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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Writer's Life 2/28 - Civic Duty

I'd guess most people dread jury duty. It interrupts the comfortable routine of life most of us establish, and there is the possibility of landing on a case that drags on for months. For New Yorkers who don't use mass transit, the summons entails another negative. Driving in downtown Brooklyn is no picnic, finding a parking spot on the street is nearly impossible, and using a lot runs about $20. My thanks to Steve K, the poet laureate of Sheepshead Bay, who alerted me to the half price subway fare to which seniors are entitled. It's something that wouldn't have come to mind. I slipped my driver's license and three bucks into the slot of the token booth, ambivalent, happy to save the money but hating having become old enough to qualify. Once on the elevated platform, I noted the pretty young women and began eating my heart out. The express was packed, so I waited for the local, got a seat, and opened the newspaper. Fortunately, there were no delays. At DeKalb Avenue there were so many commuters waiting for the R train that I decided to walk from there. It took me a while to get my bearings. I'd been assigned to a Supreme Court building different from the one at which I'd served last time. I sat in the large assembly room, reading. The lady at the podium asked anyone who'd served in the past six years to come forward. I rose, thinking it was too good to be true, and that turned out to be the case. Another woman checked my name against the records and said I'd served seven years ago. Not so - I sat on a marijuana case that involved the post office, possibly less than two years ago. I was asked for the proof of service letter. I'd sent it to the city of New York system when called within weeks of that last service. Since I'd served at another building and the records are kept separately, I was snookered. "That's not fair," I said, walking away. Of course, one must expect such nonsense when dealing with government. Usually I love irony, as any writer does - I was experiencing an injustice in a hall of justice. Then again, it's not the first time that's happened, and the circumstances were inconsequential, especially given what some folks have suffered in the system. I finished the paper and then attacked the Saturday crossword, which I'd saved knowing its difficulty would fill time. Meanwhile, the sun was shining and I was lamenting not being able to run the floating book shop. Two groups were called in the morning. I was halfway home. The rest of us were sent to lunch. I took a stroll around the area, hoping to run into a Dunkin Donuts, which has been advertising one dollar egg, bacon and cheese turnovers. I bought two. They were tasty. Of course, they charge two bucks for a bottle of Poland Spring. Afterward, as the lady was calling out the names of the next group of selectees, I sat there, fingers crossed. I was not one of the victims. I figured one more group would be called and looked around at the remainder of dutiful citizens and wondered what the odds were of again being bypassed. Not good, I thought. I noted that several people were reading actual books. Most of the others were using various electronic devices. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep, but I was too wound up. Just after 4PM the lady emerged from the back room with a stack of papers in hand. Were they what I hoped they were? Yes! We were dismissed with a proof of service form and told we wouldn't be called for eight years. I resisted the urge to shout: "Make a few copies." I got to the Jay Street station just ahead of rush hour and was home at 5:02 - and I don't have to go back! Several spring chores remain: dentist, eye exam, car inspection, license renewal, and annual physical. Now that jury duty is out of the way, I can begin honing my next novel, which I plan to self-publish in January.
Vic's Sixth novel: 
Vic's Short Works:

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