Tuesday, November 06, 2007

My Day In Court, Or Why I’m Killing the Bailiff in My Next Book.





Last Thursday, I was summoned to court. No, I wasn’t the one on trial. I’m innocent. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. (They don’t know about my compost pile, or why my flowers, are really so pretty.) But I was quite miffed at the summons. It’s not that I don’t think it’s my civic duty, I’m fine with duty, but not re-duty. I’d been hit with jury duty three weeks before. Why is it that my number gets drawn at the courthouse and not at the official Texas Lottery Building? And why is it that the summons never comes when I don’t have a ton of deadlines?

Anyway…I was miffed. I considered accidentally losing the envelope in my still blooming flower bushes as I walked in from the mailbox, but then with my luck I’ll be the one they decide to make an example of and they'd wind up on my doorstep, handcuff and arrest my butt for not showing up. I can see the headlines now: Romance Author of Divorced, Desperate and Delicious is dragged away from computer, braless, sobbing, still wearing PJs, no makeup, and having a bad hair day. (Photos available.) Meanwhile an investigation is undergoing to uncover exactly what said author uses to fertilize her flower garden.

I really don’t want those bodies found.

So…here I am, going to the county courthouse, protecting my flower-garden secrets, miffed, and only mildly looking better than I imagine the picture of me if I was arrested. (Hey, I managed to put a bra on.) Now, for those who don’t know me, let me explain something. I’m emotionally whacked. When I’m sad, I get funny. Confused, I make a joke. When scared, I go for hilarious. But when miffed…oh boy, I don’t hold back, I’m firing with all cylinders. Basically, humor is my defense mechanism for dealing with emotions.

I’m barely seated when the Bailiff eyeballs me from across the room. I see in his expression that I’ve been tagged. By tagged, I mean I’m the one he’s decided to pick on. This probably doesn’t happen in all courthouses, but our county Bailiffs have the misconception that they are comedians. And they use some poor unsuspecting juror to be the butt of their jokes. Now…remember, I’d just been there three weeks before, so I’m not so unsuspecting and he’s basically toast.

After his first wise-cracky remark, directed at yours truly, he chuckles and tells everyone he’s only joking, but then his wife had told him that morning that he wasn’t funny. I politely raise my hand and he calls on me. I, in a very serious voice, advise him that he really needs to start listening to his wife.

When I get more laughs than he did, well, that upsets him, and he starts firing harder, but of course, I’m ready, and remember, I’d heard his routine, so sometimes I tell his jokes before he gets a chance too, and that gets his goat. He finally catches on and asks me… “You’ve been here before, haven’t you?”

I smile. “Yup, and you need a new routine.”

Well, that went over about like a fart in church, and he thinks he’s being clever and holds a vote. “How many people think we need escort Ms. Craig over to the ticket line? Please raise your hands.” Not one hand goes up. Then I take the floor, (yeah, I’m pretty much out of control by then) and I make my case and then poll the audience on how many think our Bailiff needs to be ticketed for not being funny. Sixty hands go up.

Bailiff crosses his hands over his barrel of a chest and asks, “What do you for a living?”

I don’t lie. (Well, not about that.) “I write romantic comedies that involve murder.”

Audience laughs and someone says to the Bailiff, “And you, might have your own chapter.”

I answer, “Yup, but it’s going to be a long chapter, because he’s gonna die slowly.”

Now, I’m having so much fun heckling the Bailiff that I don’t stop and think about the possible repercussions. And when I do think about it, it’s too late. He’s standing there with the list of twelve jurors, out of sixty, mind you, that have been chosen for the jury. Randomly, selected of course.

Randomly, my butt! I saw the look on that Bailiff’s face when he went back to get the randomly-selected list!!!

