Thursday, February 12, 2009

When Interventions Go Wrong: I. The Competency Hearing

Written 10 February, 2009

When Interventions Go Wrong

I. The Competency Hearing

“Ms. Palisades, please place your right hand on the Terms of Service. Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”

“Define truth, please.”

“Ms. Palisades!”

“Okay, okay, yes, sheesh! I promise to tell the truth.”

“Very well. You may proceed, Counselor.”

“Thank you, Your honor. Ms. Palisades—”

I was sitting in the witness box in Linden Competency Court, Judge Camper presiding. Yes, THAT Judge Camper. He’s now a lindenaire, his fortune earned one penny at a time on camping chairs, which pretty much explains his big butt. Now he was back in the judge’s seat, which pays big money—one Linden every five minutes, I’ve heard.

There had been a big reunion scene when Sweetie was led into the courtroom in her virtual straightjacket. It was like old home week, with she trying to blow the judge air kisses despite her bound arms, and he pretending to catch them. I thought I already knew how he would rule.

One of my favorite scenes from the HBO show The Sopranos is the intervention for Christopher Moltisanto. When confronted about his drug use, Christopher begins to get hostile. The minute he does, Tony’s lieutenants begin to kick the ever-loving shit out of him.

With Sweetie, it was the other way around. It began the instant I turned physics and build back on so we could transport her to a padded cell.

The devastation Sweetie wrought has been well-documented in the virtual pages of the Metaverse Messenger and Second Life Herald, and of course in every one of the fashion magazines and blogs, which fell all over themselves to describe the ensemble she wore to her intervention.

You remember those 1400 unnamed objects in Sweetie’s Objects folder? Well, she rezzed them all on the ground, raised them 100 meters or so, and set them to physical. We were caught in a horrible hail of plywood cubes, edged weapons, freebie vehicles and houses, and multicolored prim penises. When the objects hit the ground, they bounced and rolled in every direction. My Mystitool’s collision detector went crazy.

Sweetie took advantage of the confusion to break free.

She nearly escaped, but we stopped her, just.

Two years ago I gave Sweetie a Valentine’s Day present, a big rotating red glass heart with seating for two. I tweaked the script, changing the speed by a factor of 100. The big stone point of the arrow that transfixes the heart swept around, catching Sweetie broadside and knocking her to the ground. That allowed us to pounce, everybody but Reg Paslon, who had spotted a still-bouncing poseball amidst Sweetie’s debris and was trying to chase it down.

“Who was driving that taxi?” demanded Sweetie.

“It’s one of the objects you rezzed,” I said. “My Valentine’s Day present to you in 2007.”

“Where am I?” she asked. “Why are you all here? Were we having a party?”

“Yes,” I said quickly, improvising. “We were having a party in honor of you putting all the unnamed objects from your Objects and Lost and Found into your trash.”

“I did that?” she asked.

“You were trying to,” I said, “but they got away from you. They’re scattered all over the sim.”

“Oh, dear,” she said, then added brightly. “But don’t worry. I made most of them. They’re copyable. That means they’re still in Inventory.”

“I have a present for you,” I said. “I made it myself.”

“Is it stylish?”

“Or course it is!”

“Oh, goodie, goodie! I want it now!”

“But of course,” I said, and in a thrice I had bound her in the straightjacket I’d designed for the robot sanitorium. We—all of her friends had shown for the intervention—shipped her right out to an inventory reorientation program.

That was six weeks ago. Now here we were in competency court.

Judge Camper was complementing Sweetie on her outfit. She had of course tweaked the straightjacket and made a little cap to match.

Sweetie’s defense attorney (that would be me) gave me a stern look. “Ms. Palisades, how long have you know Sweetie NoLastName?”

“Uh, two-and-a-half years.”

“And how would you characterize her usual mental state?”

“Eccentric? Rambunctious? Changeable?”

“I see. And how would you characterize her relationship with her inventory?”

“Formerly, she neglected it. But in January, that changed.”

“In what way?”

“She was showing nine of the ten warning signs of inventory obsessive disorder.”

“Not all ten?”

“I’m hoping to god she wasn’t sorting stuff while we were on our poseballs.”

“I see. And do you consider Sweetie NoLastName a threat to herself or to others?”

“No way!” I said. “She’s been rehabilitated.” I was trying not to think about all those exploding antique lipsticks in her inventory.

“That will be all, Ms. Palisades,” I told myself. “Thank you, I said,” and stepped down.

“The witness will remain on the stand.” The voice seemed to be coming from a blood-stained shopping bag on the prosecutor’s table. “I have some questions for her.”

“Diva!” someone screamed. I hoped it wasn’t me.

1 comment:

Tycho Beresford said...

I hope it wasn't me who screamed "Diva" either! If it really is her at the prosecutor’s table things don't look good for Sweetie!