Monday, August 22, 2005

2 for the price of 1

Jury duty turned into somewhat of a nightmare. And not the regular imagined horror show of sitting for a million mind-numbing hours with a huge group of circus freaks in a room smelling of b.o. and breakfast burritos. Waiting on the edge of a stained seat for a heavily accented clerk to call your name or sweating bullets praying to be released into sweet, sweet freedom. Ah, yes. Freedom. I didn't have that for long...

I showed up like a good girl and turned in my 'call for duty' slip ready to be added into the pool of gong-show contestants of potentials. I'd barely warmed my seat when I heard my name called over the loudspeaker. Hrm, I thought. That is odd. No one else was called. Guess I'm a special kind of slave to the state today.

I followed instructions and went to the jury office to see what was up. Perhaps the court gods were showing me mercy and they'd discovered their horrible mistake of calling on me for the 125th time in the last 5 years, only to learn that I was too brilliant to sit amongst the mouth-breathing heathens they call peers.

I didn't pay much attention to the black uniform-clad police officers at the front desk, since this was a courthouse and they're lousy with cops. Before I was able to say any more than my name, I was surrounded. In one swift move I was told that they'd run my name upon arrival and discovered a bench warrant for my arrest. WTF?

The long arm of the law spun me around and slapped some cuffs over my delicate wrists. Everything was moving at the speed of light and I was having trouble comprehending what anyone was saying. There was something about a car accident not reported, blah blah. Laws of the state, yada yada. Violation code whatever.

Before I knew it, I was sitting in the back of a squad car with my purse between my knees being driven to "intake". My fingers stained with fresh ink, I was photographed, booked and thrown in a holding cell with very little information and no idea when I'd be released. I wasn't even offered the obligatory phone call and this sure wasn't Andy Griffith's pokey. With it's soft blankets, Otis the lovable drunk and the sheriff playing his guitar. This was hell, with an attitude.

After about 20 hours of sitting on a bench and squeezing my ass-cheeks together so I didn't have to use the dixie cup stapled to the wall that was a supposed toilet, someone walked by and called my name. I lunged myself at the cold metal bars, begging for some information. I was informed that I would need to make bail of $1,000.00 in order to be released, or wait until Monday for arraignment. Holy shit, that would be like 5 days. I had no idea what I was going to do. I began to bawl...

I needed to call whitey, but it's not like they let you rifle through a phone book and I didn't have his work number handy. And how the hell was I going to come up with that kind of cash? This was a nightmare of epic proportions and I didn't know how I was going to get out of it.

I decided the best course of action was to call one of the local bail bondsman places and see if they could help me. I had to leave a message on voice mail with the little details I had, the women's detention center I was in and the amount I needed. I thought that this was yet another very bad sign. I just hoped they were well-versed in helping people like me get out of these kinds of jams and would come to my aid, pronto. This was not to be.

After yet another night in hell, my name was called again. I was filthy, hungry, exhausted and terrified. I'd had to do things I'd never imagined I'd do. But a girl needs some tp and a smoke now-and-then, alright? An officer opened my cell door and instructed me to follow him. I obliged with pleasure, happy to be away from my crack-addict cellmate, Crazy Mary.

I was met by a small man with greasy hair and a haggard notebook under his arm. We went over the details of my bogus arrest and my financials. I was more relieved than I've ever been in my life when he told me they could help and I'd be out of there in a matter of a hour or less. I felt like I'd taken my first breath in days.

I managed to get ahold of whitey and he took the bus downtown to my car, used my spare key and came to collect my stupid ass. The whole matter was basically a goof and all I needed to do was file a report. There was no fine and the bench warrant should never have been issued. I've already contacted a lawyer and expect a hefty pay-day for this monumental fuck up. Soon I'll be wiping my ass with 100 dolla bills...

Too bad none if it's true! That would have been an awesome story.

OK, that wasn't very nice of me, was it? But I had to come up with something creative for why I've been absent an entire friggen week. There's really no excuse, except for the fact that I have no damn extra time for anything, I'm tired and cranky all the time and just like normal, have a million crappy things happening.

I actually did get out of jury duty since I woke up that morning with my stomach playing foosball in my guts and I spent a good part of the morning trying not to shit my pants and hoping I wouldn't be called into a courtroom while I was sitting in the john. It was awful.

Then the Imodium kicked in and reversed the entire process for like 3 days. Argh. I did go to the jury office and told them I was as sick as a dog and they let me go. Just like that. Next time I might bleed a little for a more dramatic effect. That would be cool.

I had mixed feelings about the whole process this time. I think it's important for people like me to serve on a jury, but I'm also jaded and cynical and think that most humans are fucking morons and I'd hate every minute of it.

And I'm not too keen on the whole mandatory servitude thing. We have a volunteer military, where people sign up to maybe be killed, but jury duty is a draft? WTF? Anyway, I got out of it and will wait until this time next year when I get another fucking letter. Bah.

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