A Day at the Courthouse

I hadn’t come prepared to spend a full day at the court. I had assumed that I had an appointment at 9 am as they had told me. The proceedings would take about an hour and I would be out with a decision. Officer Jackson was huddled with four other officers in uniform. I didn’t hear what they were talking. I was hoping he would come and talk to me and give some hints about what to say. I was expecting my neighbor Curt to be there, because he had seen more than I did. He was nowhere to be seen. I ate the first of the two Kit Kats I had with me. The bathroom was at the other end of the hallway. I walked there to stretch my legs.

“No word yet,” Angelica said with a smile when I returned.

I had lost my seat. Angelica and Robin were standing at the same place. The state attorney was a young lady dressed in a black pant suit that appeared as if it needed ironing. Angelica had pointed her out earlier. She was now huddled with four cops in uniform. She took notes as they talked.

“Chased their car—marijuana—wouldn’t come out—no struggle”

I could hear snippets of their conversation. I wondered how they could discuss a case in the open. I should have brought my kindle I thought. That way I could have passed my time reading something useful rather than stare at the walls or listen to gossip. I couldn’t see Angelica and Robin. They had moved somewhere.

There was a heated discussion in progress right behind me. A young man with an authoritarian voice was describing the circumstances under which a person could be charged.

“Supposing he came out of the bar and got into a fight with you,” he was saying. He recited the clauses and conditions in the state law. I was not interested in listening.

I heard an announcement for a Spanish interpreter to go to room 5H.

It’s 10.30. No indication of our case being called.

“The Judge’s on a coffee break,” Angelica informed me. She had returned and was standing behind me.

“Oh Great!”

I walked over to the bathroom again to make sure the announcement could be heard there. I ate the second Kit Kat. That was the last one I had. I hoped they had a cafeteria, in case my case was delayed and I had to each lunch or something.

I had lost my seat again. It was like a game of musical chairs.

“The kid doesn’t have an attorney,” Angelica said. “So there would be no attorneys. Just Officer Jackson.”

I had no idea whether it was good news or a bad one. A shorter session, maybe, if I’m lucky.

“You listen to me,” Someone in front of me shouted. It was an elderly woman. Skinny with blond hair who appeared agitated. She appeared to be in her late fifties.

“NO, YOU LISTEN,” the man she was addressing shouted back. With his Papa Hemingway beard, a leather jacket, baggy jeans and boots, I could picture him on a Harley Davidson with his zombie lady friend.

The woman calmed down and sat next to him. She poked her nose with her thumb and forefinger and twisted something. She took out a tweezer from her purse and plucked out whatever she was twirling.

“Ouch,” I said to myself. “That must hurt.”

I hoped she wasn’t bleeding. I had no chance of finding out because I heard the announcement for our case.


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