And now, a little courtroom drama, related to the way trade is done in our world. The way things are bought and sold...and the effects it has on our sisters and brothers who we share this planet with.
Sit back and enjoy the show, folks.
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The Trial of the Invisible Hand
CAST OF CHARACTERS
THE DEFENSE ATTORNEY
THE PROSECUTION ATTORNEY
THE INVISIBLE HAND
[SETTING: A typical modern day courtroom. Wooden furniture, ceiling fans blowing at full speed to ameliorate the sweltering August heat.]
BAILIFF: All rise. Court is now in session, the Honorable Judge William J. Pritchard presiding.
[The JUDGE takes the bench. He is a square-shouldered white man in his 60s with a full head of flowing silver hair. His thick glasses reflect an inverse image of the courtroom; obscuring his eyes.]
JUDGE: Be seated. [All present take their seats.] This court will now come to order. In the case of The People of the Nation-States of Afghanistan, Akrotiri, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Andorra, Angola, Anguilla… [JUDGE continues to list countries for several minutes] …Vietnam, Virgin Islands, Wake Island, Wallis and Futuna, West Bank, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe versus the Invisible Hand of the Free Market.
[The INVISIBLE HAND sits at the defense bench next to its attorney. Being invisible, all we can see is its suit—Armani, freshly pressed, immaculate—with four sleeves for each of the Hand’s enormous fingers, and one sleeve for the stubby thumb jutting out the side of the Hand. The fingers dangle menacingly in the air, waving back and forth at the eye level of the DEFENSE ATTORNEY, as the Hand sits on its heel. The wooden chair creaks beneath its weight. We can’t make out any discernible face—the Hand being invisible and all—but it seems to be smirking.]
JUDGE: The Invisible Hand is being charged with failing to fulfill its promise to provide opportunities, jobs, prosperity and liberty to the citizens of the aforementioned countries. Mr. Hand, how do you plead?
[A guttural, gurgling noise erupts from somewhere within the INVISIBLE HAND’S suit, startling many of the people present in the courtroom. The Hand’s attorney leans in close, listens to the primordial cacophony erupting from within the enormous suit, and looks up at the JUDGE.]
DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The Defense pleads not guilty, Your Honor.
[A din of conversation rolls through the courtroom.]
JUDGE: Order! Order! Order in the courtroom! [Crowd silences.] At this time, the Court will hear opening arguments.
DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Your Honor, I’d like to begin if I may.
[The DEFENSE ATTORNEY representing the INVISIBLE HAND speaks with a charming Mississippi drawl. He pats the Hand on the back fraternally as he rises from his seat, pushing himself up with a beefy left hand. The DEFENSE ATTORNEY is a corpulent white man dressed in an equally enormous white suit and black string bowtie. His face is red, puffy, covered with a sheen of sweat that drips down into his white goatee and moustache. He fans himself with a wicker hand fan as he speaks, taking frequent breaks to dab his forehead with a red handkerchief from his vest pocket. A white fedora sits atop his head.]
DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Your Honor, this trial is pure tomfoolery, plain and simple! My client has dutifully and faithfully given opportunities, prosperity and liberty to the plaintiffs. Why, these baseless accusations against my client…the very thought that he might have failed to provide for the world’s population…it’s not only a cruel attack on my client’s character, but it’s an attack on all of humanity! On freedom! On happiness! On Jesus!
[The DEFENSE ATTORNEY ends on a high note, his clenched fist raised high in the air in a Statue of Liberty pose. His face has grown significantly redder.]
JUDGE: The Prosecution will deliver its opening statement.
PROSECUTION ATTORNEY: Thank you very much, Your Honor.
[The PROSECUTION ATTORNEY stands lithely from his chair. He is a tall, 30-something black man wearing a suit that shows signs of wear and tear, evidence of years of honest work. His speech is accented with the Oxford tone of an educated man from Anglophone sub-Saharan Africa. He glances around the courtroom calmly.]
PROSECUTION ATTORNEY: The Prosecution rests, Your Honor. We will base our case solely on the testimony of our witnesses.
[The INVISIBLE HAND’S chair creaks as the Hand turns and looks to its left, staring incredulously at the PROSECUTION ATTORNEY.]
JUDGE: Very well, counsel. You may call your first witness.
To be continued…