"Age 29: Part VI"

Inside the Santa Conchita Municipal Courthouse, Judge Victoria Martel hears her last case for the day.

Victoria: (Looking at a file) Now, Mr.... am I pronouncing this right? - Balzonya?

Defendant: Just call me "Harry," your honor

Snickering is heard throughout the courtroom.

Victoria: (Taking off her glasses) Is that your real name, sir?

Defendant: I had it legally changed three years ago

More snickering.

Victoria: OK then... Harry - since this is your first offense, I'm going to go easy this time - I hope you realize that public indecency is not a laughing matter, get caught doing it again and you'll be looking at some hard time

The snickering turns into bursts of chuckles.

Victoria: (Banging down her gavel) I'll have order in this courtroom, people!

Defendant: But, your honor, since I am hung like a camel, I feel it is my birthright to share my genetic blessing with the fine citizens of Duquesa Bay

Someone from the courtroom pipes up.

Person: What, Quartz Lake can't get in on the action?

Victoria: (Turning red) MY PATIENCE IS WAFER THIN - the next person to say something inappropriate is going to get slapped with a $500.00 fine - now, Mr. Balzonya, after reviewing the photographic evidence, you really have nothing to be proud of, sir, but if you insist on doing this again, I'm sure plenty of inmates would be more than happy if you shared your show with them... am I making myself clear?

Defendant: JUDGE MARTEL, I AM ORDERING YOU...

Victoria: (Standing up) YOU ARE ORDERING ME?

A portable CD player is flipped on and the man jumps to the front of the room.

Defendant: (Stripping to the music) I AM ORDERING YOU TO HAVE A GOOD TIME ON YOUR BIRTHDAY

Victoria: WHAT?

The courtroom is now filled with grinning attorneys and other courtroom personnel. They all clap and cheer as Mr. Balzonya does his little dance.

Victoria: THIS... this is supposed to be a room of decorum!

The room breaks out into a chant. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FROM ALL OF US TO YOU, WE WISH IT WAS OUR BIRTHDAY, SO WE COULD PARTY TOO, YAY.

Victoria: (Covering her face) Oh my God

She turns to her friend and bailiff, Cubby, an older Filipino man.

Victoria: I'm going to get your for this, Cub

Cubby: The stripper was Judge Cohan's idea

Victoria: (Shaking her head) I'm sure it was

A huge sheet cake with the words "Happy Birthday Vic - Age 29: Part VI" written in frosting, is brought over to her bench.

Victoria: This is carrot cake, I hate carrot cake!

Cubby: Yes, but it was the only cake they had that was big enough to feed all of these people

Victoria: Well, I hope they enjoy it

About 20 minutes later, the room empties out of well-wishers, cake-eaters, Cubby and Mr. Balzonya. Now alone with her thoughts and her uneaten piece of cake, Victoria slips the birthday card containing various Disney characters and the signatures of her co-workers into her briefcase and exits the room. She calls her mother, Dr. Stephanie Gates, on a cell phone.

Victoria: Hi Mom, I'm leaving the courthouse now, I'll meet you at the club for dinner in...

Stephanie: Hi Sweetie

Victoria: Oh, I was just leaving you a message

Stephanie: Listen, Vikki, I hate to do this to you but a long-time patient of mine was just brought in with a severe MI, I need to stay at the hospital - do you mind if we have dinner tomorrow night, instead?

Victoria: Ah... no, that's fine

Stephanie: I'm really sorry, Honey

Victoria: No, Mom, I completely understand... I hope you patient pulls through

Stephanie: I'll call you tomorrow... happy birthday

Victoria: Thanks... 'bye

The woman flips off her cell phone and ambles down the massive hallway.

Victoria: (Under her breath) I hope the sucker dies

Coming down the stairs is Ona Rosa Sanchez with a client.

Victoria: Hey, Oni!

Ona Rosa: (Smiling) Hello, Vikki

Victoria: My plans just got changed for dinner - how about we discuss next week's charity auction over a meal at that new Italian place?

Ona Rosa: Ooh, shoot - I'd love to but this is one of those rare nights that my husband will be home for dinner - how about we go for lunch tomorrow?

Victoria: (Forcing a smile) That sounds great

Ona Rosa: I'll see you then... oh, and happy birthday!

Victoria: Thanks

Before she leaves the building, Victoria spots another co-worker on his own.

