“Please raise you right hand, and repeat after me,” the bailiff said. The witness raised his left hand.
“Your other hand,” the judge said.
The witness raised his right hand. The bailiff continued, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God.”
“No,” the witness said. “There is no God, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that I will tell the truth.” The bailiff looked up at the judge and the judge nodded her okay.
“Please state your name for the record,” the bailiff said.
“Puddin’ n’ tain. Ask me again I’ll tell you the same,” the man said.
“This is not a comedy club, sir,” the judge bellowed. “We follow strict protocols here and we will not put up with your shenanigans. Now state your name or be held in contempt.”
“Yes, Your Honor,” the man said. “My name is Steven Schmidt.”
The judge signaled to the prosecutor, Michael Curtis, to proceed. “Good morning, Mr. Schmidt. How long were you in the employ of Acme Systems and what was your position at the company.”
“I was with that firm for more than twenty years and my responsibilities were manifold over those years. Most recently, I was the Chief Financial Officer,” Schmidt answered.
“And as the CFO, you managed the books for Acme Systems, is that correct?” Curtis asked.
“Yes, among other responsibilities.”
“Acme Systems recently declared bankruptcy and is now insolvent, yes?”
“In your role as CFO, did you ever fleece money from the company?” Curtis asked.
“That’s a moot question,” Steven said.
“No, Mr. Schmidt,” Curtis said, “that is the key question, as you are being charged with embezzling almost a million dollars from the company.”
“Let us not clash over incidental details, sir,” Schmidt said. “It was the CEO who drove the company into the ground when the systems we sold were unable to deliver the promised features. I was merely investing the capital into mutual funds that could help keep the company afloat during tough times.”
“Was Galore Equities one of the funds you invested the company’s money in?”
“And in fact, Mr. Schmidt,” Curtis said, “Wasn’t Galore Equities the only firm in which you invested the company’s money?”
“And who is the principal owner of Galore Equities, Mr. Schmidt?”
“Gloria Schmidt is the principal owner.”
“And isn’t Gloria Schmidt your wife, Mr. Schmidt?”
“Yes, but she can’t testify against me because she’s my wife.”
“Actually, Mr.Schmidt, she’s your co-defendant in this case, because she was in on this scheme of yours and all of the funds you stole from Acme Systems were deposited directly into an account jointly owned by you and your wife.”
Schmidt looked at the judge and said, “If I returned all of the money I stole, can I start over with a clean slate?”
“That was pretty funny,” the judge said, “but as I said earlier, this is not a comedy club.”
“I rest my case, Your Honor,” Curtis said.
Written for these daily prompts: Word of the Day Challenge (state), JusJoJan (protocol), Your Daily Word Prompt (manifold/galore), E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (insolvent), Ragtag Daily Prompt (fleece), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (moot), The Daily Spur (clash), My Vivid Blog (features), and Scott’s Daily Prompt (clean slate). Image credit: coolclips.com.