Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Z was on Jury duty, downtown, in the big bad city about a week ago


Z has become something of a professional juror, having been called in 3 times now, over the last 6 or so years.

She’s only served on one actual jury, though, the first time out of the box…or in the box, whatever the case may be with alternate jurors. She was summarily dismissed just as the fun “Judging of Fates” part was about to begin…which didn’t sit too well with her, especially since it was before she received her court ordered lunch.

You don’t mess with Z’s lunch, court ordered or not.

Now, most people, for the most part, don’t want anything to do with jury duty.

They’ll go to any lengths to avoid it, from getting a doctor to say they can’t sit still for more than 30 seconds at a time—What? I can’t…it’s a condition!—to literally throwing themselves on the mercy of the court, while writhing and squirming and speaking in tongues, which is frowned upon, and in retrospect, doesn’t work anyway, since it makes you the perfect juror for a tongue case, which are known to take forever because of all the translation.

You can’t make this stuff up…

Well, you can’t, cuz you’re normal…but I can because…well, you get the point.

Anyway, the point is—if you even remember the topic—Z doesn’t really mind jury duty, not since she figured out the whole train and subway thing, and doesn’t mistakenly end up in Hoboken, anymore…for the most part.

It’s actually a nice break in her day to day routine, and she figures anytime she can get paid  for passing judgment—yay or nay—on anyone, she’s on board.

And so am I—sort of—especially since it takes the onus off of me for a while.

Let some other sucker sweat it out for a week or two.

I mean it’s not like I threw away those strained beets on purpose…too much.

So off goes Z, happily into the justice system, while the rest of us write our congressmen wailing over the injustice of justice…unless it affects us personally.

Not that Z is thrilled over all aspects of the jury experience. The one bad thing, which 20 years ago wouldn’t even have been an issue…is that there are no cell phones allowed in the courthouse, regardless of whether you’re sitting in the courtroom or sitting in the cafeteria.

No mobile phones or electronic devices…at all.

Which I guess is understandable, since if you’re on trial for your life, the least you should be able to expect from your peers is that they pay attention to your alibi, rather than Judge Ito’s selfie page.

Imagine…in this day and age…incommunicado.

When’s the last time you did that?

When’s the last time you even imagined you could do that?

No safe arrival calls…no lunch up-date calls…no I better not find the bed unmade, again, when I get home calls….


What was I saying, again?

Oh, right…incommunicadototally incommunicado…

Sorry…I keep losing my train of thought, for some reason.

Trains…right…Z wasn’t even able to call me the other day to tell me when she was getting back in on the train.

So, as a result, I was unable to drop everything I was doing—those jelly beans don’t organize themselves, you know—and run down to the station to pick her up so she wouldn’t have had to walk through 2 miles of wind, rain and cold.

Which I would have done, of course, with the utmost pleasure…if I wasn’t in the shower…or napping…or napping in the shower.

And in truth, Z isn’t totally incommunicado. She did manage at one point—or attempt to manage—to make a collect call from an actual pay phone.

Remember those…?

Of course, she couldn’t find a place to actually put money in the thing, so she had to go through some robotic system that called me, announced themselves, played a recording of  Z saying her name, and instructed me to place, in their words, 10 large in a brown paper bag and leave it in the second trash bin, next to the one eyed pretzel vendor, outside of Grand Central Station.

Of course, needless to say, I rejected the call.

There was no way I was going all the way down to Grand Central, plus anytime I go near a pretzel guy, I end up ruining my dinner.

Besides, I heard Z’s voice, so I knew she was safe.

And the voices in the background, with the Jersey accents, sounded nice.

So I’m sure she’ll be home soon….

I mean it’s only been a week. 

And you know what they say…the wheels of justice turn slow….


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  1. Always a little pearl hidden among the prawns Brian I particularly liked : " the first time out of the box…or in the box, whatever the case may be" Sort of "The Case Of The Missing Box" story. There's no justice in it nowadays is there?

    1. Thanks, Ropey, but I'm actually more of a shrimp guy, myself....
      Perhaps you should teach a class at Oxford on the hidden reports behind and beyond The Freelance Retorts..... (I threw a rhyme in there....just for you!)


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