I legally drove to the East End Government Center which is spitting distance from where I disregarded the traffic control device for my evening court date where my police officer son-in-law, Ben, told me to plead not guilty. A sheriff was taking the names of the unfortunate downtrodden and checking them off his list. There were about twenty listees outside the court room waiting for the doors to open. I heard one man say his name was "hardhead". Surely I misheard that. I can't imagine going through life as Barry Hardhead. If I were in court with a surname like that it would be to legally change it, maybe to something like Barry Cruise or Barry Barrymore. The doors open and I'm getting nervous with panic tinged scenarios running through my head. I kept saying to myself to plead not guilty like Ben told me to so he could possibly get me wrangled out of it in downtown court at a later date that this court would assign.
The unlucky file in. The judge is a grayed man in his late 60's and proceeds to give a short explanation of what the evening court is all about and the longer he talks the more nervous I get. I wish he would just shut up and get on with it. He didn't say his name but I imagined it to be Roy Bean. One thing he said was that in his experience people tended to make their plea the same as the previous person did, like lemmings. He said he sometimes referred to evening court as lemming court. I smirked to myself, "those poor idiot lemmings".
Judge Roy calls the first name and the clerk said the person is not present. Judge Roy scowls "issue a $500 bench warrant for his arrest". He brings his gavel down BANG! I jump in my seat. Damn, it's no wonder the prisons and jails are overcrowded if they can take you to jail for a traffic violation. They're going through the list and every person who is there pleads guilty and either wants to go to traffic school or just pay the fine and have points taken off their drivers license. Of course I did misunderstand Hardhead. His name was "Roger Hardetz" and he pleads guilty too.
"Barry McClain" says Judge Roy. By this time I'm so nervous and intimidated I can scarcely understand what's going on. Judge Roy says "you've been charged with disregarding a traffic control device and driving without a license. I'll dismiss the traffic violation, please show the clerk proof of your valid driver's license". I show the clerk my brand spanking new license. Judge Roy said "Mr. McClain, you should always have your driver's license with you when driving". I explained that I did have my license that night but unbeknownst to me, it had expired. There's my first admission of guilt to his honor. Judge Roy said "how do you plead?" and, lemming like, I replied "guilty". Since Judge Roy dismissed the traffic violation I thought the fine wouldn't be that much. WRONGO! the court clerk hands me a slip of paper on my out which explains I must pay the fine of $179.00 either downtown at the Hall of Justice or mail it in by April 23rd. If the fine is not paid by that time the court will issue a bench warrant for my arrest. BANG!
I'm an idiot lemming, show me to the nearest cliff so I can jump.