Hyacinth Macaw, prosecuting attorney and generally unpleasant person, stood up at her document-laden table and made an announcement: “I’m ready to cross-examine the witness on the stand.”
Judge Pearline Soufflé did not stand up at her hand-carved bench, one that was not laden with anything because she was older than dirt, having seen it all at least twice and therefore had no need for reference materials. People stood for her, not the other way around. “You’re out of order, Ms. Macaw.”
Hyacinth: “But I haven’t even presented anything yet.” Her face squished up in that pinched expression that disagreeable people have when things don’t immediately go their way.
Pearline: “I’m aware of that. I’m merely addressing the fact that there isn’t a witness on the stand at this time. There is no one for you to cross-examine. Ergo, out of order. Now, in order for us to move forward and possibly forget your ineptitude, which I won’t, you’ll need to get a witness on the stand. At which point you can then examine the witness. The cross-examining will then be done by your counterpart at the other table, assuming he has any interest in the matter. Do you see how this works?”
Hyacinth, flustered, fiddled with a stack of notecards until she found the one that may or may not prove her savior. “Oh. I see where I missed a step or two. Thank you for the course correction. I’d like to call a witness to the stand.”
Pearline: “I think we’re all aware of that at this point. Let’s expedite this process before I declare a mistrial out of sheer annoyance.”
Hyacinth took a deep breath. “I’d like to call Brian Lageose to the stand.”
A collective gasp arose from the packed audience, partly because it was always fun to overreact in social situations but mostly because no one had any idea who this person might be. Heads turned and mouths whispered, speculation brewing. Was it some type of mafia person? A foreign prince? Maybe it was a porn star!
I suddenly stopped typing. Wait a minute. That’s my name. I looked up from my laptop.
Hyacinth, with her now-smirky face, and Pearline, with her never-ending boredom face, were both glaring in my direction. How either of them got in my house, never mind the entire courtroom, was a bit unsettling. Perhaps it was time I change the locks on the doors.
Judge Pearline, impatient: “Are you waiting for a red carpet to be unrolled?”
Me: “But… I’m the one doing the writing. And the plot doesn’t involve me. Because it’s a story that’s not about me. I’m really missing something here.”
Pearline, exasperated: “Well, sometimes life doesn’t work out the way you planned. Get off your ass and take the stand.”
I reluctantly did so.
Hyacinth and her smirk were not reluctant at all, rushing up to the witness box in a zealous manner, as if I was the last fried chicken leg at a church picnic. “How dare you deny the fact that you have not responded to comments on your last three blogs!”
What the hell? “I’m not denying that at all. In fact, on the third of those three blogs, I willingly admitted that I had been slow with the comments but I would make up for it.”
Hyacinth raced back to her table and snatched up one of her voluminous and beloved documents. “I have a copy of that suspect third blog right here. And there is no mention of why you haven’t responded to comments on the previous two blogs. This is an outrage and I recommend the maximum punishment, Your Honor.”
Me: “Yes, there is a mention. It’s down in the footnote, but-”
The audience gasped once again.
Hyacinth, riding high on the adrenaline of the self-centered energy that powers many of the delusional far-right conspiracy theorists: “No one reads the fine print, you worthless hack. No one!”
Me, becoming slightly desperate: “But the folks who follow my blogs are lovely people who generally read everything, at least in my own mind. I can’t imagine that anyone was upset by-”
Hyacinth was nearly apoplectic, on the verge of a self-righteous orgasm: “Lies! All lies! You owe the people of this country an explanation for your abhorrent behavior!”
This was entirely too much. I turned, with beseeching hazel eyes, toward Judge Pearline. She seemed a kindred soul, as we both did not care for annoyingly useless people. Sadly, she proved kindred in a way that I did not expect, nor relish.
