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“Tell me a little about yourself,” the assistant district attorney asks.
“Well, I’m from Rosemont and have lived here all my life. I own my own landscaping business along with my dad and work for a friend of my family as a landscape architect. I’m not married and have no kids. My whole family lives close by except my brother who is away at college.”
“Do you have any college degrees?”
“I have an bachelors in landscape design.”
She asks me a few more personal questions and then starts in on things that may have to do with the case. I’ve heard all the questions before as I am the ninth person chosen to sit on the jury. It’s my first time doing jury duty and it’s not nearly as exciting as it is on television. But the prosecutor is hot enough to be on one of those shows. Not very tall at about five five, she has long, brown hair, a very pretty face and blue eyes behind some fashionable glasses. She seems to have a nice figure under her blouse and jacket. Her legs are nicely toned, at least from the knees down. She has a skirt that matches her jacket and is wearing what appear to be comfortable shoes rather than something stylish.
She finally finishes with my questions and moves on to the next juror. I really don’t want to be here but don’t see much of a way out. It’s the middle of winter and business is slow this time of year, so I can’t use that excuse.
Once the prosecutor is done with her questions, the other attorney starts asking his questions. His are more about whether I think I can be partial, have I had bad experiences with this kind of crime, which is a gas station robbery.
I’ve already been here most of the day. It becomes more frustrating when the defense attorney finishes and then releases three of the potential jurors, especially since I’m not one of them. Of course, they both have to ask the same questions of the three new people that have been chosen and when none of them are asked to leave I think we’re done.
I glance over at the prosecutor and even she looks bored. That’s when I learn they have to ask the same questions of one more person who is going to be the alternate. When will it end?
Once we are all chosen the judge gives us our instructions. We have to wear these badges that let everyone know we are jurors, even if we go out of the courthouse for lunch. We can’t talk to anyone about the case. Not the other jurors, the lawyers, family or friends. No posting tweets or to Facebook or any other social media. He finally finishes and I think we are going to get a break when the judge instructs the prosecutor to give her opening statement.
Basically we are hearing a case of a man that robbed a gas station of about two hundred bucks. There was no weapon involved and only a minor shoving incident when the employee tried to stop the robber. She goes over how she will proceed with proving her case. Then the defense attorney goes over his case and how he will proceed.
After he is done, the judge gives us a ten minute break and goes over how we can’t discuss this case with anyone, no posting, no this and no that. We head out to the jury room. Nobody really says anything since we don’t know one another. I take my book out of my pocket and begin to read. About fifteen minutes later we are called back in.
We hear testimony of the two employees that were in the store at the time of the robbery and they explain what happened. After the second employee we hear from the first officer to arrive at the scene. He tells us what he saw when he arrived and what the two employees told him. When he is done the judge releases us for the night. Before we leave, we are again given the same instructions, only this time he adds a few things about visiting the site of the crime or doing any research about it.
The next day I arrive early and head right to the jury room. There is one other person there, a man in his fifties. He’s reading the paper and only looks up long enough to say hi. The rest of the jurors arrives and I check them out as we wait to be called. Of the thirteen jurors, there are eight men and five woman. Our ages range from my twenty five to the alternate juror who is probably in his sixties. Next to me sits a woman who is probably about thirty five or so. She is attractive but seems very conservative, wearing clothing that doesn’t seem to be very flashy. Two of the woman are probably in their forties, one looks old enough to be a grandmother and the last woman is probably about thirty. Out of habit, I notice they each have a wedding ring except the woman next to me.
Nobody says anything till the woman next to me asks us what we thought of the whole jury process. That starts out some conversations as people laugh about how boring it was and about how many times we could each hear the same question.
We finally get called into the courtroom. The judge greets us and then gets things underway. The prosecution is still calling witnesses and I listen to each of them in turn. We hear from another of the police officers that responded to the czech amateurs porno call, his supervisor and then the lead detective. It’s during his testimony that I notice the prosecutor holding her back slightly. She dressed similarly to how she was dressed the day before, wearing a woman’s suit with a skirt. Several more times during the day I notice her holding or rubbing her back. She is also slow to rise when she needs to get to her feet.
