Graand JuryrThe young Latina was nervous. She’d never been called on to give testimony.  She sat in the witness box before us, thirty members of a Grand Jury, and answered the questions fired at her by the assistant District Attorney. He was young, maybe thirty-three, impatient, eager for us to arraign the alleged perp, a young black guy. “What time of day was this?” he wanted to know. “It jes’ before nine,” she said,  “jes’ before I have to  close up. I already pull down the blind–” “Speak up, please,” said the DA. “Who else was on duty that evening?” “Nobody, jes’ me.” “Tell the jury what happened please, in your own words.” And who else’s words would she use? I wondered, sitting in the third row.  She shifted uncomfortably on her chair. Baskin Robbins“So I alone in the store,” she began, shyly, “an’ thees boy come in and I tell him, We close now, but he say I je’ want one cup of Leopard Spot Caramel, so I let him in, and suddenly he pull out this knife, an’ he grab me an’ he put the blade up to my neck an’ he say, ‘Go to the register and get the cash’ an’ if you scream I swear to God I kill you.'” The girl caught her breath, swallowed, intensely upset, as if maybe she was going to cry. “And then?” “Well, an’ then, like he say, I go to the register and give him the money -we have a special bell under the counter for the police, but I’m  too afraid to do anything.” There was silence in the room as she collected herself. We were all totally enthralled. The DA waited her out; he knew she would continue when she could. “So I geev him the money, there was three hundred ‘n eighteen dollars, and he come right up close to me with the knife an he say, Where the toilet, an I think he need the bathroom, for himself, you know? but he lead me in there, an’ he say, I want you should stay in here and count to one hundred and you don’ make a sound, you quiet, like a mouse, you get it? An’ I nod to him, and he take me in there and ooh, he make sure I see that knife, an he tell me again Don’ you cry or make any kinda sound or I come back and cut you good, girl, an’ I say No sir, no sir, I be quiet. Because, you know, I’m scared outta my mind, I keep thinking, If he cut me, who’s gonna know? Nobody around, nobody but me…I could bleed to death on the bat’room floor…” And finally this poor girl broke and put her hands to her eyes to rub away the tears. We squirmed in our seats with identification, each of us wondering what we might have done in her situation. “And so he left?” the DA asked her. She nodded. A moment went by, the DA waiting to see if she had any further comment. Finally, he said, “Anything else you remember about him?” She looked at him with her little down-turned, trembling mouth and she said “Well…he was very good-looking.”