Judge Fabulous is back in da house. She rolled up to the CJC in her Benzo, all dope and fly. I was waiting outside in the rain, as her valet, courier and concierge all rolled into one skinny nerd. The bad news is that now I will have to shoulder the expectations of being on time for work and not falling asleep at my desk. But the upside is that I get to wear business suits again, you know, the kind that makes the fellas want to be me and the ladies want to do me. Though, I would ostensibly prefer the opposite.
I finished writing an opinion for the Judge, and then I was kind of expecting to coast for the remainder of the day. Then all of a sudden, my phone rang. It was the special line that never rings. It was the Judge’s personal line, our equivalent of the Bat-phone.
I answered with trepidation. Could my opinion have been that
bad? It could have been, but that’s not what she wanted. She said, “I have an emergency errand, please come to the courtroom, and bring an envelope.” I figured unless she was going to try to kill me with papercuts, I should be ok.
I arrived in the robbing room and gave her the envelope. Inside it she placed a slip of paper, taped it shut several times and in large letters scribed on the back of it: PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL. I wonder if she didn’t want me to see what was in the envelope. She wrote an address on it, and asked me to take the envelope to said address and pick up an envelope in return. Quid pro quo (sorry, I feel like I should be using my Juris Doctor at some point). I was now in an episode of 24, and I was ok with that.
I told her I would walk where she wanted, and she said, “No, take the car.” Fear. Dread. I said, “No thanks, I should walk. It’s a beautiful day.”
“No, you’re taking the car. And you’ll be careful with it.”
The Judge’s car, from what I understand is beautiful and expensive. I don’t know anything about cars. I couldn’t care less about them, as long as they get me from here to there. I have no clue want kind of Mercedes it is, but I know it’s big and black and worth more than my entire life, if one can even quantify such a thing. My roots are far too white-trash to deserve to drive this thing. I was already running through the myriad nightmare scenarios that could occur while I was in charge of the vehicle. At my new job, after I got fired for crashing the car, I would have to put away a certain amount of money per week, so that I could afford to repair it.
“Are you familiar with hazard lights?” she asked. I replied affirmatively and promised to use them when the clandestine envelopes were exchanged outside of the assigned building. Didactic, but forgivable since I look rather inept sometimes.
With resignation, I approached the car. Its headlights stared deep into my eyes and let me know without beeping a word that I was destined to meet my downfall at its wheels. I got in the car, grabbed both hands with the steering wheel (where they would both stay the entire drive) and blinked for the last time for the amount of time it takes to drive 15 city blocks.
I am not a bad driver, but I never realized how crazy I was with my car until I was driving the most expensive car I had ever entered. I drive a Ford Focus, which is known primarily for being the official car of American Idol. Yes, I know. You don’t need to say a word. At one intersection, I almost hit a homeless man with the car, and couldn’t help but imagine the headlines in the Inquirer the next day, “Incompetent Clerk Bowls Over Homeless Angel in Judge’s Deathmobile.” I giggled a little, because, well, you can’t have vehicular manslaughter without the laughter. Think about it.
I arrived at the appointed location and parked the car with its hazard lights on, as instructed. Only one problem: there was no such building with the address on the envelope. I started to sweat more, which I thought was impossible. There was supposed to be someone waiting on the street for me to arrive; he was nowhere to be found. Basically, it was going precisely the way I would have predicted.
I found the building with a placard that matched the secret name on the envelope. I rang the doorbell and the dumbest man in America opened the door. “Hi, I am here to exchange envelopes.” Him: blank stare. Minute passes. Sigh. “Uh, come in.” When he went to fetch his instructions from a higher power (his boss, God, whomever, etc.) I looked out at the judge’s car.
Then I screamed. Literally. There was a moving van trying to get around the car, and someone was trying to direct the crazy man behind the steering wheel. One of them screamed, “Is this your car.” I whimpered, “Yes! I mean, No! I mean, I am in charge of it, so I guess it’s kind of mine right now, but I don’t actually own it. The registration is not technically in my name, but I can move it if you want, in fact, I should, let me move it, I can do it right now.” The man said, “No, it’s cool we got it under control.”
Part of me was thinking about hopping in front of the truck, Tiananmen Square style, and stopping the foreboding injustice, but the other part of me was wondering how I would pay the dry cleaner to remove the shit stains from my pants after I was fired from my job. The truck got by. Breathe. The man said to me, “Yo, nice car. You mean someone let’s YOU drive around in this shit all day.” I said, “No. It’s not like that at all.” He said, “Some brothers have all the luck.” Readers note: he was not my actual brother, and we were both white as a ghost. I was probably actually a little green at that point, to tell you the truth.
I drove back and parked the car in its happy spot, a bit shaken, but not stirred. I handed the keys back to the judge with the envelope (which contained glasses…glasses!).
Even though it’s one million degrees outside, I will be happy, for just this once, to walk home free of the tyranny of driving a fancy, expensive car.