TUESDAY: Pro Se

BY MILES WHITE

Copyright is held by the author.

IF IT pleases the court, I call my first witness, Mr. Larry Tye, Bud said. I believe he is sitting right over there fondling my wife. Cackles. Larry gave Bud a sour look as he walked up, got sworn in and took the stand. Bud paused for dramatic effect. Larry is your legal name is it not, Mr. Tye? Bud said. Larry told him it was actually Laurence, but everybody called him Larry. May I call you Larry? Bud said.

You been calling me that for 25 years so I suppose you can do it now, Larry said. The courthouse snickered. The judge ordered order.

Now then, Larry, would you tell the court exactly what happened on the night you say I punched you in the nose?

You did punch me in the nose, Larry said. Can’t you see how it’s still swole up? Giggles. The judge smashed his gavel.

Well, then, Larry, how exactly did I strike you?

Larry looked puzzled. You cold cocked me with a right when I wasn’t looking.

Bud made a note. And why were you not looking? Bud asked.

Because I was trying to tie my robe on, Larry said.

Bud went to the defense table and picked up a red silk robe. Your honour, I submit this be marked as Exhibit A unless the State wishes to object. The P.A. rolled his eyes.

Duly noted, the judge said.

Now then, Bud said. Is this the robe you were wearing that night?

Larry said Sure it is. Can’t you see my blood on it from when you punched me?

Bud made another note. And whose robe is this?

Larry said, Well, I guess it’s yours. It was in your bathroom. The courthouse fell out. The judge banged.

And what were you doing in my bathroom? Bud said.

Hiding from you, Larry said. The judge threatened to clear the courtroom.

And why were you hiding from me? Bud said.

Larry turned red. Well, I was up there with your wife. There were catcalls. The judge cleared the last row.

No more questions for this witness, Bud said. The defense calls Mrs. Millie Blake. Millie gasped and walked to the witness stand.

You son of a bitch, she said.

Your honour, I think Millie here ought to be regarded as a hostile witness, Bud said.

The judge said: Fine, get on with it.

Now then, Bud said. How long have we been married?

Millie said: 20 years I’m sorry to say. The judge cleared more rows.

Did you ever give me a silk robe? Bud said.

You know very well I did, she said. You just showed it to everybody.

Bud said, just so. Honey, was Larry wearing this robe the night I hit him?

She hesitated. I guess he was, she said.

And did you give it to him?

Millie said no. I heard you coming up the stairs and I told him to hide in the bathroom. The judge banged.

And when I found him he was wearing this robe?

She said yes.

Did you tell him to put it on?

No, she said.

So when I punched Larry in the nose, he was in possession of stolen property, my property, this robe right here.

Millie said: Well, since you put it that way.

Bud turned to the judge. Your honour, I ask the court to dismiss the charges against the defendant — me — because not only was the plaintiff fornicating with my wife but he was committing petty larceny. Hell, I didn’t hit him because he was banging Millie. I hit him because the son of a bitch put on my good robe while he was doing it. People rolled in the aisles. The judge banged, but even the bailiffs were howling.

The judge looked at Millie. Do you disagree with the characterization of these events? She shook her head, mortified. The judge didn’t bother with the gavel. Then get up and get the hell out of my courtroom, he said. All of y’all.

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