The Nonagon Mob (Nonagon Series Book 4)

By Olive Winterleaf

Comedy & satire, Crime & mystery, Magical realism

Paperback, eBook

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4 mins


Chapter 1
(Sticky Fingers, Hidden Jams)

Three courtrooms down from the case of the Soggycoat cottage murders, defence counsel Irksome Irksome-Broom fiddled with his itchy yellow wig, wishing he was defending in the said notorious cottage murders.

That trial was taking place in the far grander central court, with its plush seating and colourful velvet drapes. The vast room was embellished with moulded friezes on the walls displaying various heroic events in the history of Angleland. There was more space for all the stacks of paperwork too.

However, today - in the austere and cramped surroundings of courtroom number nine - he was defending a client charged with being drunk and disorderly. His client was also charged with aggravated swearing and generally making a nuisance of himself with a lamppost. The said client being Mr Cloff Knucklehead.

A smartly blue-uniformed Police Sergeant Arold Picklepant stood in the witness box. He removed his impossibly tall hat (after switching its little blue flashing light off, of course) and rested it on the edge of the wooden witness box.

“Sergeant Picklepant, please inform the court of the events leading to the defendant’s arrest,” the counsel for the prosecution instructed, wafting his dark blue gown in a flamboyant manner as he stood up from his seat.

Sergeant Picklepant recounted the incident with the aid of his little notebook: “I, and my fellow officers, were patrolling the Shabbygate area - notorious for criminal behaviour and general drunkenness - when a man - Mr Knucklehead - was seen appearing to pick a fight with a lamppost. He appeared to be intoxicated.”

The red-robed judge, sitting behind the preposterously high bench, peered over his pince-nez raising his eyebrows so that his long fusty powdered wig became slightly dislodged. Puzzled, he asked, “Pick a fight?”

“Yes, your ‘onour,” reasserted the sergeant.

“What Sergeant Picklepant means is that Mr Knucklehead was seen arguing with the lamppost as though it were a person, M’lud,” the counsel for the prosecution explained, in clipped tones.

Irksome-Broom stood to interrupt the proceedings with a sneer, “Allegedly arguing. With an alleged lamppost. While allegedly drunk.”

The judge waved his hand. “Yes yes yes. Continue.”

Irksome-Broom added, “Not in itself a crime. The last I looked.”

Certain people present in the courtroom tried to muffle their giggling - even the lady wearing the posh hat, sitting at the back.

Irksome-Broom continued: “If Mr Knucklehead wishes to have a heated discussion with a lamppost, who are we to stop him?”

The courtroom roared with laughter.

“Mr Irksome-Broom!” the judge chided, “We are not here to analyse freedom of expression... Please continue, Sergeant Picklepant.”

“Mr Knucklehead was becomin’ more aggressive and attracting a good deal of attention from other members of the public, some of whom had also been drinking alcoholic beverages.”

“Objection!” Irksome-Broom interrupted again. “Mr Knucklehead claims he had not been drinking, M’lud.”

The judge grumbled with exasperation, “Sustained. For now.”

Sergeant Picklepant corrected himself, “Allegedly drinking then. He then began swearing and making offensive remarks to the lamppost. When I challenged him, he shouted - and I quote - ‘I ‘ain’t been drunkin alcofrolicks, ocifer.’”

“By he you mean Mr Knucklehead?” asked the judge, for the purposes of clarification.

“I do, your ‘onour.”

Several witness accounts later...

Irksome-Broom stood up. “Mr Knucklehead claims he had in fact not been drinking. M’lud, may I inform the court that Mr Knucklehead has a sweet tooth and, after innocently consuming a number of chocolate liqueurs, he became intoxicated.”

The judge’s brow wrinkled with confusion. “But was not the defendant aware of the intoxicating nature of the alleged chocolates and would one not have to consume a large number of them?”

“If M’lud would bear with me for a moment... My client has a history of various allergies. One of his allergies happens to be to alcoholic beverages.”

“But if Mr Knucklehead was aware of this, why did he consume these chocolates?”

“Suffice to say that Mr Knucklehead also suffers from DTP syndrome, M’lud.”

The judge frowned. “DTP?”

“Delayed Thought Processing, M’lud.”

The judge looked on with incredulity. “Delayed Thought Processing, Mr Irksome-Broom?”

“Yes, your Honour. This may come as a surprise to M’lud, but the name of Cloff Knucklehead does not send waves of intellectual thought through the cerebral world. His mind being at least two minutes behind everyone else’s.”

The judge was unmoved, though there was more giggling in the court.

Irksome-Broom continued, “Your Honour, my client is what is commonly known as ‘a bit thick’.”

The courtroom burst into laughter again.

The judged frowned. “Mr Irksome-Broom, please use official medical terminology.”

“I am merely using layman’s terms to clarify to the court.”

“Yes yes yes. Continue.”

“Mr Cloff is also ambidisastrous.”

The judge grumbled: “Is that a medical term? And if it is, what is it - for the benefit of the court?”

“It means he is capable of making a mess with either hand, M’lud.”

The judge frowned. “Would you please get to the point?”

Irksome-Broom duly continued: “Of course, M’lud. I am merely clarifying to the court Mr Knuckledhead’s various medical complaints. As I mentioned before to the court, Mr Knuckledhead has a sweet tooth. And as a result of his inability to resist eating these chocolates - which he had acquired quite legitimately and unaware that they contained substances such as Grande Orangier and Advoquote - he became disorientated and unable to control his speech - as a result of his allergy - thus becoming verbally abusive and mistaking a lamppost for a person who was being impolite.”

More laughter swept across the courtroom.

“Impolite?” the judge asked, puzzled as to how a lamppost could manage to be impolite.

“Mr Knuckledhead is also somewhat short sighted, M’lud,” added Irksome-Broom, smirking.

The judge remained puzzled.

Irksome-Broom explained: “Mr Knuckledhead interpreted the lamppost’s inability to speak or move out of the way when asked, as an aggressive gesture, M’lud.”

“Still, that does not excuse anti-social behaviour on the part of the defendant.”

“No M’lud. But remember, he was under the influence of a chemical reaction through no fault of his own. Just look at my client,” Irksome-Broom urged the court. “Does he look like he is a danger to the public?”

Cloff Knuckledhead was squeezed into the wooden dock, a hefty bloke with his suit wrapped tightly around his bulging muscles and his tie badly knotted around his fat neck. His lower lip trembling, he squinted and hung his bald head in shame. He was, by all accounts, just a bullet-headed twerp...



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