Friday, 14 November 2014

Guest Post - Andy Paine

Continuing this mini-series of guest posts by indie authors, I'm very pleased to introduce Andy Paine - another writer I first encountered through Authonomy. He's a fellow member of the Comedy Literature Only Group (CLOG) and were it not for the fact that he has a tendency to gloat about Australia's superior weather, I think I'd be nominating him for some kind of award about now.

Over to you, Mr Paine.

My writing can be summed up I think most accurately as ‘happy nonsense,’ or perhaps as ‘deliberately uncouth’, or maybe as one reader suggested, ‘totally crap.’ When Rob asked me to contribute to his blog, I said to myself, ‘I’m gonna need prunes!’ 

I am a firm believer in the concept that language can and should be fun. Just say the word ‘bubbler’ out loud and you’ll see what I mean.  There is a real magic to be had in silliness, and in that vein, here is a snippet of my novel ‘Bad Business,’ a book that lampoons anything it crosses paths with (for scientific research of course!). This is perhaps the silliest scene in the book, but when I was picking a scene, I said to myself, you should pick the silliest scene in the book, and so I did.

A big thanks to Rob, for the continuing support, and for sharing my passion for irreverence.

From 'Bad Business'

The Judge banged his gavel on the hard wooden desk with impatience, giggling automatically with delight at the noise, before he straightened up and put on his serious face. His father had roused him yesterday for not being serious enough, and he was adamant he would not fail again. With a clear voice he called for the representatives, which he had just learned was what the men that talked all the time were called. Slowly the quiet humdrum of voices in the courtroom died down. To his right Bob saw a giant duck walking forward, his suit tattered and cheap, with dirty yellow and white feathers pouring from the cuffs. His bill was quivering, and it was clear that he was nervous.

“Mr Duck for the guilty party,” said his public defender. Surely that was not the best way to establish innocence!

“Thank you, sit down Mr Duck,” said the Judge, “and for the prosciutto?”

Bob turned from the sad sight of the sitting Duck, and looked the other way, almost jumping out of his skin as he saw the vampire’s face pressed up against the cage, its eyes staring evilly at him.

“I believe you mean prosecution," said the vampire in his seductive voice. “William Squire the third, Earl of Dunwood,” he added, his eyes never leaving the caged Mr Bobbins. It wasn’t surprising that he had a title, thought Bob, all vampires did. They were centuries old after all.

“Yes quite right, Mr Squire,” said the Judge, scribbling an amendment in his colouring book.

“Mr Duck, your guilty client has been charged with tax evasion, and evasion of a foreclosure notice. How do you plead?” asked the judge.

“We plead via grovelling, Judge,” replied the duck.

“Very well, please begin to beg. Mr Squire, feel free to interrupt at any time.”

“Judge, this is just a simple case of misunderstanding,” began Mr Duck.

“Did you say misappropriation?” interjected the vampire.

“No, misunderstanding,” said the Duck nervously, “Mr Bobbins here attempted to pay his outstanding fees however was unsuccessful. He is willing to pay them now.”

“With what money?” asked the vampire. “If he had money he could have paid the fees already.”

“He has money…” said Mr Duck in response, before being cut off.

“Judge it is clear that this man has also been involved in theft, possibly embezzlement. I seek to add both charges to the charge sheet,” said the vampire.

“I didn’t bring my dictionary, so no dazzle-mans, but you can have theft,” agreed the Judge, “but Mr Squire you should be aware that the principle of Creando lutei scilis applies. The onus is on you to prove guilt.” Judge Awesome looked very happy with himself after that statement. He had clearly read it word for word from his notes.

“Yes Judge, and I believe I can,” said the vampire turning with confidence to face the accused.

“Guilty says what?” he asked in a low rushed voice that Bob couldn’t quite hear.

“What?” Bob replied in confusion. The courtroom collectively emitted a huge gasp.

“Ah ha,” said William Squire the third, pointing at Bob.

“That’s damning evidence Mr Duck; what do you have to say to that?” asked the Judge.

“Well…” said the Duck, stammering with indecision. It was clear to Bob that he didn’t win very many cases. He could ask permission to hire a barrister, but most of them were just partially illiterate coffee enthusiasts, who were too stubborn to admit they made a mistake, so Bob decided to take matters into his own hands.

“Judge Awesome,” said Bob from his cage. “May I have leave to speak?”

