you know what they're really thinking

"Maya, please," Phoenix Wright begged. "It's my job to shout 'Objection!'"

Maya sniffed. "You're the one who said that you wanted an expert witness on the stand."

"If the defense will refrain from badgering the witness," Edgeworth sneered, "I have some more questions to ask her."

"Um, about the relevance of these questions . . ." Phoenix tried.

"Now what," Edgeworth rode over him, "does the witness have to say about the interchange between the Steel Samurai and the Evil Magistrate in episode 19, after the taiko drum disguise has been discovered, when the Steel Samurai is in chains?"

Maya frowned thoughtfully. "Is this the bit when he's actually being forced to his knees, or the bit before that when he's just insulting the Evil Magistrate -- you know, the 'foul lickspittle oppressor of a tortured nation' one?"

"The first one," Edgeworth said. "When the Evil Magistrate goes into the 'little did I think this morning that I would have you on my knees before me' and then one has that long emotional pause when they look at each other."

"Right," Maya said. "Well, I think that you could absolutely call that a meaningful moment. After all, they only found out last episode that the Dragon Lily had deceived them both when she stole the tax money and then spent it all in the opium parlour, and then she turned out to have been the second daughter of the Evil Magistrate's estranged wife, and you had the moment when she clutches the opium pipe and gasps, 'If only -- it was -- his spear . . .'"

Edgeworth fingered his ruffles. "Really, Miss Fey."

"But that's a direct foreshadowing of the confrontation!" Maya burst out. "When the Steel Samurai's being pinned down in the mud, and the Evil Magistrate takes his spear and raises it with the words 'now behold the fall of your proud manhood and the beginning of your hopeless slavery' and you have the drumroll in the background, and the flashback to the earlier taiko drum scene with the street dancing, and I'm almost sure that you're meant to think that the Evil Magistrate is in fact one of the dancers --"

"Objection!" Edgeworth snapped. "Supposition is not acceptable in a court of law, Miss Fey. Confine yourself to the facts."

Maya planted her fists on her hips. "Well, it's a fact that later on in the episode you see the sleeves of that costume in the Evil Magistrate's wardrobe during the bedroom whipping scene."

"How did Franziska von Karma get into it?" Phoenix asked, but was ignored.

"We can't be sure that was his bedroom," Edgeworth pointed out. "Just because you had the concubines lounging around --"

"But where else would they be?" Maya asked. "Especially after the earlier scene when he said they couldn't go to the dancing and had the impudent one stripped naked and tortured!"

"Hold it!" Phoenix screamed. "This is a children's series, isn't it? Wholesome? Entertaining? Pure?"

Maya and Edgeworth exchanged meaningful looks.

"Well," Maya said, "a lot of it is inferential, Nick. They can't put it on public television. But you know what the authors are really thinking."

Edgeworth nodded. "You can easily see what's really going on behind the scenes. The true desire, no, the unhallowed obsession that binds one man to another, through all the turbulent impulses that clog the paths of both of them, all the harlotry, the torture, the corruption, the deep and sincere passion that is unsaid but conveyed in a single glance . . ."

Maya clasped her hands and stared at Edgeworth adoringly.

Edgeworth smirked.

"Moving on," the Judge said wearily, "to the next entry in the Steel Samurai Doujinshi Lexicon Copyright disagreement . . ."

Phoenix slunk out in search of a cup of coffee.

Nobody noticed.