Banner 10000049



jd collins EMAIL:

The Tales Out of Court were a collection of vignettes about the life in the courts. It was meant to present the human side of law in a way not ordinarily exposed in literaure. Each tale was intended to speak to a particular facet of the legal processes, avoiding the tendency to paint Gorgons so evil the devil will run in fright or Gallahads so pure, Christ would find Himself redundant.

Some Tales found their way into IF ALL MEN WERE ANGELS. now available at The Bookden.

Many of the Tales, particularly those that deal with military topics were buttonholed elsewhere. see, also - "Military Police Blotter" - Military Courtroom Drama from J.D. Collins.

The Tales Out of Court went through the hands of the legendary publisher Bill Loepkey into the much acclaimed Inditer Dot Com of Canada. Bill was a remarkable editor for his willingness to consider topics not spoken of inside the US, the social dislocation caused by The Third INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION and the computor age.

Against advancing illness and frustration which the legal system imposed, Bill Loepkey promoted literature and culture on the internet. It is no small recognition that his countrymen have hono[u]red Bill in their Bibliotek Nationale.

JD COLLINS' other writings include the ENCLAVE quartet begun in the Enclave published by INDITER DOT COM and carried into Bounds and then Pictures on the Wall and ending in A Pact With Satan published by Fullosia Press.

The editor of Inditer called Enclave "weird." @2002 by jd collins

jdcollins is the author of IF ALL MEN WERE ANGELS the dickenesque story of change and rigidity at the dawn of the computor age.

Life did change. Was it for the better?

Read IF ALL MEN WERE ANGELS Available through Denlingers, quality Books since 1927.

MISDEMEANORS ©2002 by jd collins
An English jurist once admonished a miscreant "to keep future misdeeds and misdemeanors within the range of normal misfeasance list the police become too mis-creative in describing the misadventure."

I have often wondered what his lordship might have said of Ralph in the miserable state to which he had fallen.

I inherited Ralph from another lawyer whose misfortunes had miscarried even worse than Ralph's pathetic bankruptcy. When I was examining the file with Ralph's wife a tall stately lass, I shook my head. The Bankruptcy petition was meandered in a sea of motions to dismiss.

My widened eyes might have miscued Ralph's wife to a state of fear.

"My house is at stake," Nanette spoke in a firm voice, "I can't afford one mis-step. Do you have the belly for a tough fight."

"A house," I leafed through the file, "with a record number of code violations such that it appraises as a miserly hovel for nominal value - - "

"Home sweet home for me and six kids and occasionally," Nanette added, "Ralph when he remembers the way - - "

"Speaking of Ralph, whose house and family are in the lurch, Ralph is missing " I asked, "where is he?"

"Ralph is - -" Nanette gagged, "otherwise engaged - - He's witty and a damn good construction man . . . if he were here." Nanette's eyes turned to merry saucers, "Ralph would look up to the transom and comment 'how small people were 100 years ago' or admire the delicacy and care in the design of the woodwork."

"Then," I answered, "Ralph is not interested in working out a new bankruptcy plan?"

"Ralph has to keep up with," Nanette retorted, "irregular work and customers that can't pay - - That's what busts our bankruptcy plans - - otherwise Ralph ought to be making enough to keep up with payments."

"Reshuffling your overdue payments into a new plan leaves you with a $1 for error:" I grunted.

"One bad debt, one late payment, one mis-count does us in." Nanette noted.

The late afternoon meeting around a wobbly plastic table with the Bankruptcy Trustee almost miscarried. "This is the 5th plan!" the petit trustee pounded her fist on the plastic coated table. The table rocked and swayed under the blow.

Crewcut Ralph's vacate smile gave fury to the trustee. "Now there's only a dollar cushion," the trustee's nose wrinkled twisting her face into a disgusted scowl. "Do I smell alcohol?" The trustee roared, "Have you been drinking?"

I looked at the client, Ralph. His eyes glazed over and his skin banished a deep rouge. Nanette lowered her eyes to look away.

