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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Court Ship

by Tracy A. Gates

I dutifully stood in line at the Superior Court to have my jury duty badge swiped. I was surprised when they didn't even ask for ID. Did the swipe bring up my driver's license picture?

Heck, eBliss asked for more identification information than that! And I would know, as I had labored long and hard over the absurd questions that promised to find me my perfect mate.

So far my matches had been less than pulse racing. Don't get me wrong. Most of the gentlemen seemed perfectly nice and I honestly wouldn't have minded being friends with some of them. But that brings up the age old question: Can men and women really be just friends?

I was holding out for that magical match all the commercials and ads promised.

I wanted my breath to catch. A panicked giggle to bubble out. I wanted...

Yeah, well, didn't we all?

I made my way to a corner of the large waiting room. I was surprised by the bright colors that the chairs sported. Somehow it didn't seem court dignified. I guess it was an attempt to make a possible day-long wait as comfortable as possible.

They even had several computer stations that the jury pool could use for up to thirty minutes a turn. It was okay to quietly use your cell phones. There were vending machines. Magazines.

I settled into my chair. It was semi-comfy, but if I had to sit in it for eight hours I might become paralyzed.

The room quieted as we watched a rather well-done short video on our civic responsibility. Then the waiting began.

I opened my book and began to read where I'd quit last night, but soon tried to nod off.
The book was a thick, deep subject which was fine for short bursts, but I found myself needing to pace a bit before I started snoring.

I scanned the room full of potential jurors. Most were reading, too, or napping. I wandered toward the bank of computers and saw that one of the stations was empty.

To entertain myself, I slid into the seat and signed in to my eBliss account.

I patiently read through the new matches. Gave them a lot of consideration. I wanted to be fair and I didn't want to hurt anyone. There was such vulnerability to this whole process.

I sighed and sent psychic apologies to the wonderful sounding men that just weren't the one.

"Pretty boring, huh?"

I looked up, over the partition between stations, and there he was. The one.

"Uh, I heard your sigh and figured it was from boredom. Sorry if I interrupted anything." He smiled and slid out of sight.

Interrupted anything? Only my brain, my breath, my heart.

When I came to my senses, I stood and peered over the divider.

"You didn't interrupt anything." I hoped I didn't sound breathless and desperate.

He lifted his blue, blue eyes to mine. "So, it was boredom?"

Should I confess? "Actually I was checking my eBliss account."

"You're on eBliss?" He sounded surprised.

"Yeah, " I admitted. "Looking for love in all the possible places."

He grinned. "Me, too."

He gestured for us to leave the computers, so we met at the end of the wall and found seats by the windows.

"So, was the sigh because you found your dream guy?"

I felt that giggle forming deep inside. My dream guy was sitting right next to me. I had to clear my throat before I could speak. "No. Everyone seems so nice and interesting, but I'm looking for an unmistakable spark.

I was about to go up in flames right now.

"I know what you mean. It's hard to meet real people. Sometimes it seems like everyone has some sort of agenda. I don't like to play games. Ya know?"

This time I could only nod dumbly because I was afraid I'd drool and break the spell.

I was saved by the woman at the check in counter as she began calling out names to go with a bailiff to the courtroom.

Everyone held their breath. The ones who wanted to be picked and the ones who didn't.

I didn't get called and neither did Mr. Blue Eyes.

"I guess after all that name calling, at least I could introduce myself. I'm Joe Knight." He stuck out his hand.

"I'm Jesse. Jesse Andae." I place my hand in his. Oh yeah, I thought, as we touched, we're talking nuclear here. Did he feel the heat?

His blue eyes seemed to look a little smoky as he held my hand and grinned.

The desk lady spoke again, "Here's another list of names that get to go home because your judge has dismissed you."

Everyone held their breath again as the roll was called.

With my hand in Joe's I was finding it hard to breathe period. And I had to try and tone down the roaring in my head to understand if my name was on the list.

As fate would have it, both our names were called out.

Still holding hands we both stood to leave the courthouse.

"Would you like to have lunch with me, Jesse?"

Oh my God. My body actually tingled with a thrill I'd been waiting for. To heck with eBliss. I'd found my man.

"I would like that very much, Joe."

And as easy as that we walked out into the sunshine. Together. Two people in search of something real. In search for that seemingly elusive happiness.

If I had anything to say about it about it, our bliss was starting right now.

And as if he'd read my mind, Joe's hand squeezed mine. He smile down at me and said, "We make a perfect pair, did you know that?"

I must have looked shocked into silence, because he continued, "Don't you get it? We're Knight Andae!"

About the Author: I have been a writer since I first took pencil to paper as a child. As a youth, I wrote creatively through avenues of poetry, journaling, and short stories. As an adult, I belonged to a local writer’s group for many years, eventually leading it for some time. I led an Open Forum for creative writing that catered to new writers and published local authors. One year I taught creative writing to an elementary class of students in preparation for them to enter a short story contest judged by professional editors.

I have been published in magazines on subjects from my opinion that the government should not dictate what we can put on the internet in regards to alternative health to my most recent article in our local TEE TIMES golf magazine on the effects of massage on golfer’s elbow. I have also written advertisement, marketing material and college curriculum. As we speak, I have a non-fiction book being looked at by a New York Editor, and several agents looking at two fiction novels.

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