Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Legally Impotent"

This story is to fulfill the challenges for "Courtroom", "Secret Garden", "The Lottery", "Mr. Marvel's Magical Colored Pencils", and "Love Potion." The love potion aspect makes this a little more risqué than I usually like. You have been warned.


"All rise. This court is now in session. The Honorable Pinson R. Winthrop presiding. The gallery may be seated."

"Who's first on the docket today, Officer Jensen?"

"Mabery versus Mabery."

"Are the Maberys in the courtroom? Come forward. Swear them in, Jensen."

"Raise your right hands. Do each of you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"

"I do."

"I do."

"They are sworn in, your honor."

"Very good. Each of you has declined to have counsel present for this hearing, is that correct?"

"Yes, your honor."

"Yes, sir."

"This is a preliminary hearing. Each of you is allowed to present evidence to justify a full hearing at a later date. The only decision to be arrived at today is whether or not a full hearing will be held. Do each of you understand this?"

"Yes, your honor."

"Yes, sir."

"Very good. Mr. Mabery, as you are the claimant in this case we will start with you. Will you please state your complaint against the defendant."

"Yes, sir. My wife stole a million dollars from me and I want it back."

"I did no such thing!"

"Mrs. Mabery, I'll ask you to keep quiet while we discuss your husband's claim. You will have your chance to present your own side of things. Is that understood?"

Pause. "Yes, your honor."

"Good. Mr. Mabery, that's a very large sum of money. Why haven't you taken your wife to criminal court?"

"Well, uhm, the circumstances are a bit odd, sir. I wasn't sure I could get criminal charges to stick."

"I see. Why don’t you tell me the whole story."

"Yes, sir. See, about six months ago I won the lottery."

"Ah, so you're that Randy Mabery. I thought I recognized your name. You took home approximately fifty million dollars after taxes, isn't that right?"

"Yes, sir. Truth be told, I wasn't comfortable having all that money. What was I supposed to do with it? I'm a simple man, your honor, and I like living a simple life."

"Yes, I heard that you gave most of the money to charity."

"Yes, sir. I kept a million on the advice of a friend. I figured we could live off the interest and I could spend my time fishing."

"Stupid %$#& idiot...."

"Mrs. Mabery! I warn you, I will not tolerate profanity in my courtroom. You have been warned once already for speaking out of turn. Unless you wish to be charged with contempt of court, I suggest you keep your comments to yourself. Do I make myself clear?"

Pause. "Yes, your honor."

"Please continue, Mr. Mabery."

"Well, as you can tell, Lindsey here was none to happy with my decision. She wanted to keep all the money and live the high life. After I gave the bulk away, she demanded I give her 'her half' of the million I invested or she'd leave me. Lindsey was always going on about leaving me for this reason or another; I figured this time was no different. It was about a month after that she tricked me into signing her over the full million."

"She tricked you into signing a legal document giving her control of your portfolio?"

"Yes, sir."

"May I see the document?"

"It's here, your honor."

"Jensen, please?" Pause. "This document seems in order. It's even signed by a notary, a Ms. Owen."

"Yes, your honor. That's her standing over there. She was in on it."

"You claim you were coerced into signing the paper?"

"Yes, sir."

"And how did that occur?"

Pause. "They used a love potion on me, sir."

"Come again?"

"Ms. Owen keeps this secret herb garden in the woods out back behind her house. My wife and her spend a lot of time out there, them and their other witch friends. When I wouldn't give her the money they brewed up a love potion to use on me. At that time I was thinking about leaving her myself, she was giving me so much grief. Then she prepares me this nice dinner, and was all apologetic and the like, and made sure I drank this fancy cocktail she had seen on a 'cooking show.' Married for twelve years and this is the first time she ever gave me a fancy cocktail. Next thing I know, I was having these feelings for her like I hadn't had since before we were married and I was like, 'Let's go upstairs right now' and she was like 'Yes, let's, but first why don't you sign this paper.' And I was so...I wanted her so bad right then that I'd have signed anything. And then Ms. Owen steps out of the kitchen and signs the form right after me. Then they just left me there in the kitchen in my...aroused state. It took two days for the effects to wear off. By that time they had control of my accounts and were holed up at Ms. Owen's place plotting ways to spend it. I managed to get an injunction to freeze the money pending this hearing and here we are."

