Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Chanel and George's "Divorce"

It's a good thing I gave the Board another option to issuing a warrant on Chanel for the "body work" she did on George's car. They didn't issue a warrant, they didn't even go through the motions of a hearing. They just added a special condition for generic "counseling" to her Parole for a period of six whole months.

She comes into the office after she gets out of jail. George didn't even have to post Bail for her. The Muncipal Court Judge gave her time served for "Public Disturbance" and that was that. She spends one night in jail, and has to attend six months of counseling at MHMR.

About three months into the counseling, she and George have another big fight. This time, she threatens HIM, not his car, with the baseball bat. He manages to calm her down and get the bat away from her.

The next morning, at 8:00 a.m., they are waiting at the back door of the Parole office, which is where all the employees entered. Randa, the Supervisor and I happened to pull up at the same time. George jumps out of his car and runs over to me while Chanel approaches Randa.

While we listen to their seperate sides of the same story, Randa and I keep looking at each other across the parking lot. She motions me to approach the door as she does, and she tells George and Chanel to wait in the Reception area. She and I go to her office to trade versions of their stories.
Surprisingly, they want the same thing, a divorce. There's just one small problem, they can't afford a divorce. Not even one of those "do-it-yourself-divorces" where you only have to pay the filing fee and court costs.

Randa thinks for a minute and then has an idea. She sends me to the supply room for a "prop" and tells me to just go along with whatever she says and does. She goes to fetch Chanel and George to her office.

I come back to her office with the broom she had sent me to get at the same time Chanel and George come into her office. She has them move the chairs back against the walls. She very solemnly ask them if they really and truly want to end their marriage vows. They nod.

She tells me to move behind them and she does the same. She motions for me to hand her the bristle end of the broom, and I do, while holding the handle end of the broom.
She instructs Chanel and George to jump backwards over the broom, without holding hands, at the same time. We are only holding the broom about 2" off the floor, so this is an esay task. They manage the jump with ease.

"With the authority the State has invested in me, I pronounce you - Divorced," intones Randa solemnly. Chanel and George actually smile and hug one another and then they hug Randa and me in turn.
It was the darnedest thing I'd ever seen! My hand to Gawd!

Now if you're not familiar with Black history, you may be somewhat adrift righ now, so let me explain.
Back in the days of enslavement, when a couple married, they would perform a ceremony known as "jumping the broom". Today, some Black couples, after a formal wedding, will still "Jump the Broom" as a nod to their distant heritage.

By having them jump the broom backwards, Randa was essentially voiding that commitment, in Chanel and George's minds, anyway. Since Randa WAS a State official, of a sort, it lent the "ceremony" an air of authority.

Randa explained her thinking to me after Chanel and George left. She'd known Chanel and George for about 7 years. They went through these "spells" now and then. They would eventually make up and get back together. They'd go down to the J.P.'s office and get re-married. The little 'divorce' she'd performed today would be forgotten , no harm, no foul.
I sure hoped so.

4 comments:

Kristin said...

Ahhhhhh, the good ol' days of being a PO. I'm waxing poetic over here.

cait said...

Lord have mercy, Holly. You couldn't make this stuff up. I know there are a million and one stories in the nekkid city (remember that cop show?)and I'm looking forward to more!

G Bro said...

That's a wonderful story! Great improv, I have to say. Right up there with calming the schizophrenic by lining his hat with aluminum foil. (You probably did that, too).

Cait, that's "8 million stories in the Naked City." God knows, you shouldn't try to ignore 6,999,999 New Yorkers.

phlegmfatale said...

wow, jumping the broom - that's a great story!