When in doubt, quote Eugene Debs

I remember much of what happened. Certainly enough that I can tell you about it. For instance, I remember a rush of air upon my face as my client fled the courtroom. Yes. Perhaps the flag waved a bit in her tailwind, if there was a flag and probably there was, because there is always a flag, isn’t there?

I know I remember the gasp from the gallery. The bailiff bearing chase. And my departing client – an albino transgender lady in impossibly high heels – either pulling or pushing at the door to knock aside a small Asian gentleman who was trying to come inside.

“Counselor!” the Justice of the Peace said to me, for I was the lawyer. “This is not the first time my bailiff has had to call for backup on one of your clients.”

I specifically remember hearing screams from out in the hallway.

I said, “Your Honor, that last time was completely different circumstances and anyway, the Court can’t hold that client’s actions against this one,” which was an excellent reply, I believed.

The Asian gentleman, seated now, he looked familiar to me, perhaps from the television. I looked while trying to look like I was not looking, which is something I am good at when I wish to be.

I remember the bailiff returned and said, “The defendant has locked herself in a maintenance closet and requests her attorney, Harry Hamid.”

The face of the Asian gentleman spun around to stare at me, wide-eyed. Ack! I recognized that face from Jamie’s father’s Facebook page. This was her fiancĂ©. Scott.

With the Court’s indulgence, I too left the courtroom with my client’s friend clutching my elbow and weeping. I mean to say that my client’s friend was doing this weeping, not me. “They’re going to shoot him!” she said and adjusted her bonnet.

I was planning to say, “That’s unlikely. People hardly ever get shot during eviction hearings,” but instead we walked out the door and smacked into Jamie. My ex. The Love of My Life, truly. The thing was, I had not seen her in four years, ever since she left me complaining of how I was an agent of chaos.

Current events were unlikely to change her impression.

And when I, at long last and after many exciting adventures, returned to the courtroom with the bailiff, my client (now handcuffed), and my client’s friend in tow, I saw Jamie seated with her mother, Scott, and Scott’s adult daughter. I’d never before seen Jamie wear makeup. It was implausible.

I said, “Your Honor, I move that this Court grant a continuance to allow my client to appear in a manner less unduly prejudicial to her case,” which were not the perfect words but would have to do, I believed.

The judge said, “Denied, and Counselor… I suggest that next time you’re going to appear in my Court, you review proper Court etiquette and behavior with your client ahead of time.”

I glanced across the gallery, perusing I suppose, if I’m using the word “perusing” correctly here. Maybe. No matter. The entire gallery was filled with couples and well-dressed families. But why?

The judge, who was normally a nice judge, really, tapped at her computer. She said, “Counselor, this was supposed to be a simple eviction hearing for failure to pay rent. How is it you’ve allowed this chaos into my courtroom?”

There was that word again. “Chaos.” It followed me like a lost puppy.

I lifted an index finger before my eyes for emphasis. I stared at it and went somewhat cross-eyed. I said, “Your Honor, while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free!”**

My performance was glorious. The friend of my client – the friend in the bonnet – applauded silently and pumped her fist in the air. The judge did not look up.

Again I perused the gallery. I remember Jamie and her mother staring downward, their hands over their faces.

The couples. All of these couples…

Oh no.

I said, “Um, is Your Honor planning to perform weddings at the conclusion of today’s eviction docket?”

The judge looked up and said, “That was the plan, unless this hearing forces me to evacuate the courtroom.”

Oh no.

Oh no.

I was an agent of chaos at the wedding of the Love of My Life.

What’s worse, I lost the hearing. 

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**Eugene V. Debs, 1918

Comments

  1. "Current events were unlikely to change her impression."

    That, my friend, was fucking brilliant.

    -Doug in Oakland

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    1. Thank you, Doug. I"ll be here all week...

      Have you heard the new Roger Waters album yet?

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    2. I haven't actually heard the whole album, but I've heard some tracks off of it. I liked the live version of "Picture That" a lot. I saw it on a video on YouTube of the dress rehearsal for the tour. It looks like video of all of the shoes is being uploaded to YouTube, which I am happy about as I am unlikely to make it to the show in Oakland on the tenth.
      Holly and Jess from Lucius are still singing backups on this tour, and their rendition of "The Great Gig in the Sky" will send shivers down your spine.

      -Doug in Oakland

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    3. Yeah, he's going to be here sometime in the next couple of weeks, but I don't go to shows that size anymore. $400 or whatever it costs to watch 70-year old artists on a screen behind the actual artist is just too much.

      There are plenty of young artists I can see in bars for $12 that excite me more these days.

      Of course, that doesn't mean I don't have the old guys' albums on infinite repeat...

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  2. When something goes bad, it goes bad ALL the way.

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    1. It seems to happen a lot with my clients. When I get back to the office after court, everyone gathers around to hear what blew up.

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  3. Did you ever have one of those lives? Haha

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    1. I suppose that I'm fortunate to have interesting things happen to me sometimes. The alternative seems horribly boring.

