(A Fourth of July Multipart Special!)
“All rise for the honorable Judge Jonathan Marks”
The judge looked to be anything other than honorable as he walked in casually, his judge robes barely hanging on to his copious frame, while he munched on a croissant sandwich.
“Yes, yes, sit everyone. Good God, you people won’t let me eat my sandwich with your formalities” he muttered.
Even his voice sounded like a cheap, squeaky, knock-off of a British accent. Despite his appearance, Judge Marks was actually quite interested in hearing this case. This was bound to be interesting, from what he already knew about the parties involved.
“Alright, what have we got here? The case of Jason Reynolds vs Jerk Airways. Hmm. I feel like I’m going to quite enjoy this. Is the jury ready? Would they like anything? Some coffee, tea perhaps? I usually like a glass of whisky before one of these cases. It really gets the blood flowing.”
The bailiff simply stared back at him with his mouth hanging open. This judge was rather unorthodox.
“I’ll take that as a yes. Ok, so let’s skip past the boring stuff, we know that Jason Reynolds has filed suit against Jerk Airways, for the following reasons, and I quote, ‘Jerk Airways is illegal, due to the way literally everything is run’, is that correct plaintiff?”
Jason Reynold’s lawyer, Mike Anderson, stood up.
“Yes your honor, that is correct”
“Oh good! I wouldn’t want to deal with that not being the case! Alright, and now for the defendant, Jerk Airways. What have you got to say for yourselves? Any pleadings?”
In classic Jerk Airways style, the lawyer representing Jerk Airways was quite the man. The lawyer looked to be anything but a lawyer. Dressed in faded jeans and a leather jacket with large gold chains adorning his muscular frame, he looked to be more of a mobster rather than a lawyer. He rose.
“I don’t think we did anything your honor” he said in a thick New York Bronx accent.
The judge was very interested now.
“Good sir, your name is…”
“Full name’s Johnathan Capone. You can call me Johnny though”
“Ah yes, Mr. Capone, sorry, Johnny, are you new to law?”
“I’m not new to the law. I know it pretty well actually. I’ve broken enough laws to know it pretty well. Usually I’m sitting there where the defendant is. I’ve been defended so many times that I’ve learned a thing or two about defense. I decided that I could cut some costs on my own operations if I started representing myself as a defense lawyer, cause I don’t gotta threaten some guy or keep some slime ball on my payroll. Plus I can make some money on the side too. This is my first time representin’ somebody though”
The bailiff was aghast. He couldn’t believe what Jerk Airways was doing.
“Wait a minute! Are you saying that Jerk Airways hired a criminal, gangster, mobster to be a lawyer?” asked a mortified bailiff.
“Yeah. How better to defend yourself from the law than use a guy like me, eh?” retorted Capone with a smirk.
“I share my bailiff’s curiosity. This is quite interesting. Any relation to Alphonse Capone?” asked Judge Marks, who seemed increasingly oblivious to the fact that the feared mobster, Johnny Capone, was today here in the role of a lawyer.
“Yea he was my grand dad. Pappa Al we used to call him”
“I would certainly love to hear more from you sir! Perhaps after the case, over tea? Are the stories about Al Capone true? Oh, oh, how accurate do you think Boardwalk Empire was?”
Judge Marks was clearly more interested in hearing Capone’s stories rather than the case. Before Capone could respond, Anderson rose.
“Your honor, perhaps we should begin the case? I’m sure there’s plenty of time afterwards for listening to Capone’s life story, perhaps in his own court case”
Judge Marks seemed offended.
“How rude of you!” he said.
Capone turned to Anderson.
“Hey wise guy, can’t youse see that we’re havin’ a chat here? You shouldn’t interrupt. It’s bad manners” said Capone.
“We aren’t here to chat about your life. We’re here to argue a case”
“Alright, let’s argue, with my boot up your ass, wise guy” growled Capone.
Judge Marks banged his gavel.
