Someone must have been telling lies about Richard D, because when he awoke that morning, he was arrested. Two officers, whom he had never seen before, pulled him from the bed and allowed him to hurriedly dress, before applying the handcuffs and leading him from the bedroom. He was ushered through the living room, past his shocked looking landlady Mrs Grubach, who stood by a dining table where lay his freshly cooked breakfast. “What’s going on ?” he complained. “No time for that, sir” said one of the officers, as he was led through the house to the front door. As the officers opened it, Richard D stepped through and found himself standing in a small dock, set at the back of a spacious courtroom, packed with spectators. Before him, on the opposite side of the court lay the imposing bench, currently empty.
Still disoriented, he turned to one of the officers and was about to ask “but what about my breakfast, I was going to have kippers ?” when a hush settled over the court and an oddly familiar figure, dressed in judge’s robes emerged and took his seat.
An usher stood and announced “be upstanding in court for his Honour Judge Sir Alan Sugar”
“Alan Sugar ? ” said Richard D, incredulous
Sir Alan removed his wig to reveal a skull cap beneath “That’s Rabbi Sugar to you sunshine, and this is the only Kipah you’re going to see today. Mind you, there is a sentence that this court can pass that includes a free breakfast, but I doubt you’ll be wanting that.” He fixed Richard D with an inquisitorial gaze and continued “His Holiness was going to hear this one himself, but he’s off to have nosh with Her Majesty, so you’ve got an East End rabbi instead.”
Recovering his wits, Richard D said “This is an outrage. I don’t recognise the authority of this court – for a start you don’t have any qualifications in Law”
“You haven’t got any qualifications in Theology moosh, but that don’t stop you from passing judgement on God every bleedin’ five minutes”
“But what am I supposed to have done wrong”
“Well, let’s start off with your statement that the Catholic Church is Evil”
“The Catholic Church is Evil. It has tried to cover up child molestation and hastened the spread of AIDS by its pig-headed refusal to sanction the use of condoms; and anyway, do I really have to remind a man such as yourself of the centuries of anti-Semitism directed at you and your fellows ? That sounds pretty evil to me”
The rabbi unbuttoned his robe to reveal a rough hewn garment beneath with horizontal grey stripes “You’ve got no f*cking idea what evil is, mate. You can blame the Pope for Shickelgruber if you want, but you had better put Charles Darwin up there with him too. Your precious science of genetics led some to conclude that certain humans where more evolved than others and that they could kill such “lesser” brethren without compassion or consequence. No, Richard D, in a world that gave us Pol Pot, Osama Bin Laden and AIDS, there are infinitely more fitting candidates for the term Evil. As for your solution to the spread of AIDS (give everyone condoms and let them carry on as before), the church offers a simple alternative – which we can sum as “get married and don’t screw around”. History will judge which is the more effective remedy for the spread of AIDS.”
“But I have a perfect right to free speech ….”
“We’ve heard plenty of that from you, now it’s our turn. ‘Go home to your tinpot Mussolini-concocted principality, and don’t come back.’, those were your words on the Pope’s visit weren’t they ? Is that how they teach people at Oxford, whose motto is “Dominus Illuminatio Mea”, to address a visiting foreign dignitary ? If it is I’m glad I never went there, sounds a bloody shambles.”
“What is it with people like you and religion, arnt there enough scientific problems in the world to occupy your mind ? Are there no books on popular science to write at the moment ? How about a book on how to rid the world of AIDS, or how to use genetic modification to create crops that will grow on marginal land for food or biofuel or modified bacteria that can break down refuse. Thats what the world needs from science mate, not your opinions on God or The Pope.” He adjusted his robe and sat up straight.” I think I’ve heard enough, I’m going to …”
“What ? …. What are you going to do”
“Something that you would never think of doing in a million years mate, I’m going to forgive you and send you back to Oxford to do something useful. I’ve already had to send one pillock home for calling the country of his hosts a ‘third world country'; I strongly suggest that you follow his lead and withdraw from this debate as you have little or nothing to bring to it. Then perhaps the rest of us can have a civilised debate in Peace. “
“Sheh-Elohim Yivarech Otcha. These proceedings are closed” he said and banged his gavel and rose to leave; as he did so, Richard D noticed for the first time the coat of arms above his head. It bore a image of figure from ancient Egypt, a man with the head of a ..
He awoke with start. “What is it, love, what’s the matter ?” said his partner
“Nothing” he said, “just a bad dream; there was a man, a strange man with the head of a ….”
“head of a what ?”
“It had a long snout and canine ears”
“you mean like a dog ?” she replied
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