The courtroom was a siege of noise with a lot of rumbling and shouting, plus a continuing rap rap rap of the judge's gavel.
"This hearing on the hearing will come to order! This court is now in session to review what's happening next door in the sentencing of Bradley Manning."
Rumbling, grumbling, groaning accompanied the Honorable Augusto Beefsworthy as he rose, swaying on his feet, fingers wrapped around his lapels, to address the court.
"Your honor, the defendant has apologized, and well he should apologize for the terribly red faces he has brought to our government. He has forced disclosures otherwise properly cloaked under official classification . . ."
"But what about that video--"
"Shut up. You tell 'em, Beefsworthy!"
"Hear hear for Beefsworthy!"
"Disclosures properly left alone, your Honor. Left under wraps in concern of national interests, as defined by the authorities and the law, as to the need for these wars . . ."
A sound like angry sheep was heard, along with "Ohh no no! Boooo!" and "Let's hear from Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky about that!" And "What about that thing with Hillary Clinton and what's his name's coffee cup--"
Rap rap rap. A lot of noise with more boos at this point.
Mr. Beefsworthy yielded, bowing deeply from the waist, at which point three buttons across his abdomen popped and rolled on the floor.
His colleague the Honorable Reginald Charlatanese rose and addressed the court. Mr. Charlatanese was very thin with a sharp little nose.
"Your honor, looking at the record here, this defendant's narcissistic behavior and post-adolescent idealism sickness, this rebellious spirit, cannot be considered consistent with the ideals of this country . . . such as the right of the people . . ."
"Noooo! Whaat? What's this?"
"Your Honor, all that business about a higher principle, a higher order of good, of starting a debate on government policies I mean how can we . . .?"
"That's right! And now he's sorry isn't he!"
"We cannot lay blame on American traditions of democracy, free speech, and citizen activism for this open rebellion against authority, then justify it with conscience . . ."
A sort of strangled laughing sound mixed with screaming suffused the proceedings.
"No, indeed! Instead, we have another upstart narcissist, this young man, who felt, without a twinge of decent respect, the right to question Authority!
A loud "oh oh oh oh oh!" drowned out the judge's gavel along with a pep-rally sort of "yeah yeah yeah!"
"Your Honor, I say . . . now listen to me everybody . . . these excuses . . . such as defending the Constitution . . . defending, so-called decency--"
"Sure it is! And sell me The Brooklyn Bridge, why don't ya?"
The judge half rose from the bench, continually rapping, then Mr. Charlatanese continued.
"May it please the court, I ask you, I ask everybody who are we to question our commanders and bosses?"
"Whaaat? Whaaat? Spoiled rotten! Give 'em a taste of the lash! Bring back flogging, I say!"
"Now, unfortunately due to our delay in stringing the culprit up from the nearest lamppost immediately--"
In the next uproar police in the courtroom surged forward with red faces, then fell back.
The judge rose from the bench with his gavel, black robes flowing, and threatened to clear the room. He then made a concluding statement with a series of dramatic pauses.
"I'm not going to repeat what I have heard in these chambers!"
He glowered around the court room, which fell silent, spectators and attorneys with downcast eyes and silence.
"I must say, ladies and gentlemen, I am hearing a resurgence toward older times, barbaric times. We must all be thankful we have advanced on this sort of barbarism and left it far behind!"
. . .
"But I will say this."
. . .
"This hearing has covered the ground for the hearing next door on the Bradley Manning sentencing, and its pursuit of justice.
. . .
"And I must conclude . . ."
. . .
"Ninety years is about right. This court is adjourned!"