Smalltown Pizza Co
By Nick Hoobin
JUDGE: Good morning everyone on this fine Tuesday the fourteenth. I hope you all have wonderful plans for after this hearing. I’m thinking of getting a bite—
PROSECUTOR: Your Honor—
JUDGE: (Clears throat) Yes, well… We’re gathered to hear statements for The State v. The Defendant. Will the prosecution list the accusations?
PROSECUTOR: The defendant is accused of denying service based on religious—
DEFENDANT: (Raises hand) Your Honor—
PROSECUTOR: The defendant is accused of denying—
DEFENDANT: (Raises hand) I’d like—
JUDGE: Let the prosecutor speak.
PROSECUTOR: Religious reasons. Under the constitution of the state this is considered a crime. The constitution guarantees service to all residents and visitors—
DEFENDANT: It’s really important. I want the—
PROSECUTOR: Visitors the right to service regardless of religious beliefs, among other protections.
DEFENDANT: (Raises hand) But I need to say something—
JUDGE: (Rolls eyes) What is it?
DEFENDANT: I want that table moved. Can we move that table?
JUDGE: The table.
DEFENDANT: Yes, that table (points to the table on the prosecutor’s side).
JUDGE: You want to move that table (points to table)?
JUDGE: And why is that?
DEFENDANT: There’s a plastic bag on it.
JUDGE: There’s what?
PROSECUTOR: I have a plastic bag containing some files on my table.
DEFENDANT: That’s right. I want that table moved.
JUDGE: You want that table moved.
DEFENDANT: For religious reasons. I want that table moved; it violates my beliefs. The court has to accommodate my religious needs.
JUDGE: You have a religious complaint against tables—
PROSECUTOR: No, I believe it’s against the bag.
JUDGE: The bag?
PROSECUTOR: The bag.
JUDGE: (Looks at the defendant) The bag?
DEFENDANT: Yes, my religion states that bags are the—
JUDGE: You’re serious.
DEFENDANT: Yes. My religious—
JUDGE: The bag. You want to move the table because of the bag.
PROSECUTOR: Yes, Your Honor, that’s the reason behind this hearing—
JUDGE: The defendant is offended by bags.
DEFENDANT: Yes, and I’m offended by the prosecutor too. The prosecutor is a filthy—
JUDGE: Where’s your representation?
DEFENDANT: I fired my representation.
PROSECUTOR: The defendant has waived their right to legal counsel based on religious grounds.
JUDGE: You fired your lawyer, based on religious reasons.
PROSECUTOR: Yes and they also denied service to a group of constitutionally protected people based on religious reasons. That’s what this hearing is about.
DEFENDANT: (Clears throat) Can we get back to the table? I want it moved out of my sight. I can’t stand that inflammatory holy symbol
JUDGE: The bag?
JUDGE: We will not be rearranging this courtroom, Defendant. If you are offended by the bag—
DEFENDANT: Holy symbol.
JUDGE: If you are offended by the bag then look away. Let’s get back to the hearing. Prosecutor, please repeat what this hearing is about.
PROSECUTOR: The defendant is accused of denying service to a group of people based on religious reasons. This is against the law under our state’s constitution. The defendant has also waived their right to legal representation.
JUDGE: Speak up!
DEFENDANT: They’re all baggers. Being a bagger is against nature and my conscious.
JUDGE: A bagger?
PROSECUTOR: People who worship plastic bags, Your Honor. Or it seems anyone who even possesses one.
DEFENDANT: The plastic bag is an inflammatory holy symbol, a false idol, just possessing one means you’re worshipping it. Your Honor, the prosecutor is making fun of my religious beliefs!
JUDGE: A bagger? Is that a slur?
PROSECUTOR: Yes, Your Honor. The defendant is using the word as a slur. Although, I’ve never heard it used before taking on this case.
JUDGE: I will not have slurs used in this courtroom. Defendant, do not use slurs when describing people of a certain religion. Prosecutor, you will not criticize the defendant’s religious beliefs.
PROSECUTOR: Sorry Your Honor.
(Judge looks at Defendant, expecting an apology. The defendant fidgets in silence.)
JUDGE: Defendant, did you deny service to a group of people based on your religious convictions?
DEFENDANT: Yes Your Honor. They were baggers.
JUDGE: Bag worshippers.
DEFENDANT: Yes Your Honor, they worshipped those filthy plastic bags.
JUDGE: What is it that you do?
DEFENDANT: I run a local pizza shop. We pride ourselves on our American values and freedoms. Our customers feel like they’re at home and share our family morals. Baggers—
JUDGE: (Clears throat.)
DEFENDANT: Bag worshippers have no place in this free country. They’re unnatural and I don’t believe in them.
PROSECUTOR: Your Honor, the defendant talks about American values, yet utterly disregards the freedom of religion—
JUDGE: Do you run Smalltown Pizza Co?
PROSECUTOR: Your Honor—
JUDGE: I’ve heard that shop’s pizza tastes great.
PROSECUTOR: We shouldn’t use this courtroom to—
JUDGE: Yet you would deny customers a chance to eat your wonderful pizza based on religious reasons?
DEFENDANT: Yes, they don’t have a right to exist. They worship those filthy bags.
JUDGE: Hmm. Prosecutor, you had something to show?
PROSECUTOR: Yes, Your Honor, I have a copy of some menus from the establishment.
DEFENDANT: You brought them in a plastic bag?
DEFENDANT: (Enraged) You bagger!
