Copyright 1991, Patrick D. Scannell Used by permission It is the not-to-distant-future, the same future that used to be now at Honeywell. The former Executive Vice Justice in charge of R&D has just spun off his own startup Supreme Court to deal with high level appeals on matters that aren't trendy enough to show up on CNN or "60 Minutes", taking three of the Associate Justices with him. Ten million nominees (basically, every lawyer in the Zone) have been questioned and rejected to fill the vacant seats. Melvin Belli was rejected because he once, for no good and sufficient reason, appeared on "Star Trek"; the Democratic Party continues to have a hot button about actors holding high political office. Alan Dershowitz was rejected because he allegedly once wet his bed when he was three. (There is some evidence that Mr. Dershowitz' mother may have been paid several million dollars by unnamed Republicans to make this statement before the committee. There is also a joke here somewhere about press leaks, but I'm not going to go looking for it.) Judge Wapner was rejected after he admitted having once smoked a cigarette while in college. The bottom of the barrel is now being not only scraped but tested by geologists for possible subterranean candidates. Thus it is that Pragma Paige, whose only qualification is being named Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court at Boys' State in 1972, is the next nominee. We join the proceedings already in progress. Pragma Paige is not present, as he is unable to bear the sight of a Congressional panel without giggling hysterically. (But then, who can?) Senator Cranberry has just finished a pointless two-hour speech phrased as a question. "Uh, could you repeat the question?" "I'll summarize, since it's nearly time for lunch. Dr. XX, how long have you know the defendant -- I mean the accused -- I mean the present nominee?" "When you come right down to it, can any of us truly know another person? I mean, who knows what goes on inside a person's head?" "Let me rephrase the question. Dr. XX, are you familiar enough with the nominee to state under oath that he is the scum of the earth?" "Oh, yes. Without a doubt." "Now, then, Dr. XX. You're an M.D., and it has just been announced that you've won the Nobel Prize for Medicine. Is that correct?" "Yes. As a result, I receive a fifty dollar deduction on my malpractice insurance." "Please stick with the subject, Dr. XX. Now, at the time we're discussing, you were a secretary for Mr. Paige's department." "That's correct." "And you allege that he harrised you?" "That's 'harassed'. And yes, I was a victim of digital harassment." "I'm sorry, but isn't the accent on the first syllable?" Senator Art Garfunkel breaks in. "No, Senator, we already heard sworn testimony from Noah Webster on that one. The accent is on the third syllable." "I bow to my illustrious colleague. Now, when you speak of digital harrassment, does this involve fingers in any way?" "No, it has to do with computers. At first, he just made remarks about how big and complex his programs were. He talked a lot about ISO 9000 Procedures, which I found particularly offensive." "Why didn't you just slug him?" "I was afraid of losing my job." "You mean he would have tried to get you fired?" "No, I mean I might have broken my knuckles and not been able to type." "What else did he do?" "He kept asking me to inspect his source. Even after I asked him to stop, he kept after me." "Why did he choose you for this?" "I think he asked everybody. Nobody wanted to inspect it." "Why didn't you shoot him, at that point? No jury in the world would have convicted you." "There was a policy at the company which prohibited bringing firearms into the building." "I see. Did he do anything else?" "Well, he stared." "At you?" "Well, no. At the screen of my '586 workstation. I would come in in the morning and he would be there, staring at it." "Was he sitting at your desk, then?" "No, I had a 6'x6' monitor, so he could stare from quite a distance away." "Did you do anything about that?" "I complained to my boss. He said that Mr. Paige was just jealous because my machine was smaller and more powerful than his, and that since it was actually the company's property and not my personal property, there was really no policy prohibiting him from staring at it." "What happened after that?" "Mr. Paige said that I didn't deserve such a powerful machine, and he threatened to set me on fire and kill me." "And what did your boss have to say about that?" "He said it was just a misunderstanding, and that it was nothing to worry about. That's when I decided to quit and go back to medical school." "Were those Mr. Paige's exact words? That he was going to set you on fire and kill you." "No. He said -- let me see -- 'You'll only be using it for terminal immolation.'" "I see. No further questions."
(From the "Rest" of RHF)