"I believe our position," I gulped, "may be misunderstood. The client is in construction - - Ralph's been up since 4am," I retorted.

"And if eh-Ralph misjudges his capacity --- buys just one more beer on any given day," an evil challenging smile sprouted on the trustee's lip, "this bankruptcy plain fails and I've wasted the court's time by giving eh-Ralph a second chance for the fifth time."

"Your honor, of course, has discretion, to disapprove subject to review by the bankruptcy judge." I replied, choosing my words carefully.

"Are you threatening me, counselor, with appeal to the bankruptcy judge?" the trustee snarled.

"By no means, your honor, except to remind you that all of us answer to God and conscience in dealing with mis-decisions that could throw a family of seven or eight out on the street."

"Wait outside," the trustee holding her head to shield her eyes commanded, "While I come to a decision."

Outside in the corridor I left Ralph propped up against the wall in a blind corridor, while I spoke to his wife Nanette. "I guess you understand our problem - -" Nanette flashed long eyebrows, "Frankly I'd rather talk to you about a divorce."

"At the moment, it might be," I looked toward Ralph still propped in the corner, "more advantageous to save the house and worry about niceties later - -" I looked at Ralph, "how can he stay propped up like that very long?"

When the trustee called us back in, the trustee announced that against better judgement she was accepting the plan. "Where is" the trustee scoured her paper for the name.

"Ralph?" I snapped, "Ralph's out in the corridor studying the architecture, if I'm not mistaken."

A merry smile came across Nanette's face. The trustee shuddered, but stamped the papers approved.

And to my surprise Ralph and Nannette appeared at the office to make the first payment under the new plan.

Nanette confided, "Ralph's laid off the booze; he's bring money home regularly. Hopefully we've put away our misdeeds for the moment."

The check to the trustee had been deposited in the evening mail and appeared to be right on heaven and earth that night as I went to bed. In the morning there was a message on my machine from Nanette. "There's been a terrible accident. Ralph's in the hospital; the cops call it DWI."

I met Ralph in the hospital. Retching in pain in the bed, Ralph assured me blood tests had been "miscombobulated." Ralph winced, "The truck flipped. I ended up sucking anti-freeze."

"Glycerol - -" I noted sympathetically. "Yes it's an alcohol of a type which could throw off the test." Although I read the correct answer off Nanette's face, I had to try.

Out in the corridor Nanette told me. "I already know drunken misconduct voids out disability. Ralph can't work the house is lost. I'm looking for a quick divorce."

Yes the plan might be lost along with the house, I did still had to try to keep Ralph out of jail and perhaps persuade the trustee to construe the law once again.

Luck was with me Ralph's judge had recently been recently reversed by higher courts for accepting improper blood tests. "How do they expect me to keep drunks locked up? Tell your client," the judge growled, "he got lucky: Today only plea a traffic ticket and I'll sentence him to a month of - - eh - - cleaning the garbage off the Town Beach."

Flushed with success in criminal court, I was lobbying for acceptance of a new Bankruptcy Plan.

"A Seventh Plan?" The trustee shrieked.

"Seventh Heaven. I'm sure it's easier to shuffle some silly numbers around then watch six or seven kids get tossed on the street."

"Some people," the trustee griped, "meander through life. Bring eh - - Ralph in. Assauge my -- eh -- mis-apprehensions with all his fables and false promises of reform in person."

I might have convinced the trustee to accept a seventh plan or even an eighth one if need be if I hadn't been summoned to the beach where Ralph was working off his case as part of the cleanup crew.

About a hundred yards from the shoreline, there was a dot, a turned over truck. Waves were breaking over the door to the upended cab. Above a police helicopter circled. On the truck stood Ralph. There was no mistake Ralph was clutching a six pack.

Nanette whispered to me, "You'd think even Ralph would have a good sense to deep six the booze into the mist."
© 2002 by jd collins ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Arthurian Legend * FULLOSIA PRESS * * FULLOSIA * * * A Fullosian Moment