Bits and Pieces on Trial
A/N: I don't know what to say about this; just that, I hope you get a chuckle out of it!
* * * * * *
I've got to get this chapter done! She thought to herself, while trying for the umpteenth time to figure out how to word the paragraph that she was currently working on. And now the dog wanted out, again! What is this, the fifth time in the last ten minutes? She got up to open the back door for her big, smelly, shedding, walking carpet of a pet, Chewie. He bounded out into the yard, barking furiously, upsetting the squirrels and sending them fleeing in terror. She stood at the door and watched, shaking her head, and then grinned; suddenly finding the whole thing rather amusing.
Just then the doorbell rang, and she went to answer it. A man stood there, envelope in hand, wearing some kind of delivery uniform.
"Yes?" She asked, a bit apprehensively.
"I have a special delivery letter here for," he squinted to read the name, "Bits and Pieces."
"Oh, that's me," she answered, "But you can call me Janet."
The man looked at her and raised his eyebrow slightly. "Yes, well, you need to sign for this." He held out the clipboard and a pen.
As Janet took it from him and started to scribble her signature on the paper, she remarked, "I don't know who would send me a letter using my pen name; except maybe my husband. This isn't from Africa, by any chance, is it? He's in Djibouti."
The man was only half listening. All he knew was that he heard something about a booty. "He's in what?" He asked, surprised.
"Djibouti, Africa. You know, Eastern side, Horn of Africa? He's stationed there right now. He's actually in the Navy, but he got snagged for I.A. - that stands for Individual Augmentee – and he'll be there for six more months, and…"
"Look, lady," the man interrupted as she handed the clipboard back to him, "I don't know where the letter's from, I'm just here to deliver it to you." Why do I always get the crazies?
"Oh, yes, of course, I didn't mean to ramble on like that. I don't get out much, obviously!" Janet chuckled nervously.
The man just looked at her and handed her the letter.
"Thank you," Janet said, feeling rather embarrassed by now.
"Uh, yeah, you're welcome." The man responded. As he turned to walk away, he couldn't help thinking to himself, I've got to find a new job!
Janet closed the door, and then examined the letter that she was holding in her hands. She slid her finger in by the top of the envelope, and carefully tore it open. Then she pulled out the paper inside, unfolded it, and began to read. About halfway down, she realized what it was; a subpoena! She was being ordered to show up in court! But, for what? She read through the rest quickly…pain and suffering? Public embarrassment and humiliation? An order to cease and desist? And at the bottom, it was signed by, "theboysfrombarrackstwo." Could it be? Could this be from the Fanfiction site?
Suddenly there was a, "Whoosh!" And the next thing Janet knew, she was sitting in a courtroom full of people, and standing right in front of her was…Perry Mason!
* * * * * *
"Ma'am? Are you all right?"Perry Mason asked, concerned.
Janet blinked a few times, and then her eyes scanned the courtroom, and she realized it was true…she was in Fanfic Court! And seated on the witness stand! She looked out into the room, and instantly recognized the characters from Hogan's Heroes seated in the front rows of the spectators' area. The Allies were on the right, and the Germans were on the left, just like in the story! Only now there was a jury in the jury box. She didn't recognize any of them at first glance, but they looked suspiciously like other fanfic characters. Oh, this isn't good! She thought to herself, wondering if there was any way she could get out of this. Just then she heard Mr. Mason speak again, and realized he was talking to her.
"Ma'am, I know this must come as a bit of a shock to you, but you're the next defendant to take the stand here in Fanfic Court."
"I am?" Janet squeaked out.
"Yes, ma'am. You are, 'Bits and Pieces', correct?"
"And you've written some stories for the Hogan's Heroes fanfic site?"
Janet swallowed hard. "Yes, I did."
"And you are aware, are you not, of the trial that's taking place involving the writers on that site?"
"Well, of course I'm aware of it, but, why am I being charged? I mean, I'm a fairly new writer, and I haven't written nearly as many stories as a lot of the other authors…of course, that's partly because I write so slow. And I really don't think I've done too much damage to the characters, if that's why I got pulled in here, and besides, aren't you supposed to be my attorney? So you know I haven't done anything wrong…"
Newkirk, who was sitting in the front row next to Hogan, turned to him and whispered, "She's the one, what likes to write about me, gov'nor."
"Oh, she writes about the rest of us," Hogan answered, his voice just above a whisper. "I'm a big part of her stories, too, you know."
"Yeah, but I always seem to get the worst of it, don't I?"
Hogan smiled. "You do, don't you? Well, at least that gives me a break from being the one getting hurt; which is most of the time!"
Newkirk noticed that she was still talking. "Quite the chatterbox, isn't she?" He remarked, "Reminds me of someone we know."
Carter, who had overheard Newkirk, and was seated behind him in the second row, leaned forward and said quietly, "I don't think she talks too much."
"You wouldn't!" Newkirk shot back.
