Prosecution: Please state your name for the record.
Witness 1: I’d really rather not.
Defense: Objection. Your honor, this witness is on the stand under great duress. We request they are able to use the pseudonym under which they are most commonly identified, and which they have had pending for a legal change for the better part of a year.
Magistrate: Their name is in the record, counselor. We can call them whatever they want to be called. Unless you think it bears directly on their testimony.
P: No. Please state how you’d like to be addressed for the record.
P: Thank you. Please state your occupation.
P: Thanks. Can you describe your relationship with the defendant for the court?
P: Do you know the defendant’s name?
W1: Yes. He’s Cat in the Hat. I just call him Cat.
P: Can you tell the court where you were on October 30th of this year?
W1: I was at my house. Or where I usually stay?
P: Usually stay?
D: Objection. Your honor, the witness’s living situation has nothing to do with this case.
M: Counselor, do you mind skipping this detail?
P: Fine, fine. Can you please, in your own words, describe the events of that night which included the defendant, Mr. In The Hat?
W1: Who else’s words would I use?
P: Excuse me?
W1: To describe the events?
M: Miss (redacted), please just answer the question.
W1: In that case, it was wonderful.
P: Would you care to elaborate?
W1: We all had to be in green. That was very important, for some reason. I had to borrow a few choice pieces, but I think I pulled it off. It was a normal party, but we cleaned up that basement, I didn’t know the walls were red all along, there was so much soot and dirt staining them. We had a guy down there who would build bonfires for warmth and just open the back door to draw out the smoke. We’ve had every sort of artist down there too. But the walls were red, all along, and we painted the floor a nice dark black with white flecks all over. It looked like a modern painting or something. Cat had got all this wine, but he wouldn’t let us drink any of it. They were these funny small bottles with black and white labels, I can’t imagine where he found such things, but you can get anything here if you know where to look. He had all the bottles set up on the table, but we just went about having a party. This was more like a ball, really, because we danced so many waltzes, but Cat likes Boleros and Polonaises too. Twenty people in green dancing in threes, it really was a beautiful time. After a few hours of dancing and drinking everything but the wine, Cat pulled the tables out to the middle of the floor and put chairs at opposite ends. He told us to stand back and he lined up all the bottles in front of himself and Smart sat at the other end.
W1: Yes. Mr. Smart, I guess?
P: The jury will note that Mr. Smart is the missing man, we have no record of a legal name, though we have provided a variety of pseudonyms which match the DNA found at the scene. Please go on.
W1: I don’t know anything about any DNA. I guess it was some kind of drinking game, although I couldn’t really tell what the object was. Cat would drink one of the little bottles and then say a couple of sentences in a language I had never heard before. Then he just smashed it.
P: Smashed what?
W1: The bottle. He would throw it against the back wall, real high and hard so that it shattered. I was worried someone would get hurt, but the bottles turned out not to be glass.
P: And how do you know that?
W1: Because they melted.
P: Right. The jury will note that no glass was found at the scene, nor was any residue of any kind.
W1: Well, we do clean up after ourselves!
P: Please let me ask the questions. So tell us what happened next?
W1: Well, the drinking went on for awhile. Cat would finish one, then roll one down to Smart, and he would drink one, and say something, and smash it over his own shoulder. Eventually, Cat led us all outside and told us to write down a fear on a little piece of paper. Then he put them all in a little metal pail and lit them on fire while we jumped over them. He said it was an old ritual to make them disappear.
P: Was Mr. Smart outside with you?
W1: I don’t remember. I don’t think so.
P: Please try.
W1: I don’t think so. I knew everyone there, these were my friends. He wasn’t there.
P: Fine, what happened next?
W1: Cat told us to drink the rest of the wine and that he had to give something to Jack at his place.
P: And where was Mr. Smart?
W1: I assumed he left. He was always coming and going.
P: And did you think anything about the blood on the floor of your home?
W1: I assumed it was wine.
P: You mean to tell me the pool of liquid you can clearly see in these crime scene photographs looks to you like wine?
W1: There was a lot of wine. How would you feel if someone you had come to love was in trouble? I don’t know anything about Smart, really, but I know a lot about Cat. He is no killer. He is no criminal. He left a bad place and came to us, and we tried to help him. Jack met him, and we helped him, and when he gets cleared for this, we’re going to dance again! All in threes! All in threes!