On my return from my lunch break, I get off the elevator on my floor and see someone stooping down, grabbing papers that she dropped. Without even thinking I go over to help.
“Here, let me get those for you.”
“Thank you,” she says as she turns around. “Oh shit, you need to go right now.”
I turn to her, ready with a sarcastic comment, till I realize she is the prosecuting attorney. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize who you were.”
Fuck. Now I had to wonder if I was going to get into trouble. As I walk away, I say over my shoulder, “When you get home, take a shower and alternate between cold and hot every few minutes. It’ll help your back.” Then I walk through the door.
I’m in my own world as the rest of the jurors come back from lunch. I’m nervous as hell when we are called back into the courtroom. I take a quick look at the prosecutor, but she is looking down at some papers.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, there was an incident that was brought to my attention that we need to deal with before we can continue.” Oh shit, I’m in trouble. “Juror number nine, will you please stand.” It takes me a moment before I realize that he is talking to me. “Juror number nine, can you please tell me what happened outside near the elevators?”
Fuck, I think to myself. “Yes sir. When I got off the elevator after lunch I saw someone kneeling down trying to gather some papers she had dropped. I went over to help before I realized it was one of the lawyers for this case.” Everyone knew who I was talking about, but I was nervous and couldn’t think of the right thing to call her. “I offered to help and I guess she saw my badge and told me I needed to leave. I looked at her and saw who it was and immediately walked away.”
“And did you say anything to her?”
I felt my face turn red. “Yes sir.”
“What did you say?”
“Well, I had noticed she was holding her back several times this morning and I learned an trick from my dad who’s had back problems for a while. I told her to take a shower and switch from hot to cold every few minutes. Then I walked through the door.”
“You may have a seat.”
“Thank you sir.”
I’m sweating bullets waiting to get hauled out of the courtroom. “I will ask the juror to return to the jury room and wait for further instructions.” He then went over the usual list of rules before dismissing us.
I can feel everyones eyes on me as we wait to go back to the courtroom. “Does that really work?” one of the guys asks.
“The shower thing.”
“Oh, yeah. Whenever I have sore muscles after a workout I do that. It always helps me feel better.”
“I’ll have to try that.”
“Same here,” says the school teacher. Several more people agree and then we are called back in.
“Juror number nine, will you stand please?” I take a deep breath and rise. “It doesn’t seem as if you’ve done anything wrong, but I had to check before we could proceed. You will not be asked to leave, but please be more careful. I do appreciate that you were trying to help and the court recognizes that. You may be seated.”
“Thank you sir.” I take my seat and look quickly at the prosecutor. She is watching me, but doesn’t do anything more.
The rest of the day goes quite slowly as we listen to more testimony. The next day we are told that we will be delayed about an hour, so I grab my book and start reading. Half of the other jurors go down to the cafeteria for coffee or breakfast or just to get out of the room.
“Hey, man, thanks for that advice yesterday. Sitting all day gives me a back ache. I tried that shower thing and it worked great.”
“Glad I could help.”
“So, you think we’ll be done by today?”
“I hope so. I can’t take much more of this. It was interesting at first, but now it’s just downright boring.”
“I hear that. That lady lawyer is certainly nice to look at though.”
I chuckle. “Yeah, she’s pretty easy on the eyes.”
“I bet you get her out of the courtroom and she’s a real animal.”
I just shake my head and go back to my book.
Eventually we are called back to the courtroom and endure another few hours of testimony about fingerprinting and other tests that were run to help identify the suspect. The prosecution rests just before lunch and the defense says they have no witnesses to call. The judge dismisses us for lunch, giving us our usual speech about what not to say and what not to do.
Several of the jurors get together for lunch and I decide to join them. The czech bitch porno two younger ladies are with us as is a guy who talks non-stop. The woman laugh at his comments as he talks about fashion. The other guy with us is a farmer and he continually rolls his eyes at the guys comments. I don’t blame him.
