This piece was written for the Six Sentence story challenge, with the prompt word of ‘alternative’.
The magistrate for the far-flung region of Beyond The Black Stump, Joseph ‘Cocker’ Mamie was known for dispensing the kind of judgements that bordered on frontier-style but were always begrudgingly accepted by its citizens as justice, even if a little bit rough and ready.
So when Walter (Wally) Numbskull (playing the part of Cassius) allegedly stabbed Kevin (Big Kev) Knucklehead (playing Julius Caesar) with a real knife during the Scrubby Creek Shakespearean Theatre Group’s latest production, justice had to be done, even if the size and depth of the injury to Big Kev’s beer gut was largely negligible.
When Wally appeared before ‘Cocker’, he asked Wally if he had anything to say in his defence, which was akin to asking an alcoholic if he’d like another beer and Wally cheerfully explained the circumstances leading up to this charge of ‘causing grievous bodily harm’.
‘Yer ‘Onner, when me and Big Kev got these parts in the play, we agreed that he’d wear a couple of sheepskins around his guts during his performance, so the stabbing scene would look more fair dinkum* but on the night he forgets to wear the padding, doesn’t he, and here I am accused of a heinous offence.’
‘Cocker’ paused for a moment before saying “Wally, you’re obviously technically guilty as charged but in light of the fact that both you and the complainant are clearly mentally incapable, I’m going to take an alternative route and put you on a Good Behaviour Bond, on condition that you shout* the bar at the pub until 6pm this evening. Court dismissed and mine’s a single malt whisky.’’
Australian slang decoder
* Fair dinkum – true, real
*Shout – buy a drink for another person or a group. Similar to a round in other cultures.