A Summons With Your Name On It

There’s nothing more annoying than getting a summons in the City of New York.  It’s surely annoying getting a ticket for a small misjudgment that could have been prevented if the rules were followed.  It certainly feels like an injustice being the only one getting a summons for jaywalking in NYC, when everyone else around is committing the same offense.  But, most of all, it’s annoying getting caught red handed, receiving a ticket in Manhattan from an unyielding cop, and now appearing for a mandatory court appearance with no “pay and forget about it” option. 

Today, Sara (***NOTE:  THE NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO PROTECT THE AWKWARD***) had to make an appearance in front of a downtown judge for a summons she received while she was out for a night partying with her friends.  She had set her alarm clock the night before to go off at 8:00 AM for an ample amount of time in order to prepare herself for a 9:00 AM hearing.  She opened her eyes, yawned, and stretched her arms slowly and calmly being up before her alarm buzzed.

She knew she had to look her very best in the eyes of the judge, who would ultimately decide the outcome of her legalistic fate.  Taking her time, she showered with extra shampoo and conditioner, blow-dried her hair to straight perfection and painted her face with makeup so carefully making sure each lash was curled and darkened with mascara.

Her outfit – black dress pants, a button down shirt and fancy cardigan – was hand chosen and eloquently ironed the previous night, while she rehearsed a statement she would use to defend herself if given the chance.

Sara followed the speed limit at 45 mph over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, endured through traffic on the BQE and conquered the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel carefully, but efficiently.  She did not want to receive another summons for reckless driving and duplicate a day like today.

Pacing herself, she parked the car, walked to the building, and entered the courtroom.  She was the first one in the room filled with pews and a giant podium carved of oak.  To the front of the room, stood a red, white and blue American flag beside a blue and orange New York State flag, making the room look ever so official.

The time was approaching 9:00 AM, and, in the back of the room, a line formed of fellow ticket holders waiting to be called.  Sara was the head of the parallel line, followed by some casual looking folk mixed with street gremlins, who surely have been through this routine before.


The courtroom fell silent.  The person standing next to Sara was a disheveled man in his 30s dressed in cut up jeans with a t-shirt on inside out, and a cigarette tucked behind his ear.

“Can you believe I had to come here all the way from Harlem for a jaywalking ticket?” He asked in his raspy voice hoping that Sara would respond with her ticket information to ease the nerves within a stressful circumstance.  Sara just smiled slightly to shut him up.  She was not going to share her ticket story.

The woman sitting on the other side of Sara, wearing a t-shirt with paint stains, one red knee high sock and one orange bobby sock jumped right in, “I know! I have to get back to the East Village. I have to go late to work for this moving violation… running a red light… ON A BICYCLE…IN A PARK!!”  Sara smiled slightly to shut her up.

“The following persons please step forward,” the bailiff announced deafeningly as he looked at his clipboard of scheduled hearings.   “John Dreder. Jay Walking.”

John Dreder stepped out of line like a professional ticket holder and stood in the front pew.

“John Dreder, how do you plead?”  The judge asked systematically.

John Dreder made eye contact with the police officer, who gave the ticket, standing right next to him.

“Guilty,” he replied defeated.

“Ok, John, please have a seat until the series of these hearings are finished. Then you can pay the fine and be released.”

“Susan Johnson.  Moving Violation,” the bailiff loudly declared.

Susan Johnson stepped out of line and stood in the front pew next to John, the jaywalker.

“Susan Johnson, how do you plead? The judge repeated.

The same police officer in the plaintiff section stood still to await her answer.

“Guilty,” she said quickly in order to get out of there fast and get to her day job.

“Ok, Susan, please have a seat until the next hearing. Then you can pay the fine and be released.”

“Sara Fitzpatrick,” the bailiff stated and paused for what seemed like longer than the other offenders. He looked at Sara, did a double take, and ear-splitting-ly announced her offense, “PUBLIC URINATION.”

Sara stepped out of line as her stomach dropped, with her head down in shame and stood in the front pew next to Susan and John.  They both look and move in sync away from her towards the left.

“Sara, how do you plead?”

Her mind raced from being caught completely off-guard by the public announcement.  Everything she had recited the night before in order to defend herself had seemed to trickle out of her brain and ego.  She dodged eye contact with the police officer and opened her mouth, where nothing came out.   Everyone looked to her waiting for a reply, and Sara felt every eye in the room piercing right through her.

“Guilty,” Sara silently replied, “when ya gotta go, ya gotta go.”




Filed under awkward, awkward humor, Awkward Moments, humor

10 responses to “A Summons With Your Name On It

  1. I expected you were ticketed for jaywalking as well. What a hilarious turn…right up to the point when you had to pay the fine. Love your writing!

  2. The question is, was she able to save her shoes!! Guys can stand up hill and pee down hill. Ladies, kind of an AWKWARD squat ao and awkward issue from the start. I guess if ya do this enough you’ll have strong thighs!

  3. Minka, Don’t worry. Town Mayors have seen everything that other people have. That’s why the community charges are so high. For the benefit of readers outside the UK, “Community Charge” is a form of the local tax. A downtown judge is a magistrate here. Public urination would be indecency in public and there is another offence, “Gross Indecency” Offense is Offence over here.

    With all that, is it surprising that , “Nature calls”. A well known competitor in the London marathon had to stop on the run home – and she still won.

  4. When is “Public” public. Surely you should keep your skirt well tucked down and pick a few daisies. That should privatize things.

  5. At least you can’t hurt anybody by this and speeding definitely can 🙂

  6. Jenny Cain

    My dad used to keep an old coffee can in the back of the van. We knew the drill. He had three daughters. If he had stopped for one he would have had to stop for all and we never would have made it anywhere. He didn’t even slow down. And once the business was done it was properly disposed of. Oh, to be the unlucky car behind us at 55 mph!

  7. lol man hate when that happens…when we were new in town we were building our house and didnt have a bathroom yet..so my mom went to squat behind a bush and suddenly someone pulled up on their 4 wheeler…welcoming comittee .. turned out to be the town mayor.. my mother will never live that one down.

  8. This is TOO FUNNY!!!! When nature calls….

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