What can I write? What can I right?
Diversions and legal maneuvers.
Well, I could write about the time my boss called me to court. I can almost remember it like it was yesterday....
It was a divorce trial. And like most divorce trials, it never should have gone to court. It should have settled in the early stages. But, circumstances, aside from the facts, escalated. Our client had gone from being a poor working stiff in the early stages of the marriage, to earning obscene sums of money. When I say obscene, I mean really obscene. At the end of the marriage he was earning in a year two to three times more than what most people earn in a lifetime. That was a major factor in taking this case to trial. Another factor was that the man attempted to paint his wife as crazy. Of course, in retaliation, she attempted to paint him as an overbearing, domineering lunatic. She wanted more than half of what they had accumulated during the marriage, including his very hefty pension. She wanted substantial lifetime maintenance. Basically, she wanted to punish him, financially, for the emotional burdens she alleged that he placed on her. There was more, but it's really too tedious to get into. You know the drill.
We spent vast hours working on his case. Laying out the figures. Manipulating the figures. We had prepared a demonstrative exhibit for use in court. This exhibit laid out his financial history. It showed his past, present and future earning potential. It presented, in black and white, a short and simple statement of what he thought he could afford to pay her. This case had 22 separate exhibits. Each exhibit was in its own separate file, labeled accordingly.
Something happened during the first morning of that trial. What exactly happened, I don't know. But my boss called me about 11:00 a.m. and told me I had to get right over to the courthouse. He said that exhibit was missing and I needed to find it. I said, no prob, I'll just print out a new one and bring it to you. "No!" he exclaimed. He needed that one. When I asked him why, he explained that it had alterations made to it in writing. Ah, okay. In the car on the way over, I started thinking this was strange. If he had the exhibit to make alterations to it, then where was it now? Oh well, duty calls.
Well, I wouldn't say I burst into the courtroom. But, when I walked through the door, everyone stopped what they were doing and looked up to see who had come in. One second of fame, 899 to go. I gave a small wave to the court reporter, who I know. I nodded to the judge, who even though he was looking right at me, acted like I wasn't there. And then I proceeded to find my way to the defense table where my boss and the client were.
My boss was cross-examining the wife, who was on the witness stand. There wasn't a chair for me at the table, so I stood at the end of the table closest to the wall, and positioned the cardboard box, which contained the file, so I could go through it until I found the exhibit.
I first went to the subfolder which should have contained the missing exhibit. And, of course, it wasn't there since the exhibit was missing. I then started at the front of the box and methodically went through every subfolder in search of exhibit. I couldn't believe it, but it wasn't here. I looked on the table. The only paper there the legal pad my boss was using. So, I started back at the front of the box again, thinking it had to be here. I'm so intent on my search that I'm totally oblivious to what is going on in the courtroom. Suddenly, the judge slams his gavel on the bench. "Miss Carnes, what on earth are you doing?" he bellowed. It was then that I realized I must have been making quite a racket, rifling through that file. I looked up and cryptically replied, sorry judge, but I'm looking for something. "Well, what are you looking for?" (emphasis on the "are".) A piece of paper. As the judge said, "that'll be enough of that! This court is adjourned until 1:30," I swear he winked at me.
The judge and court reporter exited via the backdoor, and everybody else filed out into the hall. I knew it was futile to keep looking for the exhibit. If it was there, I would have found it by now. So I went out into the hall too. I pulled my boss aside by the elbow. I explained that the exhibit was gone, vanished, and we would have to reconstruct his handwritten alterations. He said, "no prob." (I taught him that.) He seemed really nonchalant for having lost one of the most vital items of the trial.
And then he just said, "you provided the diversion I needed. Good job."
It would be easier to tell the story if I could name names and specific details. But, alas, my oath of confidentiality prevents me from doing so.
Gee, I hope none of those people read this.
Oh! I've had the name "Miss Carnes" exclaimed at me in court on another occasion, but that's a story for another day.
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© Marie Carnes 2002.
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