Dream of: 20 December 1997 "Country Trial"

In one of the small rural counties which surrounded the Fort Worth metropolitan area, a courtroom was filling up with people who had been called for jury duty. Perhaps 100 local citizens were gathering and seating themselves in pews in the spacious courtroom. Although I knew I hadn't been called for jury duty, I settled in as inconspicuously as I could among them. I was actually the attorney for one of the parties in the case. But inasmuch as I was unfamiliar with the local terrain, I was in no hurry to announce myself. I needed to study my surroundings a bit more closely, and I needed to better grasp the nature of this case. I was uncertain whom I was representing, the plaintiff or the defendant, I didn't know what kind of case it was, and I didn't even known how it was that I had come to be here. Besides that, I had a problem with one of my shoes. Although I was well-dressed, my right shoe had a hole on the side where part of the material had been torn off. I hoped no one would notice.

Once the locals had all found places to sit, attention was focused to the front of the room, where the judge, a lady clothed in a gray dress, sat on the bench. She was a heavy-set, stout woman, although not overweight – middle-aged with black hair. She forthwith took charge of the courtroom, and began calling out names of some of the people. In the process she stood up and walked to the front of he courtroom and read the names off a list. I also rose and moved along the wall closer to her until I was quite near to where she was standing. As I observed more closely what she was doing, I became concerned by her method of selecting the jurors. It was quickly obvious to me that she wasn't simply reading the names from the list, but that she was calling out names of jurors whom she personally preferred. Now only a few feet away from her I exclaimed, "I object."

When the judge looked at me questioningly, I quickly explained that I was the attorney for the defendant and asked her to record my objection. When she obliged me, I explained that I didn't believe it was proper for her to simply select jurors whom she wanted, but that she should call the names randomly from the list. I thought I was probably going to alienate her right from the start. But she seemed scarcely perturbed, and immediately began calling out the names from the list as I had suggested. She almost seemed impressed that I had objected.

I sat back down and she again returned to the bench. As she proceeded to look out over the courtroom, she began pointing out that several of the prospective jurors weren't present. Apparently everyone had an assigned seat so she could tell exactly who wasn't here. It was obvious that in this small town, she knew everybody. She began pointing to each empty seat and made a pithy witty statement about each absent juror. I was amazed at how quick her mind was, how she could so adroitly and quickly make humorous comments about the missing jurors.

I even felt somewhat attracted to the woman. She was certainly no beauty, but her mental sharpness was rather appealing. I wondered what it would be like to kiss her. I also wondered what it would be like to live and practice law in a small town like this. It must be pleasant to know everyone and to have some standing of respectability. Obviously the judge felt at complete ease. I myself might even enjoy such an existence. But somehow, it just didn't seem meant to be for me.

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