Contempt of Court

Continued From: "I, the Jury" and "Justice (Some Assembly Required)"

I ran from the parking lot to the courthouse to be punctual for the 9 a.m. mandate imposed upon jurors. We had been summoned at this earlier hour to perform important criminal justice.

I haven't run much since my unrepentant terrorist days mooning Moon Pie munchers.

It's also difficult for me to sprint on only three hours sleep. Jury duty does not commingle easily with my up-all-night pattern and rhythms. Nevertheless, my huffs and puffs and yawns were pitch perfect and vigorous enough to clear a path through the pigeons, swindlers, and spouse throttlers congregated outside.

I bounded up the staircase two steps and three wheezes at a time, plopping into my designated chair exactly on the stroke of nine -- and, admirably, not the stroke of Mike.

The Jury Assembly Room was quiet with 49 eager-to-please participants all ready to go thumbsies -- up or down. Bring it on!

One problem. Not one of the court officials were kindly enough to enter the arena to inform us of the agenda. We sat idle, wasting away, growing cheesed by the minute and the eventual hour-plus.

The judge snubbed us. The county clerk snubbed us. All court-related public servants snubbed us. It was inexcusable inconsideration.

At 10:40, the judge finally appeared before the jurors. He was the first government representative to address the group. He's a jovial sort, extra annoying with the folksy, calculated Matlock shtick, while strutting about in that ridiculous gown. I sized him up with equal parts disdain and hope, outlining a promising TV series I'll call "Skirt Court" or "Pretty in Finks."

The judge looked at his watch, grinned impishly, and pronounced, "Nine o'clock."

Oh, he was so clever.

See what he did there? He said "nine" and it was 10:41! Mercy me. I swami. Oh, har.

I stared daggers at him, as did many of my counterparts. There was no apology forthcoming, but the judge did notice we were not pleased with being ignored, so he rewarded us with yet another of the apparently never-ceasing, mind-numbing anecdotes about his coot father-in-law on a long car trip through Colorado years ago.

There was a felt hat and coveralls involved, so that was nice.

Then, unexpectedly, the judge sent everybody home until tomorrow, congratulating us on our morning's exemplary work.


If there's another uncommunicative session, that guy's going to the gallows. We've reached a verdict.
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