A (hot) Date in Court

The Crime
Civilized provinces of the world process traffic violations in a civilized way. You get pulled over, you get a ticket, you curse police officers everywhere under your breath and it's all over when you mail in some silly check.

I do not currently reside in a civilized province. I live in North Carolina.

Never mind the fact that I was actually speeding. When I found out that I was required to attend a court hearing for my violation, I was appalled. When I found out that it was scheduled for 7:45am in the morning of what I knew would be a chilled December morning, I cried. Then I had some mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Required to attend? Required. To represent myself in a court of law, surrounded by my peers and face up to my infraction of the law? F that noise. This is America. If I can't take care of it on the Internet, I consider it a barbaric and unnecessary enterprise.

This aggression could not go unchecked.

The Plan
Words like "standard procedure" don't jive with me. I live to buck trends and thwart convention. I'm a inoperable thorn in the side of the status quo. So I had some thoughts on how best to stick it to The Man.

On the morning of my trial, I suited up in my army-issue camouflaged pants and a T-shirt that read, "Death to Tyrants" on the front and "Walmart = Bad" on the back. I put tape over the parts that weren't relevant to my case.

Before rushing out the door, I grabbed my over-sized copy of George Orwell's 1984, my megaphone and the 20 pages I intended to read as my opening statement. I thought I would began with a full recitation of the Declaration of Independence and then move right into a lengthy and untempered tirade on the rights of men, the responsibility of all citizens to overthrow nonfunctioning governments and a list of my favorite Kelly Clarkson songs. I didn't mean to grab that last page.

Inside the Lion's Den
I arrived at the courthouse a few minutes early and saw a sea of people funneling through the metal detectors. Apparently, they recently started putting metal in megaphones so I had to leave that behind. Good thing I used my "Go Green", enviro-friendly staples. I had to temporarily remove my belt, which I am convinced is nothing more than a feeble attempt to gain psychological advantage.

I followed the signs to the courtroom and landed in front of two impressive oak doors. I spent a moment to prepare myself as I sat on the doorstep of my destiny. I took a final, deep breath.

I threw open the doors and exploded into the courtroom. Sprinting at a break-neck pace, I leapt on top of the lawyer-table and kicked a stack of papers fluttering into the air as I shouted, "AT-TI-CA! AT-TI-CA! AT-TI-CA!"

My chest heaving, I looked for the reaction to my display. It was then that it occurred to me that room was empty. A large placard in the middle of the room read, "COURTROOM 1A CLOSED. ALL LITIGATION MOVED TO ROOM 2B."

I could tell right away that this was not 2B.

Finding my way to the proper location, I calmly entered the room this time and claimed the first empty seat I could find. As I collapsed into the bench to collect myself, I observed that the courtroom was nearly full. That is, except for a menacing looking character sitting all alone in the second row who no one seemed interested in nearing. He looked like an island of crazy surrounded by a sea of injustice.

As I awaited my judgment, I intently listened to the conversation around me. One lady was there because she hadn't cut her grass in six weeks. Another guy had loitered in a loading zone for almost ten minutes.

When a frail older woman (who was accused of jaywalking after dark) pointed a bony finger toward the threatening figure in the front, I edged forward.

"Why do you think he is here?" she asked her neighbor.

"Oh him? Oh boy. I was in line for the metal detector when they brought him in. Arms and legs shackled. A guard on each side. Apparently, he had been getting up at 2am every night to water his lawn."

The old woman gasped in horror. "What?! While we're in the middle of a drought? I hope he fries."

I knew then that I was surrounded by the scum of society. I felt right at home.

Here Come da Judge
A strong, stoic man in uniform called out, "All rise for the honorable Linda Gomez-de-la-Vega-Sanchez-Vicario-Greenburg."

I watched as a distinguished woman strolled cooly up to the bench and sat down with ease.

A female judge? A lady? The Man is really a Woman? How unexpected. Oh, how the gods of fate seemed to smile upon me on this day. I immediately surmised that I wouldn't need the greasy wheel act. I knew my troubles would be solved in no time. All I had to do was turn to the smooth, sweet-talking stylings of my altar ego, Joey 'Boom-Boom'.

So I evened out my hair, tucked in my shirt and put away my papers as I hummed the tune to Since U Been Gone. A well-to-do fellow seated next to me interrupted my gussying.

"Pardon me, Sir, but you look to be quite respectable and genteel. I hate to be so uncouth, but could I trouble you to ward over my topcoat while I slip away to the washroom? You'll hardly notice my absence."

"Who the fuck are you talking to, Mac?"

His question proved to be rhetorical because before I finished answering he was already out of his seat and into the aisle, turning around and hurriedly saying, "Splendid. Thank you everso much. Back in a jiffy."

I looked at the man's dressy overcoat. I looked at my plain, boring clothes. I looked back at the elegant frock, whose threads, no doubt, were born of the finest Egyptian spools. I looked back at my rags; a tattered wardrobe of the commoners. I looked back at the coat. A devilish grin did then play upon mine face.

As I threw the garb over my shoulders, I heard the bailiff call my name. I stood up and took on a smooth swagger that would have made Shaft blush.

The Trial
When I reached the front of the room, the judge repeated after the bailiff, "You are Joseph, I take it?"

"Whassup, Baby?"

"You are to address this court as 'Your Honor', do you understand me? Now, you are charged with violating a posted speed limit in a residential zone. How do you plead?"

"Naw. joey b don't plead. But for you, I plead 100% guilty of being in love with those beautiful grey eyes of yours."

"I heard the word guilty, that's good enough for me."

"Oh... a fine lady like you don't need to never settle for good enough. Speaking of fine ladies, who's dat stone-cold fox statue out front?"

"That - 'fox' - is Lady Justice."

"Word? I seen her all blindfolded and chained up and I knew this was my kinda place."

"The blindfold is to symbolize the idea that -"

"Yeah, check this out, Judgie: how's about you show me what you been hidin under that sexy, black cape of yours and I get all up in your private chambers?"

"That kind of disrespect is going to cost you. I'm tacking on a charge of contempt, lover boy. Bailiff, please restrain the defendant and escort him to a holding cell. I'll deal with him after we get through everyone else in here. And make sure he returns his grandaddy's coat."

"Whoa, whoa. Handcuffs? I knew you was kinky like that, Baby. I'm cool with your manservant here watching us do our thang, but he gots to keep his hands off da Boom-Boom. joey don't play like that."

A Sentence Equally Cruel and Unusual
About 10 hours later, when the rest of society's garbage had faced their judgement, Officer Manservant came to fetch me for Judge Judy.

When I returned to the courtroom, it had undergone a major transformation. There was not a single person in the room, save for me and the jailor. The only light in the room radiated from a single candle flickering from atop the judge's bench. A bucket of ice sat next to 4-6 empty bottles of Bartles & James wine coolers.

A voice echoed throughout the room, seemingly coming from everywhere all at once. "That'll do, Marcus. You may leave us."

I spun around to see the judge, leaning against the doorway with a frightening look of seduction on her face. "Are you ready to pay your debt to society? Why don't you show me why they call you Mr. 'Boom-Boom'

The Reflection
And that's the last thing I remember. I awoke outside the courthouse sometime later, my clothes looking even more ragged and worn. With the smell of Ben-Gay lingering in my nostrils and its taste fresh in my mouth, I found a note in my pocket that read:

Next time do your research. First offense gets a warning as long as you show up to court. Stay out of trouble, lover boy.
~Lady Justice

I looked at my watch. Only a half-hour had passed since I had been fetched from the holding area. So it seemed that the classic adage is true: that indeed, Justice is swift. However, she also be a dirty old whore.

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