From the October 2003 Idaho Observer:
Achieving justice with flatulence in courts of lie
By Sam Reese
WE ALWAYS WANTED TO BE COWBOYS... but the Lord made some of us Indians. In an age when a Red Ryder BB Gun was imagination's ultimate weapon, valor was shared by one's undying friends. And every family used to have a childhood legend.
Our lovable mentor and protector was a tough little Cherokee woman, Aunt Molly. She met life's challenges with a never-wavering resolve to retain her dignity.
As children, we feared Molly's power. She had her ways. She was the one who was left with the task of herding us young'uns through the formative years of our lives.
Molly never let a breach of neighborly protocol go unanswered. She would respond with great ferocity and deliberation. Neighbors in Crows Landing, one of the last residential monuments to Herbert Hoover, feared her wrath... for good reason.
As an adult, I seldom thought of those days with Auntie. But the deep currents she subliminally nurtured from memory would sometimes bubble forth in times of stress or despair. She would stand there in my mind with some wisdom such as, "Boy don't let 'em get up on ya, ever."
In worst cases, she would send us out the door to collect the goods for her vengeance--dog sh*t.
My friend, now in need of some vengeance 20 years later, was privy to one of these episodes. It was for him that Molly's spirit spoke through me, "quarter a bag kid."
Molly would send us to forage for one of her truly heinous weapons. It seemed that Crow's Landing had more mutts than cockroaches in those days so it was not lack of supply that made the collecting difficult. Upon completion of the odious task, we would collect our reward of twenty-five cents a bag, and make ourselves very scarce.
It was wise to gain distance from the epicenter, for what was to happen next was too gruesome to be a part of. I was once forced by circumstance to witness her revenge. She took the bag and its contents and placed it on a fire in a woodburning heater in the center of her home.
She proceeded to burn all the dog droppings we had brought her. The wind did its weaving of the not-so-subtle scent as neighbors were subjected to Auntie's vengeance. As adults we have learned a more civil approach, but sometimes, when there is no foreseeable chance for sane resolve, one must go to the level that is down and dirty.
My friend had been descended upon by a hoard of robbers and brigands disguised thinly as officers of the law. He was subject to pay tribute to the feudal power of the town of Buckley, Washington, to the tune of $600 in possible fines -- a lot of money for traffic citations, in the late 70s.
He was a target in his converted school bus, to be cut from the herd, and ran down by Buckley's feudal wolves. They entered his home on wheels to find a myriad of infractions; legal dictates designed to protect himself from himself. This was not right, we reasoned, but there was really no defense. The legal system was going to get its tribute, unless we acted.
Perhaps it was the beer, or perhaps there really is an afterlife, but there she was, my sweet little Cherokee Auntie with the words, "quarter a bag kid."
This was inspiration for our cause. We set to formulating a plan for a courtly appearance. Many ideas sprang from the beer and comradeship inherent in inebriate foul plotting.
We considered an outright assault against the court. But we would be inviting disaster to overtly attack with doggie do-do. We plotted well into the wee hours, formulating the plan for the next morning's court appearance.
There are certain fine lines of dancing on the precipice of life's canyons that we came to recognize. Most reasonable humans do not challenge convention, but sometimes, in the face of tyranny, all must be risked for a righteous cause.
As in all present day courts there are us -- and them. The polished professionals, armed with procedure and torts, and we, the common folk, the contemptible dregs oflife, awaiting the sword of justice to fall guiltily upon our sacrificial neck. But I ask you, as fellows in the herd, must we always choke in the dust from the fear induced stampede? I think not.
We three warriors for the peoples' rights responded to first light by donning our gladiatorial attire. Girded for battle in the overalls of justice and the baseball caps of righteousness we silently hummed inspiring songs such as the "Ballad of the Green Berets."
Resplendent in our "Question Authority" t-shirts, we donned the final adornment of the work boots that would assure victory in our exalted mission. Finding the conveniently placed canine land mines in the bushes next to the courts parking area, we took another step for mankind.
First there was a few accusing sidewise glances ftom the other sheep gathered for the slaughter, followed soon by a couple of embarrassed giggles and then repressed laughter. One sensitive soul got up and retreated to the hall outside the courtroom, followed rapidly by another and yet another. Soon, as if by magic, every one that didn't absolutely have to be present in the judicial mill had disappeared.
The room was permeated with our defense by now. It was quite obvious that we were challenging blind justice in a different sense. The court reporter studied the ceiling and the bailiff had retreated as far as he could. The prosecutor looked pained, suffering for the state of Washington as he must, with head in hands. The judge was staring down his gavel at us.
His courtly eminence, while eyeing us from his lofty judicial perspective in disbelief and distain said, "We have a full docket today, and if any wish to be excused for a later date please feel free to do so."
The meaning was not lost on us, "We shall not be moved this day," was our resolve before entering the hallowed halls, so we stared back at our honorable opponents and ignored their plea.
Maybe it is generations of peasantry (or perhaps more accurately, slavery) that compelled our need to mess with their pretence of assumed royalty. While Ben Franklin wrote the book on it, Fart Proudly, Auntie Molly had taken it to extremes. We had followed the drums' call to the best of our ability, and joined the ranks of rebels everywhere.
My friend's long anticipated moment of justice had arrived in a timely manner. The judge rapidly asked for him to enter a plea. ''Not guilty, your honor," my friend said stoically, attended with a silent but deadly chorus of approval from the gallery. My friend, and we, his two witnesses, where engaged in trying to digest a diet of half cooked pinto beans and bad beer from the night before. We attained heights of lower gastro intestinal resplendence that was overwhelming in its magnitude. Our friend's plea was punctuated by rude noises and various bad smells.
This on-going physical message, with the attendant aroma of excreta of canine, had made our plea bright and shiningly clear. Not guilty would mean a trial. Could their wheels of justice endure?
The judge dropped all pretense of courtly measure and simply said, "what do you want?"
&y friend's retort: "dismissal of all charges."
The gavel descended, "So ordered, see the clerk, and we must recess."
The officers made their hasty retreat, preserving feigned dignity. We triumphantly walked the heroes' path, past cheering defendants awaiting their moment of truth in the halls of justice. We had clearly left our mark in several spots, enduring foot-prints of justice on the carpet of legal administration.
In retrospect, as we rode off into the sunset, it seemed we were attended in our revelry by an old Cherokee lady with a shiny new BB gun, and a distinguished statesman and patriot from a different age. Ben's odoriferous words reached a nation that was forming. Molly's perhaps lived only in my memory.
Sam Reese is a Viet Nam veteran who has dedicated much of his post-combat civilian life to unraveling the intrigue of the "justice" system.
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