I arrive at my office and an old French caretaker asks me if there will be many people coming in today. I ask why. He tells me that there is a notice in the paper in the morning that the circus has been closed. The notice gives my office as the address for people to make complaints.
I am surprised to learn that the circus is closing and complaints are to be made to me. But I tell him no. No one is coming to the office. I walk across the hall and see that I am wrong. There is a large contingent of children in yellow animal costumes being herded down the hall towards my office. I hear one of the adults caring for the children shouting that they are here to attend the hearing.
I slip out the back stairs and go across the street to the Agency to read the file on the closing and to get a court reporter. You can’t have a hearing without a court reporter. It is the Agency’s responsibility to get court reporters, but the Agency is pretty hopeless on these kinds of things so I decide I will ask my admin to find one. I will look bad if there is a hearing with no court reporter. Unprepared. While I am thinking about a court reporter I am also trying to figure out what my position should be about even having a hearing on the closing of the circus. In the course of considering that question, I realize I am no longer a member of the Agency and can’t even officially preside over a hearing. However, I figure that because they have come out and taken the trouble I will let people have their say even if it won’t be an official hearing.
I head back to my office. It has been raining and I have to walk across a grassy area by the roadside that turns out to be a bog. I sink to my knees in the muck. I get across but both my shoes are lost. I stand on the far side of the bog and consider whether to go to the hearing without shoes. I decide that would not be right. People coming to the hearing deserve for the person at the front to be wearing shoes. So I go back into the muck. I find my shoes and hurry to the hearing.
Coming up the street there are protestors and they are aggressive. One hot dog stand is the center of activity. People scared of the protestors hide behind the stand. I am not scared but I am cautious. I walk up the street and I run into a lawyer who I used to work with. He walks with me. We duck into his building and try to go up a small back staircase to the lobby but the stairs narrow as they go up. I am wearing a backpack. I think I could make it up the winding stairs if I took the backpack off but that seems a poor idea so I say goodbye. He says, “Take it off. Just take it off.”
I exit the lawyer’s building into the street where the protestors are. I am not scared but I am still cautious. I walk down the empty street to preside at the hearing being held in my office. I wonder how many people will testify and whether they will be dressed as animals. I decide that I will let them. There is no law against that at least.