Thursday, January 14, 2016

Misguided Mennonite



“This is Officer Mike Parsons calling. How are you doing, Anna?”

“Hello Officer Parsons, I am doing okay. How are you?” I asked as I gave George a confused look.

“I’m doing well, and please call me Mike. The reason I’m calling you today is to let you know that Mark has a court date coming up Friday, January seventeenth. I felt that I should give you a call and let you know that. And that you can expect a knock at your door sometime this week, you will be served a subpoena. If Mark pleads not guilty we will need your testimony to convict him.”

“Ah… Okay,” I said, while I thought, “What?”

“If you have any questions feel free to give me a call. Have a good day,” he said.

“Okay,” I said as I thought, Wait I have a lot of questions right now, but it was too late. The line when dead before I could say that. I thought, Well, I guess I will have to learn about getting served, uh -- What was that word again he said? A peanut or something? -- before I continue learning about homosexuality.

“Holy shit, Anna! You look like someone just sucked all the blood out of you. You want to tell me what’s going on?” George asked.

“Ah… I’m going to be served a peanut to go to court! What does that even mean?” I asked George.

He pulled his hair back with both his hands, looked up at the ceiling, laughed, and said, “It’s called a subpoena, Anna. Not a peanut.”

“What? What the heck is that?”

“AH… Of course! Oh… f#ck! I’m such an idiot. I should have talked to you about this before and explained it to you sooner. I got served one a while ago. Remember the time you watched a movie at my place when I went to court?”

“Yes.”

“So much has happened since I never thought that it was important to tell you about it.”

“Okay, so what exactly does this mean?”

“Someone will deliver an envelope with papers to you. They will ask if you are Anna, hand it to you, and if you say yes, that you are Anna, they say that you have been served. The papers in the envelope will tell you that you have to go to court.”

“Okay, and what if I say NO!”

He laughed and said, “Well, they will keep coming back until you say yes, and then you might get in trouble for saying no. Either way, you have to go to court once you have been served.”

“What?” I asked as I leaned against the wall and slid down to the floor.

“I’m sorry, Anna. This should have been handled so differently. I think they should have at least mentioned this to you at the police station when they went over everything with you. That way you would have at least had some time to think about this.”

“When they said that Mark wouldn’t bother me again I thought that meant that this was over. I thought I would never have to see him again! Ha li dietschjat! George. Will I have to talk to Mark?”

“Holy deep shit, NO! Anna, you might see him there, but you do not have to talk to him. Let’s hope that he pleads guilty, then you won’t even have to step foot into the courtroom where he will be.”

“Oh no, I don’t want to see him.  I thought it all ended when he got arrested. I thought I would never have to see him again.”

“I know, that’s why I think they should have told you that this would happen.”

I slid all the way down to the floor, put my hands over my face and sighed as reality sank in. The idea of having to look at Mark’s face again scared me to death. Then I realised that that wasn’t even the worst part, and thought of one very important question: Would I have to swear in court?

I remembered when the Low German cowboy who wanted to ‘talk’ to me at the club had been caught smuggling drugs into the US. The thing that worried people in the colony the most was that he would have to swear on the Bible in court. Everyone was talking about how wrong that was and how worried they were about him having to do that.

They worried instead of taking the opportunity to learn what exactly swearing in court meant. It was the same song all over again, just like all the other times uncomfortable questions came up: “It's not up to us to figure that out. Just leave it alone and stop talking about it.”

My confused, nervous mind concluded that it was worse to swear on the Bible in court than it was to smuggle drugs across the border, because that’s what was worried and talked about the most.


Up until that point, I hadn’t been able to name exactly what I felt toward Mark, partly because I put a lot of the blame on myself for not listening to George and letting it go that far. I began to resent him when I realised that I might be forced to swear in court because of him. I thought, Who better to ask than George, who was right there.

I looked over at George. He was laying on his stomach on the floor with his head resting in the palms of his hands looking at me. “Ah… George?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“Will I have to swear on the Bible in court?”

He rolled over onto his back and pulled his hair as he stared at the ceiling for a moment. I heard him take a deep breath as he thought it over before he answered me.

“NO! You do not have to swear in court, Anna. The kind and brilliant people of Canada have worked their way around that, so you, your people and many others, will not be forced to swear in court.” He answered with frustration. 

“Okay,” I said with a sigh of relief, and wondered why he was so frustrated about that.

“Anna, can I ask you a question now?”

“Sure.”

“Can you tell me how you think you would swear in court if you had to?”

“Ahhh… I really shouldn’t.”

“I’m just really curious to know how you think you might swear in court, Anna.”

