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Episode 50: An Unexpected Proposal

“All rise!” Deputy Martínez announced.

Before the judge had even cleared the bench, Senator Castillo was already walking around the prosecution table and heading to the center of the courtroom to begin her speech. The court’s attention focused on the senator.

“Wait!” Acey rose and dashed to the railing.

Senator Castillo frowned, thinking Acey was addressing her.

“Wait, your honor!” Acey shouted.

Deputy Martínez moved to intercept her.

“I still have business before this honorable court, your honor!” Acey insisted, catching Judge Connor’s attention just before he reached the door. “I have business, and I want to be heard!” she yelled.

Senator Castillo scowled and crossed her arms.

Judge Connor looked puzzled. “Business, young lady?”

“Your honor, I just visited your clerk!” Acey announced, standing at the rail. “I have here a legal instrument, paid in full, and duly registered at the county courthouse for the jurisdiction of my residence,” Acey waved a clipboard. “A legal instrument that requires two more signatures in order to be valid. One of the signatures required is yours, your honor. As for the other…”

Acey turned to face Mike. “Is that offer you made still open?”

Mike’s jaw dropped in dawning realization, and then snapped shut.

“Yes, it is,” he replied at last.

“Then, sign here,” she thrust the clipboard at him.

“You want to do this HERE?” he asked, incredulously.

“Yes.”

“You want to do this NOW?” he asked.

“Yes.”

“But you always wanted a ‘proper’ wedding,” Mike protested.

“We can do it right later,” Acey insisted, “but we’re also going to do it… right now.”

She smiled as tears started to flow down her cheeks. “I suggest you decide quickly, before I recover from my insanity and change my mind.”

Mike fumbled awkwardly trying to unfasten the pen from the clipboard.

Senator Travis handed one to him.

Mike signed his name.

“Your honor?” Acey asked, passing the clipboard to Deputy Martínez over the railing. The deputy passed it to the judge.

“This is highly irregular,” Judge Connor reviewed the marriage license with a frown, reading the document carefully, “but everything seems to be in order…”

He looked up from the clipboard, his frown breaking into a smile, “…and far be it for this court to stand in the way of true love. Please approach the bench.” He resumed his seat.

“Roxy,” Acey turned to face her.

The senator still occupied the center of the courtroom in front of the judge’s bench.

“You said we were sisters in one big family,” Acey noted. “Will you stand beside me as my maid of honor?”

“You’re making a BIG mistake, Acey.” Senator Castillo looked aghast. “I won’t be a part of this.”

“You’re all about a woman’s ‘right to choose’ to be anything she wants to be,” Acey pointed out. “Well, this is what I want. This is what I choose.”

“You’re making a wrong choice, Acey,” Senator Castillo insisted. “You’re throwing away all the opportunities your mother and I and a long line of activists and suffragettes have fought so…”

“Mom?” Acey aborted the senator’s nascent political speech. “Will you stand beside me?”

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“Acey,” her shocked mother shook their head. “You’re acting emotionally instead of thinking things out. Stop.”

“I AM going to be a rebel,” Acey replied, “just like you always wanted me to be, and no one, not even you, can stop me.”

Acey turned to her right to face Kim. “Would you be my maid of honor?”

“I’d be delighted.” She stood and walked to Acey’s side.

“Senator,” Mike said, “I need a best man.”

“Delighted,” the senator placed a hand on his young client’s shoulder. “Anything for a former cellmate.”

The two followed Acey and her maid of honor to stand in front of the judge’s bench.

Senator Castillo took an inadvertent step back as the wedding party surged forward, claimed the space in front of the judge’s bench and completely preempted the senator’s big speech. She faded back to the prosecution table, re-crossing her arms.

“We’ll make this quick,” Judge Connor began. “Do you, Michael Philip Andrews, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, to live together in matrimony, to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, to have and to hold, from this day forward, as long as you both shall live?”

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"I do,” Mike confirmed with a smile.

“And, do you, Amber Chakra Buchmann, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, to live together in matrimony, to love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, to have and to hold, from this day forward, as long as you both shall live?”

“I do,” Acey returned the smile.

“Then, by the authority vested in me,” Judge Connor proclaimed, “I now pronounce you husband and wife!”

Judge Connor glanced down at the paperwork and scribbled his signature on the marriage certificate. “You may…” He looked up to see Mike already kissing his new bride, “…proceed.”

Acey kissed her new husband back.

And the whole room…

…with only a few exceptions…

…applauded.

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The couple split apart still holding each other’s arms, and they beamed at each other.

“For they are jolly good fellows!” Senator Travis sung out in a loud, strong voice as he led the happy couple back through the gate and cleared a path for them through the crowd.

“For they are jolly good fellows!” the senator continued.

The audience joined in and followed in the procession’s wake. “FOR THEY ARE JOLLY GOOD FELLOWS!”

“Today we have scored a victory over hate!” Senator Castillo struggled to be heard over the singing of the receding wedding party.

“THAT NOBODY CAN DENY!”

“TODAY WE HAVE SCORED A VICTORY OVER HATE!” Her face reddened and she began to tremble.

“THAT NOBODY CAN DENY!”

Senator Castillo could not be heard over the clamor of the crowd.

“THAT NOBODY CAN DENY!”

“TODAY,” she began again, “WE HAVE…” She paused, and then collapsed like a marionette whose strings had been cut.

“FOR THEY ARE JOLLY GOOD FELLOWS!”

“DOCTOR!” Tony screamed, leaping over the rail. His voice was lost in the chorus of the crowd. He bent down and cradled her head. “WE NEED A DOCTOR!”

Oblivious to the event behind them, the crowd sang on.

“THAT NOBODY CAN DENY!”

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The Wise of Heart series cover
50 An Unexpected Proposal episode cover
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The Wise of Heart

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Aetherczar
He wanted to test the new Gender Awareness in Academia (GAIA) Act, but high-school biology teacher, Mike Andrews, got more than he bargained for. Arrested and thrown in jail for the crime of teaching the biology of sex determination and for refusing to affirm a student’s gender identity, Mike faces a show trial amid a media circus. The Wise of Heart offers a timely tale of transgender mania as author Hans G. Schantz re-imagines and updates the story of the Scopes Monkey Trial.
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