The prosecutor addressed me, his back to a courtroom full of my peers, my friends, my family and Gladstone. The prosecutor spoke.
"Please state for the record your name."
"Sure. D to the-"
"Into the microphone, please." I leaned forward and tapped the small microphone a few times.
"Check. Check. Can you hear me in the back? One. Two."
"Yes, that's fine, now-"
"Three and to the four, Snoop D-O-B and Brockter Dre is at the door."
"Just your name, please," the prosecutor said.
"Ready to make an entrance, so back on up."
"That's plenty." The prosecutor again. Brockway stood up from his seat at the
"'Cause you know we 'bout to rip shit up."
"Order," the judge shouted, banging his gavel. For real, judges still use gavels. It'll always amaze me that, in 2009, where we have the Internet and indoor plumbing and spaceships, it's still acceptable for a respected official to express his opinion by bashing a giant, wooden hammer over and over again. It's not like I wave a giant sword around my head whenever I'm bored. I mean, I might now. I'm just saying if hammer-smashing is so socially acceptable, I should be able to swing a sword around or chuck some grenades when the mood strikes me.
"What do you have to say for yourself, Mr. O'Brien," the prosecutor asked. I paused thoughtfully.
"Mr. Prosecutor, Dr. Judge, members of the jury: I'm just saying if hammer-smashing is so socially acceptable, I should be able to swing a sword around or chuck some grenades when the mood strikes me." The courtroom was completely silent, except for Brockway who immediately chimed in with, "Seconded."
"Mr. O'Brien," the prosecutor began, "your time may be utterly worthless but, please keep in mind, the jury's time is not. You and Mr. Brockway have a lot to answer for. So? Start talking." I was at a loss. My entire strategy hinged on the fact that the prosecuting attorney would be a decent-to-attractive chick, so I could say, "More like proseCUTEST" as my opening and closing statements, with some very convincing push-ups thrown in between.
Since the prosecutor was, in fact, a man, my whole defense strategy was pretty much shot right to shit. I looked to Robert Brockway, the co-defendant in this case, and Michael Swaim, who was acting as our lawyer. They both looked very optimistic, so I got myself started.
"I guess I'll begin with the truth," I said.
"OBJECTION," Swaim shouted. Brockway shook his head violently.
"No," the judge said, "I'm... I'm going to allow the truth."
"Thank you, your honor-I-barely-know-her. So, it's like this. We've got this United States president elected, right? Tall guy. Hampton something-or-other. "
"Barack Obama," the prosecutor offered. I looked to Swaim and Brockway, who both shook their heads, agreeing with me that the prosecutor's clearly made-up name was some kind of trap.
"No, I think you're wrong about that. I'm pretty sure it's Hampton something. Anyway, he's elected president, and you know what that means."
"Why don't you elaborate, Mr. O'Brien."
"If, as you so kindly pointed out, Mr. Prosecutor, the jury's time is so important, I think I'd rather not waste it by saying what everyone's thinking. We all know what an Obama presidency means. The first year is almost up, so... you know." I lowered my head and raised my eyebrows, as if to say 'So... you know.' The prosecutor was not impressed.
"So, Obama is president. Is that why you and Mr. Robert Brockway stockpiled 800 firearms and 65,000 rounds of ammunition in the Cracked headquarters?"
"Well... well, yeah," I said. "But it's not like I'm the only one. According to that article that I somehow linked to in this spoken conversation, sales of guns and bullets have gone up considerably ever since Obama took office. Americans purchased two billion more rounds of ammunition than we normally do and, currently, gun sellers can't even produce enough ammo to meet the demand. We the people are literally buying bullets faster than bullets can be made."
"Yes, I understand that," the prosecutor said. "I clicked that link, same as everyone in this courtroom. I'm still a little confused."
"How can you be? Look, Prosecutor Face, the times are changing. This new world requires fast moves and bold actions. And sometimes that involves buying all the bullets."
