Guilty Or Not Guilty? by Brown Road Chronicles
I was asked by Jared Karol and the folks at the Write On Project to write a piece on their latest topic: GUILT. I tried hard to think of things that I have felt guilty about in my life, and thankfully, as I have led a relatively honest and trustworthy lifestyle, I was not able to come up with anything terribly significant. Lately, however, on a personal level, I have felt guilty about not following some of the creative pursuits that I was deeply passionate about as a younger person. I felt that I wasn’t practicing what I am constantly preaching to my kids. It is what drove me to start writing my blog and ultimately how I ended up here. My blog name is Brown Road Chronicles. To those that don’t read me regularly, you’ll find I like to use humor to make a point and also to occasionally write in what I call a “conversation style.” So, on the topic of GUILT… this is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy reading!
BAILIFF: Welcome to the Court of Dreams, Honorable Judge I. Emma Dreamer presiding. Today’s case is the State of Unhappiness vs. Mr. B. R. Chronicles.
Counsel for the Prosecution is the Attorney General for the State of Unhappiness, Mr. Stu Latetachange
Counsel for the Defendant from the law firm Allweez, Fallow, Yerpassion & Ambishon will be Attorney Mr. Chase Yerpassion
JUDGE: Welcome all to my Court of Dreams. Mr. Chronicles you are being accused today of abandoning your dreams, how do you plead?
ME: Well, NOT GUILTY, of course, Your Honor
JUDGE: Members of the jury, please note that the defendant has pleaded NOT GUILTY to the charges. Mr. Latetachange, you may begin by presenting your opening statements.
LATETACHANGE: Thank you, Your Honor. Hello members of the jury, let me thank you today for your services to our fine community. Today we have a very serious charge against the defendant, Mr. Chronicles. It is my belief that the defendant is GUILTY… in fact SERIOUSLY GUILTY of abandoning his dreams and not pursuing the creative outlets that so inspired him as a young man. I will provide significant and compelling evidence today to prove that to you and I am convinced that when this trial comes to a conclusion you will agree with me and render a GUILTY verdict. Thank you.
JUDGE: Thank you Mr. Latetachange. Mr. Yerpassion would you like to present a counterstatement.
YERPASSION: Yes, Your Honor… thank you maam. Hello, my friends in the jury. Let me also thank you for your time today and for performing your civic duty. You have heard what my colleague, Mr. Latetachange has presented about the defendant, Mr. Chronicles. I am here to convince you otherwise, that Mr. Chronicles is NOT GUILTY of these charges rendered against him today. That although he has possibly let some dreams sneak by without pursuing them to the fullest, he has actively followed his passions throughout his life and especially, in the last several years, has made a concerted effort to bring those passions back into his everyday pursuits. At the conclusion of this trial today, when you have heard and digested all of the evidence, I will ask that you find Mr. Chronicles NOT GUILTY of the charges against him today. Thank you.
JUDGE: Thank you both for your opening statements. Mr. Latetachange, would you like to call your first witness?
LATETACHANGE: Yes, Your Honor, I’d like to call Mrs. Olive Musak, who was Mr. Chronicles High School Orchestra Teacher.
Mrs. Musak enters witness booth.
JUDGE: Mrs. Musak, do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
MRS. MUSAK: Yes I do.
JUDGE: Please proceed.
LATETACHANGE: Mrs. Musak, can you please tell me how long you were Mr. Chronicles orchestra teacher?
MUSAK: From 5th grade through 12th grade, sir.
LATETACHANGE: And Mr. Chronicles played the cello, is that correct?
MUSAK: Yes that is correct.
LATETACHANGE: Was Mr. Chronicles a good cello player?
MUSAK: Yes, excellent! We played very difficult pieces from Bach, Beethoven, Stravinsky and many others in our orchestra. Mr. Chronicles was always at the top of his game.
LATETACHANGE: Do you think Mr. Chronicles could play those pieces today?
MUSAK: Last time I spoke to Mr. Chronicles, he told me he would have trouble banging out “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
LATETACHANGE: Mrs. Musak, when Mr. Chronicles went away to college, do you think he would have been able to continue actively playing the cello?
