(Today, for a change of pace, I want to share another one of my true “war stories”
from my unpublished memoir about my early days as a Southern prosecutor).
THE “DELIVERANCE EXPERIENCE!”
We were waiting on the jury’s verdict. It had been a long day. And I had to go to the bathroom badly! I had not peed since lunchtime and I was about to burst. So, I quickly told old Mr. Jones, the bailiff, where I was going. I then turned to go to the men’s restroom, located just outside the back entrance to the courtroom. The men’s restroom at the Timmons County courthouse has an interesting looking urinal. It appears to be a turn-of-the-century model and resembles a long, porcelain horse trough. It’s located on the left, just inside the restroom door. As I pushed the bathroom door open, I immediately started to turn to the left, while simultaneously unzipping my pants. But then, I stopped, cold, in my tracks, with my fingers still poised on my zipper! There, surrounding me, all along the walls of the men’s restroom, was the defendant’s clan. To my left, I saw a toothless redneck who was a dead ringer for the mountain man who had assaulted poor Ned Beatty’s character in the movie “Deliverance.” And out of the corner of my right eye, I could have sworn that I saw the odd banjo-playing boy from the same movie. To this day, I do not know why, on that day, these “men folk” from the defendant’s family chose to congregate in the men’s restroom. Had they never before seen such fancy indoor plumbing? Or did they have a special surprise in store for me? I’ll never know. But I didn’t wait around to find out either. Almost mid-zip, and before I could hear the first chords of “Dueling Banjos,” I wheeled around and left the restroom. As I left, I heard laughter emanating from the clan inside. But I didn’t care. They could have their laughs, as long as they didn’t have me, exposed and vulnerable at the porcelain urinal horse trough! Suddenly, my urge to pee had vanished!
One lesson I learned from this harrowing experience is that a trial lawyer should avoid eating or drinking a lot during a trial. What goes in must come out. I also learned that you need a huge cast iron bladder, if you wish to be successful in the courtroom. But most important, I learned to never, ever, ever go alone into the men’s restroom at the Timmons County courthouse!