ROOM 278, 80 CENTRE ST.
We have the Monday blah’s and it is pouring rain outside. The court room is damp and reeks of mildew. The medical witnesses- and there are three today- drone on and on in nearly monotone voices about neuromas and tears to lateral ligaments. The judge seems lethargic, almost too tired to sustain objections. Over the weekend, he shaved his beard and I wish he hadn’t. It was the only thing distracting me from looking at his lazy eye. Now I have no idea where the hell he is looking.
The bald Asian man is back, leaning over the empty desk that sits next to the judge. He listens to the witnesses intently, occasionally taking notes and handing them to the judge. Sometimes, I look over and he is gawking at me again. Maybe I met him at a networking function? Or he was a guest at a wedding I planned?
I am trying to focus on the testimony. I pinch my thigh to stay awake. Despite the rain, I hear the children outside on the playground, screaming for no reason, like kids do. I wonder if I screamed like that as a kid, for no damn reason. I think I was a quiet kid. I wonder if my mom would beg to differ. I start to nod off. I wish something exciting would happen.
The defense attorney always tries to give us a good show when he cross examines. His voice booms and he paces in front of the jury box, occasionally gesturing wildly towards an x-ray, or the plastic model of a foot that the doctors use to point out the plaintiff’s alleged injuries. I don’t know why the plaintiff doesn’t just take off her shoe and show us her ailment. The plastic foot creeps me out. The defense lawyer drags his podium across the floor, much like a rock singer would a microphone stand, and plants himself right in front of me. I look at his face and nearly bust out laughing when I see that same stray hair jetting out from his nostril, tickling his upper lip. He’s gone all weekend with that nose hair dangling in his face. He must not own a mirror.
The Woman Who Won’t Shut the Fuck Up sips from a coffee cup. We were told that beverages were not permitted in the court room. This struck me as unfair considering the plastic pitchers of water on the lawyer’s table. How did The Woman Who Won’t Shut the Fuck Up smuggle that coffee in, unnoticed by Officer Lucky’s studious eye? Can I bring in Red Bull? I look at the doctor on the witness stand. Pay attention, I tell myself. This is important! This is your civil duty!
The plaintiff’s lawyer is still mouthing things to himself before he says them out loud, as if he’s auditioning each sentence before it escapes his lips. When he does speak, he stammers and pauses, looking up at the ceiling, seemingly waiting for the right words to rain down on him. In a stark contrast from the defense lawyer, he is meek and apprehensively objects, barely standing. When the judge vetoes his objection, he shamefully lowers his head and sulks.
Mavis is sleeping and sometimes, her little old body tremors and vibrates until she jolts awake. This bothers me. Not the body tremors but the sleeping. I need her to pay attention because, with her lengthy background in law, I intend to follow her lead when it comes time to deliberate. I consider nudging her a wake. I take advantage of her closed eyes to stare at her face, uninterrupted, and notice that she has waxed her upper lip and her chin. Good for her.
The Gawker and I make eye contact again and instead of wimping out and looking away, I stare him down, waiting for him to look away. He does not. His gaze is fixed on me. Where do I know you from? I want to shout. He shrugs and smiles. I smirk and quickly look away. Dammit! I lost that round.