“You may speak, but you can’t leave,” replied the Judge.

“I….,” he began, before feigning he could smell something. “What is that smell, it’s powerful, overbearing even.”

“What is it?” asked the judge making sniffing gestures.

“I know… it’s innocence,” said Bob, “I know that smell anywhere.”

“Really?” asked the Judge with interest.

“Yes sir, without a doubt, and may I bring to your attention the legal principle of whoever smelt it, dealt it,” finished Bob with aplomb.

The assembled gallery of spectators oohed and aahed. They had just witnessed some first class lawyering.

The judge nodded his head appreciatively as he wrote something on the page.

William Squire the third was livid. “He’s lying,” he raged.

Bob was ready for him.

“I know you are, you said you are, but what am I?” said Bob.

“By god he’s good,” said Mr Duck in awe.

That was the snapping point for the vampire, as he attacked the cage.

“Blood! I demand blood,” he said angrily, as he reached through the bars for Bob’s neck. He was going for the jugular, which was not altogether unusual for prosecutors.

“Stop that, Squire,” ordered the Judge. “That is the last time I will warn you about trying to murder in my court. One more time and you will receive a time-out!”

“But he’s manipulating the court!”

“No buts!” yelled the Judge. “Laniatus tortulas,” he added, “the Judge is always right!”

William Squire the third sat down, but his glare only increased in intensity. If you have ever been glared at by a vampire you would know just how uncomfortable it can be, especially when you are locked in a precarious steel cage, and have a history of chronic toe cramps.

“Mr Bobbins,” said the Judge in address, and as it so happened also in a dress. Bob looked up as best he could, although his head remained at an angle.

“I have heard enough on this matter, and little lunch is fast approaching. It is clear to me that I am unclear whether you are guilty or not. What I intend to order is that you pay the fine, which according to my papers is…,” he was moving his mouth silently trying to add.

“Clerk,” he yelled, “please read the numbers.” With that he passed the file down to a very aggrieved and harassed looking woman. She had wiry glasses and a high bun in her hair.

“Twenty-five pence,” is the fine, “and you owe outstanding debts of a further twenty five pence, being the monthly tax for a fashion business.”

“You get that?” said the Judge to Bob.

“Yes Judge,” said Bob.

“Must be a college man,” said the Judge to himself.

“Now, if you wish, the Judge can register your business now, and you will have to pay your tax each month when the collectors come around,” said the Clerk.

“That is all I wanted from the start,” said Bob.

“Can I do that?” asked the Judge.

“Yes Judge, you can do whatever you want,” replied the clerk.

“Excellent,” he replied, sitting back in his chair to dream up some elaborate orders.

“Now are you a member of the Union?” asked the Clerk, as she bent to write on his court papers.

“No Ma’am,” replied Bob.

“Shame, monthly tax for union members is only five pence,” said the clerk indifferently.

“Okay, well, please stand Mr Bobbins,” ordered the Judge, clearly not enjoying being out of the spotlight.

Bob tried as best he could to straighten, but all he could manage was to get one knee up.

“Contempt of the court,” screamed Mr Squire, jumping to his feet. “I demand blood.”

“Quite, Squire,” ordered the Judge, banging his gavel loudly. The vampire sank to his seat again, looking ashen faced, which was standard as his body was of course dead, but on that ashen face was an emotion that was foreign to a vampire, disappointment.

“Mr Bobbins, you are hereby sentenced to pay…. whatever she said, and are herewith registered with the Treasury Department, to pay monthly tax instalments of…whatever she said. You are also ordered to give me a lengthy pedicure before you are released. I warn you, any further breaches will result in something very bad. Do you understand?”

“Yes Judge, thank you,” said Bob, as the cage shimmered and disappeared.

Bob arched his back and let out a relieved groan, smiling as he saw the elation on the standing Duck’s face.

“I won a case,” quacked Mr Duck, his feathers involuntarily ruffling with pleasure.

“You were great,” lied Bob.

“Ever thought about lawyering?” asked Mr Duck.

“Ever thought about not?” he replied.

“All the time,” said the Duck, “but this is the only profession that will employ me.”

Bob nodded in understanding and patted the Duck on the shoulder.

At least he didn’t have to massage a judge’s feet, he thought, as he was led into the chambers by the tight bunned clerk. 


Anyone wishing to read more of 'Bad Business' can do so via Andy's page on Authonomy.

No comments:

Post a Comment