Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Original Inspiration.

Once when I was working on the prop crew for a lawyer movie, I found myself in the big city on the steps of a large government building with several “blue backs” like the ones in the game. They can be subpoenas, indictments, or other court orders, but they look about the same, and are stapled to the blue cover sheet and tri-folded in a particular way that is unmistakable once you’ve seen one.
The one I was holding was a prop, of course, but made with the real litigation jacket stationery and quite convincing. In the blank spots we wrote dates and docket numbers and used each other’s names where felons were called for, or scribbled things like “ Heywood Jablowmee V. Ivan Tophartt”, a private joke since the camera can’t really read it.
We had a bunch of these at one location but some were needed at another set being prepared down the block, so a co-worker was to meet me on the steps and receive them as a quick hand-off. I had been inside that building, so I made it to the rendezvous first. I stood near the revolving door at the top of the steps and watched for him among the stream of people coming into the building in the morning rush. There were secretaries and bureaucrats, lawyers and clerks, Politicians, deputy commissioners, lawmen, jurors and God only knows who else coming up the steps. The low winter sun was in my eyes, so I squinted through the clouds of cold breath and bustling silhouettes to pick out the crew brother I expected to appear in a moment.
I decided that when he showed I would not just hand him the prop, I would “serve” the subpoena on him, as would a process server. It would be a moment of ad hoc micro-theatre al fresco, a little joke between us that might find an audience in some gullible pedestrian. I stood tall with my blue-back at the ready and looked deep through the people funneling towards the revolving door.
Just then a prosperous looking man in a nice coat, who was coming up the steps towards me stopped dead in his tracks, spun on his heels and scurried back down the steps and out of sight.
It is impossible to know for sure, but he seemed to spot the subpoena, and recoil from the sight of it. I suppose he may have suddenly remembered that he meant to buy a newspaper, but it seemed like he was alarmed. He was suddenly running away from the door that he had, just an instant before, been deliberately striding towards. It was as if he thought that he had seen me before I spotted him, that I was an actual process server, and that it might be prudent to use the back door.
Whatever it was it made me wonder how many guilty consciences you could find that way.
In retrospect, that morning was the inspiration for the game.


Blogger Suzanne said...

Wow, Tom. Didn't know the game was inspired by you inadvertently alarming a possible mover/shaker with your fake subpoena. Subpoena Power, indeed!

11:44 PM  

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