“Are they gonna bring us food? They better bring us food,” said Juror 1.
Several other jurors nodded, smacking their lips expectantly. Juror 2 smacked his head.
“Damn. I forgot my lactate leaves.”
It was the first day of jury deliberations following closing arguments of the Manaforta trial. Dinosaur court was similar to kangaroo court, except for the jumping to conclusions.
The Manaforta was charged with 18 counts of failing to pay the tax dino on millions of moolah-moolah leaves, lying about which river banks he’d left them on and for being a fake dino to the fake-fake, fakiest, fake-fake degree. This was serious stuff. So serious that the Tyrumposaurus had begun floating a Kissin’ Cousins conspiracy theory that the Putinodon and the Crookadillary were actually long lost relatives.
Juror 3 looked around the jury den.
“Alright then. Where do we start? I move we go down the list of charges one by one, flip a beaver — heads or tails — Bob’s your Unclesaurus and we’re all home for supper.”
The female dinos looked at him aghast.
“I’m kidding!” He chuckled at having gotten a rise out of them. Juror 3 was on the prowl.
“I have four questions,” said Juror 4.
Juror 5 leaped up from his squat.
“Four questions! We just got here. How can you have four questions?”
“Unlike you, I didn’t sleep through the whole damn trial.”
“Well, excuse me for being a Narcalepsus.”
“What are your four questions?” asked a bored Juror 6.
“Well, if the Manaforta is splitting the foreign moolah-moolah leaves 50-50 with his wife and they have over 10,000 of them … and they used them to buy the Ostrichpython and his wife has it four days a week, does that let him off the hook?”
“Of course. Possession is four-sevenths of the Ostrichpython. Next question.”
“Okay. Shell company and shelf company. What the heck is the difference between them?”
“You don’t get out much, do you?” said Juror 7. “Shell company, those are your typical turtle friends. Shelf company however, now those are your best friends, the ones you put up on a pedestal.”
“I see. Thanks for clearing that up. My third question … I’m kind of embarrassed, because well, you might think it’s a stupid question.”
“Now, now, we’re talking about the Manaforta. There’s no such thing as a stupid question.”
“Okay. Here goes. Can you, um … redefine ‘reasonable doubt’?”
“You’re right. That’s a stupid question. And you call yourself a dinosaur.”
“Now hold on there,” said Juror 8. “The Manaforta never. Said. A. Word. Based on that, how can we trust him? Not even a simple hello. I’m sorry, I have every reason to doubt him. He’s hiding something, just sitting there with his mouth shut.”
“Excuse me,” said Juror 4. “Was that the definition?”
“Reasonable doubt,” said Juror 9, “is when you lie awake nights wondering if the T-Rump is selling out the Milkanhoney Preservation.”
“No, that’s treasonable doubt,” said Juror 10.
“Oh. Pardon me. Swamp water in the ears, y’know.”
“You dino dum-dums,” said Juror 11. “It’s beyond a reasonable doubt. You’re going to have to concentrate here. Close your eyes and think about where you were the last time you had doubt. … Got it?”
Eleven nods followed.
“Okay. It’s just beyond that.”
“How far?” asked Juror 4.
“I’m gonna bop you in the nose!”
“It’s beyond me,” sighed Juror 12. “I guess that makes me a doubter. I think. Ohmigod.”
“What is it?” asked Juror 11.
“If I’m thinking, am I doubting?”
“Dinos, be reasonable!” said Juror 1.
He looked at the dinos around him. There was snarling in the air. They didn’t like doubt. It kicked in their survival instincts.
Juror 12 attacked Juror 1 for showing weakness. Juror 11 attacked Juror 4 for asking too many questions. The other jurors squared off, looking at each other, jowls dripping. Puddles forming.
Suddenly the T-Rump burst into the room.
“Hey,” said Juror 5. “You can’t be in here.”
The T-Rump glared at him.
“I can do anything.”
The fighting dinos stopped in mid-bite.
“Okay, everybody,” said the leader of the free-running dino world. “I just want you to know that if you don’t let the Manaforta off, I’m going to take away your security clearances.”
“But we don’t have security clearance,” said Juror 3.
The Rudygiuliani hopped out from behind the T-Rump.
“And you never will. Let’s think about that. How can you live your lives when you’re under the constant stress and pressure knowing you will never — ever — have a security clearance? Why, it’s a ton of rocks to the noggin, isn’t it? A ton of rocks.”
He blinked his eyes crazily, expunging what he’d just said from from his own walnut, lest he get a ringing migraine.
Juror 4 raised his hand.
“Ahem, my fourth question, I just wanted to know. What’s on the Herbivore Menu?”