Group mentality in crime-The true horror stories in Modern Paris-part 20


I stopped making efforts to speak French and replied in English that it would be different once the guests came in, and the chef and his assistant chef would be rushing around the kitchen, opening and bang closing the refrigerator, etc.  Miss. GRATITUDE was still adamant about trapping me and condescendingly demanded, But are you annoyed by the noise now?  

Seeing that she would not let up, I had to shake my head slightly.  It was no, but I gave her no words to quote me later.   She was taken back.  Asians are not as stupid as she thought, and I am not even the smarter one.  

Then Mme HARMONY pointed to the extractor attached to the wall of the next door building and spilt the beans which Mr. PRIDE had concealed from Miss GRATITUDE.  She was duly surprised that she had, in fact, purchased a restaurant license that ran on an illegal ventilation system.  However, she quickly realized that it was Mr PRIDE’s problem to solve.  She had the right to sue him for compensation.  So Miss GRATITUDE demanded that everyone agree to legalize the extractor, but did not press on.    With this, she marched away.  Her term of amicable relationship was we agree to all her demands, but not vice versa.    

Mme HARMONY creased her face and spat, Do not expect HER to reciprocate decency.  She is from the lowest end of society!  

Now I do not claim to know much about the society in France, but I was surprised that Miss GRATITUDE carried out noisy renovation work on weekends in this respective area of Paris where sensible people refrain from even doing washing on Sundays.  Still, I was a tad surprised to detect classism in Mme HARMONY's tone, not for the first time. 

Mirror that reflects your soulMiss GRATITUDE soon blasted the building with disco beat music every night.  Had she bothered to obtain the costly bar license?   No, there was not yet a sticker of blue and red opal on the façade of her restaurant to show that it was a legitimate bar.   Miss GRATITUDE knew the stereo beats would penetrate her ceiling and then to my apartment, but she did not care.  She had her friends around her, and the group mentality took over.  She had even installed a stereo speaker near their kitchen below my bedroom to maximize the sound effect.  I could not call the police after Major B was gone.  I had to leave the building because it was getting too much.  

I pondered why Officer RAPHAEL never returned for a follow-up inspection.  My lawyer was also puzzled because it was his duty, but even then, my lawyer would not believe that the man whose name we must not mention had pulled some strings.  However, right after Officer RAPHAEL closed his case, the tribunal's second summons for my lawsuit arrived.  My French lawyer frowned because a prejudged verdict was already passed on my case and displayed on the court bulletin to the public. 

What?  A verdict BEFORE my lawyer even had the chance to defend me in court?  My French lawyer tried to reassure me that it was clear that the restaurant misrepresented its renovation plan.  There was no way the authority would allow such an act of breach.  The prejudged verdict must have acknowledged it; my lawyer was optimistic.  Somehow I could not share his optimism.  

The door to the First instance court looked ominous that morning.  My lawyer was shocked that the verdict had ruled against me.  It was an uphill battle for him, but it was clear that the panels did not want to hear my lawyers defence.  

But the restaurant lied. my lawyer screamed in the end.  The panel's eldest man smiled and said, Ouieee, a little, but nothing to make a fuss about.  

That was the only French phrase I could grasp during the hearing.  I was sitting in front of the panel, but I may not have existed.  Some glanced at me once but swiftly looked away.  My lawyer courageously explained how much I suffered because of the restaurant, but the panel did not react one bit.  He stormed out of the court in exasperation. 

Such a thing has never happened in my other cases elsewhere!  My lawyer was enraged.  This should not happen in France!  Welcome to my world.

I was more concerned over the possible cause of defeat: the man whose name must not be mentioned.  Feared in my neighbourhoods as the one to have crumbled the justice.  If indeed he had, he was a Goliath on top of the pyramid.  The former immigrant had acquired so much power that it may have replaced the original top gun, the French with money. 

Now, here is the touch of reality.  I noticed for the first time that the defendant of my lawsuit was not Mr. PRIDE.  It was the Council of Paris.  I thought I was suing the restaurant for its misrepresentation to the authority BASU, but NO.  In fact, my lawyer blamed BASU for having failed to see through the lies, and as BASU was part of the public service, the Council of Paris was held responsible for the mistake.  Thus the defendant was the Council of Paris and I, an Asian immigrant, was the plaintiff.  Had I known this, I would not have done it! 

I once lived in Australia, a multi-national nation.  It sounds idealistic, but some immigrants criticized and made demands alternatively to the Australian government that made the rest of the immigrants seem just as ungrateful.  I found it disgraceful and vowed not to be like that myself.  And yet, here I was taking the Council of Paris to court.  I nearly fainted.  My French lawyer was puzzled, I thought my boss had explained this to you.  No.  Whenever I questioned the details, the Asian boss kept telling me it was all fine.  Come to think of it, I had never appropriately received detailed bills from him.  He just emailed me the final sum every month, and I was too drained by the restaurant from Hell to doubt him.