Elena walked into the shadowed rotunda and took her place in the exact center. Deeply recessed lights around the perimeter made tight circles on the granite floor of painfully bright light. From in-between the lights stepped nine robed figures. At the gesture of the tallest, a light stabbed down from the ceiling, pinning Elena. She could see The Justices now, grim and filled with hate.
“Who now comes before us?” boomed Roberts, his voice clashing with its own echoes in the airy confines. “Kagen,” the others intoned, “sent to Us by The One.” Elena stood up as straight as possible at the mention of The One, the effort making her wattle quiver queasily.
“Who speaks for this woman?” asked Roberts, with all the hollowness of meaningless ritual. “No one must,” the rest answered, “For she was sent to Us by The One.”
Roberts walked forward and after a beat the others followed. He pulled from his robe a crumbled sheet of thick paper. He tilted it so that she could read it in the light. Elena could make out the familiar words: “We the People…” The rest was obscured by nine fat lines of dried shit.
“On your knees,” Roberts said.
Elena dropped down, accustomed to following orders without thought. Looming over her, face shadowed once more, Roberts said “Hold out your hands.” Scalia let out a hysterical giggle and Roberts turned and backhanded him to the floor. Scalia’s smug grin was filled with blood when he finally stood. Ruth stooped down to run a finger through the blood when Roberts turned back, and then began to massage it into her crotch under her robe. Elena caught a glimpse of iron gray pubic hair and gagged.
Roberts crumbled the paper into a rough ball in Elena’s hands. “What We do today, We do for Expediency’s Sake,” Roberts continued. “Expediency’s Sake,” the others replied. Roberts produced a match and struck it quickly on his front teeth. The paper in her hands caught quickly.
“Wha-What are you doing?”
“SILENCE!” Roberts thundered. “WE DO WHAT MUST BE DONE!”
Elena looked away from the flames getting closer to her hands. The Nine were all holding their palms out toward her, each twisted and furrowed by scars. Elena knew what was expected.
The fire was over soon, raising a mass of blisters. Elena rocked back and forth slightly as she waited for it to be over, the acrid stench of burning shit filling the rotunda. She waited until the last ash went out, hanging her head in pain. A warm splash hit her hands. Roberts was pissing into them--spraying really--through a small but tight erection.
“Stand,” Robert’s said, almost gently, “and be welcome.”
The Nine all pulled large, crude knives from the sleeves of their robes. Stevens tottered over and handed his to Elena. “Do it quickly, child,” he rasped, “and with no mercy.”
Roberts stabbed him first, in the right kidney, but only lightly. Ritual demanded he survive for eight more. The rest fell upon him as Elena watched in horror. Bleeding, gasping on the floor Steven reached out for her. Knowing her place, she cut through the hanging folds of his neck as efficiently as the dull, pitted knife would allow. Stevens died, a constant stream of blood bubbling from his ripped open throat. They wiped their knives clean on his tattered robe and stored them. Elena tried to emulate them, but the sleeve sheath was unfamiliar and the knife clattered to the ground.
“Leave it,” Roberts commanded, “it is time you know Our final secret.”
The eight of them stepped back and dropped their robes as one. Elena thought first to look away, but then stared in terrible fascination. All eight of them had penises.
Ruth and Sonia giggled as she looked as closely as she could. A distended clitoris. Just a distended clitoris.
Roberts lifted his penis. “Behold,” he said. His scrotum had been split along the seam and the edges hung like veined labia around the testicular void. Elena’s bile rose at the mutilation.
“All Supreme Court Justices are hermaphrodites. They have always been and will always be,” Roberts said. “And will always be,” the rest responded.
“But… I’m not…” Elena protested.
Roberts let out a grotesque chuckle.
“You will be.”