A Microstory

My grandfather, said Alex, used to be a lawyer.

He have done a lot of pro bono work when he was young.

And there was one thing, he told me, that was constantly bugging him.

All the petty criminals he was defending treated him with suspicion.

They got along just all right with the prison guards who often treated them unkindly or even cruelly. They were friends with all the janitors and the cooks.

Yet the very person who came to defend them, of his own will and asking for no money, they treated with distrust, as if he was some kind of prosecution's accomplice.

Finally, after several years that attitude started to change bit by bit.

My grandpa, said Alex, was happy. It was like breaking through some kind of invisible barrier.

But he still didn't understand. It seemed that nothing have changed. He have treated them as kindly as ever. His legal advice hasn't got any better. The whole thing was like an undeserved accomplishment. Like getting an A just because the teacher was distracted.

Until one day, it was in the fall of 1938, one guy accused of larceny explained it to him:

"I am a criminal," he said, "You are a Jew."

"We are even now."

Martin Sústrik, October 16th, 2017

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