Dream of: 25 August 1997 "Only A Rock"

Carolina and I were strolling around the city park in Colleyville, the little city between Dallas and Fort Worth. The park's being only a few kilometers from our home, we often visited it in the evenings to walk our two Dalmatians. Most of the park was all torn up, under construction for a new recreation center. All the grass had been dozed off, leaving only the raw dirt spread over the surface. As part of the construction process, several large pits – about the size of small ponds – had been excavated. Carolina and I walked up to one of the excavations and down the slopping edge to the bottom. Looking around, we were both surprised to find a large pile of quartz – all small pieces, two to eight centimeters in diameter – lying at the bottom of the excavation. It appeared that the quartz had been found during the construction process and was being stored in the pit.

***

Carolina and I were in a courtroom. Carolina had been arrested (I hadn't been with her at the time of the arrest, which had taken place just outside the park) and she had been charged with theft of one of the pieces of quartz from the park, a round piece about the size of a softball. The piece didn't look like a typical piece of quartz. It was something like the round pieces of rock that can sometimes be found, which look rough on the outside, but when broken open are filled with brilliant crystals.

Now we needed a lawyer to defend Carolina. We talked with a woman lawyer (probably in her mid 30s) in the courtroom for about 10 minutes. She seemed competent. But I was unsure about her. It was difficult to determine whether a lawyer was any good. I thought I should ask around and get some peoples opinions before we decided on anyone.

I explained to Carolina that it was extremely important that she not be convicted. I pointed out that the charge was theft, and that this wasn't like a traffic ticket, that this was something that could badly damage her reputation. I still thought it was possible to beat the charge. After all it was only a rock – I wasn't even sure it had any value. But the worst problem was that Carolina had actually been caught with the quartz in her possession. How would she explain to the jury why she had actually had the quartz? That was the dilemma.

I saw some other lawyers in the courtroom and I thought I would talk to another woman lawyer. Carolina suggested that it might be better to use a man than a woman. I thought she might be right. I thought about Wheat, but I quickly rejected that idea; I didn't have much respect for his lawyering skills.

I thought about how the lawyer would prepare for the trial – I wanted to make sure the lawyer was well prepared. To do that I might insist that the lawyer practice with me, asking me questions that would be asked of Carolina and the police during the trial. I knew that of course a trial like this could be drug out for a week, but I expected this trial would only take a few hours. I would think that in the actual trial, it should take about two hours to question Carolina and about an hour to question the police.

I also wondered how much the lawyer would cost. I was hoping for about $1,000, but I knew it might be much more. I began thinking I might even represent Carolina myself. I was a lawyer. When I stood in front of the jury I could simply first tell them that I was a lawyer. Then I would explain that Carolina was my wife.

We were finished for the day in the courtroom, but it appeared that a trial was about to begin. Somebody said the court was so overloaded that trials were held everyday. I thought Carolina and I might stay and watch a trial. I hadn't seen a trial in a while and it could be interesting. The judge – a black-haired man in his 40s – was already sitting on the bench. I needed to see how he ran his court. I thought we would stay a while.

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Copyright 2001 by Steve Collier