AND HE HATES “MEANIES!”
While “adults” across the nation play a political game of “Mad Libs” concerning election fraud, the small town of Facepalms, Florida, is actually prosecuting a proven case; a case that led to the appointment of a 5-year-old judge, Peter “Puck” Smezworthy.
Harry Towers, the Mayor of Facepalms, laughs over it all. “It may turn out to be a plus for the town! Puck is beginning to attract some followers!”
Facepalms, explains the Mayor, has always been a major “speed-trap” town. “We’ve always survived because of the speeding tickets, the ensuing drunk and disorderly and evading arrest charges and the car repairs required when people swerve to avoid hitting a ‘gator.’ With less people traveling because of the pandemic, we were struggling to get by.”
The town is small and political in a small town-ish way. “We try to keep it civil. We wear our masks and don’t take sides.” Then, two years ago, a stranger named Alonso Fondue moved into town, inserting himself into its fabric. Because of his popularity, the Mayor appointed him one of six city counsel members.
“Big mistake,” says the Mayor. “The guy wants to use his position to get into state politics. He wants to be another Ted Cruz or Benedict Arnold.”
The Mayor was re-elected last year and his first job was to appoint a new judge, after the previous judge was arrested smuggling parrots into Michigan. Says the Mayor, “ In terms of the judgeship, I told the six council members to come up with names and submit the top two. Fondue substituted a fake name as #1, some dead guy from Daytona. A clerk caught that, thought it was a typo, and substituted the nearest name similar; that of a five-year-old little boy. I approved it.”
HE’S A “COMBINATION OF NAIVETE AND SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS, WITH JUST A WHIFF OF SADISM.
The Mayor knows that Fondue is out for his job and that appointing a dead man would cause the Mayor a lot of grief. In terms of Puck? He chuckles: “I love him.”
Puck’s father, known as “Big Puck,” picks up the thread. “Puck has a genius I.Q. My wife and I sell scrapple. We didn’t know how to deal with him. He just absorbs knowledge. He has a tough time enunciating it, though.”
Puck’s mother, Betty May, adds: “He’s still losing his baby teeth. Some are hanging like pendulums. That’s why he never smiles. But he loves being a judge. Plus, he’s out of the house half of the day. Do you know what it’s like to try to homeschool a genius? He knows more about pork mush that I could ever have imagined. Since he’s become a judge, we now have professors lining up to teach him. Puck seems happier.”
Puck, a chain-smoking free spirit has one confidant, his three-foot tall chicken named “Justice.” Justice accompanies Puck into the courtroom at all times.
As this reporter settles into seats in the surprisingly crowded courtroom with the Mayor and Puck’s folks, the Mayor leans over and smiles. “You’re in for a good one, today. Fondue is up before the judge. He’s been charged with election fraud.”
PUCK TAKES ON A “FLASHER!”
What will Puck do? “He’ll do what’s fair. He has this inherent sense of what’s right; a combination of naiveté and self-righteousness with just a whiff of sadism. F’rinstance, we had this writer guy move in last year who made a name for himself as the ‘town flasher.’ Finally, he shows up before the judge. He was found guilty. Puck ordered him to walk naked through town every day at noon. Well, the first two days, the guy was in hog heaven, dancing, waving his private parts.
“The third day, he seemed hesitant. The fourth day, he was practically weeping, totally ashamed. He was escorted by police. Finally, one citizen ran up to him with a robe. Another brought him slippers. It turns out that last Christmas was his first Christmas without his wife and kids. They’d died in a house fire the year before. He was just trying to prove that he was still somebody. As soon as the community embraced him, Puck suspended his sentence. The guy’s now an English Zoom tutor.”
The courtroom rises as Puck and Justice enter the room, Puck carrying a satchel of corn feed, which he places on the bench. He immediately sentences Fondue to five years in state prison on a type 4-felony charge of election fraud and a $10,000 fine. Fondue seethed.
PUCK IN ACTION
Puck raises a hand and splays out his five-fingers. “I gave you this much,” says Puck. “You could have gotten…” he raises his other hand, “this much.”
Fondue still fumed. Puck sees that. “Why did you cheat?”
Fondue was surprised. “I didn’t cheat. What I did was something called ‘political cunning.’”
“Let me we-fwaze that: why did you cheat?”
Fondue sputtered. “It was a political power play, you rug-rat!”
“Why do you want power?”
“To get more power, you freak.”
“And what will you do wiff all this power?”
“Why, get more power!”
“Den what? What will you do with it?”
Fondue stood, confused.
PUCK GETS ANGRY
“You sir,” Puck continued, “are a meanie, a miscweant, a wascal, a cwook, a gwifter, a wo-wife. You seek to wob others of their writes. You’ve heard the sentence. I will, howevvah, put you up for pawoll in two years…if you study Amewican History. Get a cowwege degree.”
Purdue exploded! “You little pipsqueak! I got you behind that desk through my cunning.”
Puck giggled. “No, you got me behind this desk because you stink in being a wousy cwook.”
“What are you going to do, you mental midget, throw the book at me?”
“No, just a gavel,” Puck replied, hurling his gavel expertly, nailing Fondue in the forehead and producing a “boo-boo” that would qualify the low-rent politician for “unicorn” status. Fondue made a move to rush the bench. “Why, you little…”
Without warning, the three-foot chicken leaps upon Fondue and shreds his clothes to spaghetti. Puck quietly gets off the bench and calls off his chicken with a handful of corn feed. As Fondue braces himself against his table, slowly raising himself, Puck picks up his gavel off the floor and brings it down, heavily, onto Fondue’s right hand.
“Court is adjourned,” he announces. “Wunce again in Amewica, Justice has prevailed.”
The kids and the college journalist in the room burst into applause.
And this reporter leaves the court, smiling. Yup. Sometimes in America, it may take a while, but justice will always prevail.
At that point, this reporter feels a tugging on his suit jacket. It’s Puck, flashing a shy grin, teeth hanging. He holds out a hand of corn feed. “Wanna help me feed Justice?”
“Well, yes,” this scribe smiles back. “Yes, I do. It would be an honor to feed Justice.”