My last court date, as expected, did not disappoint. The events were so bizarre that I halfway expected Mr. Bean to jump out of some obscure corner waving a conductor’s wand. Pure insanity, I promise you.
After shelling out sixty bucks for the kids daycare fees (because that’s hoe much it costs me every time Douche Bag has the notion to take me to court of some inane contempt charge), I arrive 20 minutes early so that we could get the show underway and over as quickly as possible. As I mentioned in my other post, he swore that he would march in there and say that he was willing to drop everything and “go with the flow”. You, like I, were skeptical.
I peeked into the empty courtroom. It was empty, save for a white guy in a jacket sitting at the plaintiff’s desk. The sneaky bastard! He’d hired a lawyer! I knew I shouldn’t have trusted him! As I sat there fuming, a bald fat guy in a suit walked into the courtroom with a mousy old lady in a floral print skirt. He thanked her profusely for setting up an emergency hearing. I strained to hear their conversation. It turns out the mother of the first guy’s children was moving to Florida, and he was seeking a transfer of custody. Must be in the air.
The hearing was supposed to start at 9:30. At 9:45, Douche Bag had not arrived. The deputy asked me if I’d spoken to him that morning, of if I knew if he was on his way.
“No,” I replied. Why do these people always ask me where this man was whenever he shows up late? I’m NOT his keeper or his friend!
Following her request to call him and see where he was, a weak voice on the other end of the line picked up.
“Hello?” Douche Bag croaked.
“The deputy wants to know where you are.”
“I-I’m about 15 minutes away,” he said. “Could you tell them for me?”
“Thank you…” he whispered.
What the heck?
I finished up the call and informed the uniformed officer. Five minutes later, the superior court judge entered the room and looked around. The deputy explained that we were waiting on Douche Bag. She asked me if we would be ready once he got there.
“Yes ma’am,” I said with enthusiasm.
25 minutes later, Douche Bag arrived. Dressed in sweat pants, sneakers and a sweat shirt, he walked over to me and gave me a hug in my seat.
“I just got out the hospital last night,” he said.
“Ah. So who drove you?”
“My boy was s’posed to come get me, and I was waiting on him…but he was late so I had to drive myself.”
I sat staring blankly at the empty judge’s bench, already weary from the wait and aggravated at having to come to court for the 6th time in twelve months.
“This is the last time we’ll have to come here. I promise.”
I looked past the podium that divided us and saw him staring at the bench too. The words Wisdom, Compassion , Fairness hovered over the seat in the bronze seal above.
“Uh huh. OK.”
Just then we heard a door open roughly and both rose. It was not the judge – it was a clerk carrying a bunch of files. We both sat. At that point the deputy directed up to turn off our cell phones. In the silence, Douche Bag’s seat squeaked as he swiveled around.
“What’s that noise?” asked the deputy. “Is that your phone??”
“It’s my chair,” he replied.
A few minutes later, we heard the door open again.
“All rise!” the deputy commanded. “The honorable Judge Lane blah blah blah.”
But it wasn’t the Judge. It was the mousy woman in the print skirt from before.
“The judge will be right out,” she assured us, taking her seat and sucking on a diet Coke.
10 minutes later, the door shook again. Douche Bag and I remained seated until a black robe finally emerged.
“You may be seated,” she said dismissively. ” I understand the two of you are at the end of a long road of contempt charges and court appearances. (I nodded emphatically.) So we’re here to decide today how all this shall be resolved. Now Mr. Douche Bag, lets start with you – Why don’t you tell us what your wishes are and how you would like those to be decided today. You can come to the podium or you can speak from your seat.”
She motioned towards the podium.
“You want me to sit right here?”
“Or you can come to the podium.”
“You want me to stand next to that thing?”
(See what I mean about Mr. Bean?)
Douche Bag rose, walked over to the podium, and sighed deeply, stumbling over his words.
“You know, I just decided that I’m going to let my daughter do what she likes. She said yeah, she misses her dad, but she’s also happy in Africa. Last time we was here, things didn’t go too well and I wasn’t none happy wit dat decision, but umm..I ummm…I’m okay with whatever decision is made today.”
The judge nodded, apparently taken aback. After asking him what my family’s plans were, and getting no clear answer, she asked if we ever spoke.