Back on the stand, Janet was still trying to talk her way out of being questioned. "…So you see, I'm sure this is all a big misunderstanding, so if you don't mind, I think I'll just be going now…"
"Oh, I'm sorry, ma'am," Judge Harry Stone cut in, "But I'm afraid you can't leave until you finish your testimony. Those are the rules."
Janet sighed in resignation. "Well, all right."
At last, Mason could begin his questioning. "Now then, Ms. Bits and Pieces…"
"Oh, please, call me Janet." She said, trying not to sound as nervous as she felt.
Mason nodded at her, and started again. "Now then, Ms. Janet, let's start with what prompted you to begin writing in the first place."
Janet took a deep breath. "Well, two years ago, my husband got sent away to a Navy school for two and a half months. I needed something to do to occupy my free time, so I started renting the DVD's of Hogan's Heroes, and quickly became hooked. Then, I found the fanfic website, and discovered all the wonderful stories that were posted there."
"Is that when you began to write your own stories?"
"No, not right away. After my husband came back, he was home for four months, and then his ship went on deployment to Africa for seven months. It was during that time that I started trying to write; I needed something to keep my mind off of him being gone."
"And when did you start posting your stories?"
"Not until he'd returned. It took me a while to work up the courage."
There were murmurs of sympathy and understanding from the crowd gathered inside the courtroom. Mason felt confident that he was on the right track.
"So, you started writing to ease your loneliness, is that correct?"
"Objection!" Commander Riker, who was prosecuting the case, called out. "Her reasons for putting these characters through pain and suffering are immaterial."
"Overruled," Harry stated. "I, for one, would like to know why these writers create these stories, and why they like to fill them with angst and drama."
Mason smiled. "Ms. Janet, please answer the question."
"Well," she replied, "I guess that's part of the reason. But it also gives me a sense of accomplishment, you know? And, well, when I receive good reviews, I must admit, it does boost my self-esteem. It lets me know that I've been able to entertain the readers, and that maybe I am good at something, Well, at least, fairly good; certainly not as good as a lot of the other authors on there!"
"So that's the reason you write?"
"That, and, well, it's really fun!" Janet chuckled.
Mason turned to look at Harry. "Judge, this woman is just a poor, lonely housewife, trying to keep her spirits up, and her mind off of the fact that her husband is so far from home. Not to mention the fact that she's found something that she enjoys doing. Besides, she hasn't done anything too terrible to these characters, anyway." He waved his hand in the direction of Hogan and the men seated around him, "I say she's innocent." Then he turned to Riker. "Your witness, Commander."
Riker walked up and looked at Janet; a polite smile on his face. "So, Ms. Janet, you claim that your stories haven't caused too much damage to the Hogan's Heroes characters, is that correct?"
Janet was starting to look nervous again. "Yes, that's correct."
"I see. Well then, would you be so kind as to tell us about the first story you posted?"
Janet looked at him, suddenly realizing where this was going, and said, "Um, I'd really rather not bring that one up here, if it's all the same to you."
"But that's why we're here, isn't it?" Riker responded coolly. "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury," he said, turning to address them directly, "I must inform you that this author's first story was what is known on the fanfic site as, slash."
There were audible gasps heard throughout the courtroom as that tidbit of information sank in. Riker turned back to Janet. "Now, would you care to tell us why you would write a story like that? And then post it?"
Hogan and Newkirk looked at each other, and then looked away quickly; both of them blushing furiously.
Janet sat there for a moment, stunned, not knowing what to say. Suddenly she blurted out, "You don't know what it's like, having your husband gone for months at a time! I just get so…frustrated…"
Riker looked at her, incredulously, "Is that why you write stories like that?"
Janet, her face turning bright red, blurted out, "No, that's not it! Not really, I mean, there's more to it than that," she took a deep breath, and then started again, "I would like to say, in my defense, that after watching all six seasons of the series on DVD, I couldn't help noticing that Hogan put his hands on Newkirk an awful lot. I guess it just…gave me ideas, that's all."
Newkirk looked back at Hogan. "She's right, sir," he whispered, "You do put your arm around me quite a bit, don't you?"
"But I do that to everyone!" Hogan whispered fiercely back.
"You do it to me more, gov'nor," Newkirk replied.
"Trust me, Newkirk," Hogan responded, sounding annoyed, "I'll never get that lonely…" He tapered off as his expression changed, and he started to lose himself in Newkirk's brilliant green eyes…
Hogan shook his head. What's happening to me?
Uh, oh, Janet thought, realizing that they must have gotten into her Word files, "Look, I already decided that I wouldn't post that one, okay? I promise!"
Both Hogan and Newkirk looked over at her, and breathed a sigh of relief.
Riker was still not satisfied. "However you got the idea for your story, that still doesn't explain why you felt compelled to post it."
Janet looked at him, defiantly. "Well, there is an audience for that sort of thing, you know! Besides, it wasn't just 'slash', it had a lot of humor in it."
