Boilerplate Disclaimer: The various characters from the Kim Possible series are all owned by Disney. OCs are my own. NoDrogs created Kasy and Sheki, I changed their origin.
DNAmy presented Smaug to Kasy and Sheki on their fourth birthday (Fears and Favors) nine years earlier. When animal control charged the Possibles with keeping an exotic animal within city limits Shego defended the family pet (Middleton vs. Possible) and in a Pyrrhic victory Smaug was legally ruled a very ugly dog.
Attend the Tale of Sweeney Smaug
The problem was not the cat that Smaug ate. There was nothing remarkable about the cat, a black-and-brown calico with two white, front paws. It was not the first cat that Smaug had eaten. In defense of the Possible family beast it must be pointed out that Smaug had not left his own yard, the cat had been trespassing – this was a fact which was not denied by even the loudest supporters of the late Mr. Muffy Mittens.
The problem might not have been the occasional visitors to Middleton who were told stories about Smaug and stood on the sidewalk, staring through the high, wrought-iron fence, hoping to see the family pet, and wondering if the thing which had been described to them could be real or represented a huge exaggeration in regard to something relatively mundane.
By a very narrow definition it might even be argued that the Middleton visitor who took a video of Mr. Muffy Mittens suffering what surely would be called a 'bad ending' in a Japanese video game was not to blame. The problem began when a friend, to whom he sent a copy of the video of Smaug's snacking habits, thought it might have an appeal for a wider audience and posted it on the internet.
By the time the video reached thirteen million, six-hundred and twelve thousand, four hundred and nineteen hits there were clearly drawn lines of demarcation between the three schools of thought in regard to the film. Lovers of cats thought Smaug should be executed by a firing squad. Bird lovers thought he should be given a medal of honor. Many remained certain that the video was a hoax, creatures like Smaug simply didn't exist. (Although it must be pointed out that the hoax camp was subdivided into those who believed if such creatures did exist they should not be devouring cats, those who believed if such a creature existed it should have the right to defend its turf against cats (which should all be shot anyway), and those who simply thought, "Whoa, wouldn't it be cool if this was real? Wonder if we could borrow him for our Renaissance Fair?")
The controversy escalated with a white, Styrofoam cross leaning against the fence at the point closest to where Mr. Muffy Mittens became dragon chow. Flowers were laid in memory of the cat, candles lit, and small stuffed cats were left reverently in place. Bird watchers responded with signs on the fence such as "Go Smaug" or "The cat died for your sins."
"Someone at work told me there is a website called Campaign to Bring Smaug to Justice," Kim mentioned at dinner.
"Someone in your office has too much time on his or her hands if they're surfing the web for that trash," Shego grumbled and helped herself to the kasha before passing it to Kasy.
"What does bring Smaug to justice mean?" Jane wanted to know.
"Taking him to court or something," Sheki told her little sister. "Putting him in jail or the electric chair or suing him or something."
"Can they do that?" Kim asked.
Shego shrugged, "Pretty sure there's no way in hell to file a criminal complaint."
While there was no legal basis for a criminal complaint it didn't stop cat people from phoning the DA's office a hundred times a day to demand an arrest. Social media was filled with complaints about the lack of legal action. This escalated when it was discovered that Briana Crandall, the DA's daughter, was a friend of the Possible twins. The cat campaigners called for the DA's resignation, or impeachment, or flogging, or something appropriate to the crime of conflict of interest which kept him from his duty.
When it reached a point that the volume of phone calls and complaints took more time in the DA's office than legal work Steve realized he needed to do something. Later in the day he called Shego to apologize.
"Sharon, I'm afraid I've got bad news."
"Shit," Shego groaned. "Don't tell me there's another video of Smaug eating a cat."
"I had to throw you under the bus."
"What the hell? You're filing a criminal charge?"
"No. Nothing criminal, you know that."
"Then what do you mean you're throwing me under the bus?"
"I had a talk with one of the organizers of Campaign to Bring Smaug to Justice. I tried to explain, in very tiny words, why there's nothing criminal-"
"Probably too stupid to understand what you were saying."
"I think she understood. I just hope she can do something to stop the calls to my office. Anyway, she seemed to accept it was out of my hands. I told her there was nothing criminal. So she said, 'Then there's nothing the law can do?' and I told her about a civil suit."
"She has no grounds for civil action."
"I told her that. I told her only the cat owner could file a civil suit in regard to legal chattel. She said thanks and told me she'd call a lawyer and Mrs. Ragsdale."
"Great," the green woman grumbled, "so now I get to prepare for a frivolous lawsuit?"
"Maybe Mrs. Ragsdale won't agree. Maybe no lawyer will want to… Oh, wait, there is always some lawyer willing to do anything for money."
"You're a lawyer too you son-of-a-bitch," she reminded him.
"Nah," he laughed. "I'm the DA. I try to put the criminals away. Your job is to convince the judge and jury the slimeballs are outstanding citizens. And if my office gets bogged down with wasting all its time on cat calls criminals will roam the streets of Middleton and there won't be any trials for you to defend the rights of crooks."
"So you're not a lawyer, you're a humanitarian?"
