She's A Poet And I Didn't Know It


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Scene Title She's A Poet And I Didn't Know It
Synopsis Milton finds he has a fellow spirit in the law
Date 23 November 2010

Cadman Plaza Courthouse, Brooklyn

The court building in Brooklyn is a large modern facility, but that doesn't stop it being overcrowded and busy. In recent days, the chaos that the city has been in has only made the situation worse as defendants, witnesses, and even judges have been late arriving to cases or missing entirely. Unsurprisingly the court workers are not immune from this chaos. Milton has hardly had a chance to sit down all day; he's been all over the building on various errands and missions, and now here he comes again, down on the courtroom level, a bundle of documents under his arm and a harrassed look on his face.

Paperwork. It's the plague of all civil servants. And unfortunately for Christine Jackson, decked out in her police uniform, today has been a day for paperwork…and escorting a prisoner to the courts. It's probably among the least enviable tasks on the police force. You have to escort the prisoner and then wait around for the prisoner to go through the arraignment. If she's lucky, she won't have to wait long. But she'll probably have no such luck today.

The official list of which cases are in which court and when is hopelessly inaccurate today, and Milton, if truth be told, is in no real hurry to find the destination for his document bundle. At least he's out of his stuffy little office and getting the chance to walk around and stretch his long, thin legs. Turning a corner, he almost bumps into the police officer, and has to juggle his papers to avoid dropping them at her feet. "Sorry, ma'am!"

Christine jumps a little at the close encounter. Where did he come from? People aren't supposed to come from around corners, are they?! That's beside the point. She shakes her head. "Naw, don't worry about it." She says, taking a deep breath in. "It could've happened to anybody, really." She rubs her eyes. "Hey…are you one of them court clerks, by chance?"

"Yes, that's right," says Milton warily. He holds up his bundle as if to prove the point.

Christine nods a little bit. "Well, would you happen, by chance of all chances, how backed up room six is? I'm escorting a prisoner and I've been here at least a half an hour, if not longer."

"Six? That's Judge Edmondson," Milton responds, without having to look this up. "He's still on this morning's list of arraignments. I think some of his cases are being shifted over to Judge Cohen, did you check with the desk?"

Christine sighs. "No one has told me any of this. My prisoner is in the holding cells as we speak and I've been waiting for his arraignment to be over. His lawyer hasn't told me anything and the desk hasn't told me anything." She rolls her eyes. "Of course, why would anyone tell the transport officer anything. She's just the one carting the prisoner all over the place." She shakes her head. "I'm sorry. It ain't your fault. As you can imagine, this ain't a person's first pick of assignments for the day."

"Everything's gone to hell these last few days," Milton says with frank despair. "I don't know how much longer things can go on this way without the system breaking down entirely. Or the city as a whole," he adds. "It's not safe here these days… meh, you probably know that better than me."

"Two loves I have of comfort and despair." Murmurs Christine, quoting a Shakespeare sonnet. "Look, I know you're busy an' all…that much is obvious. But do you mind helping me? If you help me, I'll help you carry that heavy load until I gotta escort the prisoner again." She raises an eyebrow to see if he'll accept her offer. "I need to know when my prisoner is gonna be seen."

Milton looks up sharply when the policewoman quotes that quote. "/What/? Was that?" He ignores the subsequent question.

Christine furrows her brow. "What was what? My question about whether you can help me? Police officers don't ask you that often or somethin'?" She asks with a raised eyebrow, looking at the young man questioningly.

"No. That was a quote," Milton says, as though accusing the officer of some crime. Perhaps he thinks the police shouldn't know poetry.

"What was a quote? The 'Two loves I have of comfort and despair'? Yeah…Shakespeare Sonnet one hundred and forty four. And?" Granted, Christine didn't expect Milton to catch the reference. "It was just a passing comment about where the city is going to with all hell breaking loose."

Milton exhales. "Just didn't expect to hear Shakespeare from the mouth of a police officer," Milton remarks. "No offence was meant. Look, tell me the name of your prisoner, I'll try and find out when and where the arraignment is?"

Christine snorts. "You know, some of us actually have interests outside of 'enforcing the law'. Some of us actually have a wide array of interests outside of our jobs. It's almost like, gasp, we're real people!" She shakes her head. "Reginald Terrance is the name of my prisoner." There's a pause. "Look, I'm sorry. I just was hoping to be on patrol today as opposed to waiting around for a prisoner, you know?"

"This way," beckons Milton, and starts to walk toward the courtroom's front desk. "Poetry's a helluva lot more interesting than the law, huh?" he adds as he begins to walk.

Christine shrugs a little. "Poetry is interesting. So is law. They're just…different. It's like…chess and physics. I'm sure both are interesting, but they're both totally different." She says with a bit of a shrug.

"Law is rigid, fixed… poetry is fluid, there are no rules you can't bend…" protests Milton as he turns a corner with Christine in tow. "Don't you think that's a major difference?"

Christine shakes her head. "The law isn't as rigid as you may think. Sure, it is when it comes to certain subjects. But there's so much grey area from what I can tell. Just like poetry."

"I'll take your word for it," says Milton. "I don't get to enforce the law or interpret it or anything. I get to… carry papers." By now they've reached the front desk, which is besieged by a large number of people all trying to get information from the one harrassed worker there. Milton takes advantage of his position as court clerk to slide behind it and check the position. "Reginald Terrance, arraignment, court… four with Judge Snyder," he says. "But not for at least another half an hour…"

Christine shrugs. "It's like what it says in the book 'To Kill a Mockingbird'." An apt name to a book to mention in a place like this. "Atticus Finch said, 'A court is only as sound as its jury, and a jury is only as sound as the men who make it up.' The law is bent and written and enforced by all. You just have to figure out how you want to affect it, is all." She says lightly. She sighs as
Milton tells her the news of the change of location. "Well, I guess I'd better go escort him to his new court. Thank you very much, Mister…?"

"Kreisler. Milton Kreisler," Milton says. He pauses, then takes the plunge to confess, "I have pretensions to being a poet myself, so, ya know, good to find someone who appreciates verse."

"Officer Christine Jackson. Thank you for all your help today, Mr. Kreisler." Christine smiles a little and continues, "Remember what Lord Tennyson said, then, 'Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams?' As long as you keep that dream alive, it'll stay true." And with that? Poof! She's off to escort a prisoner.

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