With apologies to the Beatles, the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, and the state of Vermont.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Chapter Fifteen: Vivian Goes to Court

    "Vivian came in, grinning a grin..."

The folks of the commune were waiting there to greet them when Vivian, Luna, Sal, and Peter arrived home.  Viv smiled at everyone and then burst into tears.

"I'm sorry," she said.  "I know that I didn't play fair with everyone and should have let you know about the plants in my room.  I was just afraid you wouldn't let me have them."

"Tell them what you told us in the car," Sal said.

Viv sobbed for a second.  "I've been fighting depression for a long time.  I didn't want to take medication any more and pot was the only thing that helped."

"There's going to be a court hearing in a week," Peter said.  "That's what you'll need to tell the judge."

People started hugging and holding Viv.  "Thank you, thank you, thank you," she said.

People started hugging and thanking Peter as well.

"Don't thank me until after you see my bill," he said.

Several people stopped and looked at each other.

Peter winked at them.  "Of course, if you need to, you can pay me in vegetables."

"You may never pay for food again," said Nancy.

"Assuming, that is, you can live on veggies and baked goods," said Marge.

Cat just handed Peter a cupcake.

Peter beamed at everyone.  "I'm going home," he said.  "I still have to get up for work tomorrow."

Of course, it wasn't that easy for him to get out of there.  He left finally after many more hugs, with a loaf of Nancy's Apple Zucchini Bread under his arm.

Most of the commune headed for bed shortly after that.  Nancy and Sal took Viv with them.

The next day they were back to work as usual.

The fields were about empty, other than some greens and a few root crops.  Luna talked with Viv about her plans to build a greenhouse for winter crops.  She also consulted with Sal and Dan about building plans since things were slowing up at the produce stand.

Two days later, an envelope arrived in the mail with Vivian's court date on it.

          "Okay, Viv, this is a showdown..."

The courthouse was three towns away, in the county seat and biggest town in the area.  Viv, Luna, and Peter arrived almost an hour before Viv's hearing.

Two days earlier, Viv had seen a psychiatrist that Peter had recommended and now had a letter from her.  She had it in her bag as they sat in the gallery and waited for the hearing.  Other folks were coming before the judge, a quiet person with white hair and a soft voice.

"I think we're in luck," Peter whispered.  "This judge is known to favor defendants involved in what's known as non-violent crimes."

They watched as attorneys and clients went in front of the judge and presented pleas and witnesses.  In some cases the witnesses were cross-examined.  The time for Viv's hearing came and went before the judge could see her.

"Vivian Mooney," the bailiff called finally.

Luna squeezed Viv's hand.  "Good luck," she said.

Peter and Vivian went up to the front of the court.

"Please approach the bench," the judge said to them and turned to the bailiff.  "Where is the prosecutor?"

"The prosecutor for this case hasn't shown up," said the bailiff.

"Your honor," said Peter, "my client has a letter from her physician that she'd like you to read."

Vivian got the psychiatrist's letter out of her bag and handed it to the judge, who quickly scanned through it.

"Has the prosecutor shown up yet?"

"No, your honor," said the bailiff.

"You need to register with the state to grow marijuana plants for medical use," said the judge.  "Please do that promptly.  Case dismissed."

The bailiff shrugged her shoulders and called the name of the next person.

Viv and Peter went back to the gallery where Luna gave Viv a great big hug.  Then she hugged Peter.  Viv hugged Peter and then the three of them were all hugging together.  Someone hissed, "You're blocking the aisles," and they broke it up and made their way to the back of the courtroom and out of the courthouse.

"And now," Luna said, "it's back to work we go."

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