This morning, I had to leave work a little early so I could drive Brother up to some podunk Missouri town for court. It was some sort of piddly little traffic thing like driving with your head stuck up your ass. What would constitute piddly little traffic thing here in the big city where we enjoy such luxuries as indoor plumbing, electricity, and soap, is a big deal in the land where the hot topic at the local watering hole is whether or not the current hybrid corn is the new pink.
As I was exhausted, I let Brother drive the car and I rode shotgun. Whenever I ride with him, I am reminded at how not a good driver he is. He's the kind who drives so close behind people, he's practically masturbating in their back seat. And he waits until he's two inches away from a bumper before he comes to a complete stop. This is probably why the brakes on Oprah are decimated. From overuse.
I've yelled at him for being a botard behind the wheel, but he tries to blame the other person. Damn them for coming to a complete stop at a stop sign! Bastards!! He tried the argument that he was a better driver than me because he hasn't been in any car accidents, compared to my two. Until I asked him to remind me why we were taking this field trip in the first place.
Thankfully, I slept for the majority of the trip, rendering me blissfully ignorant of how many times I almost met the business end of a passenger side airbag. Again.
We get to Gallatin, and the roads haven't seen fresh pavement since the 60's. So bad, that my car now needs an alignment.
We drive to the town square where the courthouse is, and I am reminded why I hate small towns like this so much. Everything has slowed to a crawl, and is behind by ten years. Naturally, every other person drives a yank tank (pick-up truck) with a gun rack in the rear window, and you are not a serious contender unless you have a hay spear welded onto your truck bed. There's the local watering hole, a corner cafe (guaranteed to employ a lifelong waitress named Joy...or Twila), the mandatory Dollar General, and a dozen farming equipment and feed stores.
In towns like these, the mullets are not just a hair style. They are a way of life.
Brother has retained a lawyer who used to live down the street from us when we were kids. He used to race up and down the street in a little Fiat or some other little clown car. Now, he's a lawyer. He told Brother that the judge is a dick, and having a lawyer may not do him much good. But for $500, he will stand up with him in court anyway.
As what? A decoration?? Is he going to hold his hand??? I told Brother that if he gave me the $500, I would stand next to him in court also. I'd even hold his cell phone while they did the full cavity search. Some people would charge extra for that, but I'm willing to cut him a break because he's family.
The courthouse, which I am sure was built in the 1800's, has three stories. The court room being on the 3rd floor. Inside, a big room with creaky wooden chairs, big railing separating the judge from everyone else. One area, guests of the county (i.e. prisoners), were sitting in their matching orange jumpsuits, hands shackled to their bodies, and leg irons. Both men and women. Non-incarcerated folk are peppered throughout the room.
And everyone looks like they are related.
Aside from the feeling that I just stepped into a time warp and landed in 1912...in Arkansas, the next thing I notice is the smell. Coming from, well, everyone else. You know the economy has hit hard when soap has to be sacrificed for life-sustaining items...food, gas, and Garth Brooks cds. I was reminded of the last time I had to sit through court and had to endure bad smelling people.
Judge Dick goes through the docket, and the item dujour is driving without a license or insurance. The second popular offense is drugs. One guy asked if he paid the restitution, could he just be released? Judge Dick: "Absolutely....NOT. You can't buy your way out of my courtroom."
Judge Dick had some snappy, smartass one-liners, and I could kind of understand why he was such an asshole. If I had to sit in a room with a bunch of assclowns that hadn't touched a bar of soap since Bill Clinton was in office, I'd be pretty hostile, too. Somewhere, there is a judge in a state-of-the-art court room overseeing cases with teeth, that make headlines and eventually land you your own television show. Judge Dick gets to sit in a building that was standing when Joseph Smith and his folks rolled through town, and gets to figure out what to do with the guy who bounced checks at the local Piggly Wiggly.
At one point, a very pregnant lady goes before Judge Dick because she has an outstanding warrant dating back from 2002 that she had no clue about. Judge Dick catches her in a couple lies.
"As you can see with my condition," the woman says, "I am not capable of spending time in jail."
"Oh you most certainly can!" Judge Dick almost sings. I wonder if he practices his delivery at home. In front of a mirror. Naked.
Another thing that always makes me smile, is when stupid people try to sound smart. I've decided that courtrooms are the best place to see this in play. Hospitals come in a close second.
As for Brother? He got a continuance because Sensitive Lawyer Asshat had to haul ass to another court thing in another podunk town with a smelly courtroom. So, next month I get to drive him there...again.
I'll try to remember to take the camera.