JUDGE: Defendant, there will be no yelling and no slurs used in my court—
DEFENDANT: The prosecutor is a bagger. A filthy bagger.
DEFENDANT: I brought menus too.
Freedom Munch $17.49
Meat, veggies, cheese. American, not Swiss.
Blue Collar Veggie $11.99
Mom always said to eat your vegetables and value hard work.
Ma and Pa Melt $13.49
The backbone of our famous pizza shop. Cheese melted on top of steak.
Hawaiian State Barbecue $16.49
A tropical island barbecue on a pizza, without having to leave the USA.
Sunday Potluck $12.99
Our leftover meats bring their praise to this pizza.
Great Plains $15.49
Pork, potatoes, corn, and Wisconsin cheese. As flat as the real thing.
PROSECUTOR: In a paper bag no less.
JUDGE: Order. You brought menus?
DEFENDANT: Yes, I brought menus to give to the audience. (Starts handing out menus to the audience.) As you can see we’re currently running a special.
PROSECUTOR: That’s what I was going to bring up.
JUDGE: You’re handing out menus to the audience. Stop that!
DEFENDANT: (Continues handing out menus.) Correct, I’m also running a special.
PROSECUTOR: About that special, as you can see—
JUDGE: Stop that. You are not to hand out menus. This is a hearing. You are being charged with a violation of the state’s constitution. This is not a commercial.
PROSECUTOR: (Walks up to Judge and hands over a menu.) You see, Your Honor, the defendant is running a special. If a customer comes in and destroys a bag—
DEFENDANT: (Continuing to hand out menus.) Holy symbol.
PROSECUTOR: If the customer destroys a bag they will receive a free pizza. This is a gross and obvious form of hate speech.
JUDGE: A whole pizza? That’s an expensive promotion—
PROSECUTOR: Your Honor.
JUDGE: Yes. I see the discriminatory offer. Defendant, stop handing out these hateful menus. This is not an appropriate venue to promote your business.
DEFENDANT: I’m not handing out menus. Look this person is a bagger. I’m not handing them a menu, I’m skipping over them. In fact, I think the whole audience looks like baggers. I want my menus back.
JUDGE: Do not give the defendant the menus back. Defendant, do not refer to the audience using a slur.
DEFENDANT: I didn’t call them a bagger. I said they looked like a bagger.
JUDGE: You said they looked like a bagger.
PROSECUTOR: Your Honor.
JUDGE: I mean, you said they looked like a bag worshipper.
JUDGE: First you want the audience’s patronage, and now you want to discriminate against them based on your religious beliefs?
DEFENDANT: No, I want everyone to visit Smalltown Pizza Co. Just not the baggers.
JUDGE: You don’t want people’s patronage.
DEFENDANT: Only the baggers. They’re against nature and my conscious. My lawyer, this prosecutor, and this audience are all baggers. (Looks at Judge) You’re probably a filthy bagger too.
PROSECUTOR: Don’t answer that.
JUDGE: Well, if all it takes to be a—
PROSECUTOR: You’ll just fan the flames of hate. Don’t give in.
JUDGE: (Looks at Prosecutor) I can take care of myself just fine, thanks. (Looks at Defendant) In order to be a bag worshipper, I must be in possession of a plastic bag, correct?
PROSECUTOR: (To Defendant) Don’t answer that.
DEFENDANT: (To Prosecutor) Your Honor asked me a question. (To Judge) Yes. Filthy baggers, like this prosecutor, have bags. Don’t tell me you’re a filthy bagger too.
JUDGE: I may have in my possession—
JUDGE: (Pulls out a plastic bag) One plastic bag.
DEFENDANT: (Yells) A bagger!
JUDGE: Yes, I am a bagger.
PROSECUTOR: A bag worshipping person. (To Judge) You shouldn’t have given in.
DEFENDANT: I knew it! The whole system is rigged against me!
DEFENDANT: My lawyer, the prosecutor, the audience, the judge, everyone is a bagger. I call a mistrial.
JUDGE: I’m not granting you a mistrial. You obviously have some problems getting along with persons of faith different than your own
PROSECUTOR: It’s not even a real religion. The defendant is making it up.
DEFENDANT: See, Your Honor, there’s a bagger conspiracy. They have a bagger agenda and are infiltrating our politics and Free American Soil.
JUDGE: You do realize that you’re talking about freedom yet denying people religious free—
DEFENDANT: I will not listen to the bagger propaganda and agenda.
JUDGE: I can assure you that I do not have—
JUDGE: (Raises voice) I can assure you that I do not have a bag—
JUDGE: Order! You will not insult—
DEFENDANT: My lawyer, the prosecutor, the audience, the judge, even the courtroom itself are all part of the bagger agenda. Mistrial!
JUDGE: I will not be granting a mistrial. You obviously—
DEFENDANT: I want my menus back!
JUDGE: The audience will not be giving you your menus back.
DEFENDANT: I don’t care, I’m leaving.
JUDGE: You’re leaving.
DEFENDANT: I’m leaving.
PROSECUTOR: They’re leaving.
DEFENDANT: (Leaving) Don’t forget to grab some pizzas from Smalltown Pizza Co—
JUDGE: You said you wouldn’t serve the audience yet you’re still—
DEFENDANT: Don’t forget Smalltown Pizza Co is having a special. Destroy a bag and you get a free pizza! (Exits courtroom.)
JUDGE: (Beat) What just happened?
PROSECUTOR: I’d say this hearing is over. (Beat) May the Plastic Bags bless you with their convenient storage capabilities.