MUSAK: Why yes, of course. In fact the music department at Colby College where he attended college was recruiting him aggressively.
LATETACHANGE: But Mr. Chronicles was lazy and chose not to continue playing, is that correct?
MUSAK: Yes that is correct.
LATETACHANGE: Thank you Mrs. Musak, no further questions.
JUDGE: Mr. Yerpassion, would you like to cross examine this witness?
YERPASSION: Yes, Your Honor, I do have one question. Mrs. Musak, isn’t it true that although Mr. Chronicles no longer plays the cello, he has continued to dabble with several other musical instruments including the acoustic guitar, the electric bass and the banjo, and that he has encouraged his daughter to play the clarinet?
MUSAK: Yes that is true.
YERPASSION: No further questions, Your Honor.
JUDGE: Mr. Latetachange, would you like to call another witness?
LATETACHANGE: Yes I’d like to call Mr. Chronicles Grandmother to the witness stand.
YERPASSION: OBJECTION! Mr. Chronicles Grandmother has been dead for over 15 years.
JUDGE: Mr. Latetachange, how do you respond?
LATETACHANGE: Well, Your Honor we have summoned Mr. Chronicles Grandmother from the dead, maam.
JUDGE: Objection overruled, please proceed.
Mrs. Grandmother enters the witness booth.
BAILIFF: Mrs. Grandmother, do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
GRANDMOTHER: Yes, I do sweetie!
LATETACHANGE: Mrs. Grandmother, can you tell me about your grandson, Mr. Chronicles, and his art skills as a child.
GRANDMOTHER: Oh yes, he was such a sweet boy! He was a very prolific artist. He could sketch and paint and make clay sculptures. We used to make God’s Eyes during craft times at Summer Camp. He made the most beautiful Gods Eyes. I was always so proud of him. He was such a sweet boy!
LATETACHANGE: And now Mrs. Grandmother, as you peer down onto Mr. Chronicles from heaven, where do you see his artistic talents going?
GRANDMOTHER: Oh my sweetie, I am very disappointed. I have not seen him draw or paint or make any crafts for many, many years. I do wish he would have continued… you know I was an art teacher… it’s very difficult to pick art back up if you don’t keep your skills tuned up… he was such a sweet boy!
LATETACHANGE: A few more questions, Mrs. Grandmother. When Mr. Chronicles was in high school you gave him a book titled “The Writing Life” by Annie Dillard. Why did you give him that book?
GRANDMOTHER: Oh, because my grandson always told me he wanted to be a writer. I thought that book would be interesting to him. He was such a sweet boy!
LATETACHANGE: Mrs. Grandmother, as far as you know, has your grandson, Mr. Chronicles ever written anything?
GRANDMOTHER: No, no, I don’t think so.
LATETACHANGE: No further questions Your Honor.
JUDGE: Mr. Yerpassion, your witness.
YERPASSION: Thank you, Your Honor. Mrs. Grandmother, Mr. Chronicles was a sweet boy, wasn’t he?
GRANDMOTHER: Oh yes, yes he was. I used to call him Stevarino!
YERPASSION: Mrs. Grandmother, are you aware that your grandson, Mr. Chronicles has been working on a blog about his country life called Brown Road Chronicles for over two months?
GRANDMOTHER: What’s a blog sir?
YERPASSION: Well, Mrs. Grandmother, a blog is a place where you write stuff and have your own personal website.
GRANDMOTHER: What’s a website sir?
LATETACHANGE: OBJECTION… defense is badgering and trying to confuse the witness!
JUDGE: Objection overruled, please proceed.
YERPASSION: Well, Mrs. Grandmother, let’s just say it’s kind of like a journal or a diary.
GRANDMOTHER: Okay, yes, I understand.
YERPASSION: Mrs. Grandmother, your grandson, Mr. Chronicles has been actively writing in this blog for about two months and has developed quite a following of readers.
GRANDMOTHER: Oh, that’s so nice… he’s such a sweet boy!
YERPASSION: No further questions Your Honor.
JUDGE: Mr. Latetachange, do you have any other witnesses to call?
