“The resonance of the drum beats startled me out of my sleep,” said the little man.
“Do you deny that you were sleeping on duty?” the judge asked him.
“But you just said that the resonance of the drum beat…”
“Woke me up, yes.”
“And you deny the sleeping part?”
“Clearly I just did.”
“Moving on…” the judge was obviously flustered. The judge it must be said was the epitome of scientific service to society. It (the judge) was an ‘it’ for a start.
It had an exceedingly human like profile, right up to the powdered white wig. A human like profile, that is, of a human with stubble on half his face, a serious underbite, and a certifiably, perfectly elliptical face. Its integrated Right-o-Wrong engine, (Patent pending) had sixty-four cores, each of which had sixty-four sub-cores. Its judgment voice had been reprogrammed to carry a little more weight of authority and modulated perfectly so as to strike a sinister chord when declaring the sentence. A piano string, suspended vertically in front of it was for this very purpose. The manufacturer had gone so far as to write ‘Sinister’ under it.
The earlier iterations had been fiascos. On a trial run, the Mark six-eighty-two (codename Mark six-eighty-two) had convicted the lead Anthropomorphism designer’s son of treason against the nation on the evidence that he was eating Belgian chocolate. The Anthropomorphism design team lost its leader that day and the Mark six-eighty-two lost its head; literally.
But the manufacturer had assured them this was different. This was Mark six-eighty-three (codename Mark six-eighty-two-plus-one). Its logic circuits had been bolstered and its bias controllers ripped out. The tangle of wire visible from behind its head was proof of the latter.
It was undergoing trial runs to exclusively exercise its new logic circuits.
“The charge against the television is turning up the volume on the music channel while…” said the Mechano-Judge.
“Not the damn television, you shorted out kitchen blender…the man before you is the accused,” snapped a tall man in a lab coat.
“Right,” said the Mechano-Judge. “Also,” it said to Mr. Lab Coat, “you are in contempt of court. I sentence you to twenty-seven decades of community service and two decades in lock-up before that.” The Sinister chord thrummed, sinisterly.
Mr. Lab Coat, who had just been sentenced to nearly three hundred years of punishment, shook his head dejectedly. He was the lead programmer of the Mechano-Judge and so he had all the right to call it a shorted out kitchen blender, but this fact was not in the Constitution so the Mechano-Judge wasn’t to know it.
“So,” said the judge, turning to the ‘accused’ who was actually a newly graduated law student.
“So,” said the judge again. It did this exactly twenty-three times more to bring the number to the perfect square of the numeral greater than four but less than six.
“So, the television is innocent and you are trying to frame it, are you?”
“Nope,” said the lawyer.
The new law student, that is to say, the lawyer was part of one of two subspecies of Justicus noncareustimewastus. He was the kind of lawyer who is infinitely patient (J.neverendingwaitusis). He was of an endangered species but that is not the subject of this narration.
“Your flippant attitude clearly suggests that you are guilty,” said the judge in a kind of menacing Mafia drawl.
“Tell me,” said the programmer, taking over, “What is one plus one.”
“Oh that’s easy…” said the judge in the kind of voice Texan women might use when talking about a particularly weird kind of apple pie.
The apple pie, incidentally, was banned by Mechano-Judge Mark twenty-three (codename Mark six-eighty-two-minus-six-seventy-nine). This had occurred after it had heard an apple testify the horrible amount of chopping done to other apples and the disgusting amount of cinnamon used, “Doing which,” the judge had said, “was a heinous crime in itself!”
“One plus one is a sentence which is meant to denote a mathematical operation. My logic circuit tells me that the answer to your question is fairly simple.”
“Finally, something this trashcan can compute!” said the head programmer.
“The answer is that the accused must spend sixteen millennia working out the answer to
‘one plus one’. Sixteen millennia or eternity…” said the judge in a malicious sort of French accent, “Whichever is longer!”
“Right,” said the lawyer and promptly fainted of hunger. He had to be revived by coffee, which is the sustaining food of the species J. neverendingwaitusis.
That day the Mechano-Judge (patent NOT pending so don’t you try any skullduggery) team lost its head programmer and the Mechano-Judge ruled that the television guilty of turning up the volume on the music channel would have to program parental control into itself. That day Mark six-eighty-three (codename six-eighty-oh-who-cares) lost its head, which logically concluded that it should shut itself down but it should hum ‘What a Wonderful World’ exactly sixty-seven times before doing so.