The Hunt for “People vs. DeVoe”: The Conclusion

Day after day, day after day
We stuck no breath nor motion
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean- S.T. Coleridge from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”

March 26th-
At long last, help has arrived! Someone must have seen my writing in the sand. What appears to be a small fleet of boats is approaching the island and I can only assume this means that I am to be rescued.

The first to respond to my call was the L.A. Superior Court. I was so grateful to speak with an actual person that I didn’t even mind the incredulity with which my request was received. I could probably go home, but if I wanted to find that trial transcript, the Court suggested that I talk to their archivist, who was on a different boat.

Muscles straining, I made my way over to the Archival boat. I was exhausted but elated- surely the end must be in sight! The archivist spoke politely to me, but was unable to locate the transcript. However, I was informed that the Court Reporters kept their records on a separate boat from those of the Court. I smiled wearily and walked on.

Farther down the beach I met with a Court Reporter, who responded to my request with some surprise. They didn’t keep records that far back on hand, didn’t I know that. I sighed, and told my erstwhile helper that I hadn’t known that. She suggested that I check with their archival boat, just a few yards down the beach.

I trudged slowly onward, feet leaden, head hanging. At last I came within hailing distance of the Court Reporters’ Archive. As I called out my greeting, my words were met with bemusement. One of the crew slowly shook her head and told me that I had the wrong boat. Perhaps, she added, I had meant to try Court Reporters’ Services? I sobbed then, and she took pity on me. I was supplied with a number with which to locate Court Reporters’ Services, and on I went.

As I crawled forward, I was reminded of a movie from my youth- The Twelve Labors of Asterix. In a scene which now felt hellishly familiar, the eponymous hero was tasked with retrieving a certain piece of paper from “The Place That Drives You Mad”. Asterix was made to go from floor to floor and room to room asking for circular b65, only to be told by each person he met that he had the wrong department. He ended up back where he started. I only hoped that I would have the strength to do the same.

Nearly spent, I dragged myself up to the hull of the Services boat and spent a minute breathlessly repeating “DeVoe trial. DeVoe trial.” One of the crew came over to me and asked what I needed. When I told her, her face grew grim and she informed me that the Court Reporters only kept transcripts of trials from the previous ten years. I lost consciousness then, but the crew hauled me on board and took me safely back to land, where I now lie in a recovery bed, having learned a valuable lesson about ships, the sea, and 80-year-old trial transcripts.

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