Case: Rex vs Mister Beaver Hateman, Criminal Libel
Presiding Judge: Sir George Jeffreys
Counsel for the Prosecution: Godfrey Badger K.C.
Counsel for the Defence: Mister Hootman G.H.O.S.T
Judge Jeffreys: I believe, Mister Hootman that you wish to call an expert witness?
Mr Hootman: That is correct M’lud – I would like to call Mister Joey Beadle.
Mister Beadle is duly sworn in.
Mr Hootman: You were a Member of the World Wizard Association?
Mr Beadle: I was - but I left, they did not like the way I exposed the way that their tricks are performed.
Mr Hootman: I see, and Wizard Blenkinsop is a senior member of that organisation?
Mr Beadle: He is.
Mr Hootman: Now, the matter of this Wizard’s Dressing Gown – what is your opinion of the claims made for its properties?
Mr Beadle: It is nonsense – mere sleight of hand and other chicanery.
Mr Hootman: I see, so the idea that someone could use it to gain entrance to the Homeward Art Gallery and Treasury is a fantasy?
Mr Beadle: Utter fantasy! – but, I am not surprised that these claims might be made. It is in the interests of the establishment to maintain the illusion that magic exists in this world. It keeps the populace from uprising against the conditions of their life if they believe in the other-worldly, and of course there is a whole industry that is dependant on myths and legends, books, films, computer games – all putting money in the pockets of capitalists like Uncle…
Mr Hootman: Quite so, quite so, no further questions M’lud. That closes the case for the defence.
Mr Badger: Is it not true that you have never been an official member of the World Wizard Association?, that in fact you no qualifications and have done great harm to a noble trade?
Mr Beadle: I don’t know how you can call trickery, Noble!
Mr Badger: Is it not the case that you used the letters M.W.W.A, without a shred of claim to them, in order to take money under false pretences whilst running a so-called School for Wizardry?
Mr Beadle: I was loved by my pupils…they used to sing “All honour to Joey Beadle, The chief of the Wizard band….”
Mr Badger: So it is alright for people to believe in magic as long as they are lining your pocket?
Mr Beadle: Em, well, look I was exposing the tricks…
Mr Badger: That is not what your ex-pupils say, they were led to believe that you would be teaching them real magic.
Mr Beadle: Well it is hardly my fault if they misunderstood…
Mr Badger: Is it not true that Wizard Blenkinsop had been impressed by your enthusiasm for the profession, that you now disparage? Rather than expose and disgrace you he kindly offered you the position of clerk and general helper?
Mr Beadle: Yes – what sort of position is that though, for a man of my skills – the lowest of the low. He taught me nothing!
Mr Badger: So, you are a Master of the Arts of what you describe as trickery – as a self confessed con-man why should we believe anything you say?
Mr Beadle: At least it is real magic!
Mr Badger: Show us some magic then Mister Beadle!
Mr Beadle: Er…oh …very well, I shall take this double page of the Badfort News and glue the two sides together. You, Mister Badger, can have a go with the glue brush so that you can be certain there is no fake. Now, I am going to do something wonderful. I am going to change this heavily glued double sheet into what it was before: a double sheet of newspaper with no glue on. This is extremely difficult, and can’t be done unless you all close your eyes. The necessary power can’t be concentrated unless every eye is shut. Zam, Zam, Zam, Zam, Zam. Paper, paper, change your sheet into a double form so neat. Open eyes everybody! Trick performed!
Jury Member: Please, your honour, I saw him hide the glued paper in his robe and bring out a fresh sheet!
Mr Beadle: Liar!
Mr Badger: So, you are not even a very good magician are you, Mister Beadle? I put it to you that the reason you wish to denigrate the magical arts is the fact that you have been such a failure at mastering them!
Mr Beadle: Fiddlesticks – I am going to turn you into a frog for that!
Mr Badger: I wonder why I am not scared of that threat Mister Beadle – oh I know!.. it is because you are rubbish! But Magic and Fantasy are not rubbish, Mister Beadle. Is not all art based upon our imaginings? Do they not provide a means of engagement with reality? We can tie ourselves into endless philosophical knots investigating the odd and potent art that is spun with illusions, but is it not with such stuff as dreams are made on?
Mr Beadle: Can someone help me? I think I have super-glued my hand to the witness box.
Judge Jeffreys: I think that we had better adjourn at this point, in order for Mister Beadle to be extricated from the box. I shall see you all, in my court, on Monday.