“Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”
“Meow,” her tongue flicks across her whiskers.
“Now, Ms. Jingles, you told the police that on the night of 1 October 2007, you were at home, lounging around in the window sill, when you heard your owner call you into the bedroom, is that correct?”
“Meow,” Ms. Jingles blinks. Yawns.
“And what did you do when you heard her call?”
Ms. Jingles points an accusatory paw at the prosecutor then begins to lick it, intermittently wiping her face with the damp fur.
District Attorney Clarence Tucker turns to look at the jury, then spins on his heels to face the gray and white striped kitten perched on the witness stand, “So you don’t deny that you ignored your owner’s calls?”
Ms. Jingles looks around the courtroom at the television cameras lining the back wall, then whips her head down and follows a beetle walking along the floor in front of her. When the beetle disappears under the jury box, she blinks then slowly turns her glare back to the prosecutor, “Meow.”
“Why, then, Ms. Jingles, did you not answer the calls of your owner? The one who feeds you and provides you shelter? Is it because you despise her? Is it because she buys you off-brand cat food? Is it because she treats you like an animal, forcing you to pee and poop in a box of—”
“Objection! Badgering the witness, your Honor,” Defense Attorney Siobhan Dunleavy stands with her hand outstretched toward the furry little defendant.
The judge tilts her head down and peers over her glasses at the prosecutor, “Sustained. Move along Mr. Tucker.”
The D.A. stands before the accused, his hands crossed in front of him, his head down. He looks up slowly and straight into the her cold, black eyes. Turning, he walks back to the prosecution table and picks up a plastic bag, “Do you recognize this, Ms. Jingles?”
The kitten stares at the bag and its yellow and red plastic contents.
“Is this your chew toy, Ms. Jingles?”
Ms. Jingles continues to stare at the evidence bag.
“Your honor?” The prosecutor looks up at the judge.
The judge removes her glasses and crosses her arms in front of her on the bench and looks down at the kitten, “Answer the question, Ms. Jingles, or I will hold you in contempt.”
Ms. Jingles looks at the prosecutor. A nearly undetectable tremor ruffles her whiskers.
In three strides, the D.A. stands before the accused, “Is this the toy your owner stepped on coming out of the shower? The chew toy you put on the bathroom floor!?”
The tremors increase to uncontrollable spasms throughout Ms. Jingles’s body.
“Answer the question!”
Excited murmurs race through the courtroom in waves. People glance at each other and point to the kitten. The older ladies cover their mouths with both hands, their eyes wide.
“Order! Order!” The judge bangs her gavel repeatedly on the wooden sound block, “We will have order or I will clear this courtroom!”
Tucker smiles at the quaking gray ball of fur and smiles, “No more questions, your honor. The prosecution rests.” He takes two steps backward, spins on his heels, and walks to the prosecutor’s table, glancing at the television cameras as he sits.