Jewish World Review August 24, 2004 / 7 Elul, 5764

David Grimes

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The real story of Miss Muffet | 'The court will now hear case number 356-A, Miss Muffet vs. The Spider. Is the prosecution prepared to make an opening statement?"

"Yes, Your Honor. If it pleases The Court, the prosecution will attempt to prove that the defendant, hereafter known as The Spider, did willfully and maliciously frighten the plaintiff, hereafter known as Miss Muffet, in such a grievous and premeditated manner that the plaintiff, Miss Muffet, fell off her tuffet, resulting in numerous bruises and lacerations severe enough to cause her to miss 13 days of work at Ye Olde Dairy where she is employed as milkmaid assistant level two. In that regard, the prosecution is seeking compensatory damages of $191.37 and punitive damages of $30 million."

"Thank you. Does the defense wish to make an opening statement?"

"Yes, Your Honor. If it pleases The Court, the defense will show that the defendant, hereafter known as The Spider, was not anywhere near the vicinity of the plaintiff, hereafter known as Miss Muffet, at the time of the alleged incident but rather was 20 miles away at Ye Olde Nursing Home where he coordinates a low-stress aerobics program for the aged and infirm. Furthermore, the defense will show that Miss Muffet was not eating curds and whey at the time of the alleged incident but rather was working her way through a bottle of Ye Olde Moonshine, the over-consumption of which caused her to topple from her tuffet, resulting in a minor scrape of the knee that did not require medical attention let alone warrant any lost time from work at Ye Olde Dairy, where she has a spotty attendance record and poor performance reviews."

"Thank you. The prosecution may call its first witness."

"Thank you, Your Honor. The prosecution would like to call Miss Muffet to the stand."

(Heavily bandaged young woman on crutches limps to the stand.)

"Miss Muffet, please tell The Court what happened on the afternoon of July 23, 1266."

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"I was sitting on my tuffet, eating my curds and whey and minding my own business when this huge, gross spider dropped on my head and sank its fangs into my neck."

"Objection! The defense objects to its client being referred to as huge and gross!"

"Sustained. Please continue."

"Naturally, I was startled and I fell over backward, twisting my ankle and striking me head on a rock. I must have passed out from the pain because when I came to, all my money was gone and my bowl of curds and whey was empty."

"Thank you, Miss Muffet. Your witness."

"Miss Muffet, why were you sitting on your tuffet the afternoon of July 23, 1266? Weren't you supposed to be working the second shift at Ye Olde Dairy?"

"I was taking a break."

"Taking a break, Miss Muffet? Isn't it true that you were fired from your job earlier that day because you showed up for work so drunk that you attempted to milk a bull?"


"And isn't it true that you were so angry that you stole 50 pounds of Grade A curds and whey before leaving the building?"


"And isn't it true that you invented the story of the spider sitting down beside you and frightening you away so that the police would not suspect that you were running a curds-and-whey racket from your tuffet, which actually was a hollowed-out plastic stool filled with stolen yogurt?"

"All right! Yes, yes! I did it! I invented the whole thing! What was I supposed to do? Look at me! I'm 27 years old and I weigh 220 pounds from eating ice cream all day. My crappy job only pays $5 an hour so the only furniture I've been able to afford is that stupid tuffet! Spider, I'm really sorry I dragged you into this. And I'm sorry I called you huge and gross. You're actually kind of cute. Maybe we can go out some time?"

"The defense rests, Your Honor."

"Case dismissed."

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JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


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