"According to the police report, Mr. Sheridan, you brandished and fired a twenty-two caliber pistol in city limits."
"That's correct, Your Honor."
"Do you care to explain why, Mr. Sheridan?"
He offers a quick glance to the lawyer behind him. She nods, her tight bun making her face look like a bird's instead of a human's. He shifts his weight, the linking chain of the handcuffs catching the overhead light. For a moment, it almost looks like an expensive white gold watch chain.
"It rang too much, Your Honor."
He clears his throat. The judge's white hair and blue eyes seem to float above the customary black gown. His gavel gleams.
"It rang too much, sir."
"You do realize you are on trial, Mr. Sheridan, and any clarification you can give could possibly save you jail time."
"Start at the beginning and end at the uhh...."
The judge holds up a plastic evidence bag. Floating in front of his face, suspended in clear plastic, is a popular smart phone. The black serenity of the phone is pierced by a dime-sized hole with spider-web cracks radiating from it.
"My phone rang sixteen times before ten in the morning."
"You are mighty popular, Mr. Sheridan."
"No one really had anything to say. They just wanted to listen to me breath, I guess. Sir."
"And this is why you shot your phone?"
"No, sir. After the morning phone calls, I started getting messages on my chat service. But my chat service kept freezing on my phone or taking forever to open. By the time I could answer the first message, I'd have two more from two other people."
Chuckles from the other lawyer and the bailiff. His face flushes momentarily and he stares at the handcuffs on his wrists.
"When I had taken care of most of the people on messenger, people started calling my office phone. My cell phone had forwarded itself to my office phone."
"Did you set it up to do this, Mr. Sheridan?"
"A long time ago, Your Honor. Now it does it whenever it feels like it."
"So your phone keeps ringing all day, Mr. Sheridan."
"Yes, Sir. My phone is quiet all through lunch. I was waiting for a call about a client I've been fighting to keep. When I get back to my office, I have some voicemail. The client wanted to give me the chance to match another firm's offer. Since I had missed the call, he went with the other firm."
He drops his head, a defeated smile crossing his lips momentarily. He lifts his head, the gleam of the gavel catching his gaze.
"My friends started mass texting to set up the dinner to celebrate another friend's big promotion. I work downtown, so they wanted me to get a table at Vinelli's. When I got the table, the phone calls and texts started to let me know when people would be there and what they should bring and how late they were running..."
"The court understands, Mr. Sheridan. Please proceed."
"Dinner is interrupted by my phone. Drinks afterward are interrupted by my phone. I realized that everything I ever do is interrupted by my phone. Your Honor, I can't even crap without my phone beeping to tell me something 'important' or telling me of another message."
"So, why don't you just shut off your phone, Mr. Sheridan?"
"If I don't answer, Sir, it only gets worse. They call more often to tell me that they called. Or they leave voicemails to tell me about other voicemails they left and the instant messages I failed to respond to. My email is overflowing with reminders to listen to voicemails about voicemails about messages and voicemails."
"What happened next, Mr. Sheridan?"
"I took my phone out on my patio at my townhouse and shot it twice with the gun my father gave me for my birthday."
"Twice, Mr. Sheridan? There is only one bullet hole."
He shifts his weight again. The bailiff chuckles as the air cast makes a squeaking noise against the linoleum floor.
"The phone rang before I shot it and scared me. I missed the phone."
The judge turns his head, covering his laughter with a very fake coughing fit.
"Mr. Sheridan, some community service will do you good. No more brandishing weapons in public, even if the phone is asking for it. Try the blender next time. Its a much slower, legal death for electronics."