a small police station on one side of the centre of Glasgow to a court on the other side of the centre of Glasgow, so the ride was very short, but mobs of journalists bookended it at either side.


You've surely gotten my rant about this in the past so I'll spare you now, but you have "centre of Glasgow" repeated twice in this single sentence and I'm not loving the repetition. I'm not sure if it being the center of Glasgow is important to you to include, but even if so you could still look at maybe rephrasing it to something more like "on one side of town to the other" or like "on one side of Glasgow to the other" or something to make it flow better.

He looked down at the prosecution lawyer, whose short light brown hair was slicked around in a huge lick, like a little LEGO figure, and his slim grey suit fit him well.


So, I am really sick right now. I'm just going to put that out there in case I say something that doesn't make sense -- especially since this next opinion might be being influenced by that fact. However, it seems like you have a tiny bit too much exposition in this chapter? Like usually I'm all about descriptions and am eager for more -- but like in this sentence, for example, there are a LOT of descriptors for even just his hair. And it is reading pretty choppy because of all of that.

He darted to catch up with the young lawyer, then stayed on his heels the whole way out the door, into the grey clouded sky of a Glasgow afternoon. Into a pack of journalists.


So, this might be one of those cultural differences we've ran into in the past, but... you said he was escorted from a jail to the court house, yeah? So wouldn't that mean that he'd have a police escort now? Seems like he's being given an awful lot of freedom to move around and interact with the lawyers and such, when he's presumably still a prisoner, and should probably have some sort of supervision that is involved in him being allowed to walk outside. I mean, sure, it's unlikely that this old of a man is going to make a run for it -- but you can never be sure, and I kind of doubt that they'd take that kind of risk on this high profile of a case.

~ ~ ~

Overall, another great chapter! I'm so glad that I've got another chapter waiting for me to read, hopefully tomorrow. I always forget how much I love reading this story until I get sucked back into it again. You do such a great job of keeping me enthralled in this story and I love it so much.

Keep writing!

~Shady 8)




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Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:27 am
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Ventomology wrote a review...



Hi hi! I'm sorry I haven't read the rest of this work, but it's currently the oldest piece in the Green Room, so I thought I'd stop by and give it some love. Let's dive right in:

1. First, this is a fascinating premise, and it's incredible that I can tell exactly what's going on, even though I've never read anything in this novel before. All that context is there in the things Patrick says and thinks, and it's such a feat that you've kept the plot so tight and together and constantly connected to the big picture.

2. I feel like there wasn't enough speculation on the young prosecutor's thought process, or enough time spent on whatever physical movements and expressions he made when he suddenly switched sides. Like, all of a sudden there was just this switch to sarcasm? I think, even if we have seen the young prosecutor before--when he visited Patrick's house, maybe?--that there needs to be heavier foreshadowing or a nice long moment of revelation.

And in general, I think we could have gotten more time in the courtroom before Patrick gets called to the stand. I know that might mean researching case proceedings which would be an actual pain in the bottom but it will really lend to the scene-to-scene flow of this chapter and provide more space to lead into the young prosecutor's big moment.

3. There's some lovely paragraphs with Patrick thinking nice things about his courtroom seating accommodations--and the mention of it is great! Little things like that really make the scene--but what was the big picture? Where's the jury, and what does Patrick make of them? Who's watching, and what do they look like all crowded into the court room? Is there anything that might juxtapose well with Patrick's comfy chair, like the judge's uncomfortable chair, or the onlookers' benches? It's difficult to understand the little details if we don't know the surroundings well.

That's it! This was a fantastic piece--I'm sorry you had to wait so long for feedback. It feels like more people should be reading this, because you have a solid, amusing, and intriguing premise. If you update ever, let me know and I'll read back through the previous chapters to come back to this. It's wonderful!

Until next time,
-Vento






Oh wow thank you so much! Yeah, I have two pretty dedicated reviewers but I think the one who hasn't reviewed this chapter yet has had some pretty intense grad school stuff going on for a while xD

I can always add more! That is a much more satisfying edit than taking stuff out. I will take a note in this chapter to basically elongate the court scene and add more setting (add more setting is something you could probably say about almost all of my chapters, especially in this project :P)

I'm going to stick the next chapter up just now since this is out the Green Room, but no pressure to speed your way through the previous 19 chapters xD

Thanks again,
Biscuits :)



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Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:24 am
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Dossereana wrote a review...



Hi @DougalOfBiscuits I am here to do another review on your work here. So lets get right into it shell we.

The trial came around quickly, suspiciously quickly as far as Patrick was concerned.
Well hay oh that is a great start to the chapter from were we left of haha. Any way I have a little nit pick with this line. So if you look there is two words in bold and the two words are the same. In between both of these two words there is only a suspiciously that is separating them both. I just feel like you could do with only one quickly in this line unless your going to make them more separated. I hope you understand what I am saying here.

Every day for a week and a half there was a new story about him. Almost never was there new information, but this scandal was like living breathing fire, and everybody had a 'hot take'. And finally, just as the two week mark since the raid on the zoo was approaching, with the buzz beginning to die down, Patrick found himself on the way to face his fate.
From the beginning of this chapter all ready I can see why you liked writing this chapter. I really feel the characters in your chapters. your description is definitely better in this chapter compared to the last. These lines just seem to get me going and wondering what will happen to him. Because you no not every story is going to end with a happy ever after Lol.
All eyes were on him as he was ushered into the room. He supposed it was no surprise that the setting of his trial would be public, with galleries jutting out from fairly high up the walls on both sides. If talking animals and a mad scientist wasn't a big money case, he didn't know what was.
Biscuits I can really see why you liked writing this chapter. I mean really I think this is the best chapter yet. Just reading these lines is pushing my forward to just read more of it to see what happens. I must say when it gets to these kind of bits in my story I really do in joy writing it to. Its just like the best part when things really start to get moving and fears. I find when I writing I feel like I just have these chapters planed out way before I have even got to them. And I don't like writing much of the other chapters other then the ones that I am like ready to write.

He clapped his hands and strode down the corridor, towards the exit. The crowd followed him in drips and drabs, but Patrick couldn’t even be bothered pretending. He darted to catch up with the young lawyer, then stayed on his heels the whole way out the door, into the grey clouded sky of a Glasgow afternoon. Into a pack of journalists.

The young lawyer raised his hands wide, and started to speak.
This is a great way to end the chapter, I loved the hole thing. I cannot wait to here the next one. This was really the best chapter I have read. I don't really no why these chapters seem to be the best ones. Maybe it is the facked of it being the more not so boring part of the story. I mean I feel like the other parts of the story is a little boring to write. And it can be more boring for the reader to.
But anyways I really liked this chapter. I really can see why you liked writing this to. Every line was great and I feel like these are the kinds of chapters that are going to get your reader drawn in.

So that is all that I can say. If I was being to harsh then I am really sorry pleas will you forgive me. So keep up the great and fantastically super work. :D

I hope you have a great Day/Night

@Dossereana Out In The Sky Of Reviews

YWS!!!!





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