Dennis Moore, (client#83)

From Part II, Pretrial, Chapter 4: Full Contact Chess.

Dennis Moore would drop by ‘my table’ every once in a while during morning rec when no one else was nearby. He was an older Black guy who walked with a cane, was maybe 6 feet tall all straightened up – literally, not metaphorically, he was an in-out-in-out lifer – with close-cropped white/black/gray hair. Despite the cane, he was deathly quiet in his every movement, a pre-sentence holding ninja of the first order.

Which was fortunate for me, every time I managed to spot him zipping about the unit my brain helplessly kicked in with the Monty Python Dennis Moore song.

He carried his case notes and three or four Bibles crooked under his non-cane hand, all of which he unceremoniously dumped on the table, denting the metal.

He was not a Bible thumper, he was the Bible Thumper, the head of the biblical whole shebang. Speaking of Whole Shebang, that’s exactly what he then threw across the smooth metal surface into my awaiting hands. Whole Shebang Potato Chips – the single greatest potato chips ever made and only available coast to coast at a prison near you.

The pushing of the potato chips (or package of Tang, or Slim Jims) was his ‘I am in need of answers to several legal questions.’ My opening the package, as I did seconds after it hit the table, and immediately chomping on a particularly large chip, signaled my acceptance.

Our ritual. Dennis was acting as his own lawyer . . . yes, in the courtroom. No Public Defender to help out, it was all Dennis and he eschewed plea bargains under the hardly ridiculous belief that his criminal record – pushing Dickensian proportions – rather narrowed his options on that front. The fact that his current case was a manslaughter had no bearing on his calculations.

I was almost sure he was innocent, so there was that, too.

I answered Dennis Moore’s questions and he nodded and took notes and then simply left me alone. He asked no follow-up questions about stuff that had already been addressed and required no reassurances, empty or otherwise.

And the man paid up front.

The perfect client.

Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore, dum-dum-de-da-dum-dum-dum, had my respect.