Now I wish I could tell you that the case was some high-profile murder case—we have plenty of them in Texas, mostly ‘cause we know how to kill people—but nope. Some lady didn’t want to pay her speeding ticket. We all lost a day’s work, wasted the court’s time because she didn’t want to pay for going 27 miles over the speed limit. We sent her to the chair—yep, we do that in Texas, too. However, on the positive side, I ended up passing out my cards and promoting my book. So, there you have it, my day in court. Moral of the story, if you go for jury duty and don’t want to get selected to serve on the case, don’t heckle the Bailiff.

Have any of you been chosen for jury duty? Got any juicy stories? Ever been pulled over for speeding?

Remember the contest? Post a comment and you’re entered to win a great prize.

Oh, here’s another contest that might interest you: A couple of Dorchester authors have graciously designed a contest to help promote a few of the new authors, (yours truly as one of them). Details are at http://www.bonnievanak.blogspot.com and http://www.jennifersromances.blogspot.com This contest will run until the end of November, and then they'll draw a winner. So, go check it out.

Crime Scene Christie

46 comments:

Suzan Harden said...

Christie, you're only really in trouble if you had pulled that routine with the judge. Some of them here think Judge Roy Bean is God.

Christie Craig said...

Suzan,

I'm often a few fries short of a happy meal, but not that short. Judges still scare me.

Thanks for posting girl.

Crime Scene Christie

Laura said...

OMG that is too funny. And I hope it helps you sell lots of books. I, for one, can't wait until my copy arrives. :-)

Christie Craig said...

Laura,

Thanks for stopping in. I've already gotten a few emails from the other jurors. So it may have sold me a few books.

Have a great day and I hope you enjoy DD&D!

Crime Scene Christie

Jenyfer Matthews said...

I'm not surprised that you've gotten emails from your fellow jurors - you sound like you stole the show! LOL

Never had jury duty - but then I've been out of the country for 8 years so that may have something to do with it...

Faye Hughes said...

Christie,

Girl, didn't your mama ever tell you not to tease men with guns? LOL.

Faye

Christie Craig said...

Hi Jenyfer!

Oddly enough, I didn't go in to steal the show, but that happens when I get my feathers ruffled.

Thanks for posting girl! And maybe when you get back in town you'll get your chance to serve on a jury. In all honesty, it's a very interesting study on human nature. Twelve people together, from all walks of life, trying to agree on somthing. Great character study tool!

Christie Craig said...

Faye,

Unfortunately, I didn't listen to a lot of what my mom told me.

Thanks for posting girl!!

Crime Scene Christie

Tori Lennox said...

ROFL! I don't think I'd have the nerve to sass the bailiff.

As far as I can recall I've only received a summons once and luckily for me I'd moved to a different state at the time, so I got out of it easily.

Jana DeLeon said...

Too funny, Christie, and fantastic job taking an opportunity to promote your books!!!! That one goes in the marketing hall of fame.

I do wonder though - in Dallas if you've been called for jury duty in the last six months, all you have to do is call the courthouse and you can opt out of attending again. Maybe you should check into that. You know, given your luck and all.

In fact, are you sure you weren't a character in my latest book?

Christie Craig said...

Tori,

Basically, I've got my nerve than smarts sometimes.

Thanks for posting. And seriously, while it's pain in the butt to be told you have to do something like appear for jury duty, it is very interesting and thought provoking.

Crime Scene Christie

Gemma Halliday said...

CC, I'm gonna end up posting bail for you at some point, aren't I?

~Gemma

Christie Craig said...

Jana,

I thought the same thing, but when I asked the Bailiff, he just snickered. Of course, he could have just been getting even. However, there was another man there that had also been called less than a month before. So who knows...

And yeah, I was beginning to think I might have been connected or at least a distant relative to your character!!

Congrats again on your Dorch deal!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Gemma,

I've you down as the first person to call!! So when you get that collect call please accept!!!!

Crime Scene Christie

Kimberly Frost said...

Christie,

I wish you'd been there on the day I was summoned for Jury Duty. That would have made the morning so much more entertaining!