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  4. I hope you don't mind, but I laughed all the way through this story.

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    1. If the mess of my life can bring a smile to someone else's face, then I have achieved something...

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  5. At least none of them will forget the wedding, and anyway, Deb's would give you a cheer.

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    1. At least it wasn't a situaiton where I was purposely imposing myself at her wedding.

      Besides, it's not my fault she just went down to the Justice of the Peace for it. Spend $25,000 in an outlandish church ceremony / reception like everyone else. I promise I won't show up to that...

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  6. Three things:
    1) "Your Honor, that last time was completely different circumstances and anyway, the Court can’t hold that client’s actions against this one,” which was an excellent reply, I believed.
    Excellent INDEED!
    2) re: the ex – OOF! So very sorry.
    3) Some folks call it "chaos" – I call it "life."

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    1. I've tried to remove all of the variables out of my life. It's impossible, though and anyway, I get depressed when the unexpected factors in my life become too rare.

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  7. Ouch, doesn't sound like one of your better days. If you are going to make an arse of yourself, how much better to be one in front of your ex. Not.

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    1. If nothing else, this whole incident dissuaded me from making that one last go for her.

      Well, I mean, I suppose the fact she's married should have done that.

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  8. Eugene Debs really said that? What a fool he was. You should have brought a motion for a stay on Jamie's wedding instead.

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    1. I once tried to convince a judge not to grant a waiver for a client's ex to get remarried a week after a divorce got signed. Apparently, judges don't take kindly to people trying to control there's ex's life.

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  9. Further proof that real life is always more interesting than fiction. And more diverse. I can't say I've ever seen an albino transgender person, but I also don't get out as much as you do.

    No, my chaos just comes straight to me.

    Hmmm, is it a slap in the face to call this delightful? Because it was. Your chaotic misery. It was a delightful read.

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    1. Thank you. I'll take "delightful."

      I exclusively represented low income HIV+ people for about 15 years and some of the clients still keep coming back. This has meant I see a lot of people whose lives are more colorful than mine.

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  10. Damn, all I can say is that I've been in similar situations. No, not in a courtroom but trying to convince my wife I'm not an agent of chaos.

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    1. For some reason, people like predictability in those closest to them. I might be confusing predictable with reliable.

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  11. I thought all court rooms had drama. They make good TV don't they? I don't watch the stuff and suspect most of it is scripted. Don't they do their vows in the judge's chamber down there?

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    1. Depends on the court. With most of the higher courts, the requests are sparse enough that they just pull people back to chambers when needed.

      With at least some the Justices of the Peace, they schedule a time and do them in the courtroom.

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  12. But... but... it wasn't your fault!

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    1. That excuse never works... even when it's true.

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  13. I sort of saw it coming, the moment I saw her and glimpsed all the nicely dressed couples, but... still, I was totally shocked. Brilliantly told.

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    1. Thanks! I can't believe I managed to keep it to 750 words. I'm really struggling to keep these posts short, but it's making my writing better.

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  14. Win or lose I would be happy to have a lawyer who could quote Eugene Debs under those circumstances.

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    1. Haha. If the facts are against you, stick to the law. If the law is against you, stick with the facts. If the facts and the law are both against you, quote smart people.

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  15. superb story craze.If this is true,I really feel unfortunate for u.I am happy u take things in a humorous way.It must be hard to bear the departure of ex and seeing her in wedding suit.Ha ha I myself was called as agent of chaos.My proffesors used to tell,I am the most irregular man they have have ever seen ha ha.

    “Your Honor, while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free!”**

    these words r just fucking brilliant.

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    1. Where have you been? I never know whetehr my posts are any good or not until you've come by to give tour two cents' worth...

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  16. "Agent of chaos", that could be a t.v show! LOL!
    I think you're a great lawyer and you should have won!
    You have a way with writing Harry! An excellent way!

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    1. Thank you, Stacy. I shouldn't admit this, but I'm probably a better writer than I am a lawyer.

      Working on both, though.

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  17. Hello Harry. Davo in Australia. Yer, life in America seems to be be more than half a planet away from here ... heh.

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    1. So I hear. The two places have rather similar origins but very different destinations.

      Of course, most of what I know of Australia comes from either the "Crocodile Dundee" movies or else rock bands like Nick Cave, The Drones, or Men at Work, so I might not be the best of judges.

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    2. 'Crocodile Dundee' is closish ... heh. Well, to those of us born here, and enjoy it as a great jest. have recently been watching David Stratton's 'history of Australian movies' .. and yep ... "Wake in Fright","Wolf Creek" and "Mad Max" (er, seems to have sprogged a 'franchise' of numbers - are our 'jest' to the rest of the world ... from my point of view - we really are nice people ... a bit bizarre, perhaps.

      I will put this blog on my sidebar as am running out of 'comments' ... heh.

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    3. Relevance deprivation syndrome ???

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    4. I've had that syndrome. This is not my first blog page, although I only have one at a time. I've started from scratch a couple times. Some work out better than others at different times, for no duscernible reason!

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