“Has the jury reached a verdict?” asked Judge Participle–who was widely regarded as a “hanging” judge.

“We have, your honor,” said the jury foreman, one Mr. Rigg. “On the first charge of willfully and knowingly unleashing wretched prose upon the nations of the earth, and inspiring copycats to do likewise, we the jury find the defendant Stemp Heinemeyer guilty.”

Stemp, seated at the defendant’s table, let out a moan and hung his head in his hands.

“On the second charge,” continued Rigg, “that of willfully and knowingly disregarding the rules of grammar as we know them, and the specific counts of Oxford comma violations, run-on sentencery, purple-proseity, et al, we the jury find the defendant guilty.”

Stemp moaned softly.

“And finally, on the third charge of willfully and knowingly profiteering from these crimes, we the jury find the defendant especially guilty,” Rigg finished.

Judge Participle struck his gavel forcefully. “Stemp Heinemeyer,” he said, “having been found guilty by a jury of your peers, by the power vested in me by the State of Construct, I hereby sentence you to life imprisonment in a third-rate science fiction novel to be determined at a later date.”

“No!” cried Stemp wildly. “Anything but that!”

The judge banged on his gavel once again. “Clear the courtroom!”

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!