LATETACHANGE: No, Your Honor, the prosecution stands.
JUDGE: Mr. Yerpassion, do you have any witnesses to call?
YERPASSION: Yes, Your Honor, I would like to call Mr. Chronicles to the stand.
Mr. Chronicles enter witness booth.
BALIFF: Mr. Chronicles, do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
CHRONICLES: Yes I do.
YERPASSION: Hello Mr. Chronicles, you seem to be a very passionate person, do you have a lot of creative pursuits?
CHRONICLES: Yes, yes I do, I play music… the guitar is my primary instrument, but I have taken banjo lessons and I tried the electric bass for little while… and I sing too. I also volunteer my time with the Cub Scouts where we do lots of crafty stuff and where we build things and I get to teach the boys about all different kinds of subjects. I’ve done a lot of home renovation at my house which I really enjoy… and of course I recently started the blog that you mentioned before. It’s inspired me to maybe try and write a children’s book.
YERPASSION: So, Mr. Chronicles, do you feel like you have made a strong effort to follow your dreams or do you feel like you have abandoned your dreams?
CHRONICLES: Well sir, there are definitely some things that I’ve let go that I wish I would have pursued, but ever since my Mom passed away about 8 years ago I have made a real effort to try and find those passions again. I think her death taught me that time is limited and it’s never too late to follow your dreams!
YERPASSION: That is very profound, Mr. Chronicles… no further questions, Your Honor.
JUDGE: Mr. Latetachange, your witness.
LATETACHANGE: Thank you, Your Honor. Mr. Chronicles, you told your Grandmother and you wrote in one of your blog posts that you’d like to be a writer. Why haven’t you pursued that as a career?
CHRONICLES: Well sir, I have to be realistic about making a living. I have children to support and a house and cars to pay for. Writing is fun, but I don’t think I could realistically make a living at it.
LATETACHANGE: Well, Mr. Chronicles, if that is your dream, shouldn’t you be pursuing it?
CHRONICLES: Well sir, in a way I am, by writing my blog. If I work hard at that, maybe it will develop into something else. Was your dream always to be an attorney?
LATETACHANGE: Well, no… no it wasn’t, my parents wanted me to go to law school. I really wanted to be a clown in the circus.
CHRONICLES: And why haven’t YOU pursued that…?
JUDGE: Mr. Chronicles… who is doing the questioning here?
CHRONICLES: Yes, Your Honor, I know I stepped out of line, but someone can have dreams and pursuits and not necessarily make a living from them, right? That’s nothing anyone should EVER… and I mean EVER feel GUILTY about! I think Mr. Latetachange would make an excellent circus clown… you know, maybe on the weekends… Mr. Latetachange, it’s never too late to change!
JUDGE: Mr. Latetachange do you have any further questions.
LATETACHANGE: No, Your Honor, no further questions.
JUDGE: Mr. Latetachange, you can now present your closing arguments…. Mr. Latetachange? Uh, does anyone know where Mr. Latetachange has gone?
BAILIFF: Your Honor, Mr. Latetachange just ran out of the courtroom with a large red ball on his nose and a colored wig.
JUDGE: Uuuugh… well, okay then… Mr. Yerpassion do you have a closing argument?
YERPASSION: Members of the jury, I think we have presented a clear picture today that it’s never too late to follow your dreams… and also that you shouldn’t feel GUILTY about those life-decisions you have made in the past. I think the prompt exit of Mr. Latetachange has provided some additional compelling evidence. I will ask you again, if you believe Mr. Chronicles has made a concerted effort to reignite his passions for creativity and follow his dreams than you MUST find him NOT GUILTY of the charges against him. Thank you.
JUDGE: Members of the jury, you may now take a few moments in your quarters to deliberate these proceedings. When you have come to a decision, please give the verdict to the bailiff. You are excused.
Jurors leave courtroom and arrive back a few minutes later.
JUDGE: Mr. Foreman, has the jury reached a verdict?
FOREMAN: Yes, your Honor, we find the defendant NOT GUILTY of the charges against him.
GRANDMOTHER: He’s such a sweet boy!