Monday, February 4, 2008

Court Case Tests Town’s Tolerance

PULASKI, TN – A controversial court case has bitterly divided this once tight-knit community in the hills of Tennessee, which is known for the high quality of its apple pies and as the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan.

The incident occurred six weeks ago at Mount Jezebel Women’s Prison, a minimum-security prison that recently served as the backdrop for “Caged Heat 4: Good Behavior.” Four inmates were competing to win the prison Scrabble tournament when one of them, Janet “Ice-Nipple” Foxington, accused her opponent Cathy Gasser of changing the point value of a “K” from 5 to 8 in order to capitalize on a triple word score.

Gasser, who is nine months pregnant, became incensed and rammed her scrabble tray into Foxington’s left breast. The attack ruptured Foxington’s silicon enhancement, recently inserted under the prison’s self-esteem enhancement program, spraying three other inmates and causing eye damage.

Guards were ultimately forced to turn high-pressure hoses onto the melee to restore the yard to order. Prison officials said that there were no other reported injuries, although the violence did mar the end of “Bring your Child to the Yard” day.

Gasser was already upset by Foxington’s use of the word ‘bastard’ the previous turn as well her opponents’ use of the words ‘whore’ and ‘lascivious.’ Although she complained, the tournament judge had allowed all of the words. Gasser had just played ‘kat’ before the stabbing.

The case has aroused passions in Pulaski, where Scrabble joins church and racially-motivated hate crimes as the foundation for the community. Many of the residents want to see Gasser receive a strict sentence for defacing a tile in play, with some suggesting that her unborn child should be treated as an accomplice and tried as an adult.

“There is no acceptable excuse, pardon, or reprieve that can be imagined for such a malevolent crime,” said Mervin P. ‘Scooter’ Pugnam. “To carve a new point value in a tile is unimaginably vile.”

Others felt that Gasser was pushed into the crime by Foxington. Typical of their opinion was Gasser’s mother, Vonda K. Whatworthy, who said “How can they expect her and her baby to look the other way when they’re calling her a whore and making up words like luscibulous!”

The prison warden and only male staffer, Warden Roscoe Coaltrain, said he was sorry that the incident marred the image of his prison. “We run a clean facility here, without a hint of scandal besides the inexplicably high number of pregnancies among inmates. But I blame the ‘Poontang Phantom’ that roams the prison at night, handing out cases of cigarettes for sexual favors. At least, that’s what I’ve heard. Nobody has ever seen the so-called Phantom. And I have to chase off meddling teens all the time to keep it that way.”

The case was due to be heard this week by Judge Chamberlain Haller, but had to be postponed. A court statement said that “despite everyone dressing up in their best sweatpants, we cannot continue without Ms. Gasser, who is giving birth. Also, Warden Coaltrain is not available to testify because he also has business at the county hospital.”

[Editor: very loosely based on a true story]

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