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 fiancé. 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…
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.”
I was an agent of chaos at the wedding of the Love of My Life.
What’s worse, I lost the hearing.
**Eugene V. Debs, 1918