The Coastal Post - May, 1998

The Real World

By Alex Horvath

Captain Jim, a venerable old salt from Sausalito, was led into the Civic Center's Courtroom N the other day in handcuffs and waste-chains, looking dangerous in a fluorescent-orange county jail jumpsuit. Many in the courtroom gasped as Municipal Court Commissioner Harvey Goldfine went down a long list of charges that Jim had accumulated over much of the past decade.

Goldfine read, "Drinking in Public, Sausalito, March '97; Drinking in Public, Sausalito, May, '97; Drinking in Public, Sausalito, November, '96; Camping in Public, Tiburon, June, '96..."

Captain Jim raised an eyebrow toward the court audience.

"Camping! Ha!", he sneered.

The list went on.

Goldfine finally stopped reading and then chastised Captain Jim for failing to appear in court as promised to answer for his decade-long Southern Marin, one-man crime wave. (Jim had just finished fifteen days on unrelated charges.) With appropriate penalties, the citations now amounted to $750. "Payable today," Goldfine said. Either that, or it would be another fifteen days in the county slammer.

Goldfine was ready to pronounce sentence when Jim asked for a moment to speak in his own defense. The request was granted.

"Your Honor, when I was younger I was given many, many scholarships to attend diesel mechanic school. That's all I've ever done. I raised my children by being a diesel mechanic. I had job offers from all over the country to come work on diesel engines."

"There is a danger associated with being a diesel mechanic that many aren't aware of," Jim continued. "Sometimes the engines crack, and diesel fuel spills out all over your hands. First your hands and your skin-then your arms. The diesel fuel first poisons your blood-and then turns into blood clots."

"Once your blood is clotted, there's only one cure," Jim said.

"What is the cure?" asked Goldfine.

"DRINKING!" said Jim, with a wink to the courtroom as the bailiff lead him away.

* * *

At a friend's house for dinner, we were all entertained by the sight of happy children playing. The spaghetti was delicious, flavored generously with fresh tomato, garlic and basil. The bottle of cabernet was good enough to savor through long sniffs into the glasses long after the wine was gone. Everything seemed perfect.

So how about some home movies?, the hostess asked. Okay. We all moved into the living room.

The hostess popped the video tape into the player. But there didn't seem to be home movies on the TV screen at all. It was more like a hospital soap opera or maybe an episode of ER. There was a woman on a gurney covered with blood. Doctors worked on her diligently while the camera bounced around the operating room looking for a better angle.

"It's my C-section video," the hostess announced. "That's my uterus on my stomach!"

Anyone want some Tiramisu for dessert?

* * *

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