The Trial, Part 3

Read Part 2 here.

*Dexter, the talking chinchilla, takes his place on the witness stand.*

Bailiff: “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

Dexter, the Talking Chinchilla: “…”

Bailiff: “Your honor, the witness is unresponsive. Permission to treat him as hostile?”

Justice Byclericalerror: “Miss Downarrow, would you care to explain this witness’s behavior?”

Prosecutor Downarrow: “He’s a talking chinchilla, your honor.”

JB: “Then why is he not talking?”

PD: “As the world’s only talking chinchilla, Dexter has been subjected to isolation and persecution all his life. As a result, he has made a life choice to never speak. He self-identifies as mute.”

JB: “That’s a thing?”

PD: “It is, now. And, naturally, any attempt to make him speak would out you as worse than Hitler.”

JB: “But it could take hours to get a sign language interpreter in here.”

PD: “He doesn’t know sign language. He’s just a chinchilla, your honor.”

JB: “Miss Downarrow, this is a subpoenaed witness. He cannot refuse to testify. How do you expect to question him if he won’t talk?”

PD: “There is legal precedent for this. In cases such as this one, the court and everyone present are instructed to listen with their hearts.”

JB: “That sounds suspiciously like feel-good new-age Disney garbage.”

PD: “It’s standard procedure, your honor.”

JB: *Sigh* “Then it appears we have no choice but to proceed with this circus. Prosecution, your witness.”

Testimony: Dexter

PD: “Please state your name for the court.”

Dexter, the Talking Chinchilla: “…”

PD: “And what is your relationship to the victim in this case, Dr. Horatio Heliogabalus?”

Dexter, the Talking Chinchilla: “…”

PD: “And how long were you in his care?”

Dexter, the Talking Chinchilla: “…”

PD: “Tell me, Dexter: where were you at the time of the doctor’s death?”

Dexter, the Talking Chinchilla: “…”

*I grit my teeth.*

PD: “And who else was present at that scene?”

Dexter, the Talking Chinchilla: “…”

That’s not true.

Mr. Devil’s Advocate: “Mr. Horne, control yourself. This is a courtroom.”

But he’s lying. The chinchilla is lying, and they’re letting him lie.

Mr. DA: “We can expose his lies during cross examination, but right now, we need to shut up and listen.”

PD: “You saw Dr. Heliogabalus die. How did it happen?”

Dexter, the Talking Chinchilla: “…”

PD: “And who set the bombs?”

Dexter, the Talking Chinchilla: “…”

PD: “And at what point did he set them off?”

Dexter, the Talking Chinchilla: “…”

THAT’S WRONG! IT WAS SELF-DEFENSE, I SWEAR.

*Leers at the chinchilla.*

I’LL KILL YOU! I’LL KILL EVERYONE IN THIS COURTROOM!

JB: “Bailiff, restrain the defendant.”

Bailiff: “With pleasure.”

Wait—let me testify.

JB: “Bailiff!”

No, seriously: let me testify. I want the court to hear my side of the story.

Mr. DA: “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Mr. Horne, as your attorney I have to counsel against this. The fifth amendment exists for a reason. Testifying at your own trial is never a good idea.”

That doesn’t matter. The court was stacked against me from the beginning. I want to testify. I’ll do it right now.

JB: “Counsel, have you properly advised your client on how to conduct himself in my courtroom? Mr. Horne, you are not allowed to interrupt the testimony of another witness, especially considering it is the prosecution’s turn to…”

PD: “No objections.”

JB: “What?”

PD: “The prosecution does not object to the defendant’s request. The current witness can be cross-examined later, at your honor’s discretion. We humbly ask that Mr. Horne be allowed to testify in his own defense.”

Mr. DA: “Objection! My client is clearly not in his right mind. This is a ploy by the prosecution to trick him into incriminating himself.”

PD: “If it pleases the court, the prosecution requests a short recess to convene with the defense and address this issue. I will remind your honor that I came to this prosecution as an emergency last-minute appointment, and have not had an opportunity for proper discovery.”

JB: “Very well. The prosecution and defense shall take this time to convene and discuss the procedure of their respective cases. However, I’m sure I needn’t warn you against instigating any kind of collusion.”

PD: “No worries, your honor. Collusion is the last thing on my mind.” *Turns to Mr. Devil’s Advocate* “Come alone, Brady.”

BRADY?!?!

Mr. DA: “Now look what you’ve gotten me into.”

*He sulkily follows the prosecutor out of the courtroom.*