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Your Honour, the Jury, here are the facts as have been established throughout this trial:
- On 21st December 2010, National Hamburger day last year, Mr Ronald McDonald was putting the finishing touches to roughly 1,000 hamburgers, made from prime minced beef and a selection of spices and herbs. These preparations were complete by noon. Mr. McDonald then tended to his allotment, the Hamburger Patch, for a couple of hours.
- Someone entered Mr. McDonald’s house at roughly 12:15 on that day. That same someone fed Sundae, Mr. McDonald’s dog, what we now know to be a piece of meat that was laced with tranquilliser. The Professor’s analysis of the meat fed to Sundae was unable to determine the specific tranquilliser, suggesting that a particularly devious individual was responsible.
- This person then proceeded to remove all of Mr. McDonald’s hamburgers into a white U-haul van, registration ETH-5697. This van was then caught on traffic cameras heading towards Brooklyn, where Mr. Hamburglar happens to reside. Subsequent investigations have revealed that the person who hired the van paid cash in an attempt to hide their identity.
- Mr. Hamburglar claims to have been in a bar, drinking with his good friend, Mr. Grimace, during this time. However, neither Mr. Grimace nor the barman who was supposed to have served them has any recollection of seeing Mr. Hamburglar that day.
- However, forensic examination of the U-Haul van, which was found by Officer Big Mac parked in a lay-by, discovered Mr. Hamburglar’s fingerprints on one of the van’s interior door handles. Furthermore, a gang of children, who call themselves ‘The Fry Kids’ claim to have seen someone fitting the description of Mr. Hamburglar running away from the van after stopping in the lay-by.
- Finally, Captain Crook has stated that Mr. Hamburglar tried to board his ship, sailing to Argentina (with whom we have no extradition treaty) just two days after Mr. McDonald’s hamburgers were stolen. Mr. Hamburglar was described by Captain Crook as looking “dishevelled” and having “bits of meat and crumbs around his mouth”.
You have also heard evidence from a Miss Birdie about her relationships with both Mr. McDonald and Mr. Hamburglar. Her allegations that Mr. McDonald used to beat her and that she was saved by Mr. Hamburglar have not been proven and are an obvious attempt by the Defence to discredit Mr. McDonald. It is up to you to decide whether or not Miss Birdie’s allegations have any bearing on the identity of the thief, but bear this in mind when you do: it provides Mr. Hamburglar with a motive. Specifically, revenge.
The Defence have also claimed that this case has only been brought because Mayor McCheese is up for re-election next month and that he is desperate for another term of office. You must put these allegations out of your mind, and judge this case solely on the evidence, as described previously, that has been put before you in this trial.
In summary, therefore, it is our case that Mr. Hamburglar did drug Mr. McDonald’s dog, steal Mr. McDonald’s 100% beef hamburgers and then try to flee the country only a couple of days later.
My client is vegan.
It’s a long time since I was last on Sodor. Once the rails were electrified, there was no need for us steam-powered engines any more. That was it for us really. Some of us were lucky and got sold to other island railways that hadn’t been electrified yet, but most weren’t that lucky.
Edward was particularly unlucky. He was sold, along with James to the Alderney Railway. Of course, with a railway system that small there wasn’t any actual need for two engines, so James was the one that actually got to run around outside. Edward was just used for spare parts. Imagine that! An engine bought just for spare parts. They cannibalised Edward over the course of a few years. Taking him apart piece-by-piece. I can’t imagine the pain he must have been in. From what I hear all that’s left are the footplate, main boiler and face. Poor Edward. James seems to be ok though. Despite now being some sort of James-Edward hybrid. Mind you, even Alderney looks like they’ll be electrifying things soon.
Soon after Sodor electrified, Henry came out as gay. This wasn’t a shock to any of us – we’d all reckoned he was homosexual since he refused to come out of the tunnel when it was raining. What was more surprising was that Percy came out at the same time. It turns out that Henry and Percy had been lovers ever since Henry’s arrival on Sodor. Now I’m no racist, but it seems that you can’t trust green engines at all. That Duck was a bit sly too. Anyway, the world wasn’t ready for a gay engine, so neither Henry nor Percy was sold to an existing railway. Instead, they were donated to museums. Henry went to the British Transport Museum, while Percy was sent to the National Railway Museum. As far as I know, they haven’t been run in anger since. Instead, they get a run out on some disused line only every ten years or so for the benefit of some rich fan.
The one success story after Sodor’s closure was Gordon. He became the pride of the Isle of Wight’s steam railway. And you thought he was insufferably pompous while on Sodor! Now he barely deigns to pull any carriages, preferring instead to rest in his own shed while being fed lumps of coal by scantily-clad trucks. Yes; he does have his very own shed. That’ll soon end though. My sources tell me that the people in charge are getting annoyed and may sell him. To Angola!
