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Jury Pool Junkie


Harry Buschman

Each of these four brief scenes are the result of a single word prompt. Each word is stated in capitals at the beginning of the scene. These four have been selected by a British company for publication.

Prompt: “JURY

Jury Pool Junkie
(a portrait)

I just got turned down for jury duty again!

Some people hate jury duty. Not me. I love it. I go downtown to the courthouse and volunteer for jury duty almost every day. That’s how much I love it. But, you know what? Every damn time I do they turn me down.

I’m just like that statue of Justice. You know, the one wearing the blindfold? When a prisoner is led into a courtroom in chains wearing an orange jump suit, I can take one look at him and tell you right off the bat if he’s guilty or not. It’s a gift I got. I can tell if a witness is lying or not, and what he’s trying to hide. I don’t need evidence, I just know. Don’t ask me how I know, I just know that’s all.

I hang around the jury room every morning waiting to see if they’re short, maybe somebody didn’t show up, maybe they didn’t call enough jurors – you never know. They tell me to go home and wait for a jury summons. “If we need you we’ll call you,” I hear that all the time.

So to keep my hand in I go home and watch Court TV.


Prompt: "PUNCH"

Upon the Occasion of Our Punch and Judy Pageant

by Harry Buschman

With the best of intentions, (and the sincerest of apologies, the good Lord excuse us) the company is overjoyed to celebrate the victory of Lord Punch.

For your enjoyment he has triumphed over Satan upon his own ground as represented here within the confines and boundaries of our humble proscenium. Within his limitations Lord Punch has been our trusty guide and mentor during the trouble tossed, teapotted tempest that is, has been and most likely always will be, the worrisome lot of the common man.

We mourn the loss of the Beadle, Jim Crow, the Clown, the Doctor and Jack Ketch, they have all been dispatched by cudgel and poker, some by accident and some by design. Even Punch's very much adored wife and child have shared a similar fate and are no more. In spite of his quick temper and his awkward thrusts with cudgel and poker, he stands victorious as the aforesaid lie moldering on our tiny stage floor.

God bless you all. I confirm to you my most sincere thanks for your attention, patronage and support, and I hope you'll come out handsome with your gold and silver when the plate comes round.

Prompt: "ROSE"

Second Hand Rose

by Harry Buschman

Rose shifted her position on the stool and signaled for the bartender.

“What can I gitcha, Rose?”

She was about to ask for a refill when a deep masculine voice spoke up behind her. “Fill ‘er up, bartender and bring it over here to my table. I’ll have another boilermaker whilst you’re at it.”

Rose turned to see a bull of a man sitting alone at a table in the corner. “I beg your pardon, I don’t recall having met ...” she started.

“C’mon, loosen up sister. You’re needin’ a drink, I can tell. So am I – this is a bar not a Sunday school.”

In spite of herself, Rose crossed the room and sat down at the man’s table. “I’m not in the habit of accepting drinks from perfect strangers.”

“Oh, I ain’t poifect, lady. Nobody’s poifect anyways.” He shot his left hand out quickly and looked at his watch. “I don’t got much time, by the way. You don’t mind if I drink and run, do you?”

“I beg your pardon,” she bristled.

“I’m due at the court. My divorce papers come through this mornin'. If yer still here when I get back I’ll buy yez a refill, Okay?”

Prompt: “FRIDAY

Tomorrow’s Friday

by Harry Buschman

He tilted back in his chair a bit and looked to the left. There they were, he could see them at the end of the corridor - the office manager and two sales engineers. He was sure they were talking about him. It was Thursday afternoon and tomorrow they would post another layoff.

“Well, you survived the other layoffs. All twelve of them - maybe you’ll be lucky again. Think positive,” he told himself.

“But don’t count on it, you know how tough things are. Smart thing to do is put in a full day, make sure your in-basket’s empty when you leave and make sure you don’t walk around with a hang dog expression like all the other guys.”

He wished he could read their lips. They walked down the corridor, and paused behind him. The silence was deafening. He worked as steadily and efficiently as he knew how. Finally they moved on – only then did he realize his hands were trembling and he had a terrible urge to empty his bladder. But to do that he’d have to pass them in the corridor. God almighty ... he couldn’t do that ... they’d remember that tomorrow.

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