"Mr. Mabery, that is without a doubt, the most preposterous story I have ever heard."

"It's true, your honor. Ask my wife."

Pause. "All right. Mrs. Mabery, is this wild tale true."

"Yes, your honor."

Pause. "Excuse me."

"It is true, your honor."

"So you're saying you and Ms. Owen actually brewed up a love potion to entice your husband to sign over one million dollars to you?"

"Yes, your honor."

"And you actually admit to it."

"Of course. See, your honor, as far as I am aware, it is not actually illegal in the state of Illinois to use a love potion to influence someone's financial decisions. So what if I used a love potion? How is that any different than using sound logic to change someone's mind?"

"It matters if the concoction you gave him altered his mind to a point where he wasn't in possession of his faculties."

"I have here a list of the ingredients of the potion, your honor, as well as sworn affidavits from three local doctors affirming that the ingredients themselves and any combination thereof are completely harmless and without mind altering effects."

"Jensen." Pause. "Interesting. So what you are saying, Mrs. Mabery, is that you dosed your husband with an impotent love potion."

"I'm, saying that the love potion was legally impotent, yes, your honor."

"Legally impotent. That's a new one on me. How do you then explain his temporary change in behavior?"

"I'm sorry, your honor, but I don't see how it's my responsibility to explain anything having to do with Randy's behavior. It's not my fault he gets so...ahem, 'randy' when he thinks he's going to get some."

"I see." Pause. "Very well. Is there any other evidence to be offered in the case?"

"No, sir.

"No, your honor."

"Very well. It is my decision that there is insufficient evidence in this matter to move to a full hearing. This case is dismissed. You are excused. Jensen, what do we have up next?"


Lindsey Mabery snickered as she and Ms. Owen watched her soon to be ex-husband storm out of the courthouse.

"Well, that was certainly entertaining," Ms. Owen said.

"Yes. To be honest, I wasn't sure it was going to work. The affidavits we provided seemed so...fake. I mean, look, they were written out in colored pencils, for goodness sake."

"That's the power of Mr. Marvel's products, dearie. The recipient sees what he expects to see." Ms. Owen gave Lindsey's hand a squeeze. "Now, what say we go get that injunction lifted and spend some of your money?"

"Yes, let's."

As they walked down the steps Ms. Owen giggled.

"What," Lindsey asked.

"You said the potion was 'legally impotent.' That tickles me pink."

"I could have said Randy was legally impotent. It would have been just as true." And they laughed together.

"The Archer"

The archer stood alone in the wood. He had known this day would come, but he hadn't expected it would come so soon, or for this reason. He had been so careful, had taken dozens of precautions, had layered contingency upon contingency.

All were undone.

He stood alone by choice. Others would have come, but he would not allow it. Not for this.

Those who counted him their leader had always followed blindly, their loyalty freely given in exchange for rescue from their oppressors. He was their savior, both physically and figuratively. Not only had he provided them food and shelter, he had given them purpose. They were prepared to die for him for the loyalty thus inspired. This he could not allow and stay true to his principles.

Those who counted him their friend had followed out of trust. His friendship had been proven time and again, his planning and foresight tested and found sufficient for their common cause. These were prepared to risk life and limb for his happiness, for they knew he would do the same for them. This also he could not allow. It was not in his nature to ask for help when that help would benefit him alone. It was a contradiction. He would give that help freely for another – had done so many times – but even so, to ask was not in his character, and he would not change.

He could hire others to fight this battle. God knew his enemy had done so from the start, was doing so even now. What mattered the loss of the life of one who valued life as naught but coinage to be fought for and won? Life was of infinite more worth than mere coinage. What was money, after all, but a way to manipulate through the baser qualities of greed and selfishness? He had used this to his advantage, enraging his enemy as he took what was his and then simply gave it away. No. To rely on the hired thug was to be no better than those he opposed. He could not and remain himself.

And so, the archer stood alone in the wood. Stood for his principles. Stood for love.

"This is your final chance, rogue. Come forth now or we will kill her, lady of the court notwithstanding."

The archer stepped forward, his bow held low, his head held high.

"Stay your hand, Sheriff. I am here."