Serialization — Part 1

The Computer, the Courthouse, the Judge and me.

Some people have good apartment karma, others money. I am of a rare breed. I have good Jury Duty karma. For the four times I’ve been called, my dismissal’s come within three hours of walking through security check point. It’s a fact I’ve come to rely upon, so when I was called to Jury Duty two Thursday’s ago, I thought — not a big deal. I’d be out of there within three hours. I arrived an hour late, laptop bag strapped like a suicide bomb across my chest, so cocky I think I flirted with the beef who confiscated my tape recorder upon entry.

While a hundred plus people sat in cushioned chairs awaiting their turn to serve, I sat on the floor near a socket, plugged in, pulled out all my papers, created a virtual office space and worked on my NYTimes article due the next day. Names were called out over the loudspeaker, one after another. I made myself comfortable. I knew mine would not be one of them.

It wasn’t.

At noon they dismissed us for lunch and I thought, “Hmmm…this is odd. I’ve been here three hours. A record.”

I went to lunch worried I had lost the mojo. It was my first Jury Duty in Brooklyn. Maybe the luck was relegated just to Manhattan?

I returned from lunch early. A woman had taken my place on the floor, plugged her computer into my socket.

“Hey, you’re in my office,” I said, jokingly but not kidding.

She looked up at me. “I saw you here earlier. I thought it was a good idea.”

“It was.”

She barely made room for me. I made room for myself. I saw sparks when I plugged my computer into the wall. I turned to look at my computer whose screen was a procession of static lines, hundreds of them like a 1950s set between channels.

“Holy fuck,” I quickly turned and unplugged from the outlet. My computer screen turned straight black. I was bold or I was stupid and I tried another socket thinking that might change things…




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