"I'm sorry, Sharon, really. But they're calling for my head and there's an election next year. Besides, some of them had to realize the truth already. I just went to the top and tried to get some sense into them faster. We'll have your family over for dinner when this dies down a little, okay?"
"You're not going to be so gutless that Briana won't be allowed to come over, are you?"
"No, she's free to… Tell you what, if there actually is a civil suit you can call me as a character witness for Smaug."
"I might take you up on that," Shego laughed.
Ragsdale vs. Possible was filed at the end of the week. Counsel charged negligence and sought actual damages – both the value of the cat and compensatory damages for the emotional damage caused by the loss of same – along with punitive damages to insure it never happened again. The cat-lovers assured Mrs. Ragsdale they would pay all the legal expenses involved - both court costs and hiring a lawyer. On Monday Shego filed the counter charges, calling the lawsuit frivolous and seeking compensatory damages for the emotional pain and distress suffered by the Possible household and repayment for any legal fees incurred in fighting the suit.
Shego feared she would have to work pro bono in Smaug's defense. But as cat lovers across America and around the world sent in money for the Mr. Muffy Mittens Memorial Legal Defense Fund the Audubon Society, various SCA chapters, the AKC, and other pro-bird or pro-dog lobbies began sending donations to Armstrong, Bennett, Dashwood, and Zinski. Seeing it as wonderful publicity ABD&Z announced it would reduce its usual fees by twenty-five percent, and any money left above fees at the end of the trial would be donated to the Audubon Society. (Even with a twenty-five percent discount the firm would still make a healthy profit. And the fact that every news story referred to ABD & Z as 'Middleton's most prestigious law firm' – whether it was true or not – planted the idea firmly in the minds of the readers and hearers.)
Vendors of novelty t-shirts made money before the trial started, and figured they would make a lot more if the trial continued long enough. One of the pro-cat tees proclaimed "I Stand With" and featured a picture of the late cat underneath. The anti-cat lobby responded with a tee which proclaimed, "I Stand On" and featured a cartoon drawing of a man standing on a cat. The Catholic Church condemned a pro-cat t-shirt which featured an image Mr. Muffy Mittens with a halo suggesting sainthood. Perhaps the most popular of the anti-cat tees asked the question, "What is the difference between?" Below the question were two images, a photo of a cat and a drawing of a stylized pile of dog shit. And below the images was the answer, "7 hours."
"I hear the media circus just got bigger," Steve Crandall remarked to Judge Carnahan during a conversation at the Middleton court building.
"Yep. New Ragsdale team. Apparently the people funding this didn't think local counsel was aggressive enough, or maybe our attorneys just know how weak the case is."
"Do the cat people really have enough to hire Byron Judge? I can't imagine he needs the money. I figure, if he's coming, he's just doing it for the publicity."
"He's coming," the judge groaned. "Turns out he's got some kind of fancy long-hairs. So he may be taking it personally. I had planned on this taking an hour, but with him representing the plaintiff I've got it blocked in for a week."
"They're not going to make it easy for you, are they?"
"You heard I was asked to recuse myself from the case? I'd have been happy to bow out. But there's not another judge who wants it, and Sharon's arguing I'm wonderfully fair. Which, of course, makes the Ragsdale lawyers more convinced than ever that I'm not."
"What was their argument when they asked you to recuse yourself?"
"They claimed that since I'm the judge who ruled Smaug was legally a dog I'm obviously incompetent."
"Think that will come up at the trial?"
"I hope not – which means it will of course."
"Of course." Steve shook his head. "You know, the one I feel sorry for is Agnes Ragsdale."
"Yeah," the judge agreed. "I think she's getting pushed around by the people who claim they're just standing up for her, but they're just interested in making their own points... You didn't hear me say that."
"Didn't hear a thing." The DA wished the judge good luck with the upcoming trial and headed for a hearing of his own.
News that Byron Judge would be handling the plaintiff's case brought Alice to the office on an almost daily basis. "Do you want Adam or another more experienced attorney to help you?" she asked Shego for the third time that day.
"I'll be fine. I had a great teacher."
"Don't try flattery. The whole office looks bad if you lose this one. Half the planet will be hearing about it."
"They don't have a decent case."
"That won't stop Judge. He'll bog things down with minutia and pointless tangents until the facts become irrelevant."
"You seem pretty sure of his strategy. You've followed him?"
"Nah, its what I'd do with a crappy case."
Shego chuckled and softly sang,
"I'll never throw dust in a juryman's eyes
(Said I to myself-said I),
Or hoodwink a judge who is not over-wise
(Said I to myself-said I),
Or assume that the witnesses summoned in force
In Exchequer, Queen's Bench, Common Pleas, or Divorce,
Have perjured themselves as a matter of course
(Said I to myself-said I!)."
"More of your Gilbert and Sullivan?"
"Well, don't do it in court. Want me to sit with you?"
"If you sit at the defense table it means you don't trust me. It hurts my rep."
Alice thought for a minute. "You're right. Still good to have a second pair of eyes and ears. Take an intern with you."
"You stink at being retired, you know that? You're supposed to stay home and let us run things here."
"I'm a founding partner, and you have to listen to me until you pry the bottle of bourbon from my cold, dead hands."