‘Caboose #12: Jury Duty’ tells the gripping story of being selected for jury duty

Caboose #12: Jury Duty

Perzine, Liz Mason, 22 pgs, lizmasonisawesome.com, $4 USD

Liz Mason already lives a high calling as manager of Quimby’s Books in Chicago and an all-around zine champion. Now she can add model juror to that resume.

In the latest issue of her perzine, Caboose, Liz tells the gripping story of being selected for jury duty and fulfilling her obligations on a medical malpractice civil suit. Receiving a jury summons in America invariably elicits a groan of resignation. For many, you’re being asked to lose least a week of your life (and your salary!) with peanuts for compensation.

Mason’s perspective is different. Yes, jury duty is an imposition and the pay sucks, but Mason makes the most of it. The result is a vivid chronicle alive with detail and a welcome sense of responsibility — to civics and to the people implicated in the proceedings.

Mason juries a trial that has been in the works for 10 years. She writes about the power behind this culmination, and the realization that she was witnessing just one of many elaborate and expensive court performances. Each side’s rendition was crafted over the course of a decade, built to win her and her fellow jurors’ over to one of the two competing narratives offered. “Our decision would affect people’s lives in ways that are major,” Mason reflects. “It inspired in me…com- passion for both sides while at the same time [a] desire to look at the facts of the case in making an informed decision.”

Compassion and seriousness make this zine a compelling read, but Mason is also incredibly funny, joking with her fellow jurors, and always self-aware. Mason wonders at times if other jurors might not take their duty as seriously or think about the lives are on the line. My suggestion: make Caboose #12 a mandatory primer for all jurors.