Meanwhile, what a great way to promote books! The next time someone does an RWA panel on promo, you should share that story. "I can promote anywhere, anytime. Author's cards...don't leave home without them." by CC ;)

Christie Craig said...

Kimberly,

Thanks for stopping in. And yup, a few promo cards in your purse is a must.

Hmmm...I wonder if we can request to called to duty at the same time.

Crime Scene Christie

Lucy said...

So, I'm reading your response to my comment and wondering why you used my real name, only to see that's what posted. Not sure how that happened.

Anyway, Christie, you should stop by my "secret" blog to see what your local chapter members are willing to do to sell a book. ;-)

Christie Craig said...

Lucy,

Okay...there you go blaming me for outing you, when you outted yourself! (smile)

By the way, I checked out your secret blog and loved, loved the video. Very funny girl. Do you mind posting the addy for others to check it out?

Lucy said...

Here's the video. Remember...anything to sell the book. ;-)

http://www.jibjab.com/starring_you/receipt/2481036

catslady said...

Okay cats are looking at me strange because you made me really lol. I hope I get someone like you to keep things interesting if I get called to jury duty. I'm knocking on wood here. I got called twice but that was over 20 years ago and I had two small kids with no one to watch them and they accepted that. (That doesn't work any more)so I've been lucky. I too don't mind the idea of jury duty but the getting there would be hard. Thanks for the laughs.

Christie Craig said...

Catslady,

I'm sure the cats enjoyed the show.

And I know what you mean about getting to the courthouse. Getting called for my county isn't bad, but getting called for Houston is a nightmare. The last time I took the bus. And you would know I got picked. So for a week, I was up at the crack of dawn at the Metro station.

Thanks for posting. And congrats again on your win of Jana's prize package.

Crime Scene Christie

MsHellion said...

Awesome kickass job heckling! He deserved it; sorry you got the chair for it.

Yes, I have served on a jury (BORING) and in the end, after we arrived at our verdict (but before we could present), they walked in and said they decided to settle. Nice. I don't even remember what it was about. It was like 10 years ago.

Yes, pulled over and ticketed for speeding. 72 in a 60. $100 fine, since it was state trooper. Memorial Day weekend--you'd think I'd pay attention. But that was about 8 years ago...and so far, my last ticket. *knocks on wood*

Christie Craig said...

Mshellion,

Kickass heckler. I like that description.

I've had only one speeding ticket. 60 in a 45. Yikes. Everyone told me not to get a red car because I would get ticketed, and sure enough the second day I got the car, I get a ticket.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

cas2ajs said...

Oh my gosh, that is so funny. It's one of those moments where someone with guts says all the things everyone else is thinking but is too chicken to say. Kinda like the things I wish I could come up with. I bet you were the hero among all the jurors that day.

Cheryl

Christie Craig said...

Cheryl,

You may be right, but most of those people who kept their mouths shut got to go home while I got snagged for the jury! ;-)

But if I went back tomorrow, I'd do the same thing again. I'm a real slow learner.

Thanks for posting!

Crime Scene Christie

Minna said...

I'm so thankful we don't have your system here in Finland! I never have to worry I might be chosen for jury duty.

Christie Craig said...

Minna,

Interesting.

Hmm...So you guys don't have jury duty? Do you have professional jurors? Or do you not have trials by jury?

Crime Scene Christie

Estella said...

I have had jury duty several times. I even had Grand Jury once. Didn't like any of them.

Christie Craig said...

Estella,

I've never been picked for a grand jury. I hear it's quite different.

Not that I want to be called anytime soon, mind you. I've had my court fix for a few years.

Crime Scene Christie

Stacy S said...

Too funny! I've had jury before. I didn't really care for it. After getting picked once, I got picked 2 more times. Didn't have to do it though, only once a year!

Christie Craig said...

Stacy,

Thanks for stopping by. Jury duty is something I think most of us have lived through. Not always fun, and I think we deserve the right to whine a little.

Thanks again for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

RachaelfromNJ said...

