Friday, November 7, 2008
The High Point of My Day
I had just the best day planned! I only had one court appearance at 10:00 (which meant I did not have to leave while it is still dark - woo hoo!). My plan was to take care of Suzie Q's court appearance, which should have been done by 11:30, tops. From there, I was going to hit my favorite LQS (it had a sale going on), followed by meeting a girlfriend for lunch. We were going to do some shopping and I'd be home in time to take a nice walk and maybe work on my latest quilt project. It was predicted to be a beautiful fall day. It has been a tough week and I've been hanging on by my fingernails for Friday.
Get to court at 9:30. Substitute Judge. The docket nearly ground to a halt. At 11:00, they are still working on the 9:00 docket.
11:15 - I am guardian ad litem for Suzie Q. The mother's attorney (call her Mildred) slips into the courtroom where I am patiently waiting for our turn to confide that she is withdrawing from representing the mother. Seems the mother is outside in the hallway screaming at everyone and after two years, Mildred has just had enough. She is pretty steamed and wants to vent. I nod sagely and after a bit tell her point blank that the reason I am in the courtroom instead of in the waiting area is because I am hiding out from crazy people. "I've had enough!!" she spits out.
At that point, Mildred announces that Suzie Q is out in the hall (instead of at the residential facility where she is supposed to be).
Good God Almighty.
I immediately lurch out to the hall to talk to her and there she sits, all 85 pounds of her 15 year old self, sitting on the lap of the 19 year old young man against whom there is a protective order.
Clearly they are glad to see each other. From the looks of it, I have to wonder if he is just got back from Iraq or something.
The aide for the residential facility sits serenely next to them, saying nothing. Mom is no where is sight (although I learned later that she transported the young man to court to see his little sweetie). Grrr!!
I should say at the beginning that I have had this case for years and that this young lady is frequently angry at me. She used to really like me until she crossed the line into criminality and I told her I wasn't interested in hearing excuses for her behavior that amounted to vigorously blaming everyone but herself. (She once burned down a house and has been known to try to poison pets but that could happen to anyone and I don't hold it against her).
I begin the conversation with little missy and her beau without preamble.
"Okay, you sit here (pointing in one direction on the bench) and you sit here (pointing at a place several feet away)." Susie balefully moves off his lap but young man looks me in the eye without blinking. Much like a dog trying to establish dominance.
"Who are you?" I ask the young man. He won't tell me. "I don't have to tell you and you can't tell me what to do!" he announces.
"True enough," I concede. At that point, he gets no more attention from me as I address Suzie Q. "Is this the guy connected to the Stay Away Order?"
She denies it. He tries to deny it and I give him a frosty look and turn back to her.
"Okay, young lady, what's his name?" She won't tell me. He blurts out his first name, belligerently. (Call it Sam).
"Sam who?" I ask, while whipping out my note pad.
"I don't remember," he smirks.
"Where'd you meet?" I ask.
"Let's go over here," I tell Suzie Q. "I don't have to!" she snaps.
"Yes you do," I snap back. "I don't see your mother and I don't see the social worker. That leaves me. Move it."
She blurts out the young man's full name, apparently hoping that will keep me from making her move away from him. I write it down (rather dramatically, I admit).
"This the guy that had the protective order against him?"
"Yeah, but it's dropped now!"
"He's 19," I say. "You know and I know he has no business being here and he helped get you into all kinds of trouble.
The residential facility aide leaps to her feet. "I didn't know anything about a protective order! The mother didn't tell me anything about it! If I'd known, I'd have separated them!!"
"I believe you," I tell the aide (although it doesn't explain her letting them make out in public - but I don't go there).
"Let's all move over here," I say.
So, grudgingly, Susie Q gets up and moves around the corner with the aide and me. Mom is still MIA. Probably yelling at Mildred.
Susie Q is furious. She starts making excuses. She admits she snuck a phone into the residential facility and called the man to meet her at court. She says she didn't know it was against the rules to call him. I just tell her to save her breath. "You snuck the phone call because you knew it was against the rules. Next?"
