Last Thursday, I was summoned to court. No, I wasn’t the one on trial. I’m innocent. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. (They don’t know about my compost pile, or why my flowers, are really so pretty.) But I was quite miffed at the summons. It’s not that I don’t think it’s my civic duty, I’m fine with duty, but not re-duty. I’d been hit with jury duty three weeks before. Why is it that my number gets drawn at the courthouse and not at the official Texas Lottery Building? And why is it that the summons never comes when I don’t have a ton of deadlines?
Anyway…I was miffed. I considered accidentally losing the envelope in my still blooming flower bushes as I walked in from the mailbox, but then with my luck I’ll be the one they decide to make an example of and they'd wind up on my doorstep, handcuff and arrest my butt for not showing up. I can see the headlines now: Romance Author of Divorced, Desperate and Delicious is dragged away from computer, braless, sobbing, still wearing PJs, no makeup, and having a bad hair day. (Photos available.) Meanwhile an investigation is undergoing to uncover exactly what said author uses to fertilize her flower garden.
I really don’t want those bodies found.
So…here I am, going to the county courthouse, protecting my flower-garden secrets, miffed, and only mildly looking better than I imagine the picture of me if I was arrested. (Hey, I managed to put a bra on.) Now, for those who don’t know me, let me explain something. I’m emotionally whacked. When I’m sad, I get funny. Confused, I make a joke. When scared, I go for hilarious. But when miffed…oh boy, I don’t hold back, I’m firing with all cylinders. Basically, humor is my defense mechanism for dealing with emotions.
I’m barely seated when the Bailiff eyeballs me from across the room. I see in his expression that I’ve been tagged. By tagged, I mean I’m the one he’s decided to pick on. This probably doesn’t happen in all courthouses, but our county Bailiffs have the misconception that they are comedians. And they use some poor unsuspecting juror to be the butt of their jokes. Now…remember, I’d just been there three weeks before, so I’m not so unsuspecting and he’s basically toast.
After his first wise-cracky remark, directed at yours truly, he chuckles and tells everyone he’s only joking, but then his wife had told him that morning that he wasn’t funny. I politely raise my hand and he calls on me. I, in a very serious voice, advise him that he really needs to start listening to his wife.
When I get more laughs than he did, well, that upsets him, and he starts firing harder, but of course, I’m ready, and remember, I’d heard his routine, so sometimes I tell his jokes before he gets a chance too, and that gets his goat. He finally catches on and asks me… “You’ve been here before, haven’t you?”
I smile. “Yup, and you need a new routine.”
Well, that went over about like a fart in church, and he thinks he’s being clever and holds a vote. “How many people think we need escort Ms. Craig over to the ticket line? Please raise your hands.” Not one hand goes up. Then I take the floor, (yeah, I’m pretty much out of control by then) and I make my case and then poll the audience on how many think our Bailiff needs to be ticketed for not being funny. Sixty hands go up.
Bailiff crosses his hands over his barrel of a chest and asks, “What do you for a living?”
I don’t lie. (Well, not about that.) “I write romantic comedies that involve murder.”
Audience laughs and someone says to the Bailiff, “And you, might have your own chapter.”
I answer, “Yup, but it’s going to be a long chapter, because he’s gonna die slowly.”
Now, I’m having so much fun heckling the Bailiff that I don’t stop and think about the possible repercussions. And when I do think about it, it’s too late. He’s standing there with the list of twelve jurors, out of sixty, mind you, that have been chosen for the jury. Randomly, selected of course.
Randomly, my butt! I saw the look on that Bailiff’s face when he went back to get the randomly-selected list!!!
Now I wish I could tell you that the case was some high-profile murder case—we have plenty of them in Texas, mostly ‘cause we know how to kill people—but nope. Some lady didn’t want to pay her speeding ticket. We all lost a day’s work, wasted the court’s time because she didn’t want to pay for going 27 miles over the speed limit. We sent her to the chair—yep, we do that in Texas, too. However, on the positive side, I ended up passing out my cards and promoting my book. So, there you have it, my day in court. Moral of the story, if you go for jury duty and don’t want to get selected to serve on the case, don’t heckle the Bailiff.
Have any of you been chosen for jury duty? Got any juicy stories? Ever been pulled over for speeding?
Remember the contest? Post a comment and you’re entered to win a great prize.
Oh, here’s another contest that might interest you: A couple of Dorchester authors have graciously designed a contest to help promote a few of the new authors, (yours truly as one of them). Details are at http://www.bonnievanak.blogspot.com and http://www.jennifersromances.blogspot.com This contest will run until the end of November, and then they'll draw a winner. So, go check it out.
Crime Scene Christie
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Posted by Christie Craig at 8:30 AM