I had a bad feeling about it. Before it even started. No matter how many times I called that information line, I got the same answer: the case for my scheduled day of civic duty judging my peers was still on.
I even told The Pony on the way to school. Uh huh. Somebody has to drop him off, you know. It's not like he has his driver's license. "I am not looking forward to this, Pony. I feel sick. Like I might throw up. I don't get it. I've served on a jury before. I know where I'm going. I have plenty of time. I know where I'm parking. But something is off. Something makes me dread it today."
Foreshadowing, people. My keen psychic sense was trying to ease me into it. Like that joke with the punchline: "Grandma's up on the roof."
You might recall that the last time I appeared in court, I was member number--whoa, Nelly! You don't think I can give out that information, do you? I was one referred to by the defense attorney as EXTRA! One who had no chance of being chosen. Let the record show that THIS time, I parked T-Hoe down by the liquor store, gingerly-stepped my unhappy knees up the differently-abled ramp to the courthouse like a 1980 Olds Toronado up the cut-backs to Pike's Peak, presented myself to the clerk handing out number badges, and noticed that she did not look flustered in hearing my name. Do you know why? Because she immediately glanced down and struck a line through me. Like I was Sean Thornton, and Will Danaher told her to write down my name and strike a line through it! And it was easy, you see, because there was only ONE name ahead of me. Making me member of the peer panel number--aha! Thought you'd trick me, eh? I can't tell you my number!
Clerk pointed out the stairs, but since I'm a regular there, I walked across her outstretched arm. If somebody is so blind they can't see the steps right there in the center of the courthouse, they need to not sit in judgment on a trial, methinks. Especially since this one had visual aids. But I'm foreshadowing again...
The wood-paneled elevator took me one floor up, to the more modern courtroom. Shinier pews. Carpeted floor, not as creaky. I was immediately show to a seat right up front. Thank goodness there was no CRAZY EYES across the rail from me this day. My peers trickled in. The one on my left had been near me on my previous legal outing. We chatted about old times. Old CRAZY EYES. About our spouses. Children. Lefty was surprised to hear that The (famous pictures-in-the-paper) Pony was my son. We had plenty of time, because once again, we did not get started until an hour and a half after our reporting time. Counsel came and went. Lefty was quite excited about the defense dude, a young thing with spiky black hair and an athlete's build. "I know I'm married...but I can LOOK!"
"Do you want me to hold up a sign in front of you that says, 'Pick ME!' right before the recess?"
"No. I would never ask you to do that. Hold one up in front of yourself, with an arrow pointed at me, that says, 'Pick HER!'"
While chatting, I learned that on Lefty's previous case, when the group was asked the standard question of whether anyone had a reason they could not stay for the whole day and possibly late into the night if chosen...a man raised his hand and stood up. "I'm going to be honest with you. I've had a couple of drinks." Well. He was told he could leave!
"I should have thought of that! How simple! Of course, word would probably get back to my school..."
"Yeah. You'd make the news."
"I'd be on the front page of the paper, next to a picture of my son..."
"One for being so smart. One for being not very."
"Yeah. Not a good idea. But I DID park down by the liquor store. Not in front. I figured why block their customers. You know. The ones headed up here with us."
I sent a text to The Pony. "Hey. I'm here. I am juror number REDACTED."
Then came his response. "Oh, CRAP!" Because, you see, if I was tied up (just an expression, I'm pretty sure they don't allow that, even here in Missouri), his father (you know, HICK) would have to pick him up from school.
TO BE CONTINUED...