Thursday, May 28, 2009

West Side Sonia



I'll never forget where I first saw her. There was a law dance I had no interest in, but I promised my buddy Riff that I'd come to watch him recite Felix Frankfurter's legal opinions while doing The Robot. I steeled myself for a dull evening, when a stunning vision of jurisprudence entered the courtroom.

It was Sonia Sotomayor, whose name I didn't know until I "accidentally" bumped into her, Sonia's clerk Chino revealing her identity as he helped her off the floor. Her older brother Bernardo, a sleek litigator from San Juan, threatened me with charges of battery, but all I could think of was Sonia.

Sonia!
I've just met a lawyer named Sonia,
Her admissible first name
Will always mean the same
To me.

Sonia!
I've just hit a lawyer named Sonia,
And suddenly I've found
Another way around
Felonies!

Sonia!
Argue loud and the jury is swaying,
Argue soft and a verdict is weighing.

Sonia,
I'll never stop pleading for Sonia!


There were obstacles. She was Puerto Rican and I was a Mick-Frog mix. But this didn't matter, so get that racial Romeo and Juliet analogy out of your head. No, it was her legal ambition and my lack of higher education and interest in anything beyond immediate sensation that doomed our love. Still, for a brief recess, we had a certain chemistry, however pro tem.

Sonia seemed happy. Once, when dropping by the DA's office at lunchtime, I overheard her say to her staff:

I feel legal,
Oh, so legal,
I feel legal and regal and right!
And I'll subpoena
Any fool who crosses me tonight.

See the licit girl in that mirror there:
Who can that lawful girl be?
Such a legal face,
Such a legal case,
Such a legal style,
Such a legal me!


She was entrancing -- at least the part I caught before two security guards chased me down the street. Ducking into an alley, catching my breath behind a dumpster, I knew Sonia was the counsel for me. From that day on, she was never far from my thoughts, mostly because I shadowed her daily, wearing floppy hats and fake mustaches to avoid detection.

One evening, following Sonia across a busy intersection, I was struck by cab driven by, you guessed it, Chino, who was moonlighting while preparing for the bar exam. As I lay in the street, my hip bruised beyond belief, I called out her name:

"HEY SONIA! SONIA SOTOMAYOR! OVER HERE! NO, THE OTHER DIRECTION. TURN TO YOUR LEFT. NOT THAT FAR! THIS WAY! HELLOOOOO! THE GUY HIT BY THE CAB WAVING HIS HAND? RIGHT. FINALLY!"

As Sonia knelt down, thinking that I sought legal advice as Chino muttered excuses, I gazed up at her fine, prosecutorial features and softly said:

There's a court for us,
Somewhere a court for us.
Hold my brief and we're halfway there.
Present an appeal and I'll take you there
Some date,
Some trial,
Some court!


Sonia stared at me silently, then stood up and quickly walked away. I wanted to yell to her, but some Officer Krupke told me to move or get my brains bashed in. Given how I felt, prison rape followed by lethal injection seemed tame compared to her summary judgment.

I was sentenced to life without Sonia. If it wasn't for the fact that I'm a rootless slob who enjoys gluttony, drunkenness, and masturbation, I might've killed myself right there. But I got hit by a cab and survived, so that's gotta be a sign of something, right?

And now, barring being Borked by Republican opponents, my sweet Sonia will be a Supreme Court justice. I wish I could say that I knew this would happen all along, but frankly, I tend to read things horribly wrong, making predictions that have no bearing on reality. Still, I miss Sonia, and wish her nothing but moderate decisions in landmark cases that keeps the power structure pretty much intact. I bet she'll look hot in that robe, too.

Make of our torts one tort,
Make of our claims one claim,
Make of our laws one last law:
Only a restraining order will part us now.