“Quite everyone! Alright, alright, we’ll start the case! God. Can’t even have a decent conversation these days.”
Judge Marks beckoned one of his aides to come closer.
“Run to the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts, get 2 boxes of assorted donuts from them. Oh, would anyone else like anything? Johnny, perhaps you’d like to try some croissant sandwiches?”
“Nah I’m good your honor. I just had breakfast” said Capone.
“Oh, all good then. Anyone else? Jury?” asked Judge Marks.
“Could I get an everything bagel with cream cheese?” yelled a man from the jury.
Everyone stared at the man. The bailiff looked as if he might just strangle the man on the spot.
“What? I’m hungry, and he’s asking” said the juror.
“Oh don’t worry yourself, that’s why I asked good sir! How about you Anderson? It’ll do your uptight self some good” asked Judge Marks.
The bailiff looked as if he might faint any minute.
“I’d rather we start, if it’s all good with you judge” said Anderson.
“Oh you’re hopeless, aren’t you? Oh alright, have it your way, you ninny noggins! Off you go then! And don’t be late or I’ll hold you in contempt of court! Your opening remarks then, Anderson”
Mike Anderson got up as the aide scurried away to go buy the food from Dunkin’ Donuts. He straightened his tie, and with a smug look on his face, walked up to face the judge and the jury.
“Your honor, may it please the court. Does an airline have any responsibilities? Don’t they owe it to their customers to give them basic service? Don’t they owe their passengers basic decency? Or do we sign that all away to ‘airline rules’ when we purchase a ticket with an airline? You are here today to answer that question. My client, Jason Reynolds, was one such passenger, onboard Jerk Airways flight to Beijing, when he experience the most vicious, denigrating, painful, and discriminatory experiences that any airline has ever had.”
Before Anderson could continue, Capone yelled out.
The bailiff almost collapsed right there. Anderson gave Capone a stare of utter contempt.
“Excuse me Capone. I know that people like you don’t know much about law, but it’s my turn to speak right now” said Anderson.
“Now, as I was saying, my client expected to arrive at Beijing without broken bones, bruises, and without the pain and horror of the discrimination, mistreatment, and indecency of Jerk Airways”
Once more, Capone called out.
“We never said how you’d get there!”
Anderson gritted his teeth. The bailiff looked increasingly nauseous.
“Your honor, this is not proper conduct of any lawyer” said Anderson.
“Oh for once Anderson does have a point. Johnny, as much as I like you, I would like to remind you that this is my court, and not the presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Please, let him finish, and you’ll get your chance to make your own arguments”
Capone simply dismissed that with a wave of his hand. Anderson continued.
“Do people not expect basic decency from businesses? Basic dignity? Basic human rights? Our founding fathers expected that we should have as much, so it is written in the Constitution, in the Bill of Rights. What you have in front of you are vile, greedy, humans who care nothing for others. They simply pretend to care for you. They pretend and then once they have your money, nobody cares anymore. What right do airlines have to treat people like cattle? What right do airlines have to squeeze as many people onboard a plane as they can? What right do airlines have to mistreat and discriminate? You must choose today, between human rights, or corporate greed. Thank you.”
Anderson sat down. Judge Marks seemed to be bored.
“Well Anderson, if law doesn’t work out for you, you certainly have a career in TV drama or politics ahead of you, though I’d start with TV drama first, then go into politics, since it seems to be the best route these days. Alright then. Johnny, your opening remarks sir.”
Capone got up, straightened his gold chains, and walked over to the jury as if he was going on a hit with his mob.
“Well now that drama queen here is finished, ” said Capone.
Anderson’s face turned bright red with anger.
“Let me tell you like it is. All that bullshit he told you about human rights and crap like that? That’s all it is. Bullshit. It’s just some jackass who bitches too much tryin’ ta get attention. That’s it” said Capone.
Capone started to walk off, then remembered one more thing.
