The trial of the century resumes: R v Upward Day 6

The court had little time to subside after the sensational subpoena for Susan Sarandon, as Cocklecarrot J moved rapidly and even ruggedly through the remaining witnesses whom the defence wished to call in the matter of R v Upward (criminal damage to a neon sign within the airspace appertaining to the Polo Lounge nightclub, the said sign extinguished by the defendant, being a freeborn Englishman, in pursuit of his right to see the stars in the glorious firmament on high.)

            “I see here some lyricists, Mr Upward.”

            “To attest, m’lud, to the vital presence of the stars in popular song.”

            “But I have warned you against writers, Mr Upward. Lyricists are writers, and when you have them in court you never know when they will insert filth in the name of art. Strike the lyricists.”

            “As your Lordship pleases.”

            “Now I see a long list of teachers at infants and primary schools.”

            “To attest to the importance of stars as a reward system for their charges and a means of discipline. The defence will submit, m’lud, that a teacher without stars in an infants class is like an apprentice lion tamer sent into the cage without beefsteaks.” Upward had lit accidentally on the precise image likely to appeal to the foreman of the jury, who in previous life had thrilled millions in the circus ring as the Great Zamboni with his Carnival Carnivores.

            Unable to think of a rejoinder, the judge adjusted his half-moon spectacles in a futile bid to regain some command in his courtroom over the self-represented man-of-letters. Eventually he lit on the next name in Upward’s witness list.  “Mr Roger Rabbit?”

            There was a renewed stir in the press reporters’ enclosure. However, the second celebrity name in a court case never has the same éclat as the first. In place of the startled wildebeeste who had stampeded from their seats at the mention of Susan Sarandon, the reporters left their enclosure like duikers on a morning constitutional. However, they did file a suitable identical story to their newsrooms: SECOND MOVIE STAR NAMED IN COURT SENSATION. The s-r m-of-l awaited their return before answering the judge’s implied question. “He is a leading animated cartoon character, m’lud. Mr Rabbit will demonstrate to the court that it is essential for him in his profession to see stars on demand, to exhibit concussion after being struck by a mallet or running into a brick wall.”

            Cocklecarrot J sighed heavily (again). “Cartoon characters. So be it, Mr Upward, but don’t call Snow White. I can’t take any more dwarfs.” He did not even have the strength to query Upward’s final witness, Mr Ziggy Stardust.

            At last the preliminaries were completed and Prodnose stood up to open the case for the Crown. To the already familiar sounds of his cheap squeaking footwear and the electrostatic cackle of the artificial fibres of his cheap ill-cut suit was now added the snap of a perished cheap sock-suspender: in consequence, his opening address exposed to the blushing ironmonger in the jury intermittent glimpses of a naked, flabby calf.

            There was little to excite the court in the testimony of his first witness, Farley Cheese, the portly and portentous part-proprietor of the Polo Lounge, who was wearing make-up to tone down his normally port-flushed features. Upward scarcely deigned to cross-examine him, beyond eliciting admission of the make-up. However, Cocklecarrot J could not let go of the idea that the Polo Lounge nightclub contained a working laundry, which had been prompted by the name of its co-proprietor, the Advanced Laundry Corporation of the Cayman Islands.

            “You now tell me, Mr Cheese, that there are no washing machines on the premises of the Polo Lounge?”

            “No, m’lud.” The portly part-Portuguese part-proprietor could not resist an attempt to promote his nightclub and its featured artiste. “We have found, m’lud, that even the most advanced washing machines cannot be relied on to start on the beat, which is vital to an artiste of the calibre of Johnny Atempo, the Memphis Metronome.”

            “So customers take their washing to your nightclub and you send it away to be laundered in the Cayman Islands? Is that either convenient or profitable?”

            Even the slow-witted Prodnose realized the danger of exposing the real character of the laundering undertaken through the Polo Lounge. He was on his feet again: squeak, cackle, snap and a second snap as the other cheap sock-suspender perished. Both of his cheap socks plunged to their doom. “M’lud, may I submit that the business model of this enterprise is not an issue in this case? The proprietors have suffered the loss of a valuable neon sign.”

            “Very well, Mr Prodnose, but I remain puzzled. Laundries in nightclubs? Next thing we’ll have dog grooming in ballrooms,” and the eponymous career-conscious court reporter made another entry for {laughter}.

            Prodnose and his witnesses were so dreary that a traveller in hops on the jury, despite his long occupational experience of somnolent materials, fell asleep. He was replaced by a quantity surveyor, who found himself happily seated beside the dealer in aggregates. Prodnose’s star witness was Johnny Atempo, who claimed that the shock of the report from Upward’s unhyphenated rook rifle had caused him for the first time in his professional career to miss a beat. Upward could not resist striking another blow for Atempo’s rival and his own good friend Ricky Rubato. “Mr Atempo, you are promoted to the public as a jazz pianist. Have you ever been compared to a pianola?”


            “You have now.” Genuine {laughter} broke out in the court but Mr Reporter had long decided that all such entries in his record should be confined to the judge. The case would continue.


15. February 2013 by rkh
Categories: Belles-Lettres | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on The trial of the century resumes: R v Upward Day 6