A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

There never was a a trial quite like this one...


So many onlookers and witnesses wanted to attend the trial of the faceless human Jules that Wilfreda’s Clearing had to be used, so it was a good job that the weather was set fair for the day.

There was a sudden hush as the Judge was introduced, and a sudden groan from Jules Faceless (who was still horizontal on a stretcher as a consequence of still being half-poisoned).

“What’s the matter with you?” barked the midwife Babs who had been drafted in as medical technician tasked with ensuring the accused remained alive at least for the duration of his trial.

“The bloody owl,” snapped Faceless, “I know him and he hates me! I know he does! He’ll not be a fair judge, not when it’s me he’s going to condemn.”

“Toowitty is, if nothing else, fair-minded,” snapped Babs, “and I’d be careful if I were you. It’s quite possible you may need some generosity from him as your crimes are unfolded before us all, which you won’t get if you start bad-mouthing him now!”

“Silence in Court!” hooted Judge Toowitty, “Now let me see, who is the accused and what is he accused of?”

“See … he knows it’s a he rather than a she...” complained Faceless.

“I said Silence in Court!” roared Toowitty.

It was the arbiter Fluffybunce who was appointed as Clerk to the Court as there wasn’t anyone with that particular position present. He coughed two or three times in an important way, cleared his throat theatrically, and began.

“Be you pleased to hear,” he began with an almost resonant bark, “Be you pleased to hear that the accused is a man, one Jules Junkface, or Faceless since his face intercepted some stray gobby stuff that contained a high concentration of absolutely revolting acid...” here he gazed for a moment at Footpad who had the grace to blush knowingly. Then Fluffybunce continued.

“The said man,” he barked imperiously, “had imprisoned one Toowitty, Judge of this Parish...”

“I know that, for it was me,” put in Toowitty impatiently, “and it wasn’t pleasant, I can tell you, being under nest-arrest imposed on me by a mindless piece of junk like the man in the dock! But fear not. Despite it all I’m very, very impartial.”

“The man,” continued Fluffybunce, consulting a sheet of paper which fluttered between his front paws, “The man had some strange notion of reducing our Forest, our Forest, mark you, our very own forest, the swine … pardon me, he had the notion of reducing it to a wasteland and building hideous condominiums on it so that a group of other men he referred to as Oligarchs can buy a piece of our homeland and pretend they’re part of us! And by such an acrimonious deed they can gain wealth as the property they have bought becomes increasingly desirable and valuable.”

“This sounds quite nonsensical,” put in the Judge, who knew it as a fact.

“I know,” sighed Fluffybunce. “As you may be aware, sir, I once lived in the land of humans and got lost one wonderful spring day. At least it might have been a spring day but equally it could have been any other day because the result was my adoption by the Forest folk to become one of their wonderful society.”

“Noble, so noble,” sighed the Judge, “but back to the charges, sir, if you may!”

“Hah! So you were that damned poodle I bought!” shouted Faceless, completely out of order, “the one I got for my niece, the one who ran away from a perfectly good home!”

“SILENCE IN COURT!” roared Toowitty.

“To continue,” barked Fluffybunce meaningfully, “As a consequence of my earlier experiences, I am aware how the humans are both dashed horrid when they want to be, and sweet as sugar if they’re really nice. The man’s niece, a sweet little angel called Red, if my memory serves me correctly, was sweeter than any sugar and stroked me and called me poochy-love and even stole chocolate digestives for me, to compensate for the near starvation imposed on me by the brute of a Jules Junkface, as he was then!”

“Is this at all relevant?” asked Toowitty, frowning.

“Of course it is, sir, for it happened to me!” replied the arbiter.

“Then it’s allowed as evidence. Pray continue!” hooted the judge.

“When it seemed that it was going to be no easy matter to kill everyone in the Forest and take his wretched chain-saw to our beloved trees he devised another plan,” growled Fluffybunce. “He devised a scheme that involved putting deadly toxins into our water, which every one of us must use on a daily basis, to wash ourselves and drink copiously of, and so he put that plan into action and the water was turned into a foul chemical soup by his wicked designs!”

“The beast!” hooted Toowitty, forgetting for a moment that he was an impartial judge.

“Exactly,” nodded Fluffybunce. “But to continue: The wretched creature, with pure greed in his heart, did put many toxins into the stream that runs through the Forest, and had it not been for kindly folks we would all be dead by now. But kindly folks sent the warning through our lands and we were all saved. But his intention was murder, full and foul and of all of us!”

“The wretch!” screeched Toowitty, “tell me now, man flotsam, why you have done these deeds.”

“Ain’t it obvious,” croaked Faceless, “ain’t it perfectly clear? I want the land this forest sits on. It’s nice and convenient for the City and if I erect an estate of mansions on it there are oligarchs a-plenty who will buy them and called them one of their other homes! And I will be rich, with millions in the bank and everyone will want to call me their friend. I will be able to buy jewels by the handful to toss down the bras of the many pretty young women who will sit with me at the opera, and golden boxer shorts to pose in when I’m holidaying in the Caribbean! And my darling niece Red will be able to go to the most expensive of schools where she can learn such joys as deportment and the deceit that makes the many bow down to the few, and worship them. Life will become splendid and I will be king of my world! So it’s obvious why I done it!”

“No you won’t,” said a small voice.

“Who’s that? Won’t what?” demanded Faceless.

Then Red stood up and looked at him fiercely “Send me to that kind of school!” she snapped. “I don’t want to be like you! I don’t want to do any of the things you want me to do! I want to stay here, in the forest, with my friend the poodle! And I want it to have loads of trees standing tall and proud and honest!”

“Then you’re a fool!” grated Faceless, ashamed of his own niece for her innocence, “you’ve got no respect for hard cash!”

“Then I’ll be a fool,” almost wept the child.

“It’s time for the verdict!” called Toowitty as he place a black beret on his own head, and he gazed with huge, serious eyes around the gathering in Wildreda’s Clearing. “Man, Faceless, Jules Junkface, whatever you wish to be called, I herewith sentence you to death.

“You will be taken from this place to a place of execution where you will be tickled to death, and your body returned to the village of men bearing notice that the Forest is ours, and will remain so for perpetuity. Take him away!”

And Faceless, still dripping globules of whatever it is his face was made of, and weeping at the enormity of the sentence passed on him and the very unfairness of it all as creatures of all shapes and sizes spat at him, was carted off by guards that looked remarkably like squirrels.

© Peter Rogerson 02.11.18

© 2018 Peter Rogerson

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Added on November 2, 2018
Last Updated on November 2, 2018
Tags: Forest, Clearingm Judge, Arbiter, crimes, judgement, sentence


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 77 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..