The bailiff stood. “Please rise. Civil Court 16 is now in session. The Honourable F. B. Skinner presiding.”
The judge surveyed the courtroom. “Sit,” he said. “First case.”
“Yes your honour. Docket number 48266. Jones versus Jones and Jones.”
“Family squabble?” asked Judge Skinner.
“That’s correct. Young Mr. Jones is suing his parents over his name,” said the bailiff. “He seeks compensation totaling one and a half million dollars.”
Judge Skinner raised his eyebrows. “How bad is his name?”
“Yeti,” said the bailiff.
“Excuse me?” asked Judge Skinner, looking over his glasses.
“His name is Yeti Jones. Yeti,” repeated the bailiff.
Judge Skinner looked at both parents for confirmation. Mr. and Mrs. Jones nodded their heads in agreement. Yeti dropped his head in shame.
“Why Yeti?” asked Judge Skinner.
“We wanted to give him a distinct, powerful name,” said Mrs. Jones.
“Something that would set our son apart,” added Mr. Jones. “What better than a mythical figure? I’d be proud to have a name like that.”
“And yet you don’t,” said Judge Skinner. He glanced through the case file. “You have another son. His name is?”
“Leviathan,” said Mrs. Jones. “He doesn’t mind at all.”
“That’s ‘cause you call him Levi,” protested Yeti.
“Yeti,” said Judge Skinner, “What’s the real purpose of your suit?”
“Your honour, do you have any idea what it’s like to live with a name like this? Kids in my school set up a website called ‘Yeti Sightings’. They posted pictures of me from all over the city. They hunted me at the grocery store, at the mall. They even got photos of me in the bathroom. When the school voted on a new mascot, they chose the Yeti. They wanted to put a picture of me on the football helmet. It’s awful. I just want to be normal,” said Yeti.
“What would you like your name to be?” asked Judge Skinner.
“Well, I’ve always liked ‘Tom’,” said Yeti.
The Judge straightened up. The bailiff chuckled.
“You want to be ‘Tom Jones’?”
Yeti looked confused. “What’s wrong with that?”
The court recessed for Judge Skinner’s deliberations. It only took him fifteen minutes.
“I side with the plaintiff. Mr. and Mrs. Jones will pay their son one point five million dollars in compensatory damages. And I don’t mind saying, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, I would have awarded him more if he asked for it. A terrible name. What were you thinking? Court dismissed.”
Judge Skinner slipped out of the courtroom and into his chambers. He started sorting through a few letters on his desk. He picked up one for closer inspection. It was a card from his parents. It made him cringe. They always used his full name, Frodo Baggins Skinner.