Face down on the carpet. Oddly enough, humiliating though it was, I found that I was completely okay with it. At least for the moment, which was really all the time I needed to pull myself together, or so I thought.
Opening my eyes–make that “eye” for only one seemed to be working–I looked out on a shapeless void where once had been a courtroom filled with people all of whom had come to see the criminal get what was coming to him.
That would be me. The criminal, that is.
Oh, I’m not a for real criminal, at least not until the jury says I am. Although if you were to inquire of my soon-to-be ex-wife, she of the bottomless, boiling cauldron of spousal hatred, she would most likely argue energetically in favor of immediate condemnation. Suddenly I was quite grateful that she didn’t get to decide my fate.
Just as suddenly I realized that the floor was no place for a man of my stature and started to wonder what had precipitated so demeaning a position. The answer came slowly, in lockstep with a clearing of the haze that had clouded my mind as well as my vision.
I couldn’t see much from where I lay, but what I did see wasn’t good. A ring of faces bearing expressions that were mostly devoid of anything save disgust and not a little anger, all of which were looking down upon my supine form.
An ill-advised attempt on my part to turn over did nothing but provoke an immediate threat from my digestive tract to disgorge the entirety of the pasta prima vera which had been so hastily consumed over lunch. No doubt the culprit behind my ignominious collapse.
“Counselor?” came a resonate basso from the direction of the judge. “Are you able to continue or do we need to call for medical attention?”
Somehow I managed to make it onto all fours, raised one hand and said, “Fine. I’m fine. I don’t know what happened, but I’m fine.”
“Yeah, you look it!” said my ever-cheerful estranged spouse from her place by a lawyer who, to my eyes anyway, had facial skin the color and texture of whey.
Once on my feet, I did my best to straighten my tie and smooth my hair back into some semblance of coiffure, realizing in the process that spittle clung to my chin in sufficient quantities as to warrant the use of the handkerchief I had stupidly left behind in the stupid apartment I’d been forced to rent while my wife and I haggled over this stupid divorce like a couple of stupid school children fighting over a place in the stupid cafeteria line!
I had no choice but to wipe my chin on my coat sleeve leaving a most unattractive trail of slime which was, true to form, turned iridescent by the courtroom’s fluorescent lighting.
“Perfect,” I said out loud and apropos of nothing.
“Well, then,” said the most patient judge. “Shall we continue?”
And I wondered for about the ten thousandth time what there was about trying my own divorce case that had ever seemed like a good idea.