Confessions of Sequestered Juror #4


When this is over I'll regard the hotel as an alma mater

One 3 AM I jerk off in the swimming pool.  It isn't malice or perversion, just my idea of embracing the novelty of this situation.  I don't think of my wife or of anything—in the end I'm not very creative—and finish with my eyes open, focused on the wavering underwater light

Somehow, #12 is always at the ice machine when I go to use it, and he always fills three buckets (the room only came with two) . . . the receding flop-plop of his fuzzy slippers on the bruised and scarred carpet is the overture to my own short percussion solo on the ice machine, one bucket full just enough to ice down three gins

When #6 thinks a witness is lying she wrings her hands.  When I think a witness is lying, I check what #6 thinks

At first I was fastidious, hyper-conscious of the maids and what they might infer.  Later, I grew reckless and took out my frustrations on the room, feared reproofs that never came; any extra charges forwarded to my government aka my warden aka my sponsor aka our government (and this includes the accused).  Later still, I'll forget altogether that there are maids and keep a clean or filthy room for none but my own unaccountable reasons

I feel for the defendant because he looks hunted, but then I think: hunted like a gazelle in the woods or like a mountain lion loose in a suburb?

When I talk to my little girl on the phone she says "hidaddymissyou" in a rush of baby breath I can almost smell through the hotel plastic; her missed birthday shatters my sense of civic duty and I share case secrets.  She's too young to understand but old enough to mimic.  If she quotes me in front of the babysitter there could be a mistrial.  When she grows up I'll tell her she has the power to change the world, and that she always did

#1 looks like the sort of polished prick who's passed a reckless easy life being #1 at everything

Across the street a substation quietly charges the air with something; I feel it on me like a leer when I walk past, on my way back from the miserable happy hour at a place I've privately renamed The Sidebar

One Thursday I dwell on the obsolescence of stenographers at the expense of hearing the defendant's own testimony, but note that #6 is wringing her hands like mad.  I imagine her washing them like Pilate, not wanting responsibility for the sentence we're about to hand down . . .  As if she somehow knows she's thinking for both of us now

#9 will do the talk show circuit: "What really convinced me . . ." "the hardest part was . . ." "people shouldn't shirk their duty—their jury duty, because . . ." while an ex-girlfriend watching in a bar will grumble that fame has changed him.  The man on the next stool will keep nodding along and later they'll soil the sheets in room 117 or 251 of a place that looks just like a place I went to school  
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