‘Why is the trial being held here?’ I whispered. ‘I’ve never heard of The Post conference room being used as a courtroom.’
‘The judiciary has all gone rotten,’ explained Sara. ‘So now The Post is the only place in the country that has the courage, independence and wisdom to dispense justice.’
‘Huh,’ I sniggered, ‘how do you know that?’
‘I read The Post editorials,’ she chuckled. ‘The editor tells us so every day!’
‘Silence in court!’ said the ancient judge, banging his gavel on the bench. He looked across at the miserable little hyena standing in the dock. ‘Chimbushimbushi III,’ he said severely, ‘you are accused of spreading grievous and mischievous information throughout the land, thereby causing alarm and despondency amongst law abiding citizens.’
‘Who’s the judge?’ I whispered, ‘and why’s he wearing his wig upside down?’
‘That’s Feckless Shamika, the Minister of Misinfomation,’ Sara replied. ‘That’s not his wig, it’s his beard. Old goats always have scraggy white beards.’
‘Maybe he’s an upside-down judge,’ I sniggered.
‘More specifically,’ continued Justice Feckless Shamika, ‘you are charged that you did misinform the nation that King Cobra intended to make the waters of the Zambezi to flow upstream, to move Kariba Dam to Lusaka, and to force everybody to become homosexual. What do you say?’
The hapless Chimbwi Chimbushimbushi III now began to whimper and squeal, and pointed his front leg at the monstrous rhinoceros who stood in the corner chained to twenty-four policeman.
‘Who’s that?’ I whispered to Sara.
‘That’s the Honorable Notorious Reverend General Rotten Shikashiwa, former Minister of Misinformation,’ she replied.
‘That Rotten Rhinoceros!’ squealed the hyena, ‘He is the one who forced me to say all those silly things! It was all his doing! He wrote all that rubbish on a long roll of toilet paper, then he took me to the Zany Nonsense Broadcasting Corporation and forced me to read all his lying drivel and propaganda to the nation.’
‘Hmmm,’ said Justice Shamika suspiciously, ‘how did he force you to read such nonsense?’
‘He locked me in his bedroom and said he would force himself upon me if I did not do as he said. I was stuck between a rhinoceros and a hard place.’
‘Hmmm,’ murmured the judge, ‘I thought it was only humans who did this sort of thing. But now these animals are starting it! Bring the rhinoceros to the dock! Let’s hear his side of the story!’
And so the huge rhinoceros Rotten Shikashiwa waddled to dock, but was far too big to get into it, so he just sat on top of it, causing it to collapse.
‘Shikashiwa,’ said the judge, ‘did you use your vast ministerial weight to force this nasty little hyena Chimbushimbushi III to tell endless and silly lies to the entire nation.’
‘Certainly not,’ said Shikashiwa, ‘I have never seen this smelly little chimbwi in my life before. What did you say his name is?’
‘Don’t you try to deceive this court, Shikashiwa,’ said Justice Feckless Shamika. ‘We have witnesses right here who saw you push Chimbushimbushi into your bedroom to show him your equipment, and then they heard him screaming.’
‘Very strange bedfellows,’ Sara murmured.
‘Most unnatural,’ I agreed.
‘My Lord,’ scoffed Shikashiwa, ‘There was nothing like that. He screamed with joy when he saw my tin trunk full of dollars.’
‘I thought you said you’d never seen him before.’
‘It was a dark night, My Lord.’
‘Shikashiwa,’ said the judge slowly, ‘If you had another male in your bedroom, is that not homosexuality?’
‘Certainly not, My Lord. I am a rhinoceros and he is a hyena. Two animals of different species, that’s called heterosexuality.’
‘And what about two animals of the same species?’ asked the judge.
‘Same species!’ Shikashiwa shouted angrily. ‘Why, for sure, that is called homosexuality! That’s forbidden!’ He waved his black book in the air. ‘That is the original sin of Adam and Eve! It is called fornication and is forbidden in the scriptures. This is what caused the fall of man, and has also caused over-population!’
‘Has he read the bible?’ I wondered. ‘Perhaps he’s illiterate.’
‘Even those who have read it,’ explained Sara, ‘they all have different opinions on what it says.’
‘This fornication causes pregnancy, which is an abomination!’ the Mad Rhinoceros continued shouting. ‘That’s why I ordered the arrest and conviction for pornography of the depraved people who took photographs of such sinful activities!’
‘Ha ha,’ cackled Judge Shamika, ‘Now I’ve caught you! You ordered their arrest! As a minister, you exceeded your authority! You have condemned yourself out of your own mouth! I sentence you to ten years in jail, and also order that you repay all the expenses of the photographer!’
No sooner had the judge spoken than the twenty-four policeman immediately grabbed the monstrous Shikashiwa and pulled him away to the cells.
But then, soon after Shikashiwa had gone, one policemen came back, picked up the little goat Shamika, and also took him kicking and screaming to the cells.
‘Good God!’ I exclaimed. ‘What’s happening now?’
‘He’s made the same mistake as Shikashiwa,’ laughed Sara. ‘As Minister of Misinformation, he similarly doesn’t have the power to find anybody guilty. He has also condemned himself out of his own mouth! They’ll find themselves in the same jail!’
‘They’ll make strange bedfellows,’ I laughed.