Saturday, February 21, 2009
I knew it would happen eventually. I just didn't think it would happen so soon. SO SOON. Less than one month. I'm in my brand new courtroom. It's a busy morning call. Defense attorneys are interrupting me, shoving files in my hand and asking for plea deals. Because I'm new, it takes an immense amount of focus to not fuck things up, and not slow things down. Our courtroom moves fast. I step out of the room to interview a witness. I step back in and approach the bench.
I make eye contact with a defense attorney. Following that eye contact was one of the most awkward double takes as we both realize who we just made eye contact with.
Yep. The sleazy defense attorney has a case up in my courtroom. The very guy who, in open court less than a month ago accused me of being a liar, a slut, a drug addict, an alcoholic, and a thief. The rapist loving attorney who built his career humiliating and bullying victims on the stand.
And there he was. Just sitting there at the defense counsel table. In my new courtroom. Maybe it's not him, I think, hopefully. There's nothing particularly remarkable about his appearance. He looks like the stereotypical sleazy defense attorney. Maybe it's someone else. My first chair asks me if everything is ok. I ask him what the name of the defense attorney sitting at the counsel table is. He confirmed it was him. My first chair asks me what's wrong. I tell him I need a minute, and walk out.
I walk down the back hallway. I am shaking like I've fucking got Parkinsons. I need some water and I need a quick cry. or a quick scream. Either one will do. There is absolutely no place in a courthouse to scream without drawing some seriously negative attention to oneself. I can go in the bathroom and cry for just a minute, however I will fuck up my makeup, and I will have to walk back into court with fucked up makeup and the sleazy defense attorney will know he got me. Again.
I sort of panic. I get in the elevator. I go down to the first floor. I walk outside. I take a few deep breaths of cold as shit Chicago air. I turn around, I go back inside. I get on the elevator, go back to my floor. Stop at the drinking fountain, take a sip, and walk back into my courtroom.
He's still there. As he sees me walk in, he makes a point of stretching out his legs, and leaning back in the chair. Making himself as comfortable as possible. He enjoys this. He finds this amusing. It's no wonder no one at my office, not the lifers, not the newbies have any respect for him at all.
His case is finally called. My first chair takes it. Because I am too big of a coward to stand up there and do it myself. All they do is schedule a new date. And then he leaves. I wait until I'm pretty sure he's gone, then I go get a second sip of water. But he's standing right there in my way to the drinking fountain. LAUGHING with his client. Probably telling him how fucking hilarious it was that the blonde woman in the courtroom was the same blonde woman he destroyed on the witness stand just a few weeks ago. HILARIOUS.
I have an overwhelming urge to grab him by the shoulder, spin him around and scream at him, "WHAT YOUR CLIENT DID WAS WRONG! WHAT YOU DID WAS WRONG! THERE ARE BETTER WAYS TO TREAT PEOPLE WHILE ADVOCATING FOR YOUR CLIENT. YOU'RE A FUCKER AND A LIAR AND A BAD BAD BAD MAN. AND I HOPE YOU ROT IN HELL AND I HOPE YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY AND THE CABDRIVER'S FAMILY ALL GET HORRIBLE DISEASES AND DIE AND YOU TWO HAVE TO LIVE AND WATCH THEM ALL GO THROUGH IT." And then of course, the oft-mentioned punch to the nuts.
Of course, none of that happened. I stepped around them, took my sip of water, and went back to work.
Nothing I do matters anymore. I could yell at him. I could be cordial to him. I could be difficult with him when he comes into court. I could ignore him, and make him sit there all day. I might have to try a case against him. I could work harder than I've ever worked on anything to make sure I win. Ultimately, though that win would be nothing. The only trial that matters was the cabdrivers. And that trial is over. So none of this matters. Nothing changes anything. The cabdriver is still free to do whatever the fuck he wants. And I still have to go to work and pretend to be ok.
Later that night, I had to go to a bar in WRIGLEYVILLE and sell fucking raffle tickets for a charity I work with. Almost as traumatic.