Serving up the Truth


Jacob turned to me with a grave expression, and whispered in my ear: “you’re up”, as if I hadn’t heard the judge with his deep and powerful voice.  My name was called, and the judge beckoned me to take the stand.

I was not the defendant. But if I didn’t control my thoughts, I could easily feel like I was.  Certainly I was called as a witness so that the defense could impeach my credibility and the facts I alleged in my declaration. Silently I thanked my father who showed me that the only solace and safety from an effective attorney on cross was to deliver the truth. The truth was all I had to give.

Roman was the defense attorney. For irony’s sake we called him “Slim”. Somebody once said he didn’t know they made suits that big. Roman asked some preliminary questions, and then got to the point:

Slim:  “Mr. Manes, you are a process server, and your testimony is that you served my client: ‘Phillip Tompkinson’ at about 8:30p.m., Oct 2nd at his residence at Bellagio Lane in Laguna Niguel. Is that correct?”

Manes:  “That is correct”.

Slim:  “And for the record, can you describe what my client, Phillip Tompkinson looks like?”

Manes: “Yes Sir. He is about 45, 6’3, has a tattoo on the left side of the neck. He’s got blue eyes, a full head of hair, it’s slightly gray hair, but mostly brown.  He does not wear Glasses. His weight is probably about 240.”

Slim:  “Can you point out Mr. Phillip Tompkinson in the courtroom here today?”

Manes: “I’m sorry, I am unable to point him out.”

Roman seemed a bit caught off guard, as if I wasn’t following his script.  “Why not?” Slim asked.  I responded that following the defenses objection to proper service, my investigator performed some research.  Phillip has an identical twin brother by the name of Randall. Lauren (a process server that works for me) saw both of them together here today in the hall. Both of them have tattoos on their neck.

Just then Lauren nodded to me and whispered something to Jacob.  She had just filed the amended summons and complaint according to our plan, and they were ready.

Plaintiff’s attorney Jacob Davis stood up and stated: “Your honor, the defense’s position is moot as we will not contest the issue of service. We are poised to serve an amended summons and complaint, which now names both twins.”

The judge nodded and told me I could take a seat. The judge made his ruling. I took the legal documents from Lauren and handed them to Twin number 1 in the front row. Twin number 2 had been waiting in the hall for Roman to call him in. I gave him the documents, and reminded him: “You’ve been served.”

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