Earlier this week I was walking some clients from the courthouse to their car after a particularly unsatisfactory court appearance in which a judge had blamed unavailable research attorneys for his complete abdication of the obligation to make any decisions whatsoever.
The clients, a mother and son, were upset. We had ambled to the courthouse, but their shoes snapped angrily upon the Inland Empire pavement as we hustled back to the parking lot. I sensed they were eager to get into the car and drive off so they could vent out of my immediate presence.
I was not apologizing for the judge, but attempting to place the further delay in context, and they were shaking their heads uncooperatively, when we rounded the corner and saw it. I stopped mid-sentence, they stopped mid-stride, my train of thought derailed as thoroughly and quickly as an Amtrack.
There, in the dirt amongst scrubby brush, was the bra.
Black it was, and chased with even blacker lace. But it was not the color that made it notable. No, a black bra by the side of the road is a mere curiosity, soon forgotten. What cut me short and stopped my clients in their tracks was its size. The bra was not just vast. Vast does not begin to describe it. The strapping was thick and lengthy, the cups heroic, the whole thing looking like the harness of some ancient and improbably muscled gladiator. It looked not real at all, an image of a bra blown up and carelessly cut and pasted upon our reality. My clients stood agape, disappointment in the law's delay temporarily forgotten, and I saw in their eyes that their minds struggled in vain to calculate what mine did — what kind of unearthly bosom did this bra contain? How broad were the shoulders that stretched those straps? How strong and meaty the fingers that fastened it? It staggered the imagination. Extrapolation suggested some giant, towering over the streets of San Bernardino, shambling off now unbound. But what other unspeakable things did that imply? If there be giants, what thing is great or terrible enough to make a giant doff its bra in the bushes along the courthouse in a dusty town?
Slowly we began to walk again. I stammered a few more sentences, but I could not complete them, and it was clear my clients were not listening. Their eyes stared at nothing, their mouths worked at the numbers of it. We did not speak about the bra, for what could possibly be said? They drove away in silence, and I walked the two more blocks to my car, each footfall driving the beat into my mind: the bra. The bra. The bra. The bra.
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