Sunday, October 20, 2013

Courtroom Staring Contest

He was a funny looking bailiff, kinda short, chubby-possibly a beer belly, wore glasses, and had some craters on his face. He probably got bullied by the other bailiffs, which is why he probably went out of his way to be a prick to the people who sit in the rickety chairs that made creaking sounds whenever you'd move your body even in the slightest. As it was the court house was old and the chairs were these old wooden type, that might have been in there since the 1950's, and the shine of their lacquer was wearing off. For the most part people were respectful during court proceedings as the judge and lawyers worked through their cases of gang youth, giving just about each one an extension to complete probation, or telling them to take a plea, because serving 10 to 15 years was better than leaving it up to a jury who might then decide you'd get 25 to life. But hey, take the 10 to 15 years, and it's only your first strike. Oh wait, it's your second strike, didn't see that in your file . . . still, 10 to15 is better than 25 to life, you know, because jurys.

Nonetheless as this shenanigans played out, a person might whisper something to another, and the bailiff would look over with a permanent scowl on his face, and shake his finger in front of his pursed lips, as if scolding children impatiently, hand signaling them to silence. The same would happen when one of the chairs creaked even at the hint of a person's bodily adjustment to maybe give their spine some relief. There were other times, when he would simply look over at the section with us civilians sitting there, and stare, maybe his way of staring us down, but it looked more as if he were trying to have a staring contest with the collective. Some of the people sitting in front of me, would look at each other and shrug their shoulders, as if to say, "Que trae este buey?" 

Well if a staring contest is what he wanted I figured I'd get in on the game. As he watched the proceedings, and possibly even listened, he eventually looked over at us civilians, and finally his eyes locked on me. We stared into each others eyes. I started to wonder what went through his head, maybe he was thinking of an excuse to kick me out of court, not that he'd need one, most people with badges have a tendency to lie to get away with their abuse of power anyhow. It must have been frustrating for him, because I noticed him tapping his fingers on his leg excessively. How dare I, a mere civilian stare him in the eyes, as he stared at me! How dare I! Eventually I blinked, and he looked away. I think I even noticed what seemed like a sneer on his face, as he looked back toward the courtroom farce. Oh maaaan, I lost, but I wanted to laugh. It reaffirmed what I had been thinking about him being bullied, either by other bailiffs or even when he was younger. Then again, that has come to be my theory about most people who carry a badge or who are corrupted by power even in the smallest; they were either bullied or they were the bullies and therefore found a profession where they could continue bullying or where they, for a change could be the bully, after having spent too many lunch breaks getting swirlies in the boys bathroom. I don't want to fully believe that this is the case with all badge carrying protectors and servers, but my experiences and those of others have led me to think otherwise.

Anyhow, the bailiff happy with his victory, came back for a second round of staring competition. I respected his competitive spirit. So we were off to the staring races again as he locked eyes with me, but maybe he hadn't celebrated his previous victory, because his scowl looked "scowlier" than it did the first time around, as if the challenge to his staring authority overrode his sense of triumph. That wouldn't surprise me, seeing as to how at the end of the day people with badges tend to take "disrespect" seriously, you know kinda like gangs or mafiosi. Were you wondering how long it would take me to draw that parallel? Nonetheless, me and the bailiff went back to our heavyweight staring match. He continued tapping his fingers rapidly, and I even noticed his face flushed a shade of red. He no likey the challenge. Finally though, he blinked and lost. And again he turned his attention to the marionette show. I noticed more people sitting in front of me, looking at each other wondering why the fuck the bailiff was so intent on making them feel uncomfortable, not realizing that he wasn't staring them down, he had been looking past them, toward me, trying to stare me down. He would turn back once in a while to continue shaking his finger in front of his lips when a chair would make a high pitched whining sound. We didn't get to have one last staring match to decide who the true staring contest champ would ultimately be, because the case I was there for had wrapped, and I had to leave. As I walked back to my car I wondered what went through his mind as we tried staring each other down. He must have been fantasizing about swinging his nightstick at my skull, while alternating kicking me in the face with the tips of his spit shined boots. Surprisingly, I fantasized about something similar. Walking back to my car I wondered if he would try to walk up behind me, and if he did if he would do it alone, or if he'd bring a posse of his fellow bullies. I wondered if he would actually be up for a fistfight, one in which  he'd take off his badge, put away his nightstick and his gun, so we could fight on mutual terms, kinda like in the olden days. Then again, this city wasn't known for many of its clean fights. 

He wasn't the only bailiff with a complex. My mother told me of another who bullied women, kept them out of the court room if it was full, some of the women were mothers there for their children. He even told one of the women he was going to make sure he never let her step in "his" courtroom again. He was a big, built motherfucker, that would say, "This is my court room . . ." and he would rehearse his rules to the people before letting them in; many of these people did not speak English, only Spanish, so they wouldn't hear his rule about no chewing gum, and next thing you know, one of them was being tapped on the shoulder by this overbearing cunt, and would be told to leave. My mother told me she stood up to him on a couple of occasions, and he flared his nostrils and stood over her, trying to impose his physical presence while also shouting at her. I wonder how it would have gone over he would have put his hands on her, if the lawyers in the courtroom would say or do anything, or for that matter any of the other civilians. They probably wouldn't, because my mom is Mexican, and because everybody is usually about turning a blind eye. Rumor had it he had slammed one of the inmates that was cuffed, and was there for a hearing, because he had disobeyed one of his rules. He didn't like me very much, after he and I had a minor exchange, nothing serious. We saw each other again a month or so later in a courtroom again, and I grinned, he kinda rolled his eyes at me. During the court room session there was a section where all the lawyers sat, and there were a few ignoring the courtroom rules, playing with their iPhones and gossiping with each other. Bailiff Cunt, came over to speak with them, he didn't stand over them, point to the door, and say "Get out of my courtroom," the way he did with other civilians, he actually leaned over and whispered to them (what a bitch), I don't know what he told them, but they obviously weren't kicked out like some of the other people who violated the rules of "his" courtroom. The lawyers simply grinned and nodded at him, as if to say, "Get the fuck outta here with your bullshit, we're lawyers!" I shook my head as the bailiff then walked back to his post, and the lawyers kept on their business about not giving a fuck about a dictatorial bailiff.

I wonder what kind of satisfaction the bailiffs got from that increment of power they had. Did they really go home feeling satisfied keeping order in the court, the same way a secretary keeps order of important files and appointments for his/her boss? I can't help but shake my head at the cuntery. It's unfortunante because I have friends in law enforcement, and I try not to think of them as douches, but its difficult not to lately. I don't think I'd be able to be around them at gatherings any longer, because I'd see the face of those bailiffs, or the guards at the jail, and we might then have a misunderstanding because I wouldn't see my friends, I'd see badge wearers that abuse their power & authority. 


The staring contest with the bailiff was inspired by the Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos Rematch from last night. 

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