Gonad the Ballbearian was in a skittish mood when he accosted me today. He was chuckling. He was sniggering. In short, he was anything but his normal boorish self.
What the hell is up with you?, I demanded, abandoning my crossword clue: Primitive African xylophone.
Oh, he said, I was just thinking of a case I saw in court a while back.
I stayed silent. When Gonad is in this mood, it doesn’t do to upset him. The slightest annoyance will provoke a heavy bill, and possibly a Writ, which he’ll also charge you for.
Drunk driving case, he went on, after a long pause while he examined the contents of his inner ear. Not mine.
I used to do that, I volunteered. When it was legal, of course.
It was never legal to drink twelve pints and drive a hundred miles at high speed while playing Talking Heads albums at full volume, smoking a huge spliff and slugging a bottle of Wild Turkey while screaming insults at old people.
Sometimes Gonad can be very cutting but I said nothing. Primitive African xylophone. Seven letters. What could that be?
Anyway, he went on, there was a drunk driving case recently and I thought it raised a very nice legal point.
No you didn’t, I said.
True, he agreed. What would I know about legal points? I’m only a lawyer.
Exactly, I concurred. But go on.
Oh, he said, this cop was giving evidence, the usual shit. You know how they talk.
They don’t talk, I said. They mutter.
Anyway, Gonad brushed my objection away, this cop says
I noticed the car being driven erratically, and I activated my siren and switched on my flashing lights and I pulled him over and when he wound the window down I noticed a strong smell of alcohol and I noted that his eyes were bloodshot and his speech was slurred and I formed the opinion that he was intoxicated and I asked him to breathe into the Intoxilyser . . .
Indeed, I nodded. The evidence formula.
Yup, said Gonad. Only this time his lawyer didn’t plead mitigation.
No! He stood up and he strolled over to the cop and he said
So, you noticed the car being driven erraticaly?
And you switched on your flashers and siren?
And you noticed a smell of alcohol?
And his eyes were bloodshot?
And his speech was slurred?
And you bagged him?
Tell me. Were both of his eyes bloodshot?
At this point I interjected, Gonad, fascinating though this might be, what are you talking about? The crossword beckoned. Primitive African xylophone. Seven letters.
Bear with me, said Gonad.
Were both of his eyes bloodshot?
And the cop said, they were, and with that the lawyer whipped out a sheet of paper from his arse pocket, and he handed it to the cop and he said
Would you mind examining that?
What was it? said I.
I’ll tell you what it was, replied Gonad with a triumphant leer. It was a doctor’s certificate to the effect that the man had –
Ah no! I ejaculated. you can’t mean –
I certainly can, said Gonad. The man had a glass eye.
Case thrown out! I said.
Indeed, confirmed Gonad. Cop’s powers of observation in serious doubt.
I sat back and stared at my unfinished crossword. Primitive African xylophone.
Which is why they’ve changed the evidence formula, Gonad went on.
Aha! I said. Marimba!!
Yes, he nodded. Now they say: I noticed that his eyes were glazed.