Daniel Adler Goes to Court

classic literatureJust another manic Monday. I went to court today at 346 Broadway, biked past the beautifully developing Freedom Tower, five hundred feet high. When I walked in and waited in the summons check-in line everyone eyed me. I read some classic literature, Tom Jones, on my iBooks app, which is my favorite aspect of my iPhone. Do other people realize that it acts as a Kindle? I checked in on Foursquare. +4 Points – Your first court house! Forty minutes later they told me to go to room three.

I sat with fifty other people on pews and waited. At ten o’clock the judge, a small, white-haired man with a mustache and matching drooping eyebrows, appeared cracking jokes, ostensibly cool. He told us the fines for public drinking, public urination (saying that the easy way to remember is, $25 in, $50 out), reckless driving, and about how he can help you so that it is only a violation and not a misdemeanor. Then he disappeared.

I made a nice mess with the Nature Valley granola bar I snuck in and walked to the front of the room to throw it away. I stepped past the first desk and a female cop said, “Sir, you can’t stand there. Please come back before the bench.” “I just want to throw this away.” “No eating sir, please step behind the line.” “No, I finished it already, I just want to throw it away.” She threw it away for me. I asked the seated copette if I could just pay my fine. “Did you see the judge?” “No.” “Then sit down.” I sat back down, unembarrassed.

He reappeared and started calling names. It was only ten minutes before I was called. I looked him in the right eye and smiled. I don’t know why. It seemed funny. Or maybe I wanted him to know that I was cool, that this was all just procedure; I wasn’t really a bad guy. He stared at me and probably thought I was smirking to efface his power. The attorney asked me if I wanted to pay today. They sent me outside to wait to line up like a chain gang that marched single file to the cashier.

I biked over the Brooklyn Bridge, saw the new Atlantic Yards being built and looking good, down Prospect Park West, to Coney Island Avenue, downhill, sweat drying from breeze, and arrived at work feeling great. By five, I was dead ready to leave. Work it out, read some classic literature, write a novel.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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