A producer from The People's Court calls me in an attempt to derail Judge Joe Brown's inside track. She pleads with me, "Please don't sign anything with the Judge Joe Brown show!" I tell her that I'm still fielding offers. Justice can't be rushed.
Next, a producer from the Judge Maria Lopez show e-mails me: "I'd like to strike a deal with you today, considering that other shows are calling you.... I promise I'll make it worth your while."
Worth my while? Well, butter me sideways! I'm hot shit in the TV courtroom world. Who would have thought that TV judges fight this hard for jurisdiction? As I engage in some forum shopping, one thing's for certain: it becomes increasingly clear that they could care less about me and the faux psychological trauma inflicted on yours truly by transvestite strippers, and that they only care about landing the most outrageous, outlandish cases. It was time to give one of these shows exactly what they've been asking for.
I phone the Lopez producer, ready to play court TV hardball. "Are you guys willing to wheel and deal?" I ask.
She sweetens the deal offered by the Brown people, enticing me with more cash. Yes, cash. The dark underbelly of TV justice involves payments of cold, hard greenbacks to entice plaintiffs like myself to have their disputes settled on camera. I decide to make her work harder-just for fun-by stating my undying loyalty to Judge Joe, a man who I have never met.
"He told me not to talk to any other shows," I inform her.
The producer then begins begging, even pressuring, me to drop Judge Joe. This is officially getting scary.
After much deliberation, I decide to go with Judge Joe. His strong, firm courtroom demeanor makes me feel like this is a place where a man wronged by transvestite strippers can truly have his day in court.
I assemble a cast of misfits to play the appropriate bachelor party roles. With two improv-acting friends recruited to portray defendant Mike and disgraced groomsman Hal, I send them notes on the entire backstory-and set in to create some evidence.
Using Hotels.com, I book a room at Circus Circus, the Las Vegas hotel and casino. With a little bit of retouching, I've suddenly got a receipt for the ill-fated bachelor party. And since I happen to live in San Francisco, let's just say that pictures of lady-boy strippers aren't a problem.
I fax everything over to the Judge Joe producer and wait-but not for long. The next morning, I get an e-mail saying that the evidence looks "great." They make plans to fly Mike and me down to LA and to put us up in hotels.
The producer stresses that I shouldn't wear hats or sportswear, since this would make it seem like I didn't care about the case. No, the audience had better know that this was the case of a lifetime, and that I wanted justice.
I arrive early to find a line of people waiting for a chance to be part of the Judge Joe Brown studio audience. Wearing a suit, I'm in character and trying out a facial expression I call "I Like to Eat Babies." Faux-jilted groomsman Hal walks by my side.
Hal and I are scrutinized at a security checkpoint. Our picture phones are confiscated-no unauthorized photography on set-and put next to a seized bottle of vodka. Gesturing to the bottle, the guard explains, "It happens more often than you'd think!" We're then herded into the green room, where we await our 15 minutes of fame (and justice) alongside other plaintiffs-a group that includes an exotic dancer from Virginia and other assorted characters whom you wouldn't want to be alone with under normal circumstances. The room's got complimentary donuts.