The new Crucible: A story of our time

Salem Massachusetts, 1692.  The Salem meeting house, currently serving as General Court.  This improvised courtroom, sardined full of anxious villagers, swelters with rising heat and tension as the ongoing trial progresses.

            Supreme Officer of the Court, JUDGE MUELLER, presides from the bench.  He interrogates GOODY DONNY, who sits in the adjacent witness box.

            GOODY DONNY is short and unhealthy-looking with tiny clawed hands and gross orange lizard skin.  He is wearing a black cloak; a shock of dead-straw hair pokes out from under his tall pointed witch hat.

JUDGE MUELLER:  Now, Goody Donny, there is abundant evidence in our hands to show that you have given yourself to witchcraft of all kinds, entering into a perverse contract with the Devil himself to advance your own affairs in our humble and God-fearing community.  Do you deny it?

GOODY DONNY scratches his hooked, warty witch nose with one creepy finger before witch-croaking his reply.

GOODY DONNY:  I am innocent to a witch!  I know not what a witch is!

JUDGE MUELLER:  How do you know then, that you are not a witch?  You appear now, before God and this court, attired in full witch garb!  Pray, what say you?

GOODY DONNY, cackling a witchy cackle:  These be not witch’s clothes!  They might look like witch’s clothes, but they definitely aren’t.  He cackles again, and it is super witchy.  Shouting a non-sequitur to no one in particular:  Hillary Clinton!  Email!  Servers!

JUDGE MUELLER looks puzzled.  Suddenly, a shout:  Why, do my own eyes deceive me?  The outburst comes from BARRISTER COHEN, now striding toward the bench as he speaks:  He flew into this courtroom on his witch broom when we started!  There was a cloud of giant swooping bats and a cold, evil wind.  Literally everyone here saw it!

The entire assembly rumbles assent.

JUDGE MUELLER:  What say you, Goody Donny?

GOODY DONNY, scratching his nose now with the handle of the broom in question:  Impossible!  This be not a broom.  I’ve never even been in the same room as a broom before in my life!  Still scratching with the broom, his voice drops into a conspiratorial whisper:  Mexican children are coming to rape you…

BARRISTER COHEN has reached the bench and paces in front of it, waving some papers clutched in his hands.  JUDGE MUELLER listens attentively as he speaks.

BARRISTER COHEN:  I present to this court Goody Donny’s own tax returns!  Gasps escape from the crowd.  Read here, in his own hand, how he purchased all his witch gear at the Witch Emporium, over in Witchville, where all the witches live!  He wrote it all off as a business expense, claiming it for, he makes air quotes with his fingers, “huge witch things!”

DONNY, hissing like an angry cat; a bat flutters around his hat:  Those be not mine!

BARRISTER COHEN, poking violently at the papers he holds:  You signed them, a bunch of times!  Way more than required!  What has a man, if he has not his name?!

JUDGE MUELLER, gravely:  The truth!  The truth now, Goody Donny!  Have you renounced God and signed the Devil’s unholy black book?

GOODY DONNY blows a raspberry; he is clearly unhinged (and clearly a witch).  With a deafening crash and a plume of black flames, billowing smoke, and sulfur, SATAN himself appears, holding his unholy black book.

SATAN, opens book and points to GOODY DONNY’s obnoxious, large signature:  There it is!  He closes the book and exits the courtroom, walking casually out the door.

            GOODY DONNY leaps onto his broom, mutters magic words, and turns everyone in the building into toads.  Screeching madly, he flies out of the window and into the night, probably toward Russia.


(Editor’s Note: As a Bay Window staff writer in 2017-18, Wieschowski won first place for humor writing in the statewide MCCPA annual competition. He now is a regular guest columnist.)

By Steven Wieschowski – The Lobster Quadrile

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