Updated: Jan 13
I returned to Chicago after a long absence to try a case at a small municipal courthouse.
During the jury liberations I decided to have a walk around and become re-acquainted with the old downtown area.
Walking down the high street I was saddened to see how many of the old familiar business I remembered from my youth had gone out of business due to the global pandemic.
I passed in front of a men's clothing shop where I had worked as a teenager, surprised to see a man who looked like the owner of the shop when I had worked there, but after a quick mental calculation, I concluded it couldn't possibly be him, that he'd have surely passed away by now.
I stopped for a moment to observe the man, who appeared to be about 60, with stage-7, pattern balding, showing just a scant quantity of hair on the sides and back of his head.
The man was working behind a window that was badly covered in kraft paper allowing me to peek in and see that he was re-dressing the window display. I was surprised to see that the shop's interior was just as I had remembered it was when I was last there as a child.
I returned to the courthouse and went into the small office I was appointed during the trial to begin packing my suitcase.
Sorting through my clothes to pick out a comfortable outfit that I would wear on my flight home, I came upon my favorite chocolate-brown v-neck sweater.
To my dismay, I noticed there was a small hole forming on the tufted part of the neckline.
Remembering I had brought the same sweater in other colors, I found a tan one I thought would be a close match and began ripping the neck off of the sweaters with the intention of swapping them out.
Once I ripped off the necks, I realized all I had done was to ruin two perfectly good sweaters and was both frustrated and despondent.
I remembered a friend of my grandmother's, who was in her sewing circle, was a clerk of the court and wondered if she could still be working there after all these years.
To my delight, I found the woman and she was thrilled to see "Mary's grandson," introducing me to the other women in the office.
I told her what I'd done to my sweaters and she accompanied me to my office and said she'd have them as good as new in no time and took the sweaters and left.
Just then, the judge knocked on the open door of my office and asked if he could come in.
He entered my office accompanied my the young man who served as the final witness of the trial.
The judge explained that the jury seemed to have made a mistake in their verdict as it appeared they misunderstood the testimony of the young man.
About 16 or 17, the young man was drilled by the prosecuting attorney about exactly what time the crime had occurred and insisted over and over again that the boy was lying.
It turns out that when the crime occurred, the boy had a broken arm that was set in a cast, preventing the young man from properly wearing his watch on his wrist. Therefore, because of the awkward way the watch sat on the cast, every time the young man looked at the time, it appeared upside down, thus causing him to insist he had stated the correct time during his testimony when in fact it wasn't.
In the end, the judge informed me he was going to overturn the jury's verdict and that I had won the case.
I went back to packing my suitcase looking at the tattered remnants of the two sweaters that I had all but mangled to shreds.
Then I woke up.