Good Narrative Principles

Jury Duty


IMG_3024Standing on line outside the courthouse waiting to go back in following the fire alarm, stood an odd assortment of people. What made it even more notable was that in the giddy flush of relief when they were each informed that they were being dismissed from jury duty and before the fire alarm sounded, the group shared intimate details about their lives. Conversation in the cramped Empanelling Room was lively, almost confessional. No question was too personal; all details were welcome. While waiting for their “get out of jail free card”, they watched the feeble promise of spring slip back to winter. Then the fire alarm sounded and they filed outside in the driving rain. The woman who spent her nights memorizing all manner of cultural trivia so that she might qualify as a contestant for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”, shared an umbrella with the guy who was hoping to drive to New Jersey before the car dealership closed to buy his second champagne metallic Alfa Romeo. “Can’t get enough of them” he crooned into the air. Pretty soon, the culprit who lit up in the hallway and triggered the alarm would be identified and all the rejected would be Jurors will shuffle back inside so that the Judge can read them the riot act for dodging their civic responsibility. But right now, in the rain, this odd group of adults behaved a bit like kids on the last day of school.

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