Too funny! I never did jury duty before. Knock on wood.

Christie Craig said...

Rachael,

I'm glad I gave you a chuckle. It's bad when you really don't want to be there, but if you start thinking of it as a chance to study people it can be interesting. And a chance to sell a few books. :-)

Thanks for posting girl!

Crime Scene Christie

Amy S. said...

I have never been chosen for jury duty and I hope they don't choose me. lol.

Kathy Bacus said...

All I have to say is if you were on trial for BSP (blatant self-promotion) in the first degree, Christie, the verdict would be GUILTY beyond a reasonable doubt. And then some!

Too funny!

~Bullet Hole~

Christie Craig said...

Amy,

Thanks for popping in.

Generally, we all have our day in court . . . with a jury summons in hand. But I think some people have made an art of avoiding getting chosen. Unfortunately, I don't seem to be talented in the art.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Kathy,

I'll fess up to that crime.

Thanks for posting!

Crime Scene Christie

Ms Terry in gadsden alabama said...

christie , once again your story kept me on the edge of my seat. I thinking i better call Christie and make sure she is alright . she got picked up for not going to jury duty? How could this happen to Christie, i kept waiting for you to say its all a joke.
I have been lucky the 2 times i have been selected for Jury Duty was after we had our own business and i didnt have anyone to run the shop. You see in Gadsden , if it's a hard ship for you to serve then you can get out of it.
But im sure if you tried to loose the notice you'd get picked up and hauled in here in Gadsden Alabama too.
I cant wait for your book to come out . im telling everyone here about it.
recently our home town paper asked for book reviews , yep you all guessed it i recommened killerfiction.net
i hope i when i prize.
im tring to help . My niece says since she seen the video of DDD.
She knows she has to have the book.
thanks again for the laughs Christie.

deseng said...

Hi Christie,

Ha, ha, ha.....now that is funny! Well, you never fail to entertain or amuse me! Yes, I have been called to Jury Duty but I found it utterly fascinating! I was transfixed by everything that went on! I was in for 2 and half days. It was about a traffic accident. Nothing out of hand happened though. Oh! I do remember during the process when you all are asked questions before they select you, one lady said she new the witness. Boy did they grill her! She got totally unnerved and was dismissed.

Well, I am up for Jury duty selection again. Just got my notice a month ago. I am waiting for a reply in the mail.

Michele

Minna said...

OK, here's how it works in Finland:

Trial by jury does not exist in Finland as such. In most civil cases, there are no non-professional judges involved in the process. In criminal cases, the common sense and popular sense of justice are represented by the three (or four, in complicated matters) Lay Judges. However, they participate both in the trying of fact and of law, as well as in sentencing.

The municipal councils appoint the Lay Judges for terms of four years. Each Lay Judge participates in a hearing approximately once a month. The District Court pays a hearing fee to the Lay Judges and reimburses them for loss of income.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judicial_system_of_Finland

Christie Craig said...

Michele,

I'm glad you found jury duty fascinating, because I did. Yes, it can be a pain to have someone else tell you that you have to do something and when, but it did make for some interesting thoughts and a even a decent blog. And as a writer, I've found that I have to stay with one foot in real life or my creativity drains dry.

Thanks for posting Michele.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Terry,

If I'd gotten picked up and put in the slammer, I'd given you a call to bail me out!!!

And oh my, I'm so happy you are talking up my book. Seriously, word of mouth is the best...the best advertisement that there is.

Thank you so much good friend!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Minna,

Thanks for that info. I think it's interesting to how things work other places. Of course, here, things can work differently from state to state or even county to county. And I would have to live in Texas where everything is is a little different. Probably because we were our own country at one time.

Thanks for posting!

Crime Scene Christie

Colleen Thompson said...

Lol -- to quote the song from CHICAGO, "He Had It Comin'".

Lily said...

Thanks for telling us about another contest :)

lila n. said...

Hi,

I love Jennifer Ashley... I had already entered her contest :)