The first time I got the call for jury service was ten years ago. At that time I thought ‘Okay, could be interesting’. There is a number you have to call the night before you are due to attend and I was cancelled by phone. Nothing happened.
The second time was five years ago. Business was slow and being locked into impending jury service meant I could not take on any project that might overlap the set dates. I also could not give definite times for my availability after the date in case I ended up on some long, drawn-out trial. In the event, I attended but was not selected.
The business did not recover. Companies wanting research and testing want it done now or at least at a definite date. Most went elsewhere and didn’t come back. You don’t get referrals from other people’s customers so it just faded out. I finally gave up for good and closed the lab in December.
Meanwhile I had started up the publishing business. I knew it wouldn’t be a quick start. I had to learn a lot of new stuff, especially marketing. I really did start from zero on that one.
It’s really just now starting to come together. Leg Iron Books has its own website and Facebook page and I have begun trying to word a few good Facebook ads. Their prices start at £23, which isn’t bad, but a badly worded ad is worse than no ad at all. Just getting into the swing of things and…
I had a letter today. Jury service again. I have been ‘randomly selected’ every five years (they apparently have to leave a five year gap) compared to many people I know, of my age and older, who have never been selected.
Last time, I was trying to revive a business that was starting to struggle. Being seen as unreliable, because I couldn’t give fixed dates for anything, finished that business (there was another factor but talking about that will land me with a jury of my own, and I can’t prove it). Once the last contracts were done, that was it.
This time they strike when I’m just getting a new business underway. It might sound paranoid but it really does feel as though they are trying to kill this one too.
If I am selected, they will have the most reluctant juror they have ever had. I will do my utmost to get it over with as fast as possible. There is no public transport out here, I will have to drive to Aberdeen every day and it’s not an easy drive from here. I’ll have to leave early and get home late, try to eat something and sleep a few hours before the next round.
I will have no time for anything else.
I also have my parents visiting in April and the court date – April 10 – is right in the middle of their visit. One week later and it wouldn’t have mattered so much. Oh I’ll call on Monday and see if they can change the date but if, as I suspect, they act without sympathy or compassion they can expect this juror to do the same.
I am going into this in a very bad mood. Three bloody times they have done this. The first time it would have been okay, the second and third times are starting to feel personal. Am I going to get this shit every five years until I get over 70?
Well this time I am going to be prepared. I will have the next anthology done before April and I will have Facebook ads ready to roll before then too. It will probably mean I’ll be incommunicado while they run but that can’t be helped.
The worst part is that it could mean that any book submissions in April could go unread for a long while. Again, that will make me look unreliable in the eyes of the authors submitting and I could well lose a few while the legal system plays with my life once more.
I’m starting to think that getting banged up for something for a few months could be worth it. That would disqualify me from jury service for good.