"And what," the prosecutor began, spinning on his heels and pointing at me, "are you going to do with these bullets?" He smiled, shark-like. Like a shark prosecutor who just cornered some other fish in Ocean Court, and like the shark was real proud of itself, because it was a lawyer. This seemed like a big moment for him, but, honestly, I hadn't really thought of what I planned on doing with the bullets. I hope his case wasn't built on me having an answer. I looked to Brockway, and it appeared that he too was considering this for the first time. After some thought, he shook his head. I looked to Swaim, who was taking this opportunity of introspective thoughtfulness to rob Brockway.
"I guess nothing, really," I said, finally. The prosecutor froze, like an ice shark.
"What? You don't have any plan?"
"Narp. But, you know, it's good to be prepared. With a buncha bullets, that is. I mean, you see where the world is going. It's a world that requires me to have bullets. Socialism.Health Care. Social Care. Gay-Sex-Marriage-But-Not-The-Good-Kind. The Economy. Uh... Hy... Hybrid cars, is that one of the things we're mad at?" I looked to Swaim, who shook his head while holding up a hastily made sign that read 'Immigrants.' "Oh, right, that's it. Hybrid Immigrants, we're pissed at that, too. So, you know, we bought all those bullets." My stance on immigrants that run on peanut oil is well-documented, so I didn't think I needed to elaborate.
"You have no idea why you're buying bullets, do you?"
"All the bullets," I corrected.
"Objection," Swaim yelled. "What if my client is buying bullets in anticipation of laws that would take away guns and bullets from America? If, for example, we were suddenly forbidden from buying bullets because of Soc... Socialist Health Gay Care," he said with a wink, "then we'd be utterly defenseless against outside forces."
"Overruled," I said. "There haven't been any bills or laws restricting gun ownership. In fact, the opposite is true. We're legally permitted to carry guns in more places today than we have been in years. Nice try, asshole." Swaim slammed his fist on the table. Brockway took some vicodin.
"So, as I understand it," the prosecutor said, "no one is trying to take your guns or bullets away. You have no intention of using them any time soon, but you're still buying them by the caseload and stockpiling them in your office. In fact, you're wearing three bandoliers of bullets right now, at this second, while you're on the witness stand."
"And you still maintain this has something to do with Obama?"
"More like Nobama," I said, slyly.
"OBUMa," Brockway added.
"OBOMBa," Swaim said.
"Obam...GAY," I concluded. Swaim and Brockway nodded their approval.
"Look," I said, "I'm just a regular guy. I put my pants on one leg at a time, just like you, and I hate doing it, just like you. I don't want the government to have my money. I don't want death panels to murder my grandparents until they start smelling bad. I want to be able to say what I want, when I want to. I want to be able to make all the money in all the world, forever, all the time. And if I feel like any of these freedoms are even vaguely threatened, I want to, you know, buy a shitload of bullets."
"But why?" the prosecutor whined. "What are you going to do with them? It's just so confusing, Mr. O'Brien. You worry that taxes will raise the price of ammunition, but in obsessively buying it every time you get a paycheck, you, along with other people in similar mindsets, are effectively forcing the price up on your own, because you're manufacturing a higher demand. And you understand that, when someone writes an article about kidnapping the president's daughters and then starts hoarding thousands of rounds of ammunition, it's enough to give us pause, right? Look! Look at you, you're buying bullets off of co-defendant Robert Brockway, right now!"
"Can you blame me? Look, your screaming is just scaring the shit out of me, and this is what I do when I'm scared."
"Ditto," said Brockway, as he repurchased the bullets he'd just sold to me (at a substantial price increase).
Here, the judge interjected. "I'm starting to wonder why I called this trial in the first place, and further agreed to suspend the laws that typically govern court rooms in this country."
The prosecutor started: "Your honor, this is not an isolated incident. There are people across America just like Mr. O’Brien…," he paused here, probably because he was impressed with how many bullets I can fit in my mouth (so many),"…almost exactly like Mr. O’Brien. It’s not just this court room, it’s the nation, your honor!”
“Get to the point councilor!” the judge bellowed, his hammer poised.
"It's just," the prosecutor said, faltering. "It's just all so retarded."