“Thank you” said Capone. He then walked back and sat down.
This time the bailiff actually did fall over. He did manage to get back up, with great effort.
“Objection Your Honor. That entire opening statement was argumentative!” screeched Anderson.
“But it was damned well better than yours. It was concise and to the point! Alright, it was somewhat profane, but who isn’t these days? Overruled.” retorted Judge Marks.
“But, but, Your Honor?” wailed Anderson.
“No buts! Get yours back on that chair before I hold you in contempt of court!” said Judge Marks.
Anderson, now looking like a sad puppy, sat down.
“Alright, now onwards with the case! AH! There it is!” jumped Judge Marks with glee.
“Your Honor?” asked Anderson.
“My donuts! Come here plebe!” snapped Judge Marks.
The aide had returned, loaded like a pack mule with donuts and coffee. He somehow managed to scurry forward through the courtroom to deliver the donuts to Judge Marks.
“Don’t forget that gentlemen’s bagel!” snapped Judge Marks.
The aide scurried to the juror who asked for his bagel. The juror took his bagel and gave the aide 5 dollars as a tip. The aide bowed gratefully, then scurried to his position behind the judge.
“Now we can continue!” said Judge Marks between mouthfuls of donuts. “Anderson! Your first witness!”
“Thank you Your Honor. I’d like to call Jason Reynolds to the stand.”
Jason Reynolds got up. His head, his arm, and his leg were all wrapped in casts. He had definitely seen better days. He hobbled over to the witness stand, helped by the increasingly sickly looking bailiff.
“Swear him in!” ordered Judge Marks.
The bailiff swore in Jason. Anderson then walked up to the witness stand.
“Could you tell us your name, for the record?”
“My name is Jason Reynolds”
“Ok Jason, now tell us what happened on June 12th, 2017”
“Well, I needed to go to Beijing for business purposes, so my company booked a flight for me. These days, United tickets are getting more expensive, especially with their insurance plans. So I decided to book with Jerk Airways. The boarding process started off with a man dressed like a cowboy getting up on his desk and only allowing those who could beat him in rock, paper, scissors, to board first. Then the rest of us were herded onboard with cattle prods and whips. We were then squeezed in onboard like canned vegetables. The pilot was apparently a former stunt driver, and flew the plane like he drives. He did barrel rolls, loops, and even put the flight into zero g. Even his take off and landings seemed to be optimized for bone breakage. I could go on, but that’s the general gist of it”.
“Did you expect to be treated this way?” asked Anderson.
“No, I did not expect to be treated like this. I’m still recovering from my ordeal”
“Thank you, no further questions Your Honor”
Anderson sat down, looking smug, as if he’d already won the case right there and then.
“Alright. Johnny! Your witness!” squealed Judge Marks.
Once more, Capone got up, and walked over to Jason as if he was walking with his mob on a hit.
“Seems like everybody with Anderson here is a fucking drama queen. Alright, what’s your name again?” seethed Capone.
“Jason Reynolds” said an unfazed Jason Reynolds.
“Right then Jason. So you know what this airline is called, right? Tell us again, in case there’s some dumbass here who don’t know” said Capone.
“I booked my ticket with Jerk Airways…” said Jason cautiously.
“Alright, so it’s called Jerk Airways. How much did you pay for this ticket?” asked Capone.
“I paid 5 dollars for this ticket” replied Jason.
“Ok, so you paid only 5 dollars for this ticket, and you yourself said it’s because it’s cheaper than other airlines, right?”
“Yea…” said Jason, not liking where this was going.
“Ok, so this question is for any smart-ass in this court. What the fuck did you expect when you booked a ticket with an airline called Jerk Airways and paid only 5 dollars for it? Are youse fucking stupid or something?” snapped Capone.
The bailiff fainted. Anderson’s smug expression had changed. His mouth was literally hanging open. Jason looked stunned. As stunned as a man wrapped heavily in casts could, in any event. Anderson recovered after a few minutes to voice his objections.