Victoria: Judge Haskins, I was wondering if you'd like to discuss the re-election campaign over drinks tonight?

Judge: (Rushing out the door) I'd love to, Martel, but your carrot cake has given me the runs - we'll discuss it later this week - oh, and congratulations on getting older!

Now alone in the underground parking garage, Victoria is about to climb into her burgundy SUV when a black truck screeches around the corner and pulls up next to her. Brad Martel jumps out with a gift.

Victoria: Jesus, Bradley, you scared the living crap out of me!

Brad: (Kissing his sister's cheek) Sorry, Vic, Happy B-day!

Victoria: Thanks

Brad: How old are you now?

Victoria: 35

Brad: Wow, you're old!

Victoria: (Opening her gift) Shut up, Squirt - is this a candle?

Brad: Yeah, from my new shop

Victoria: I HATE candles - you know the scents make me gag

Brad: C'mon, it's a cardinal rule that all chicks like candles!

Victoria: I'm not like "all chicks"

Brad: No shit

Victoria: I wanted a new nine iron

Brad: Oh, Griffin has got you covered there - he bought you a new set of clubs

Victoria: Excellent, he's my favorite brother for this year

Brad: Except he thinks your birthday is next week

Victoria: I strike my previous statement from the record

Brad: Aren't you supposed to be doing something with Ben and Claudia?

Victoria: (Rolling her eyes) Yeah, this weekend - since little Hannah's birthday is two days after mine, we're doing a combo celebration at Chuck E. Cheese this weekend

Brad: (Making a face) HA HA

Victoria: Knock it off or I'll drag you along

Brad: Hey, while I'm here - do you think you can fix a speeding ticket for me?

Victoria: OH, BRADLEY, PLEASE

Brad: It's just a little one

Victoria: FINE... but you're taking me out to dinner

Brad: Can't - gotta concert at SCU to promote tonight... you're welcome to tag along

Victoria: What band is it?

Brad: A post-punk trio called "The Sickening Christians"

Victoria: On second thought... no

Brad: I'll make them thrash out "Un-happy Birthday" to you

Victoria: That's OK, you go and have a good time

Brad: I thought you were supposed to have dinner with mom?

Victoria: She's stuck at the hospital

Brad: Surprise - what about dad?

Victoria: He sent me some flowers and the same gold earrings he bought Ursula for her birthday

Brad: I love our parents - look, if we hurry, we could swing by a sandwich shop or something

Victoria: (Giving her brother a hug) I appreciate that, I really do, but the dress shop had a nice lunch for me today - you go on to your concert and we'll have dinner another time

Brad: (Returning the hug) Oh, and Vic...

Victoria: Don't worry, I'll take care of the ticket

Brad: (Winking) I was going to say "Happy Birthday!"

Victoria: (Watching him hop back into his truck) Uh-huh, 'bye Bradley!

Now home alone in her fine antique-furnished townhouse, Victoria gets into an on-line debate over Sigma Seven's "Bogree" while rubbing the belly of her Cocker Spaniel with her foot.

Victoria: (Typing furiously) I don't agree with the direction the character is taking - she's being deconstructed in front of our eyes for silly, ratings-ploy reasons - it's disturbing!

On-line chatter: dUde U R distrubing bogree totally ROCKS now U SUCK:-PPPPP

Victoria: WHY AM I DOING THIS?

Victoria shuts off her computer and dials her phone.

Victoria: Hey you - I hope all is going well with the conference in Denver - um, I miss you - if I didn't have an important case tomorrow, I'd fly over there tonight - and thanks of for the electronic greeting card... it means a lot, 'bye

With a huge sigh, Victoria pads over to her kitchen and pulls out a loaf of pumpernickel bread, along with a stick of butter. She takes a thin, solitary candle, sticks it into the bread and lights it.

Victoria: Happy happy birthday, from all of us to you, we wish it was our birthday, so we could party too... yay

As she blows out the candle, her phone rings. She nearly trips over the dog running to answer it.

Victoria: Hello?

Deep voice: Why don't you come and celebrate with us tonight, Victoria?

Victoria: (Shaken) I TOLD YOU, I WANT NOTHING MORE TO DO WITH YOU PSYCHOS - STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM ME

She slams down the phone and rips the cord out of the wall. Taking her bread, butter, and the dog, Victoria retreats into her bedroom.

Victoria: I wonder if I'm going to make another 35 years?

.

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