“Monsieur, I was not stealing Henri. I was liberating him. It was his wish,” replied Philippe.
The judge asked, “Henri?”
“His name, Monsieur. He said his name was Henri.”
“The giraffe talks to you?”
“Monsieur Beaumont, I am told that you wanted the giraffe for a pet.”
“He wishes to be called, Henri, Monsieur. And, no, I don’t want him for a pet. I wished to liberate him. It was his wish.”
“The giraffe told you this?”
Philippe sputtered and spat, answering in a nervous stutter, “Monsieur, Monsieur, he wishes to be called Henri. The giraffe, you call him the giraffe? Very disrespectful, indeed. No, no, that won’t do at all. You must call him by his proper name.”
The judge winced and proceeded. Monsieur Beaumont, it has also come to the court’s attention that you were dancing barefoot on Jim Morrison’s grave.”
“Oui, Monsieur le president, it was Henri who gave me the exciting news.”
“Exciting news?” inquired the judge.
“Oui, I am the reincarnation of Jim Morrison. I only wished to reconnect, so to speak. I go to his grave, in essence, my grave, whenever I am sad, or sometimes happy.”
“So, which was it Monsieur Beaumont.”?
“Monsieur le president?”
“Were you sad or were you happy?” The judge gave a side-glance toward the court psychologist.
“Why, happy, Monsieur le president. Henri and I had devised a plan for his liberation. We were to steal out of the zoo in the dead of the night and hide in the catacombs. I was elated to tell my former self of the plan. That is when the gendarmerie took hold of me and, well, now I am here. I fear for Henri. He must truly be worried.”
“I’m sure he is. I’m sure he is,” replied the judge.
A lawyer approached the bench, whispering something to the judge.
The judge said, “We will take a recess for lunch.”
“We would like to call Monsieur Labore to the stand, Monsieur le president.”
“Monsieur Labore, you were recently fired from your job at parc zoologique de Paris?”
“Oui,” in a barely audible voice.
“Would you speak up, Monsieur?”
“Oui,” Monsieur Labore shouted.
“And, you were caught pretending to be animals talking to the zoo patrons?”
“And, what did the patrons do?”
“Most laughed. Some thought they were on television. They looked for cameras.”
“But not Monsieur Beaumont?”
“No, not Monsieur Beaumont?”
“What did Monsieur Beaumont do?”
“At first he acted surprised, but he believed the giraffe was actually talking to him.”
“And, you were standing behind some rocks, making believe you were the giraffe talking?”
“Can you elaborate on some of the conversations?”
“I would tell him things, like how I was tired of being imprisoned. We concocted a plan for my freedom. Philippe was to bust me, the giraffe out.”
“Did you tell him he was the reincarnation of Jim Morrison?”
“I don’t remember that conversation.”
“Perhaps you didn’t remember it, because a lot of these conversations took place while you were drunk?”
“Oui, maybe, but I don’t remember anything about Jim Morrison or reincarnation.”
The lawyer turns toward the judge, “Monsieur le president, as you can see this whole episode has been a cruel hoax on Monsieur Beaumont. By the psychologist’s own report, Monsieur Beaumont may be a bit on the impressionable side, putting it mildly.”
The judge stifling a smile said, “Agreed. The court rules that Monsieur Beaumont must undergo weekly counseling.” The judge turned to face Monsieur Beaumont, “Monsieur, I would strongly recommend you stay away from the zoo and Mr. Morrison’s grave. Do, I make myself understood?”
“Oui, Monsieur le president.”
The judge continued, “And, might you find some sort of work, nothing too taxing on the brain, to occupy your days?”
“Oui, Monsieur le president.”
“How did it go today?”
“I am to find a job.”
“A job?” the voice from the toaster asked.
“Might I suggest an iron chef?”
“But I am afraid of knives,” Philippe stuttered. “I am afraid of knives.” Philippe repeated.
“Philippe, you must overcome your fear. Pinky and I will help you. Didn’t we help you overcome your fear of death? You must think about how brave your former self was.”
“Oui, Mr. Brain, you are right. Mr. Morrison would not be afraid.” Philippe let out a heavy sigh.
“What is wrong?” came the voice from the toaster.
“I am worried about Henri.”
“Not to worry. You worry too much,” came the voice from the toaster. “Chew on your mint leaves and remove your shoes. You know how those two things calm you.”
“Oui, you are right. I am feeling much more relaxed all ready.”
“You should be, and we can free Henri yet. You must bring knives, all the knives you can smuggle from the restaurant after you obtain the job. With the knives, we will rule the world. Then we can free Henri. We can free all the zoo animals.”
“Oui, Mr. Brain,” you always have the answers.
“Now, today is Friday, remember to pack your ‘p’ foods for lunch. You have a busy day. You must be strong.”
“Oui, peanuts, parsley, persimmons, potatoes, parmesan, pumpkin seeds. I must remain strong to rule the world.”
(This was for my writing group. I was given the prompts:
Repeats themselves often
Has a pet giraffe
Hates to wear shoes
Believes they are the reincarnation of Jim Morrison
Chews on mint leaves
Only eats food beginning with the letter P on Fridays
Has a fierce desire to become an iron chef but is deathly afraid of knives.
Believes cartoon characters Pinky and The Brain are real and living in his toaster oven.)