Regarding a Business License

March 6, 2009

posted and written by Caroline Picard

gavel-3

Ok. So. Finally, I’ve got the update, the announcement, all of it. Many of you have asked me what’s going on with the space, what happened at court, all of that. I’ve been thinking about everything quite a lot and it took me a little while to get around to writing something about it.

Basically I went to court last week. Though my appointment was at one, I went at 12:30. I stood in a few lines. I filled out a form. They ushered me into a small, windowless court room. The benches looked like pews. There were about four benches. As I said, the room was quite small. I sat down. There were three other people in the room–a middle-aged Hispanic man with a quiet seven year old child, and a swarthy fellow in his thirties, hipster. Someone called my name, I turned around and walked to a back room where I was ushered. There a man asked me questions –

“Why are you here?”

“For operating a business without a license,” I said.

“Did you get the license?”

“I can’t,” I said.

“Why not?” This man, about five foot seven or so, did not look at me. Rather, he looked at the form I’d filled out at the front desk which he now, somehow, had in his hands. He spoke quickly, as though according to a protocol. It surprised me, therefore that he was asking so many questions.

“Because I’m not elligible for a live/work space because too much of the space is being used as a business–”

“a huh,” he nodded. I felt like I was taking a quiz.

“And I can’t get a straight business license because of the zoning.”

“Well!” he looked up, scolding a little, a little demeaning, “You can’t run the business then.”

“I understand that,” I said.

“Ok then! Go back outside and sit down.”

By outside he meant the courtroom, I understood and I went outside and I sat on the same wooden bench I’d occupied earlier.

The Hispanic man was gone. The swarthy man explained to the judge that he had a license. He brought it to the judge to examine. The judge hit his gavel. He dismissed the swarthy man and called me up. He pointed me to the podium.

The judge looked like a nice enough man, a little bored maybe. Clean cut, brown hair, ears, hands, presumably feet (I could not see his feet). He wore a black gown, like the ones I’ve seen on TV. His right eye was infected. I kept staring at his right eye. It looked like it hurt. His whole right cheek, around the eye, was slightly swollen and very pink. The lid of his eye hung a slightly loose from his eyeball, I guess because the infection –maybe in his sinuses? — filled up underneath the lid. I’ve no idea, really, I just kept thinking “I’m talking to a judge with an infected eye,” and making up what that would mean–would that make him more just? (as in blind justice?) or of skewed perspective?

He asked me if I was liable.

I said I was.

He said something and he fined me and he asked me to approach the bench and he gave me the ticket. He fined me $550.

(to be continued…..)

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One Response to “Regarding a Business License”

  1. Thom Chatterton Says:

    Maybe the Chicago art scene will have to go underground and become the the Harbor Gangs of Maine who enforce their own brand of lobster justice.


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