Pearline: “I’m a blogger as well, having published my thoughts on Pearline’s Pearls for the last seven years.” (She turned to the court reporter. “Be sure to include a link in the official transcript. I better see a spike in traffic stats or you are not getting a raise this year.” The court reporter winked conspiratorially, because they tight.) She turned back to me. “I would never dream of not responding to comments. It simply isn’t done unless you are one of those wretched vanity-blog hooligans who don’t care about anything but pictures of themselves ordering sushi. Explain yourself at once.”
I gathered my thoughts while a string quartet, courtesy of the Hallmark Channel, began to play on the soundtrack. (Tori Spelling slipped into the courtroom and took a seat, giving me a thumbs-up before the Court Artist realized she was there and shifted his focus in her direction, sketching away.)
Me: “Okay. On the first blog that I didn’t respond to, the one where I got a bit emotional and fessed up to the pressures of posting a blog every day, I was actually overwhelmed by the comments. So many people were so kind with the thoughts they shared, truly kind, letting me know that whatever I wanted to do was good enough for them. As a writer, I can’t begin to explain how much that meant to me. I was at a loss on how to respond, as I wanted to say the same thing with every comment: Thank you so much for taking the time to be supportive and encouraging me to write with conviction and not a deadline. So, I didn’t respond, afraid that I couldn’t think of enough clever ways to thank them all without getting repetitive.”
Hyacinth, motioning for the string quartet to stop playing, because it might work against her, as if her attitude wasn’t enough of a deterrent: “Fake news! You’re only saying these things to spin the story and reinforce your deceitful agenda.” (Sarah Huckabee Sanders slipped into the courtroom and sat behind Hyacinth, giving another thumbs-up.)
Judge Pearline: “I suppose I might be softening a bit, which is hard to believe since I’m older than the invention of the telephone. But still, what about that second post where you didn’t respond to comments, the one where you actually kicked off a writing challenge and then went dark, not bothering to provide any further direction?”
I nodded. “I get that bit of perceived malfeasance. But it’s another example of me trying to avoid repetition with the interaction. My response to all of the lovely folks who volunteered was going to follow the same line: Once I dutifully provide the three random words to each participant, and they have created a lovely story involving such, they can either proffer their efforts by sending an email to BonnywoodManor@gmail.com or, if they are not comfortable with sharing their email address with me, which I fully understand, they can simply post the piece on their own blog and let me know of such, so I can then share it on Bonnywood.”
Tori Spelling, in the audience, raising her hand even though no one asked her to do so: “I fully understand having to explain yourself after a series of poor decisions, which is basically my entire life. I feel we should give Byron the benefit of the doubt, as long as he disperses the three words to the participants and agrees to only buy organic cheese.”
Me: “The name’s Brian, by the way. Anyway, I promise to start dispersing first thing in the morning, assuming that I leave this courtroom in something other than an orange jumpsuit, filled with the hope that everyone has read all of the posts involved with this mess and life will go on with some degree of sanity.”
Hyacinth, still on the cusp of self-righteous orgasm: “Lies! All lies! None of this fits my personal vindictive agenda and I insist on making things up that will sway the clueless into voting for me and-”
Judge Pearline: “Knock it off. It’s not like you’re the sitting president of this country. Still…” She turned to me. “I can’t let you off the hook with total immunity. We’ll leave it up to the people to decide, a refreshing idea that most Congressmen have long since forgotten. If you can get ten people to comment in a positive manner on this post, you can avoid the orange jumpsuit.”
Me, gulping: “I think that might happen.”
Judge Pearline: “You sound a little hesitant.”
Me, remembering what keeps me at the keyboard: “I know it will happen. I have the best followers, ever.”
Valerie Bertinelli, another Hallmark Channel alum, slipped into the courtroom and took a seat beside Tori Spelling. “Sorry, traffic sucked. Did I miss anything?”
Tori: “I don’t think so. Something about a guy with focus issues. But hey, this sketch artist is really good. Did you bring any sushi with you?”
Addendum: I initially forgot to mention that the name for the prosecuting attorney was inspired my Miss Gentileschi’s unrelated blog post, found here. I just couldn’t resist taking the name and running with it…
Categories: My Life