Freudian Slips: When Your Number Is Up

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

July 05, 2007

When Your Number Is Up

Bingo selected me as a Camden County Superior Court juror. Out of seven hundred prospective jurors, I was the only one who yelled “Bingo” when my number was called in a downstairs holding tank. The tightly wound crowd exhaled laughter at my antics. To the contrary, I waited 45 years to serve as a juror on a criminal trial and having my number called was one step closer to the juror’s box. All of my years watching forensic television would finally pay off. Even the elevator ride up to the courtroom smelled like justice. Inside the icy courtroom, I listened to four days of testimony and evidence on a graphically portrayed child molestation case. After closing arguments, the judge read every element of the nine indictable counts pending. Not for the squeamish, just the reading of the law took over an hour. After which, I anticipated deliberation by organizing my wealth of input and insight. That is until a high-heeled clerk stood and spun a wooden bingo wheel for no apparent reason. The bingo wheel was an antiquated apparatus that looked like it had been hand carved by a convict's penknife at the turn of the century. Bearing a grimace, the clerk read number 183.
“Juror number 183, Joseph Tornatore, kindly take a seat behind the prosecutor.”
My demotion to alternate juror became a part of the proceedings. I sat stunned and my body language read nothing but disappointment. I slouched my way from the juror’s box to the empty seat behind the prosecutor who is actively referring to his juror’s chart in a reshuffling of the judicial deck. It was hard to put my downward spiral feelings into words until I conceptualized that my right to vote on the case had been denied on Election Day. The bingo wheel spit out another number. A middle-aged man shrugged his shoulders then joins me in the last-minute excusal. A sheriff escorted us to a seclusion room where sensory deprivation awaited. The sheriff stood guard just outside our open door. We were prohibited from leaving or using cell phones. Hours passed. Occasionally, I heard the raised voices of the dozen jurors deliberating the defendant’s fate in the sealed off room next door. I gave myself a once over. This is the only point of a criminal trial where a defendant has more freedom and rights than jurors.
I would have argued passionately without signs of fatigue that the defendant was guilty on five of the nine charges. The real jurors voted not guilty on all nine counts. I could not believe what my ears heard as the foreman kept echoing not guilty. The defendant's number wasn't up, only mine was yet he showed not one iota of reaction at the verdicts. I have an idea what the defendant was thinking and it was in line with my gut. I can spell it out for you…and Bingo was name oh.

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10 Comments:

Blogger mommanator said...

Well I guess thats the luck of the draw! guess that's good luck for the the for the person waiting for the verdict.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

mommanator,
the wheel in the sky was with him.

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would have been a remake of: "Twelve Angry Men" in reverse!

8:02 AM  
Blogger Pax Romano said...

Sounds like a case of "courttus interruptus"

10:38 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

pax,
That just rubs me the wrong way, if you know what I mean. lol

11:07 AM  
Blogger e said...

Wouldn't it be nice if people (jury, in this case) were better educated?

"Sounds like a case of "courttus interruptus"

That just rubs me the wrong way, if you know what I mean. lol"

Now, that's funny!

8:43 AM  
Blogger e said...

Joe, you have quite a few articles pertaining to numbers. Something sub-conscious perhaps? ;)

8:44 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

e,
I am going to have to pay more attention to the numbers thing.

9:16 PM  
Anonymous marcus said...

Joe,
I think I should have had some credit here. I'm going to talk to my lawyer.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

marcus,
how about I take you to a Phillies game Friday night and we call it even?

9:54 PM  

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