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 consistently failed to finish the serialized stories that you launch on Bonnywood and then completely abandon?”
What the hell? “I’m not denying that at all. In fact, on the last serialized story that I abandoned, or perhaps I should say ‘temporarily forgot about’, I willingly admitted that I needed some time to figure out the rest of the plot and then I… temporarily forgot about it. For a few months.”
Hyacinth raced back to her table and snatched up one of her voluminous and beloved documents. “I have a copy of that last cliff-hanger of a blog post right here. And there is no mention of why you were about to ghost your readers. 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 finishing a story that I had started. 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 whilst 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. Um. Well, I should probably start by saying that I often have grand ideas but then I get stuck on a plot point and I’m not sure where I want to take things, so I park that long-ass story in a follow-up folder. And then… suddenly it’s three months later and I no longer remember the overall plot, never mind the specific point. I’m getting old. If I can wake up in the morning and can still remember my name, it’s a good day.”
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.” (Rudy Giuliani slipped into the courtroom and sat behind Hyacinth, giving another thumbs-up.)
Judge Pearline: “I suppose I might be softening a tad, which is hard to believe since I’m also older than the invention of the telephone. But still, what about all those posts where you mention in the comments that you have a nostalgic bit of nonsense to share, but then you never share that bit. Your trustworthiness is in dire need of repair, something I often say to members of the Republican Party. You, sir, are no Ray Bradbury.”
I nodded, acknowledging the crushing of another one of my dream goals as well as Pearline’s manipulation of a famous quote for her own good. “I get that bit of perceived malfeasance, truly I do. But you have to realize that, when I’m commenting on comments, I really intend to do as I say. (Alcohol may or may not be involved, let’s just get real about the nature of the beast.) It’s just the follow-ups where I fail to stick the landing after launching my ass off the balance beam of good intentions.”
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 agrees to stop starring in Lifetime movies with ludicrous titles and plots that do not reflect reality in any way.”
Me: “Thanks for the half-ass, self-involved support, Tori. Anyway, I promise to start redeeming myself 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 former 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 mention the name of even one of the serialized stories you have shared on Bonnywood, 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: 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…
Addendum II: I’m really curious about whether or not the comments will generate the names of ten DIFFERENT serialized Bonnywood stories. There have been tons over the years. You don’t have to be precise with names of the series, just a general description will do. Can you save me from incarceration? It would be swell of you to do so… 😉
Categories: My Life