Jury Duty II
The Sequel of the Damned
It’s 8:45am and I’m uncontrollably sweating from an alleged caffeine overdose while systematically demoralizing myself in the courthouse corridor pending my morning meandering through today’s newspaper. As I stand waiting to be admitted into the courtroom for another day of statutory show and tell, I can’t help but think that a measly contempt of court charge, at the very worst a day or two in jail, is starting to look a whole lot better than more of this ex officio State of California bullshit! However, never one to let “the man” know that he’s won, I act all nonchalant and continue reading the paper and down below the funnies today’s horoscope comes into focus…
LIBRA September 23-October 22
Hopefully you’ve been a judicious Libra — then you’ve nothing to worry about. If not, a karmic slap on the wrist puts you on the right track.
I am truly cursed, even the god damn planets are against me!
At the break of dawn as the sun was rising and my awareness was being jolted into existence by the subsequent ingestion of massive espresso infusions. I had somehow stumbled down the eight blocks from my apartment and onto the F Streetcar and as the pounding subsided in my head I became aware of the rest of the world and a very loud animated discussion that two girls sitting a few seats in front of me were having. What it was that they were going on about I’m not really sure because I don’t think it was in English. Actually I know it wasn’t English only I was understanding about half of it and I thought that either I was having an Asian osmosis moment or I’d somehow traded in my coveted gift of dyslexia and become bilingual.
“那FUCK’IN BITCH BRITNEY SPEARS, 她看起来象 HO! FUCK’IN WHITE GIRLZ 所有神色GOD DAMN 同 样, YO! 与那被漂白的! N***A PLEASE! HELLA FUCK’DUP头发和他们的驴子停留.YO您去PE或您去跳直到午餐? PE? HELL NO N***A! YO丢失了您的 FUCK’IN 头脑MUTHA FUCKERS ‘LL 钉子如果我去体操, 不MCDONALDS 和得到BIG MAC和 CHILL! FUCK高中和所有那些FOOL N***A’S!”
Your Honor! Juror #4 would like to make an objection! Cute Chinese girls in front of me are talking shit and using the N word and its only 8am! I’d like to have it stricken from the record or at least banished from the earth!
Unfortunately out here in the real world you can’t give instructions to disregard imprudence and besides I was about to bite the bullet and continue on my way into the realm of legalities for another day of my juristic obligation. Forget that my boss was gonna lose it if this trial went any longer and that in trying to keep the peace at work I hadn’t had a day off in the last three weeks. Most days after court and on the weekends I was going to work and trying to keep appearances up but even that was impossible to truly accomplish and things were going undone and I was getting way behind and the god damn case was droning on and on and there was no end in sight!
What totally amazed me was that these lawyers and judges seem to think that we should put our whole lives on hold so that they can play a ludicrous game of charades and divvy up the spoils and then send us on our way. Like justice has been served and the public’s begrudging involvement makes democracy go round like the capitalistic wheel of fortune that it is and we’re so daft that we think its all a big game show like on TV. Ok, so maybe I’m the only one that thought it was like TV, or the Twilight Zone to be exact, and here I felt like I was stuck in some reality warp and any minute I’d come out of it laying comatose on a battered cot in some Salvation Army Detox covered in grungy blankets sweating out the DT’s as demonic hallucinations clouded my vision. But no such luck!
Introducing Juror Exhibit Number 13: Juror # 4 is slowly losing his mind as lawyers dissect grocery bills. Please send major drugs as even a triple espresso can’t keep his attention deficit disorder in check!
Like the drooling mad Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy infected primates that we have become, we the jury line up once again and file into the courtroom to take our perspective seats in the jury box with practiced Pavlovian obedience.
“Good morning to you.”
“Oh, good morning.”
Until I am brain dead with niceties and my tolerance for social intercourse is at an all time low. Everyone wearing a false face as no one really wants to be here and least of all us; the jury getting a stipend of $17.50 a day, as the judge carries on with the lawyers who have nothing but contempt for one another. Justice is being served and would you like fries with that? A fast food decision for these fast times as the law comes in sound bites and the futile attempt at disregarding another snide remark from opposing counsel becomes as second nature as trying to forget your own name.
During the numerous breaks that are allowed we have been cautioned that it is considered bad juju to greet any of the attorneys or their clients and while this is feasible in the hallways the plausibility in the restroom is another story. Avoiding eye contact while negotiating the urinal stalls and washing one’s hands at the sink while the opposing parties hover around you like sharks tends to diminish any moment or reprieve that one might try and acquire in those precious few seconds away from the proceedings.
Of course I could deal with it all like Bob does. The old man, juror #9, makes a b-line for the local bar at lunchtime and an hour later comes back vigorously chewing spearmint gum with a big smile across his face ready to discern fact from fiction. Or I could busy myself and take copious notes like the lady next to me who must be writing the unabridged version of the case to take home to her family at night in hopes that someone be aware of the torturous pain that we are going through.
Meanwhile juror #7 is busy playing a game in his head where he tries to figure out which actor or actress would play the part of the actual person we are all watching in court. Occasionally he will turn his head and blurt out a name under his breath real fast and we all murmur in agreement or grumble in disagreement and then a silent argument will erupt if its not unanimous. So far the stenographer is Margaret Choa, the defense lawyer is Dustin Hoffman and the defendant is a female Henry Winkler. No one else can agree on the other players in this drama as it is hard to work it out under the watchful scrutiny of the judge. I wonder what they would think if they all knew we were spending our testimonial time casting their character for future portrayal in some indie film from hell?
Juror’s Exhibit #14: I am so bored! Even my ass is a sleep
What is really going on here none of us knows. What we do know is that one lawyer is as bad as the other. They are both greedy despicable human beings, after all, they are lawyers, and there is quite a lot of money that both of them want, but only one is going to get. When asked, the judge said we did not have the option of giving the money back to where or whom it came from in the first place – a solution much preferable then seeing either of these cretins profit from the toil of others. Soon the case will be ours to deliberate and soon we will be sending them all a message as to what a waste of time, money and human resources this has all been. Soon they will regret picking any one of us for jury duty. Soon we will have our revenge!
Dedicated to my good friend Mad Dog. 1986-2004 – May you rest in peace.