“Thaddeus Bergstresser, you shall pay $500 to have a professional remove the tree stump at 140 Norwell Drive--and to plant a new fifteen year old maple tree in its place.” Judge Justice looked at Thaddeus when he said “Professional.”
Thad looked down at the floor. $500? That tree was hanging over my property. It coulda crashed onto my roof… She wouldn’t cut it down. Her shade garden is more important than my roof? Why do I hafta pay for her new tree…? I mean, the old one fell on my car. Now I gotta buy a new car and a new tree? I think this Judge Justice got the wrong name. So I’m not a professional tree cutter. So I went into her yard to cut it down. So it was the middle of the night. What, I’m supposed to do it in broad daylight? Well, her tree was trespassing on my yard. What about that?
Judge Justice pounded his gavel onto the bench. He looked sternly at Thad, as if he knew what he was thinking. “Case closed.”
“Wilma Whitver, approach the bench.”
Wilma wrung her hands as she walked forward. Dear God, please let him not be a big football fan…
“You did it during the final seconds of the big game--the game of the century?”
“Uh, yes, sir,” said Wilma. “But, um, they lost anyway?” Oh dear, this doesn’t seem to be going well…
“You are charged with the unlawful discharge of a firearm Ms. Whitver. You’re lucky no one was killed.”
“Yes sir.” But… all he ever pays attention to is that huge television of his… Well, he did--before I blasted it to smithereens.
“Since no one was hurt, this is a misdemeanor. You must pay $1500 in fees and attend a ten week anger management class at Mercy Hospital. Case dismissed.”
“$1500? Great, just great; what about my new plasma TV?” asked Wilma’s soon-to-be ex-husband.
“Junior McFeeley, you’ve been charged with a very serious crime.”
“But… It was supposed to be a joke,” said Junior. “I didn’t know it was that serious.” She told the teacher I copied off her paper. I failed the test and they told my parents… I got grounded and everything. I just wanted to get back at her…
“Bullying via Instant Messaging is still bullying. What you threatened to do…”
“I, I didn’t mean it. I never would have done it...”
“How is Millicent, her family, and the police supposed to know that? In these times Junior, these types of threats are taken very seriously.” Judge Justice glanced at Junior’s folder. “I see you’ve been expelled from school...”
Junior started to cry.
“You’re a minor. And this is your first offense. This incident will not appear on your permanent record. Junior, look at me, look me right in the eye. You won’t ever do anything like this again, will you?”
“No sir.” Junior sniffed.
“You are hereby sentenced to 120 hours of community service at the Fooville Home for Battered Women and Children. Case dismissed.” Judge Justice’s gavel sounded again.
“Here your honor.”
“You’re suing the Mercy Board of Health for condemning your home?”
“They put it in all the newspapers… My reputation has been ruined.”
“But wasn’t the state of the home… shall we say, dangerously dirty?”
“I was just trying to teach my husband and kids a lesson. I stopped cleaning until they noticed. I thought they’d get it and start to chip in…”
“And just how long did you let this experiment last?”
“And the state of the home before this?”
“It was fine--not spotless--but perfectly livable. You’d be surprised at how much of a mess a packrat husband and four teenage boys can make in just three weeks.”
Judge Justice smiled. “I myself had three boys…“
“Then surely you understand…”
“The house has been re-inspected and was found livable?” Judge Justice directed the question to the Health Board representative.
“Yes your honor.”
“Ms. Clutts, how about if you drop this suit against the Board and Mr. Healy here will give you a new occupancy permit?”
“Sounds good to us your honor,” said Mr. Healy.
“Well, okay…” said Pamela. Living in a hotel for three weeks was getting old--and expensive.
Before he struck his gavel for the final time of the day Judge Justice said, “Perhaps you could put all those lawyer fees towards a housekeeper instead. Case dismissed.”
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