153. Get out of "Jail" (1)

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Oh, the joy! The absolute joy! Archie couldn't remember a recent moment when he had felt so happy. If he could sing, he would have sung. If he could dance, he would have danced. If he could have shouted to the world, he would have shouted to the world, "I'm free, I'm free!"

He had been in "jail" for the last week. A mental jail, to be sure, but it still felt like jail. About six weeks ago, he had received his almost annual jury summons. Printed on the outside of the white envelope, in bright red letters, was: OFFICIAL JURY SUMMONS ENCLOSED—Registration Required within 5 days. A friend of his had been throwing away such summonses for at least 20 years. Archie couldn't do that—he felt that his luck was so bad that if he tried it, his summons would be the one with the concealed microchip that recorded him throwing the envelope in the trash. Then he really would be in jail. So, he dutifully filled out the form and waited until his starting date—November 5, a Monday. For that week, he would be "on call" for "no more than five days."

As instructed, he dialed the 800-SRV-JURY number on the Saturday preceding November 5. He tapped in his PIN and jury group number. He listened, and sighed with relief; the recording had told him to call again Monday after 5 p.m. So, one day out of five was gone!


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