Chair: You may not object, sir. This is not a trial.
Joe: Then what's this business about indicting us? Don't you mean something more like, "to consider the indictment of?" Plus - 2015, I can assure you, is NOT a lord's year.
Chair: Oh, Mister Scott. So cute. Rest assured that by the end of these proceedings, even you would have no choice but to indict you. And don't mess with "in the year of our lord." The lord is bigger than the both of us. Now, sit down.
Joe: Whoa - what happened to the separation of church and state?
Chair (shaking head, laughing): Oh, Mister Scott, Mister Scott, Mister Scott. They were right; you are funny.
Joe: Whatever. I have to admit that it will be nice to finally get to hear the crime of which we are accused.
Joe: Not yet!
Chair: It's a foregone conclusion.
Joe: Okay. To reiterate, and with all due respect to the Council - which is no respect at all - whatever.
Clerk: You are hearby formally charged with doing it wrong.
Joe: You spelled hereby wrong.
Joe: It's spelled h-e-r-e-b-y, not--
Clerk: Sir, I am speaking. There is no spelling - right or wrong.
Joe: It sounded misspelled, to me.
Clerk: Shut up.
Chair: Okay, okay. Order, please. Let's get this over with. I have a 1:30 tee time.
Joe: And I have to meet [Maris] at Dogfish Head while it's still happy hour.
Chair: Count One. It has been reported that you and [Maris] - if that is her real name...
Joe: It's not.
Chair: Anyway... Count One - you finish each other's sentences.
Joe: Millions of people do that.
Chair: You finish each other's weird sentences. When you first started dating, it was cute. Almost two decades later, it's annoying. No one else gets it.
Joe: Weird? Weird how?
Vice-Chair: On December 19th, 2014, speaking about the disastrous roll-out of your employer's new lockbox vendor, you said, "It's not like I was expecting this process to be all..." and [Maris] immediately said, "rainbow sparkle purple bunny pancakes."
Joe: Yes. I remember that. Friday night. Shots, chips, salsa, and venting.
Chair: And you knew what she meant?
Joe: Of course. She was finishing my sentence.
Chair: You were going to say "rainbow sparkle purple bunny pancakes?"
Joe: How else would I finish that sentence? I'd say Count One is kind of bogus, sir.
Chair: Moving on. Count Two: Hand-holding, especially in public venues.
Joe: Seriously? Hand-holding? We don't do that.
Vice Chair places a twenty-by-thirty inch mounted print on an exhibit easel:
|Busted. Photo by Mary Wiecek, Joe's favorite sister.|
Joe: You can't prove that's us.
Chair: And you do it all the time. You're both way too old for such displays. Count Three: We have obtained the following testimony from a Mr. Godfrey O. Ozzenbarq III - if that is is real name:
"Truth Be Told... you and Curvy Scott do dig each other, do still duck in and talk low and witty and flirty and mocking (who wouldn't mock my hat, wrist-sandals or homemade Raisinets?), and are not in the least sick of each other's clammy lighthouse stink... even after your coastal historical structure search and kinky spike-booted dominatrix submission sessions (by J.Mac) in seedy, "independently operated" Texas and Florida bed bug farms. We, the other 2 peeps who like each other, We Salute You. (Cue cannon fire etc.)"
Joe: It is not real name, and that's not testimony - that's an email! You hacked my email! Can you produce a warrant for that invasion of my privacy?
Joe: I didn't think so. Maybe you're the one who deserves an indictment.
Vice-Chair: YOU'RE an indictment!
Chair: Order! Order! One more. Count Four: It has been said that you and [Maris] do not work at your marriage. Marriage is hard work. There's fighting. You complain about each other. You argue. You compromise. You two, it seems, do none of that. It's lazy. It's offensive to the rest of us, out here putting in the work to keep it together, and it's just plain wrong.
Joe: I refuse to accept that that is a crime, and I will not apologize for it. We can't help it. Life's too short, and we really just don't have the time or patience for all of that. I am on her side, and she's on mine.
Chair: Council? All in favor of indictment?
Council (in unanimous unison): Aye.
Joe: Aw, nuts.
It's been a while. This comes in belated response to the writing prompt Conclave and/or Council, from my writer friends at STUDIO 30 PLUS.