Mom shows up. Mom insists that she didn't invite the young man but that he seems very nice.
"He's 19 and he got her into all kinds of trouble," I remind her. "He went to jail over it. For that matter, so did she."
Mom just kind of flutters. "Still... he seems nice."
The young man walks up. He announces that he has some questions for me.
In response, I ask him how he knew she was at court, today.
"Her mother called and told me." He responds.
"Young man, you need to stay away from her," I say. "She is too young for you and as an adult, you need to take responsibility to make sure you don't get her into any more trouble. She needs to be concentrating on her own problems instead of having this intense thing going on with you. I can't tell you what to do, but I am asking you to leave."
He stood there glaring at me before taking a deep breath. "I won't leave," he said. "You can't make me! I want you to answer some questions!"
I nod. "Of course, you are correct that I can't make you leave. Perhaps you'd like to go into the courtroom with us and discuss this with the judge and his bailiffs? I can facilitate that."
After a pause he says, "I'll just sit over here," and slinks off.
Apparently, he is not as stupid as he looks but that's not saying much.
After a bit of back and forth, I wander back into the courtroom. The prosecutor comes up to ask me if this is my only case of the day.
"Yup," I say, "I really need to get out of here. Can we do mine next?"
"Er," he says, "Mildred left. She had an appointment but she said she'd be back, later. I told her it was okay."
"She said what?" I started out quietly. "She did WHAT??? I have a kid out in the hallway who is ready to blow. I have places I need to be. She LEFT???????"
"I'll try to call her," he quickly assures me, and proceeds to leave three messages on Mildred's cell phone telling her that she needs to be back in court, right away. I glare at him the entire time and he keeps smiling sheepishly and raising his eyebrows in a manner apparently meant to convey chagrin.
Steam is coming out of my ears and I am saying words I haven't used since I lived in Oklahoma.
An hour later, Mildred returns. She says nothing to me about jamming me up. She has two cases on the docket but instead of taking MY case, she asks the Prosecutor to let them take her other one so her client can go home. I was not part of that conversation or I would have raised hell. Apparently, she is blackmailing him...
Next thing I know, they come out of the courtroom where I am waiting to go in with Susie Q.
"Court's in recess." Sez the bailiff. "We'll reconvene at 1:15."
The Prosecutor looks horrified as we stand there and stare at each other. I turn on my heel and head to the lawyer's breakroom where I proceed to swear a blue streak.
The other lawyers, especially the men, seem impressed.
Mildred leaves to go to lunch. So does Susie Q, her mother and Sam.
I am too steamed to eat. I make phone calls to change my plans.
The bottom line is that by the time court reconvened, Sam is long gone. In fact, mom and Susie Q aren't back from lunch so... we wait.
Ultimately, they return and we go before the judge. Mildred decides to not withdraw from the case. She doesn't say anything to me and, in fact, makes no eye contact at all which is surely a good thing. The protective order is put back in place. Susie Q is bawling her eyes out about the whole situation. I leave the courthouse at 2:30.
Although my original plans were shot, I still swung by the LQS and bought more fabric I don't need.
It was not my day. I kid you not, it took them thirty minutes to get to my purchases and cut them.
After that, I swung by Noodles and Company and scarfed down some stroganoff. I brought home some Pad Thai to share with Husband.
When I got home, Evelyn was limping heavily but we can't figure out what the trouble is. She was feeling well enough to sing, however.
I stepped over to the neighbor's house to see her all gussied up for the Marine Corps Ball. She looked lovely. Came back home and spent some time with the girls out back. Here are where the leaves fell. Unlike in Oklahoma, leaves in the yard usually originated there (in Oklahoma, any leaves or snow in your yard probably blew there from down the street).
Jezebel was in high spirits.
I have to say, getting home and seeing the girls so thrilled to see me was the high point of my day.
I got home too late for a walk and didn't have time to work on my latest quilt project. Oh well. The weekend is here. I am going to sit down with a glass a red wine and celebrate.