The Framing of The Shrew.

“I can wait all night. Nobody’s going anywhere till we get this settled.”

I tells ya, copper, he done it! The Shrew does not lie!

I ain’t never done nuffin nor nuffin bout nuffin! Sh’up!

Stop sitting like that, Slylock. You look ridiculous.

“Well one of you is lying.”

Nuh-uh! I din never do nuffin!

“Yeah, kid? If somebody thinks you’re lying, saying exactly the same thing again isn’t gonna suddenly convince them. Nobody’s gonna go ‘Oh, now that you’ve repeated your denial it can’t possibly be false, because only literal truth can be said repeatedly!'”

They look at me blankly.

“Oh, just go back to unsupported accusations.”

Well, I tell ya, The Shrew done seen this kid come by, wit the paper in ‘is hand. And he just looks so downright crazy that The Shrew just knowd he wuz about to do somethin sad an unhappy all at the same time! He looks very pleased with himself.

“So you tried to stop him?”

Whu? Naw, I follered him to obsoive! The Shrew is very obsoivant.

“What fun. Alright, assuming for the moment that he’s telling the truth, why did you do it?”

I din’t! I aint not never dun nuffin nor nuffin! Sh’up!

“Well, that’s a watertight defense.”

The Shrew suspects he is lying.

“And if The Shrew does not stop refering to himself in the third person then he is going to have to start calling himself ‘The Assault Victim.'” He’s right, though. Let’s try a different approach. “Why did you report him?”

Eh?

“Why did you come tell me he did it? What’s in it for you?”

Oh, er, well, wouldja beleive me if I said it wuz my civic duty?

“What do you think?”

Not really, no.

He shifts his weight and looks at the floor. Well, the shrews dun get along wit rodents so well. Everyone always gettin us mixed up wit em, no count bastoids. So’f I see a chance to get a little back’n maybe have a laf er two, whut’s the harm?

“That’s much better.” He grins, “But unfortunately it’s not true either.” Man am I tired of this, I need a drink. “Look, I’m not going to charge anyone with anything. I’m not going to demand you pay for the window. I just want to know, ok?”

Uh, well, harumphs the kid, It were his idea, cuz I get in trouble if I bring back papers unsold right? So I go to sell im one, and he’s like nuh uh! An I’m like Uh huh! and he’s like nuh uh! And then he says he’ll pay fer it if I throw it through a window, an he pointed at this one, and seconds later a mouse with a gun runs out! He glares at Max.

“You drew your gun on a newsboy?”

You said ta make em come quiet!

Whatever. “If that’s true, then there’ll be a bill with his fingerprints on it.”

Aw, hell. Ya got me, The Shrew admits defea- Ow!

“I warned you. Just one more question, before you two go. Why, really?”

The shrew shrugs. Cuz… it wuz fun? The beaver nods sagely, as if that explains everything. I suppose it does.

“Well, guess it’s time to head for the station.” I say as cheerily as I can, pulling a pair of cuffs from the desk.

Whut? But you said-

Now it’s my turn to shrug. “I lied.”

The Final Word.

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