"I see." Riker conceded. "But what about your other one? The one on the M-rated page…"
Oh, no! Please don't go there!
"Objection!" Mason shouted. "This subject has been covered enough."
"Sustained," said Harry.
"Very well." Riker changed tactics. "You claim that you didn't do any serious harm to these characters. Yet, you did give Corporal Newkirk amnesia, didn't you?"
Janet looked rather relieved to be switching subjects. "Well, that's not that bad, is it? I mean, he got his memory back eventually."
"Not that bad?" Newkirk now spoke up loudly. "Do you want to feel the bump on the back o' me 'ead? And 'ow about 'avin' to listen to Carter yammerin' on at me for two days? I'd consider that cruel and inhuman punishment, I would!"
"Now, wait just a minute, pal!" Carter exclaimed angrily, "I was only trying to help you out! If that's how you're going to thank me, well, then, don't expect me to help you the next time you're in trouble!" Then he looked at him smugly. "And you know there's going to be a next time, don't you?"
"Yeah," Newkirk now looked over at Janet, "I know." He folded his arms and sat there, glowering at her.
Janet started to whither under his intense stare. Oh dear, he knows I'm not going to stop writing about him, doesn't he?
Harry banged his gavel. "Corporal Newkirk! Sergeant Carter! I must ask you both to be quiet, or I'll have you removed from the courtroom. Is that understood?"
Newkirk and Carter looked at him sheepishly. "Understood, sir."
"Okay, then." Harry replied. "Please, continue, Commander Riker."
"Yes, well, it looks like you also had Newkirk kidnapped, and he ended up getting roughed up by some SS General, isn't that so, Ms. Janet?" Riker stated.
"But I created a good character in that story, also!" Janet exclaimed, trying to redeem herself. "I gave Newkirk a new friend, not to mention a new contact in the Gestapo! That has to count for something, right?"
Suddenly Major Hochstetter leaped to his feet. "What?" He shouted. "You created a spy for them? Who is he? What's his name? I have to report this!"
Judge Stone banged his gavel. "Major Hochstetter, sit down and be quiet!"
Hochstetter shut up and took his seat, glaring at Harry.
"Major Hochstetter," Harry continued, "Now, you've been warned several times. One more outburst like that, and I'll have to hold you in Contempt of Court. Understood?"
"Understood," Hochstetter growled, obviously still seething.
"That's better," Harry stated. "Commander Riker, please continue."
Riker smiled and resumed his questioning. "All right, I'll give you that one." He acquiesced, "But what about your new story? You gave poor Newkirk there hypothermia!" He said, pointing at the Corporal.
All eyes turned to Newkirk, who was now shivering uncontrollably. LeBeau, who was also seated in the second row, threw a blanket over him from behind, and Hogan started to put his arm around him in an attempt to warm him up. But Newkirk shot him a glance, and pulled away, preferring to sit by himself.
"But he's better now!" Janet explained excitedly. "I posted my second chapter on that one already!"
"That's right, you did, didn't you?" Riker seemed a bit confused. He noticed that Newkirk didn't have the blanket wrapped so tightly around himself anymore.
On the German side, Schultz leaned forward and said to Klink, "I like how she writes me, Herr Kommandant. I'm such a nice man!"
Klink glanced at the Sergeant and snapped, "Oh, shut up!"
"I don't like how she writes me," Hochstetter mumbled, still fuming, "She makes me look like an idiot!"
General Burkhalter smiled and leaned back in his seat. "That's because you are an idiot, Major." He replied.
"Look," Janet had had just about enough of all this. "At least I never tortured any of these guys, or killed them, for Pete's sake!"
"Oh, no?" Riker knew he had her now. "What about the latest oneshot you posted? Describing Newkirk's thoughts before their execution?"
The entire courtroom gasped as one. Janet looked over, and saw Newkirk sobbing hysterically. "But…that wasn't my story!" She shouted adamantly, "That was Snooky's story; blame her! I just…filled it in a little, that's all!"
"It was still your writing, wasn't it, Ms. Janet?" Riker replied quietly.
Janet looked like she was about to cry. "Yes," she answered at last, "It was my writing."
"I have no further questions, your honor." Riker stated.
"Very, well, Commander Riker," Harry said, and then turned to Janet. "Ms. Janet, you can go home now if you want to. But remember, you will have to return for the verdict, and the court can call you back here at any time if it's deemed necessary. Do you understand?"
"Oh, yes, sir! I understand completely!" She closed her eyes and breathed a huge sigh of relief…glad that it was over; at least, for now
* * * * * *
Janet opened her eyes, and suddenly realized that she was back home again. She heard a loud scratching on the back door, and immediately went to let her dog, Chewie, in. As she sat down on the chair near the computer, Chewie circling her happily, his tail rotating like a helicopter blade, she couldn't help thinking to herself; I'm never, ever, signing for letters addressed to my pen name again!