“You’re awfully quiet,” Linda whispers to me. Linda is the thirty five year old woman. Today she is wearing one of those pant suits that does not flatter her very much. The pants are kind of loose and make her look flabby while the jacket seems to be quite large on her.
“It’s hard to compete with him.”
“True. But you haven’t said much all week.”
“I just feel uncomfortable. I don’t say very much outside of my comfort zone.”
“Well, what do you do?”
“I’m a landscaper. Right now I’m working for my dad’s company, but I expect to take over the business at some point. I just have to learn the ropes. What about you?”
“I’m a fifth grade teacher.”
“That’s nice. You like what you do?”
“I love it. I’ve been teaching for about fifteen years now. Except for a break when I had my kids.”
“How many kids do you have?”
“Two. A boy who’s thirteen and a daughter that is eleven.”
“Pretty close together.”
“Yeah. My ex-husband and I wanted a family pretty quick.”
“Yeah. A few years ago he decided he wanted someone a little younger and a little more wild so he started sleeping with a twenty year old. Caught him in the act when I tried to surprise him at his office.”
“Yeah, in a big way. What about you?”
“In between at the moment.”
“A guy that looks like you probably has woman throwing themselves at you.”
“I wish it were that easy.”
A laugh from the group draws us back into the conversation. After lunch we all head back to the juror’s room. We wait only a few minutes before we are called into the courtroom. The judge informs us that it is time for the closing arguments and that the prosecution will go first.
She is wearing her usual outfit of a woman’s suit with skirt that covers down to her knees. There is something kind of sexy about the outfit. Her closing arguments last about half an hour. She basically reviews all the testimony, pointing out what she feels are the key points to prove that the suspect is guilty. When she is done, the defense attorney has his turn. His arguments are much shorter and point out minor details that should allow us to give a not guilty verdict. When he is done it is the judges turn to give us instructions.
The judge reads from a document telling us the different verdicts we can rule on. He lists them from the highest to the lowest and ends that if we can’t decide on one of the verdicts, we can also rule not guilty. He speaks for about thirty minutes before he dismisses us.
Back in the juror’s room we begin to talk. It takes us about fifteen minutes to decide on our head juror. The man we’ve chosen has been mostly quiet throughout the hearing. This is his second time on a jury, so we figure he may know what to do.
The farmer speaks out first and declares that the man is guilty and that we should all vote along with him. I agree, but decide not to say anything just yet. It seems that we all agree to his guilt. It’s just the level of guilt that is the problem. The encounter wasn’t exactly violent. The cashier grabbed the guys arm and the guy pushed the cashier away in his attempt to escape. We seem to be caught up as to whether this is truly violence or not. Most of us are in agreement, but there are three people that don’t feel so confident. Time passes and we have one of the three agreed to the higher charge. One of the two remaining is the guy, Jim, who did all the talking during lunch. He just doesn’t feel that the level of violence was enough to convict the higher charge.
About an hour later we are all in agreement. Jim is the last hold out, but finally agrees with us. It’s my argument that sways him. I asked him if he would be afraid if someone came into a place he worked and tried to steal money. At first he argues that the cashier fought back, but I finally convinced him that it had nothing to do with fighting back. I admitted that I’d be afraid and would hopefully fight too. A few minutes later he agrees and we take one final vote.
After letting the judge know we have reached a verdict, we are called back to the courtroom. The verdict is read and I feel a real relief as I think we are about to be released. Sadly, I am wrong. We need to come back the following morning. None of us understands why since we already given the verdict.
Instead of heading home I head to a bar around the corner. As I drink my beer I hear someone walk up beside me. I turn to see Linda. “Hey there,” I say to her.
“Hey to you too. Not ready to go home?”
“Nah. I just needed a quick drink. What about you? Aren’t your kids expecting you?”
“No, it’s my ex husband’s night with them. He gets czech casting porno them every other weekend and once during the week.”
“And you get a night off.”
“Yeah. Especially since I don’t have papers to grade. I came in here for a bite to eat and saw you at the bar. Care to join me?”
“Sure, as long as you don’t talk about the case.”
“Oh, that’s the last thing I want to talk about.”
“Can I buy you a drink at least?”
