If you missed part two, just click here.
When the little balding guy handed the judge my folder, I could see it was not very thick. All the folders to this point had been stuffed full of papers and some even had three or four folders banded together.
My little folder appeared to have nothing in it at all.
I waited quietly in front of the giant judge desk thing. I was determined not to a) cry, b) pee my pants or c) babble (which I tend to do when I am very nervous)
The judge opened my file and looked inside it. There was a single piece of paper in there. He looked at the front and back of the paper. He slid his glasses down his nose and looked at me. He motioned for the little balding guy and showed him the almost empty folder.
The little balding guy shrugged.
I closed my lips tightly determined not to babble.
Finally, the judge cleared his throat and asked my name.
Hardly stuttering at all. I told him.
“Do you have a pet?” he enquired.
“Yes, yes. I do…ummm…your honor…I have a dog…”
And then…God help me…I started to babble…
“Our dog is a little tweenie weinie…I mean ummm… weiner dog…ummm… I mean dachsund. Yeah. A dachsund…his name is Cujo and…”
(this is not a picture of Cujo. All my pictures of that sweet little fella are boxed up for the move...but this is a mighty cute picture of a puppy so I thought I'd just stick it in here anyway!)
The judge held up a judge-like hand and raised a judge-like eyebrow at me.
“Cujo? Your weiner …ummm…dachsund is named Cujo?”
“Well…ummm…yeah…your honor. He’s…” I made myself stop. I remembered all the TV shows I’d seen. Just answer the question. Don’t incriminate yourself.
“Ummm….yes, your honor, his name is Cujo.”
The judge looked at the paper again. “Does Cujo go to XYZ Animal Clinic?”
“Ummm…yes…ummm…your Honor…Mr. Judge. Yes. In fact, he was just there getting his toenails clipped because weiner dogs…ummm…dachsunds have long black nails and you can cut into the quick which makes them bleed and…”
I chastised myself again. Just answer the question. Don’t incriminate yourself. Incriminate myself for what was still not clear to me at this point.
“Yes, your Honor. Cujo still goes to XYZ Animal Clinic.”
The judge motioned to the little balding guy and they looked at the single paper in my file.
“Well, ma’am. I think you might have had a warrant sworn out in error. It appears that several years ago you wrote a check to XYZ Animal Clinic on a closed account.”
I got all excited! I remembered that incident exactly. I told the judge, “I remember that incident exactly, your honor. I was getting divorced and I had changed banks but when I took Cujo to the vet I had forgotten I had changed accounts so I wrote a check on the old account and then they called me and so I went and gave them a check from the new account and…”
I paused. To take a breath, you know?
And to remind myself not to babble.
The judge cleared his throat and said, “I think that somehow this got into the bad check division and when you replaced the check they never reported the payment…but obviously if your weiner...ummm…dachsund, Cujo, is still going there well…”
He paused again.
“So were you arrested on a warrant then?”
I nodded my head.
“And you had to post bail?”
I nodded again.
He closed my skinny little folder. “Let’s see if we can’t get your bail money returned right away.”
He handed my folder back to the little balding guy who motioned for me to follow him. As I started to walk away the judge said, “Ma’am?”
I turned back. Oh no, oh no! I just knew he was going to yell at me!
Instead he asked, “Who posted your bail?”
I never thought to ask why, I just said, “My kids…”
He frowned. “Well good luck to you…and to ummm… Cujo.”
I was so relieved I almost skipped out of the courtroom.
Of course, I didn’t. I am nothing if not circumspect in situations requiring great seriousness. NOT!
But I did get a check back that day for bail.
My boss wouldn’t even take my story seriously.
My kids thought I was insane.
The future Mr. Jenny laughed but I know it was just to cover up his desire to ask for his engagement ring back.
And the girlfriends parents who loaned my son the money?
That was ackward. To say the least.
I cashed the check from the court and went to their home after work to return their ‘loan’. Up to this point we had been pretty friendly, but when I rang the doorbell, they stepped back from the doorway and just looked at me suspiciously.
I wanted to explain. I really, really did. I wanted to tell them the whole story about how it really wasn’t my fault and that it was all because of Cujo, the weiner dog…but their faces were closed and hard.
I was tired and, my friends, I’d been in the slammer. And that changes a person. Makes them hard. And uncaring.
So, I just handed them the money, thanked them and left.
Some people get all judgemental about people being arrested at gunpoint.
I tell ya.
This kind of thing happens to everyone.
Yeah. I’m absolutely sure of it.
…the absolutely fantastic news is that I had a call today from one of the amazing HR recruiters from MY NEW EMPLOYER!
Yes! I passed the background check…
Yes! I start on-boarding on Monday. (I’ll be writing on Monday about that subject, exactly!)
And Yes! I will have all sorts of new stories for you next week!
In the meantime, trust me on this…DO NOT WRITE A CHECK ON A CLOSED ACCOUNT TO YOUR DOG’S VET! EVEN IF YOUR DOG ISN’T A WEINER DOG NAMED CUJO!
I know you appreciate this good advice.
You’re welcome! What are friends for anyway?