Dead Solid Pluperfect

A Hot Buttered Guff™ Production

Arbortext Royalty Fraud #19: The Telltale Tape

Chapter Nineteen

The  Telltale Tape

 

Rebecca W. H. Dwan was her husband’s antithesis on the witness stand.

Where he chose the motif of stonewalling and appearing to be extraordinarily stupid and forgetful, she could not debase herself so. Her erudite image was too fundamentally important to her to portray herself as a total blootz for the court reporter to transcribe into the record and on into the annals of history. She had not been allowed in the court room when her husband had whisked aside this concern, so did not necessarily know that mum and dumb was the word for the defense strategy.

She tried once, bless her co-conspiratorial hind quarters, but it was no go. When asked about a Blueberry overseas reseller, she feigned not to remember the company even though she had personally recruited them. When our attorney then mangled the French pronunciation of the company’s name, however, she immediately corrected his mangle – with a flourish. Rolling French tongue extraordinaire.

Pride goeth before the fall.

When questioned later about the origin of Blue Tools Software. she casually explained that she and her husband had discussed what to call their rogue new business, the one replacing Blueberry – to save it from me was their rationale – and they decided it had to have something “Blue” in the name. Thus they had arrived at Blue Tools Software. Behind the scenes peek into brilliant, thieving minds at work. Probably conjured up in their kitchen over a bottle of wine. Their favorite think tank arena.

Next she explained that they answered phone calls by saying “You have reached Blue Tools Software.” Once she had slipped and also claimed to be Blueberry Software. But only once. A mistake. She never did that any more. Ever.

Mary’s sister, Maryann, had stopped by that day to witness the proceedings and, when a court room break occurred, Mary, antennae twitching, borrowed her sister’s cell phone and dialed up the Dwan’s phone number. The answering machine intoned “This is Blueberry and Blue Tools Software . . .”

Hearing this, our attorney’s eyes dramatically distended themselves. Whoa, I mentioned to Mary, get a load of the orb swell there. Mary took the occasion to remind me that she was quite brilliant and I was lucky as hell to have her on my side. I declined to dispute her assessment.

Back in court, Mr. Hansen returned His Royal Muteness to the witness stand. A real Perry Mason maneuver moment. Hansen then inquired of Dwan if his wife’s testimony about how they answered the phone was a truthful tale. Dwan was stuck. If he said no, his wife would be guilty of perjury and he would get a very bad whupping when they got home. If he said yes, he would be committing perjury also.

After long, long, even longer moments of corner staring catatonia, and repeated prompts to answer either yes or no, Dwan finally selected the wimpy affirmative. He nodded. Not good enough. The court steno could not put “nod” into the record. Nod must be quantified verbally. Aloud. And so Kevin Dwan at last whispered “Yes.” His wife’s testimony was the truth.

It was the whupping he feared most, evidently.

Mr. Hansen immediately whirled around to the judge and inquired if he could place a phone call to the Dwan business number right here in court.

For the first and only time during the week and a half long trial, Judge D. Lowell Jensen stirred from his head drooping stupor and indicated that he was actually awake and cognizant. Flinging himself upward and flopping himself backward into his chair, his arms outstretched, he gazed at the ceiling and actually laughed.

“Well,” he intoned, “you could have done that any time!

Since this event occurred very late in the trial, I believe the judge may have been dripping some sarcastic innuendo into the proceedings. Roughly translating out to, “This trial has been a trivial, ridiculous bore. Why did you wait until nearly the end to stick the smoking fork in? This should have been pried into them from the get go!”

Mary and I chose to look on the bright side. This phone call thing seemed to be a big plus for us.

And so Mr. Hansen took the proffered phone and dialed up Dwansville. Sure enough, the answering machine had the same message as it did out in the hallway. Mr. Hansen solicited assurances from all parties and the judge that they were hearing the words on the tape recording. Specifically the Blue Tools and Blueberry words. Agreement all around. Red faces to the right where the Defense sat. Happy faces to the left where the Plaintiffs sat. For some reason, I resisted the urge to turn my head towards them and gloat like hell. It must have been the courtroom atmosphere. It tended to make one feel like any indication of emotional content within oneself would be harshly dealt with.

Plus, there was Mary’s foot stomping firmly atop mine own.

The Dwans had committed Perjury. Both of them. Blue Tools was not, as they had claimed, an entity separate and distinct from Blueberry. Blueberry had not been abandoned to me, while they moved on with Blue Tools. Rather, Blue Tools was simply a blatant attempt to steal Blueberry, all its customers, all its revenue, all its identity and leave me with an empty name, an empty company, and an empty wallet. They had come not to rescue Blueberry, but to filch it.

Case closed. On to the thrill packed conclusion.

Wait. First there was the Court Yard Jig of The Nimble Footed Fat Finger to experience.

The case wrapped up shortly before noon on the fateful Wednesday, so the judge called a lunch recess before delivering his verdict. Everyone elevatored down to the bottom floor, in separate efforts, and on out to the court yard in front of the building. Sandwiches were fetched from the vendors across the street, and then, while Mary, Bill, and I sat on a bench eating, the show began.

Larry Bernheim was so sure he would win the trial that he had brought his daughter with him from Santa Rosa for the final day. She was, or soon would be, a full-fledged attorney herself. This allowed her to witness her daddy’s crowning moment in Federal Court.

While Mary and I munched our lunches, Bernheim suddenly got up from a bench nearby, flung his suit coat over his shoulder, holding it by the previously mentioned fizzled fat fore finger, and began to dance a little jig in front of his clients and his daughter. I will not pass judgment on his jigging abilities, since I do not wish to incur the wrath of PETA by making insensitive remarks about the nimble footedness of the sub-Saharan African mammal species known as the hippopotamus. Nor will I draw inferences that this mammal bore any physical resemblance to Mr. Bernheim.

It seemed to us, however, that this purported jig was a rather unprofessional display meant to convey “Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah!”

Very cheesy performance, to say the least.

When court resumed after the lunch break, the Judge sprang a little surprise. Rather than make us all wait a month for his official written verdict, Jensen chose to verbalize it on the spot. Winging judgment right off the top of his old, ponderous noggin.

He first turned to Dwan and said he was going to give him what he wanted. He would be allowed to continue his Blue Tools Software business and granted his wish to dissolve his partnership with me. Blue Tools Software would not, however, be allowed to take with it any of Blueberry’s assets, liabilities, or resources.

Turning to me, he said, somewhat kindly I fancied, “Mr. Beigel has worked long and hard. I’m going to let him continue with his work.”

As the sole owner of Blueberry Software and all its assets and its source code.

A collective gasp ensued from the Defense table that was noticeable in its intensity by the way Dwan’s note pad whooshed off his lap and impaled itself against his lips.

The judge went on to delineate more of the specifics of his decision, but I heard him little. Paying attention was Hansen’s job. Mine was savoring. The three and a half year Blueberry ownership battle was, at last, resolved.

As the judge banged down his gavel and wended his way off the bench and out the door, the last words that echoed through the court room were the primal sub-Saharan bleats from the Defense table jigster: “But your Honor, but your Honor, your Honor . . .”

Apparently, the jig was up.

 

To be continued . . .



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July 8, 2008 - Posted by | Business, Law, Life, Software, Stories, Technology, Writing | , ,

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