“That would be nice. Thank you.”
She orders a white wine and we go find a table. I find out she is thirty eight and has been divorced for two years. She tells me all about the divorce and I begin to think this was a mistake. She suddenly stops talking and excuses herself. I start to think how I can get out of this but am trapped because we’ve already ordered our food. When she comes back she removes her jacket and sits down.
I’m ready for her to start talking about her ex but she surprises by asking me some questions. The evening gets much better as she avoids talking about her marriage and we discuss things like football and some movies we both like.
She orders a second wine and starts to really loosen up. After excusing herself again I sit back and realize that I am starting to enjoy myself. When Linda comes back to the table I notice a couple of extra buttons are loose on her blouse.
We talk for a while more before she says she needs to get home. “What’s the rush? You don’t have any kids to be home for.”
“I know, but my usual bedtime is about nine thirty. Add a couple of glasses of wine and it will probably be a bit earlier.”
“Well, we can walk together since we are parked in the same place.”
She looks at me cautiously. “How do you know that?”
“Um, because aren’t you parked in the jurors lot?”
She blushes. “Sorry, I forgot about that.”
“Besides, I don’t think you should walk by yourself. Are you sure you’re ok to drive?”
“I’m fine. I don’t even have a buzz.”
We walk over to the garage where our cars are parked together. It’s pretty dark out by now and she walks rather close to me.
“I hope your not one of those guys that would take advantage of a woman.”
“That all depends on the woman.”
“I doubt a twenty something year old guy that looks like you would have to force himself on an almost forty year old that looks like me.”
“What’s wrong with your looks?”
“Well, I’m not exactly in my prime.”
“I think you look great. You could dress a bit nicer, but otherwise I think you look great.”
We enter the garage and it is pretty empty. “I am glad you are walking with me. I don’t feel very safe in here.”
“It is pretty spooky.”
“What did you mean by dressing nicer?”
Damn, I think to myself. “Well, your pants are kind of baggy and your jacket is too big for you. It’s like you’re trying to hide or something.”
“Maybe I am. I’m not exactly going to turn heads with my body.”
“What’s wrong with your body?”
“What isn’t wrong? My boobs sag and my tummy is flabby. My ass is definitely is big and not in a good way. Raising two kids on my own after a day of teaching kids doesn’t exactly leave me time to exercise much. Usually I’m so tired I barely have enough energy to go to bed. I have every other weekend off, but I spend most of that time sleeping and cleaning the house.”
“You just need to get out more.”
She laughs. “This is the closest thing I’ve had to a date in almost six months. Oh, that’s my car over there.”
“Good. I’m parked not too far away.” I point to the pickup a row over. I walk her over to her car and she digs her keys out of her purse.
“Thank you for a nice night. I had a good time, especially when I stopped talking about my ex.”
“That was putting a damper on things. I had a good time too. See you tomorrow.”
I start to walk to my car when Linda calls to me. “Hey, it is kind of early. Would you be interested in coming to my place for a drink?”
I look around for a moment. “Sure, I’d like that.”
“Good. Let me give you my address just in case we get separated. Do you have GPS?”
She writes down her address on a piece of paper along with her number. “Call me if you have any problems. But you can follow me too. It’s not all that far.”
I check the address and see it’s on the other side of town from where I live. “I know this place. I’ve done some work in that area.”
“Ok, I’ll see you at my place.”
I don’t have any problem following her since the roads are pretty empty and twenty minutes later we pull into her driveway. She has a very nice house big house at the end of a court.
“Please ignore the mess. I don’t have a lot of time to take care of things.”
She unlocks the door and lets me in first. We walk back to the kitchen where she drops her purse and hangs her keys. It’s a very nice kitchen, but a bit on the messy side. “It’s always like this by mid week. That’s why I spend all weekend cleaning.”
“This isn’t so bad. It’s better than my place.”
“Would you like a drink? I’ve got some beer and wine, but not much else.”
“A beer would be great, thanks.” I walk into the family room and look at the pictures she has hanging on the wall. They are all of her kids. “You have nice looking kids.”
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