Three Saturdays ago, my friend John and I helped some friends with a problem.

We're from the government, and we're here to hurt you.

John’s the bald one, and I’m on the right. Here was the problem:

It all started with the Mormons. Specifically, my Mormon friends who I will refer to here as “Gamey” and “Gorinda.” They’re getting married and moving to, surprisingly, Utah. In the process of clearing her stuff out of her house, Gorinda realized that her bike was missing. She asked her roommates (also Mormons) about it, and it turned out one of them was responsible. His first name derives from an ancient British tribe, and his last name rhymes with a He-Man character, so we’ll call him “Pict Fisto.”

Pict had been cleaning out the garage a few months earlier, and he decided to “save space” by taking the bike down from its hooks on the wall and stashing it in a remote corner of the backyard. Remote enough that Gorinda never noticed it, and this being Seattle, it rusted away. Pict finally decided that if it belonged to any of his housemates, somebody would’ve said something, so he donated it to the community by leaving it in the front yard where it would be taken.

When all this came to light, Gorinda decided that a trip to small claims court was in order. It was a $700 bike, and whatever promises Pict made, it was best to get a legal guarantee before she left the state. So she put the process in motion, but part of the process was Pict being served papers, and he can’t be served by anyone involved in the case.

Of course this is where we came in.

John and I decided that serving legal papers would be a fine way to while away a Saturday morn, so we duded ourselves up in shirts and slacks and ties, bought matching two-dollar sunglasses, and found a nice clipboard to complete the ensemble. (Since we both own iPods, we contemplated the idea of each wearing just one white earbud, but as the photo shows, we didn’t. I’m still not sure we made the right choice.)

We even had a little act prepared. I’d do all the talking, and John would be my paper-bearing assistant, thusly:

ME: [knock on door]
GUY: [opens door] Hello?
ME: Hello, is there a mister Pict…. [pause]
JOHN: [checks papers] Fisto.
ME: …Fisto here?

And so on. Which is exactly how it went. It turns out Pict wasn’t home, but giving the papers to his roommate was still allowed. (And when the time came, John handed the papers to me first, then I immediately handed them to the roommate.) We took down the roommate’s name, thanked him as tersely as we could manage, and left. All in all, I think we kept the best poker faces we could, but we were a little put off by how casually the roommate seemed to take it. He was all smiles a “Hey what’s up,” which is the problem with Mormons – the sight of two tie-wearing young men on their doorstep is all too ordinary in their world.

But we heard later on that he apparently bought it – he totally thought Gorinda had had some sort of officials carry out her business. Which makes me really happy. The court date’s this Wednesday, so we’ll see how it all turns out. I’m just glad to have done my part for Justice.

(Blind or not, every anthropomorphic female representation of an abstract concept’s crazy ’bout a sharp-dressed man.)