Friday, April 25, 2008

He's your witness, Mr. Aplikowski

When we last left Andy Aplikowski, he was bemoaning the fact that he had received a citation for failing to control his dog, a hairy brute of doubtful provenance named "Lugnut."

I happen to have a little to say about this [dog legislation being considered] as Lugnut was a bad boy Sunday night. He got out and got into it with a dog which apparently lives behind me. The people called the City, saying my dog was dangerous, and I was issued a citation for a loose dog. No one was harmed, I’m not so sure what really happened but I’m just going to deal with it.

Andy decides to contest this manifestly unfair action by the jackbooted thugs at Animal Control. He pleads not guilty and represents himself at trial. Your faithful correspondent Spot is called by the prosecution as an expert witness on dog and owner relations. After his direct testimony damning Andy for his neglect, it is Andy's turn to cross examine Spot. We pick up the action there.

AA: Spotty, you say you're a dog, right?

J: That's Mr. Spot in the courtroom, please.

AA: [rolling his eyes] Ok, Mr. Spot, you say you're a dog.

S: No actually, Spot doesn't think he said that; he thought it was apparent.

J: Mr. Spot, will you knock off that third-person reference crap in my courtroom?

S: Oh, of course, Your Honor. Sp --, I'm sorry. And I'll stipulate that I am a dog.

AA: What?

J: It means you don't have to prove that he is a dog. That should lighten the load a little for you.

AA: Mr. Spot, have you even seen the defendant?

S: Well, I'm talking to him right now.

AA: I mean Lugnut.

S: Lugnut is not the defendant; you are.

AA: [rolling his eyes] Ok. Have you ever seen Lugnut?

S: Well I've seen pictures of him; he's a little unkempt I must say. He could use a trip to the groomer.

AA: Objection! Slander!

J: Overruled. I've seen the pictures, too. Lugnut is pretty mangy. In fact that will be one of my findings.

AA: Mr. Spot, if you've never seen Lugnut, how do you presume to judge him?

S: Your Honor, will you remind Mr. Aplikowski that we're - well you're - here to judge him, not Lugnut?

J: He's right, Mr. Aplikowski.

AA: Did you know that kids from the Sunday School at the church that abuts my house like to tease my dogs on Sunday morning?

S: I thought the incident in question took place on a Sunday night.

AA: It did. But don't you think that Lugnut was still worked up Sunday night over events that morning? He is a brooder.

S: I won't speculate about that. But I don't think it makes any difference.

AA: What? You don't think that an encounter with giggling children in the morning wasn't sufficient provocation for Lugnut to jump the fence that night and attack the neighbor dog?

S: As a species, we're not that complicated, Mr. Aplikowski. And the ordinance says no loose dogs, and you had one. Don't try to blame it on the children. The kids probably only teased, to use your word, Lugnut because he acted aggressively when they were around. Spot finds that children are uniformly friendly around Spot: all the petting and hugging can be a bother sometimes, but it's the price of celebrity, I guess.

AA: Well, what am I supposed to do about the kids?

S: One simple thing would be to keep him in the house on Sunday mornings. It's only one morning a week. That would seem like the neighborly thing to do anyway; barking at churchgoers isn't very civilized.

AA: But it's my yard, and Lugnut's, too!

S: Indeed it is. But when Lugnut hurls himself over the fence and picks a fight with his neighbor, that's not in his yard, is it?

AA: Your Honor, do I have to answer that?

J: No. It was sort of a rhetorical question. The point was made without your answer.

AA: This witness is a waste of time. I call myself as a witness.

J: Not yet, Mr. Aplikowski. The prosecution has one more witness. Bailiff, will you bring in Mr. Lugnut from the hallway?

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