“THWACK!!” The judge brought his gavel down with a resounding ... “THWACK!”
All heads looked up in the crowded courtroom, and Bernie Shapiro, the defense counsel, who had just risen to begin his side of the case, waited to see what was wrong.
“My purpose in calling the court to order at this time is to remark on the lateness of the hour.” The judge removed the stopper from his water pitcher and poured himself a glass. The pungent scent of juniper could be detected as far back as the second row of spectator seats.
“The Prosecution’s case against the defendant seems powerful strong to me,” he said soberly. “Therefore, I see no reason for this trial to continue. It’s late in the day and in the effort to conserve energy, the Justice Department here in Cactus County has already decided to turn the air-conditioning off at 3:30 PM in this very courtroom we’re sitting in.”
The jury groaned and began fanning themselves with their notebooks. The judge then turned to Attorney Shapiro. “Mr. Shapiro, I see you standing. Do you have something you want to say?”
Mr. Shapiro ran his finger around his neck inside the collar, and in a timid voice mentioned the fact that his defense of the accused was a necessary component of equality under the law of justice and he would therefore respectfully suggest .... etc. ... etc.
“Justice, yes ... by the way, that’s my middle name Mr. Shapiro. I know a few things about justice let me tell you. When I say it’s late, it’s late. And when I say it’s over, it’s over. Do I make myself clear?” The Judge refilled his glass and noted that the pitcher had run dry. “My, where has the afternoon gone,” he remarked.
Attorney Shapiro shuffled his papers. “But my client, your honor ... is the jury going to render its decision without hearing his side of the case?”
“This is Texas, Mr. Shapiro. We don’t take kindly to lawyers down here and the less we hear from them the better. It’s my intention to render a verdict and a suitable sentence right here and now without the jury retiring to the jury room to debate. They’ll only get into an argument or start playing cards back there and somebody’s liable to get hurt. “Besides,” he added, “my water pitcher’s run dry.”
“But, your Honor ... justice must be served ...” attorney Shapiro’s notes trembled in his hand.
“Listen up, Shapiro ... and you too, defendant––whatever your name is. The verdict is guilty, get used to it. Guilty of exceeding 55 kilometers per hour on a state road in Cactus County––that’s 32 miles per hour on your speedometer, by the way ... we use the metric scale down here in Cactus County ... when it suits us. You were also wearing Calvin Klein jeans and a silk Italian shirt. Men are not permitted to wear female items of attire down here. Furthermore, you were driving a Japanese car!”
Judge Justice consulted his ledger. “Now as to sentence ... I think 90 days at hard labor chained to illegal Mexican immigrants clearin’ brush on former President George W. Bush’s ranch would cover the penalty.”
“This court is adjourned ... THWACK.”