“Uh, objection your honor! I could probably voice 15 objections, but let’s start with calls to speculation and leading the witness on!” stuttered Anderson.
“Well he does have a point.” said Judge Marks, gesturing to Capone. “Overruled! And someone get the bailiff back on his feet again!”
Anderson sat back down. The aide scurried out of the court room and returned with a bucket of water. He poured the water on the bailiff. The bailiff woke with a start, arms flailing. The aide hauled the bailiff to his feet, then scurried back to his position behind Judge Marks.
“I, uh, don’t know” said an utterly stunned Jason Reynolds.
“Well thanks for nothing wise guy. I’m done with this smart ass” growled Capone.
“Alright, can we get this walking mummy off the stand then!?” snapped Judge Marks.
As the increasingly paler bailiff hauled Jason off of the witness stand, Anderson stood up again.
“Your Honor, I implore you, this is no way to run a court! This man has shown blatant disregard for every single courtroom procedure! He’s broken more laws than I have fingers to count on just standing here! The Founding Fathers are spinning in their graves right now! Please your honor!” pleaded Anderson.
Judge Marks looked unfazed.
“Oh Anderson, come now, he’s made some rather good points” yawned Marks.
“Please your honor!” pleaded Anderson once more. He seemed on the verge of tears.
Before Judge Marks could reply, Capone responded.
“Oh look, the fucking drama queen’s at it again! Want me to get you a napkin? Maybe a diaper too? Aww, is he gonna cry?” Capone was toying with Anderson.
Anderson suddenly looked angry.
“Your Honor, please tell this man to restrain himself” said Anderson through gritted teeth.
“Johnny, my boy, this might not be the best way to go about things” started Judge Marks.
But Capone dismissed them all with a wave of his hand.
“Ohh, looks like baby faced Anderson’s angry now! Aww, he’s so cute when he’s angry! Is he gonna kick out? Huh, oh he looks like he’s gonna pee himself!” roared Capone with laughter as he got in Anderson’s face.
Anderson then punched Capone. His fist connected with Capone’s jaw, sending him careening across the courtroom. The bailiff put his hand on his chest as if his heart might stop beating if he didn’t give it a helping hand. People suddenly stood up in the courtroom to get a better view. Judge Marks pulled out his iPhone and started recording. Capone recovered rather quickly.
“OH IT’S ON MOTHERFUCKER!” he roared in fury.
Capone jumped across the courtroom and started throwing punches at Anderson. The bailiff ran to try to separate the two. The Jerk Airways staff at the defendant’s table started chanting:
“FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!”
It seemed that they saw this more as a wrestling match than a courtroom. Judge Marks squealed with delight. Then, the courtroom does burst open. Capone’s mobsters had entered the room, carrying machine guns and pistols. They fired some shots into the ceiling. They were clearly angry that anyhow had the gall to punch their boss. Judge Marks jumped under his table, while somehow still smashing his gavel on the table and started screaming:
People started screaming. Chaos ensued. Somehow, the Jerk Airways staff still seemed unfazed. Then, the hero of Jerk Airways, or villain, depending on your perspective, the cowboy, jumped up on the table with a megaphone in hand and started talking calmly.
“May I have your attention please? May I have your attention please?”
Somehow, the courtroom chaos stopped for a minute.
“Alrighty everybody, now that y’all aren’t killin’ one another…”
Judge Marks saw his opportunity. He crawled out from under his table and yelled.
“THIS SESSION IS OVER! WE WILL RECONVENE NEXT WEEK! JOHNNY AND ANDERSON WILL MEET ME BEFORE THAT SESSION STARTS! NOW GET OUT! ALL OF YOU! YOU! AIDE! WHERE ARE YOU!?”
The aide poked his head out from the side of the chandelier. Apparently he had somehow managed to jump onto the chandelier and was hiding there, waiting for the chaos to end.
End of part 1.