Saturday, April 6th, 2013...6:18 pm

ryan quinn flanagan | pro bono

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Pro Bono

Did you know it’s illegal to wipe one’s
car with used underwear,
in San Francisco,
and that elephants are prohibited from
strolling down Market Street
unless they are on a
leash?


I did not answer.


Or that in Quitman, Georgia,
it is illegal for a chicken to cross the
road?


That one got a bit of a laugh.


In Nevada,
riding a camel on the highway
is against the law
and in San Diego it is illegal to shoot
jackrabbits
from the back of a
streetcar.


I suddenly noticed that the bar
had grown quiet
and everyone was listening
to the well dressed fellow
seated beside me.
They didn’t seem to know whether
to roll him
or buy him a round.


The bartender poured him one
on the house
and the well dressed fellow
continued:


In Redlands, California,
a car may not be driven on the streets,
unless a man with a lantern
is walking ahead of it
and in Denver, Colorado,
you may not drive a black car
on Sundays.


Bullshit, I said
slamming my empty draft
down on the bar.


Let the man speak,
some whore implored.


Yeah, tell us more,
slurred a drunk
in Salvation Army tatters.


Sure,
said the well dressed fellow
sipping away on his free
beer…
In Alabama it is against the law for a driver
to be blindfolded or barefoot
while operating a vehicle
and in Clinton, Oklahoma,
it is illegal to molest a
car.


(Roar of laughter)


How do you know so much about the law?,
I inquired accusingly


The bar went silent.


I used to be a supreme court judge
and practice law,

replied the well dressed
fellow.


Well, what the hell are you doing in this dive,
surrounded by drunks, and cut throats, and whores?,

asked the bartender


Working pro bono,
said the well dressed fellow.


For the rest of the night
his drinks were free
as I spent my last on double vodkas
and beer chasers
and tried my damnedest to remember
not to go to Clinton,
Oklahoma.

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