“No,” I said flatly. He echoed my response.
“Well, I know you’re not having dinner together, but do you ever cordially talk at all? Or is it like you’d kill each other if you did?”
“It’s a little bit of both,” Douche Bag said with bravado. What a little whore. 10 minutes ago you were initiating hugs and now you want to kill me in conversation?
“We communicate via email,” I informed her.
She asked me to come to the podium and shed light on the family’s plans. I re-iterated everything that was said in our previous court visit, including my offer for summer visits. She suddenly seemed at ease.
“You know, I gotta tell you. You guys are really refreshing to me. Usually when parents come in here, they’re so interested in getting him or getting her…nobody gives a damn about the kid!”
She motioned to him with compassion.
“And for you to come in here and say ‘I was wrong’, and to prove that you were listening – because men don’t generally listen – I that’s commendable.”
She looked at me to with eyebrows raised, obviously looking for me to give some nonverbal cue to show my agreement. I offered none. This seemed to irritate her somewhat.
“Well, at least I think it is,” she continued, shuffling through some documents. “Not to drudge up any old items, but what is this I hear about supervised visitation?”
Huh? That was resolved in March. I explained that supervised visits had ended and that was because I wasn’t comfortable with Na going over there given the history of events.
“So what about these contempt order? Are we going to let all these contempts jsu slide?” She was looking at me.
I shrugged my shoulders and point to Douche Bag.
“I just want my daughter to be happy,” he mumbled.
“And do we need an order for child support?”
“We have an order,” I answered. I made no mention that he was late. What did I care? He wasn’t going to pay anyway. Suddenly, Douche Bag piped up.
“Well, with regard to child support, I haven’t been able to pay in the last 4 months. I was so sick and having headaches with this whole thing with my daughter that I couldn’t focus. In fact, I was over my brother’s house and passed out.” He continued dramatically. “The paramedics came and everything. They took me to the hospital. Come to find out – I have diabetes.”
Diabetes? You can’t work because you have diabetes?? He had called me a few weeks before and was very mysterious about why he was going in and out of the hospital. I thought he had cancer – or something serious. But diabetes? You had to be kidding me.
“Oh no!” cried the judge.
“And did you think you should inform Mrs. Grant about this?”
“I was going to at some point,” he said sheepishly.
“Well, not just for the sake of her knowing, but for your child. Diabetes can be hereditary. My daughter has it. She got it from my ex’s side of the family.”
For the next several minutes, the pair of them discussed diabetes treatment options, the effects, and the future of the ‘illness’. I just stood there behind the podium, waiting for T-Pain to pop of out of the woodwork in a top hat to bring the lunacy full circle. Finally, she got back to the issues that mattered.
“So what are we going to do moving forward?”
I told her about my proposal for Na to spend summers with him and a week at Christmas, provided that he pay half the cost of the ticket.
“Does this sit well with you, Mr. Douche Bag?’
“Well. I already don’t want her to go. And then I gotta buy half the ticket – and it’s expensive. And I gotta pay child support on top of that. And then I gotta keep her for 3 straight months. And then I gotta feed her!”
“Yeah,” the judge said compassionately. “You gotta feed her.”
She looked for me to give some signal of leniency. Again, I had none. Was she actually buying this crap? Of course he has to feed her! She’s a child, not a friggin’ house plant!
“Given the fact that Mr. Douche bag, as he just said, is 4 month behind on his child support payments, and given that prior to this action he did not provide ANY financial support for this child for 3 consecutive years, I think half the ticket is pretty fair.”
“Well!” she huffed. “I’ll have something written up and sent to both of you.”
She gathered her documents and exited the courtroom with the regal authority of Elizabeth, her robes trailing behind her. Douche Bag left immediately afterward without another word to me. I stood there, replaying the insanity that had taken place in the last 20 minutes. As I adjusted my coat, it dawned on me.
She thinks I’m the one who brought all these contempt charges!
Well, I can’t blame her. It was probably the idiot who wrote the brief who got it confused. This many con tempt charges over trivial issues is a pretty big bitch move…and no one would suspect that a man so big and black could be such a bitch. But there you have it.
At least I won’t (hopefully) have to come back down to Fulton county again, hanging out with T.I. and the homeless population. Lawd, please keep me from this asinine annual festival we call “court” if you can!