I am sitting outside the Small Claims Court this morning, waiting for the fun to begin, when John Taylor shuffles in looking like death warmed up.
He tells me he is unwell and is going to ask for a postponement. My heart sinks. I tell him the trial is not coming on for an hour or two and by then he may feel better. He shakes his head saying he can’t think straight.
His two children have been up all night vomiting. And now the virus has struck at Taylor. He has been awake for ten hours and has been feeling nauseous. It sounds like a variation on the dreaded norovirus. Aaaaargh!
Now we all file into the tiny Small Claims Courtroom and I see in front of me Deputy Judge Jack Zwicker.
Taylor asks for a postponement and outlines his symptoms. Urgh!
Now Di Muccio and her husband, John Blommesteyn, affect sympathy while saying the matter has been postponed before and it is all very unfortunate. Blommesteyn is champing at the bit and is raring to go.
Taylor says that if push comes to shove he will stay though he may have to excuse himself from time to time for a bathroom break. Now I am feeling queasy.
Judge Jack won’t buy it. What if this thing is infectious? The Judge says he has heard what he has heard and he is going to postpone the trial until the first available date in the new year. And he won’t allow Taylor to ask for another postponement.
As the clerk leaves the Courtroom to get photocopies of the written order which has just been penned by Judge Jack, he, the judge, suggests the time could be occupied by talking about the action. It sounds as if he is going to propose some kind of impromptu settlement conference.
Now Judge Jack is looking directly at me.
“And who are you?”
I am ready for this and tell him loudly and confidently that I am a member of the public.
Di Muccio yelps:
“No he’s not! He is a blogger. And he has called my husband fat!!”
(This, M’Lud, is a dastardly untruth!! I have described Mr Blommesteyn as “well-padded” and “rotund” but never “fat”.)
Now she goes for the jugular.
“And he is a friend of the defendant!”
This is now getting serious. That's reputational damage! I could sue!
The ashen faced Taylor is determined not to set that hare running:
“He is not my friend.”
Now Judge Jack looks directly at me and says with a smile:
“I am going to say nothing and you will have nothing to blog about!”