Talking long-distance to a friend last night while on my lunch break. I'm in the tiny office where I do much of my writing. There's a knock at my door. The commissioner and the clerk are standing in the courtroom, looking a bit wild-eyed.
"Officer, could you help? There is some man insisting on seeing the commissioner and he has no court date," the clerk says.
"Of course," I say to the clerk, reaching for my gunbelt, "Tom, I have to go: work."
"No problem. Bye," he replies before hanging up.
I pocket the phone, hitch the belt up, and ask the other clerk, "Who am I looking for?"
"Black guy. Right outside the door."
I exit, and there before me is the man who set my gorilla hammering against the cage the last time. He has been in court several times over the intervening months, but kept his peace with me by simply behaving.
"I need to see the judge," he says to me. He's wearing one converse and one flip-flop. Quite the fashion statement.
"Not without a court date," I reply. Firmly, without disrespect.
"Man, I need to see the judge," he says riding over the tail of my answer.
"I heard you the first time, sir. Without a court date, it is not happening," I answer. The gorilla stirs in his cage.
He holds out a folded piece of paper, "Man, I just just want to give her this paper."
"Then go to room one forty-five and set a court date."
"What time does the court open?"
"At five thirty, for those that have a court date. You do not, therefore you will not be heard," my patience is wearing thin, the gorilla wakes, starts to snuffle.
"I'll just show up then."
"No, you will not," I reply right on the heels of his words. The gorilla rises, starts to beat his chest.
"Man, you can't tell me that."
"Yes, I can. What's more, I will bounce you out if you show up," I reply. The gorilla is yanking on the cage doors.
"Man, fuck that, I just need to see the judge," he answers, again failing to look me in the eye.
The clerk comes out of the room behind me, adding their weight to my presence. I appreciate the thought, but wish they wouldn't. I don't want to have to be concerned about them if the gorilla is released by the man's actions.
Sometimes the antics of such people can put the gorilla in charge, and that can be a bad thing.
"Go downstairs to room one forty-five and set a court date to be heard."
"Man, I know where room one-forty five is."
"Good, then there's no more need for us to talk."
"Man, I just want to see the judge."
I just stare at him, my gorilla subsiding a bit, or maybe just poised to tear the door off.
He holds up the paper again, this time to the clerk.
I move slightly, preventing him approaching the clerk, "No sir, downstairs in room one forty-five."
He looks at me, getting angry, "Man, I know where room one forty-five is."
"Then go there. You may now leave. You have no business with the court," I say, the gorilla's snarl creeping across my lips.
"You can't make me leave," he mutters, edging backwards.
"Yes. Yes, I can," I answer. I am actually hoping he will. The gorilla's been a bit flabby of late, from lack of exercise.
He retreats after a few moments, turns away and mutters what a racist I am. He has been given no basis to know my prejudices, really, but I am beginning to suspect that is his go-to insult, rather than one tailored to me or a specific instance.
My gorilla snorts, scratches, and settles down for a nice nap.
Until an hour later. But that's another post...