A big 50 by 80 computer screen, scrolling the Windows 10 logo, rose like a genie from the center of the circle. "I am Cortana. Ask me anything," said a tinny female voice from the screen. Her tone was somewhat sultry but not of that Marilyn Munroe-ish, dress-blowing-in-the-wind physical quality that women aspire to nowadays.
I had recovered somewhat from the combined side effects of Premier Duh-wite's mysterious injection cocktail and the copious amounts of Outport Raspberry Screech from the night before. I slouched somnolently in my swanky seat. The proceedings began.
"Call to order," said cabinet secretary, Cortana, "Premier Duh-wite in the chair.
"Ministers will introduce themselves," said Premier Duh-wite.
Ministers, in turn, raised their right hand and curtly signaled their monikers: Catherine McD, Minister of Levies; Gerry (Double Dipper) Byrne, Minister of Labourers; Siobhan (I'm Irish) Coady, Minister of the Mighty Muskrat; Codfish Crocker, Minister of Spawny Caplin; Walsh, Minister of Poverty and Destitution; John (I'm a Real Doctor) Haggee, Minister of Seniors' Warehouses; Al (the Pirate) Hawkins, Minister of Ferries; Joyce (call me 'Big Eddie'), Minister of Outports; Dr. Dale (Book Tax) Kirby; Minister of Illiteracy; Mitchelmore, Minister of Bankruptcies; Andrew (Judge Roy Bean) Parsons, Minister of Laws; Perry (the Bunny) Trimper, Minister of Environmental Destruction.
"Do you have anything to say before we find you guilty?" said Duh-wite.
"But, I don't know why I am here," I peeped.
"You have impugned our impeccable character," said Dr. dale. "You are a repugnant, pugnacious, bellicose baboon. You have maligned our good name. You have disparaged all good Liberals, not to mention the NDP. You are a reviler of dishonest men."
"That's enough big words," said Premier Duh-wite.
"He's not a real doctor," said Dr. John.
"You have the floor," said the Premier.
Dr. John pulled out his surgical instrument and waved it menacingly in my direction. "He's guilty, all right. I'll dismember him joint by joint, I'll chop off his...,"he screamed, pointing his scalpel in my direction.
"That's too bloody," said Catherine. "And besides, he's probably full of green slime."
"There'll be no cutting off members,"said Premier Duh-wite.
"I'm the law in this place," said Judge (Roy Bean) Parsons, his eyes protruding in rage. "I'll shoot you dead, dead, dead. Then I'll fine you for your other crimes. And then later, I'll take you out and hang you. I'd like to get a rope and frogmarch you to Gibbet Hill right now."
"That's enough of the Roy Bean stuff," said Dr. Dale.
"You're not a real doctor," said Dr. John, brandishing his instrument.
"I'd like to beat you senseless with this frozen ratfish," said Codfish Crocker.
I've got it, I've got it," said Al (the Pirate) Hawkins. "Let's take him down to the MV Veteran on the waterfront and keelhaul the bastard. Can I sing my song, Premier Duh-wite, please, please, please," he pleaded plaintively. Al whipped out his electric guitar and launched into his heavy metal shrieks. We'll tie the scoundrel to a rope/And throw him overboard/Drag him underneath the ship/A deadly terrifying trip, he screamed.
"Is that damn ferry broke down again? Let's sell it for a dollar," said Catherine.
"What's your name, mister?" asked Big Eddie.
"His name is Eric Freeman Colbourne," said Cortana, Metallically. "I am Cortana, you can ask me anything."
"What kind of a name is Freeman, anyway? asked Big Eddie.
"It sounds seditious to me," said Dr. Dale.
"He could be an undercover refugee terrorist," said Judge (Roy Bean) Parsons. "Do you seek to engage in or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities, espionage, sabotage, or genocide?"
"No sir,"I mumbled.
"And say, your honor, when you address a judge," said Judge (Roy Bean) Parsons as he fondled his noose.
"Let's break for 30 and go for the all-day breakfast at McDonalds," suggested Catherine. She pointed in my direction. "Not you, buddy. You're in big trouble. You're going to pay. Bigtime!"
(Don't miss the conclusion of the gripping interrogation--coming soon)