Judge Lopez looked at the docket list for the day brought to her by a clerk. It looked to be a routine day: a collection of straightforward traffic violations, with nothing more extreme or extraordinary than the usual gamut of long weekend DUIs. Scattered among the defendants were a few initials, denoting minors, and a few names that were irritatingly familiar, because there seemed to be people in the county whose sole purpose was to erode her belief in the capability of the justice system to reduce rates of recidivism. There was one name in particular that made her grimace.
Gary Mitchell. Again. She had lost count of the number of times she’d seen him in court, let alone the occasions she knew he’d ended up before one of her fellow judges. Something about Gary Mitchell made her want to veer drastically away from legal prescriptions and her own moral compass and just lock the man in a house where he wouldn’t even be able to see a car, let alone touch one, vandalize one, steal one, drive one down a street with wobbly imprecision, or, and most importantly (or memorably), crash one into a tree that fell over, got tangled in power cords, set fire to an entire block of houses like a series of giant dominoes made of kindling, and electrocuted a crocodile.
Then, the impossible happened.
Judge Lopez was distracted from thoughts of her impossible feud with Gary Mitchell by another name on the docket. Unlike Gary Mitchell’s, it was not familiar.
Not, at least, as a name.
"Wayne, could you come back here?" she called to the clerk before he escaped her office. He slunk back, feet dragging on the patchy carpet. "Someone in the back need a bit more coffee?"
"No?" Wayne asked, tilting his head like a cautiously curious dog.
"I can understand some typos and those aren’t a big deal, but this is part of the court record, Wayne."
Wayne’s head tilted in the other direction. “Yes?”
Judge Lopez sighed and removed her glasses to rub at the already sweat-dampened spots on either side of her nose. “Wayne, the first hearing today is listed as the State versus Cocaine. If someone around here caught the living embodiment of cocaine, I think that’s something that should be dealt with by a Supreme Court panel, don’t you?”
After some thought, Wayne tilted his head forward. “That’s the name on the arresting officer’s affidavit, ma’am. And all the other documents. I double-checked it myself, but I figure it’s French?” It was, sadly, not the dumbest thing Wayne had ever said to her in the three years he’d been working for the Court.
"Never mind, Wayne. I’ll deal with it when they bring ‘E. Cocaine’ in."
Wayne tilted his head back then, deciding that was as good as a dismissal, resumed his shuffling exit.
When she looked back on this day, Judge Lopez would realize that the sensible thing to do would have been fake a heart attack and spend the rest of the day in a private hospital room. But hindsight was 20/20 as the time travelling optometrist was prone to saying.
Half an hour later she was sitting behind the bench, fingering her gavel as an articling student from the DA’s office, who looked barely post-puberty, was organizing his documents. A court appointed defense attorney sat on the opposite side, unshaven and already-exhausted, looking down glumly at the sheaf of documents he’d pulled from his old briefcase. Then two officers led in the defendant, his hands atypically cuffed behind his back, as well as hampered by leg shackles. The defense removed his glasses and put a hand over his eyes, his expression suggesting just the appearance of his client caused him pain. Judge Lopez couldn’t blame him.
Before she could announce that court was in session and ask for the prosecution’s opening statements, the defendant surged forward from between the two officers holding him, straining like a dog with a choke collar and a very short leash. “YOUR JUDGESHIP,” he shouted, “MY NAME IS EDWARD COCAINE AND AS A CHEMICALKIN I AM NOT BOUND BY THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA.”
Judge Lopez passed a memo to the bailiff, instructing the rest of the day’s docket be rescheduled or moved to other rooms in the court house to be heard by other, more fortunate judges.
Florida Man Tells Judge His Name is ‘Edward Cocaine’
You Cannot Rest Here
Have you ever played a video game where you have to sleep to recover? They only let you do it if everything is safe. Otherwise they won’t let you sleep. You’ll get a message, saying “You cannot sleep now, there are monsters nearby.”
Now, remember the last time you just couldn’t get to sleep?
Don’t you fuckin do this to me