I noticed that his frustration had turned to pleasure, and since I had already sworn, and used my SIN card way too many times, I thought, Okay, at least I will learn the truth about how exactly a person would swear in court. Then, if I had the wrong idea, at least George would tell me and I would know. And that was how I convinced myself to tell him.

I took a deep breath, my face turned beet red as I looked down and my heart began pounding out of my chest as I said Okay, and went for it.

I pictured Mark’s face as I said, “This f#cking asshole just wouldn’t leave me alone, even when I told him not to come over, he just wouldn’t listen to me, and he still came over anyways. I even lied to him so he would just go away but NOOO! NOO! He didn’t. Instead, he had to be a f#cking asshole, call the factory where I was working and tell them that HE was my boyfriend and that he planted a BOMB in the factory. AAAH!!! F#cking asshole!!!”

I took a deep breath and let out a big relieving sigh as I dared to look at George. He was still laying on his back, his hands covered his face, his whole body was shaking and it sounded like he was crying.

I thought oh no! I made George cry.

He wiped the tears off his face from laughing and shouted, “No! no! no! Anna, That is not how you swear in court!” As he fought for air to breathe because he couldn’t stop laughing.

“That wasn’t swearing?”

“Yes, but that is not how you swear in court, Anna.”

“Okay, so how do you swear in court then?” I asked.

He spent the next hour explaining to me just exactly how a person would swear in court and asked, “Would you like me to come to court with you? I will if you want me too.”

“That would be great, except it is on it is on a Friday at ten a.m., when you would be at work.”

“F#ck it! I’ll take the day off! There’s a rumor going around that we are all getting a pink slip soon anyways.”

“A pink slip? What’s that?”

“Ah… Ffffah… I shouldn’t have mentioned that now, ahhh...” and we both jumped up to the sound of a loud knock at the door. We both tiptoed to the door. “Can you look and see who it is?” I asked George.

“Yeah, sure, okay,” he said as he slowly made his way to the door. He peeked through the peephole, backed up and said, “It looks like a police officer. You want to open the door or should I?”

“Would you?”

He said, “Okay,” and opened the door. It was a police officer I had never seen before. He looked right at me and said, “Miss Wall?”

I looked at George with a confused look. He winked at me and nodded his head. I looked back at the police officer and said, “Yes.”

The police officer handed me an envelope and said, “Miss Wall, you have been served. Have a nice day,” and turned around and walked away.

I just stood there in shock, holding the envelope in my hand as if I had just gotten slapped by a policeman.

George said, “That was fast! open it, let’s read it,” as he closed and locked the door.

I opened it, handed it to George and asked, “Could you please read it to me?”

“Absolutely.”

I handed it to him. He backed up and leaned against my kitchen counter. I held my breath and I stared at his teeth as he began reading. He paused, licked his upper lip and said, “I am not continuing until you breathe, Anna!”

I thought, How does he know that I’m holding my breath without even looking at me? I took a deep breath as he continued reading. I just stared at him the whole time. He pulled his fingers through his hair as he looked up at me and said, “Well, there you have it Miss Wall. You have just been served. It's official, you are going to court.”

My heartbeat sped up as watched a steady flow of words gliding past his perfect teeth.

“So why did you get served a peanut?” I asked him.

He laughed and said, “Anna, you didn’t get served a peanut! It is called a subpoena.”

“The way it is written here and the way you say it I might as well call it a peanut, it sounds as different to me as peanut and subpoena sound to you, George.”

“Okay! A peanut, it is then. We will call it a peanut for argument sake. The reason I got served was because I witnessed a man beat up his wife. I called the cops, she pressed charges, and then I got served a peanut to testify as a witness.”

“Will I have to get dressed up all fancy like you did?”

“Well, not necessarily, but most people do dress nicer for court then they would on any other day. Your people might call it dressing up in your Sunday clothes.”

“Okay, so basically I have to go shopping for new clothes or wear my pleated, floral Mennonite Sunday dress.”

“Well, that is entirely up to you. I don’t see why you wouldn’t wear your Mennonite dress.”

“Okay, I think I am done talking about peanuts for a while now, I have had enough. What do people wear to a New Year’s party?”

“Oh shit, I forgot why I even came over. This happens to me pretty much every time I visit you, Anna. It’s all coming back to me now. The New Year’s party, that was the reason I came over, isn't it?”

“Yes.”

“You can dress however you like, Anna.”

“Do you know who is all going to be there?”

“Mostly, the same people from work that were at the club the other night.”

“You mean Derek, the afternoon shift supervisor, and Sam the Dude will be there?”

He said “Yes,” as my phone rang again. This time, his face went white. He gave me an Oh, f#ck! Who could it be this time? Look as I answered the phone with my usual scared voice: Helloooo? Click here to continue reading my story.

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