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Excerpt from the Pragma Paige Confirmation Hearings (Pat Scannell)
(topical, original, chuckle)

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

"That's correct."

"And you allege that he harrised you?"

"That's 'harassed'.  And yes, I was a victim of digital

"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

"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)

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