The proliferation of trams meant that Toby was never short of firms wanting his services. He must have run on for at least five or six different tram systems by now. He’s currently working on the Santa Cruz tram system. Fancy that! Getting to carry tourists around Tenerife. Must be a nice life, the lucky bugger!
The hardest bit for me was seeing Annie and Clarabel separated. Having grown up together, they were sold separately. Annie went to Denmark, while Clarabel went to Poland. Annie’s now used as part of the Royal Train in Denmark. Sadly, Clarabel was destroyed in the Otloczyn accident in 1989.
As for me, I’ve been in this museum on Sodor for 50 years now. As part of Sodor’s transport museum I share a building with Harold, Bertie and Trevor. There were a great many visitors in the early days. We’re lucky to get ten people in a week now. Except for the school excursion parties of course. all those children making such a noise! They clamber all over you as well. Kids these days! I can’ think of anything I hate more than kids. Never mind though, they’re shutting this place down for good in a few months. Then hopefully I’ll be free.
There I was, going about my job carrying bits of leaves back to the nest, when there it was. Right in front of me. As if by magic. Some greater being, some God-like entity must have laid it out for me as a reward. Good karma, if you will.
Once I’d got over the shock of my discovery, I began to notice the little details. The ground I was walking on turned from brown to red and orange and white. The new ground felt different too. Softer. More relaxing.
I was tempted to stop, lie back and relax there and then, but I’d never have forgiven myself if I didn’t move on and make the most of this wonderful gift. So, I ventured on, deeper inward. I soon came across a towering, beige-coloured object. I tried climbing it, but was bamboozled by its criss-cross construction and many thin tendrils. I would have to look elsewhere.
Walking a little further, I reached what appeared at first to be multiple copies of the same object. Many clear, fairly short, four-walled entities arranged in a disorderly fashion. On clearer inspection, however, it became clear that their identical nature was an illusion. For each object contained a different colour. A different quantity.
I tried to climb up the walls of one of these objects, but their smooth nature defeated me. I was beginning to feel that this wasn’t the gift I had first thought. Nevertheless, I soldiered on.
And achieved my first success. A heavy clear container had been left on its side, and a sticky red substance had leeched out onto the ground. At first, I was cautious – red means danger and all that. I approached with trepidation. Then I caught a whiff of the substance’s heavenly aroma and rushed towards the red.
I jumped into it head first. I didn’t penetrate the surface, but instead floated on top. I could see seeds beneath me, caught in the substance, but wasn’t able to reach them. I just lay on my back and relaxed. Drifting off to sleep.
I awoke after a least a minute. Clearly I’d been asleep for a long time. I needed to move quickly if I was to explore the rest of this manna. On my way to leave the substance, I sank into it. Desperately trying to reach the edge of the substance, reach fresh air, be able to breath again, I failed. I ingested some of the substance. It was sensational. The flavours. The texture. People I’ve spoken to claim the near-death experience means I don’t remember the taste of the substance accurately. But I do. I only wish I could have brought some back with me for others to try.
It took me a while to catch my breath. While doing so, I’d spotted something shining not to far away. It was getting late and I needed to get back, but I was determined to check this shining thing out. When I reached The Great Shiner, it was resting on a white, circular object, such that the Shiner’s shaft was on an incline. Naturally, I climbed up it and one of its three prongs. Form this vantage point. I could see the beige tower and red, sticky substance from where I’d come. The strange-coloured ground carried on for what seemed like forever. It almost reached the horizon. I knew I wouldn’t be able to explore all of it in the time I had left, so made a mental note of this place’s location and started to head back down the shiny shaft.
I was halfway down when four monstrous shadows appeared, looming over me. I quickened my pace, managing to skirt around the sticky substance before I suddenly felt incredibly warm. I looked up. Another shiny object, this time circular with a shaft at one end (part of which was gripped by some giant, unknown, unknowable, entity) was directly above me. The circular part seemed to contain a Sun. it was that hot.
I ran as fast as I could to the edge of the strange ground. Reaching the earth I knew, was familiar with, I began to zigzag between the spiky bits of green that I knew so well. The second Sun no longer followed me. I had escaped.
When I returned to my nest, my brothers were relieved to see me home safe. They asked me why I was late and I related my story to them. They didn’t believe me. When, during the next day, they sent others to the location I remembered, everything had gone. No strange-coloured ground, no sticky red stuff, nothing. The others began to suggest that I see a doctor. So I did. Neither he nor his colleagues believed me either. Their responses were uniformly incredulous. And yet them seemed to be strangely intrigued. So they sent me here. ‘For my own safety’ they said. Really, it’s so they can study me. They’re the only people that see me now, the doctors. Well, the nurses clean me and what not, but they don;’t really “see” me – they look right through me. They don’t believe me either.
But you believe me, don’t you?