A true and thorough transcript of some of the unfortunate events that transpired during the Inquisition of Johannes Cabal, 8/23/10, provided by Inquisitor Tanzer to her Superiors, among them the Most Honorable and Lenient Inquisitor Staggs.

Gentlemen, I have failed you, and I only hope that the following record will shed light upon the reason that Herr Johannes Cabal was found roaming the passages of the Inquisitorial Chambers when the men employed by Inquisitor Jacobs found him. I pray to God that He will forgive me for my oversights in this matter once I die; for now I pray to God that you, my superiors, will show me the degree of mercy we expect from our Creator.

I had One-Thumb Harry (as opposed to Gap-Tooth Harry, he simply can’t be trusted ever since the incident I described in my transcript of the events of 7/3/09) tie him up, but though Harry assured me that his lack of a thumb wouldn’t hinder him in the art of knot-tying. . . perhaps I’d just better move on to the transcript. I asked:

Mr. Cabal, do you believe this court possesses the authority to try you for your crimes?

No.

Do you even feel that your nefarious actions constitute crimes?

No.

Do you believe in a universal standard for ascertaining right from wrong?

No.

To be clearer, do you feel that there is a way of determining right from wrong?

No.

Do you even care?

No.

Madam, a word of advice. I would recommend you avoid closed questions in future. Didn’t they teach you this in Inquisitorial College, somewhere between “Applying Thumbscrews the Modern Way” and “Framing Innocents 101″? No matter. I shall do you the courtesy of expanding upon my answers while I tie you up and make my escape from this dank cellar it pleases you to call a dungeon. No, believe me, I’ve escaped from proper dungeons, and this doesn’t compare. Yes, escape. Well, the way I’d planned on this working is that I point this handgun at your head, and then you become all manner of helpful. It usually works. Ah, how I procured a Webley .577 in a secure cellar. . . my apologies. . . dungeon, constitutes a professional secret. I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you. No, I would have to kill you. Yes, seriously. I have a gun, and you know I have killed before; I fail to see why this is so difficult for you to believe. Ah, there we go, that’s better. Being in denial is a corrosive state, much better to be in fear of your life.

So, to your questions. I do not believe that this court, as you call it, has any authority. It is a religious court and claims its authority from God, and trust me, God does not care. I am in no sense an atheist; I have met demons and devils and seen the irrefutable handiwork of gods–yes, plural–so why would I deny that which I have scientifically proved? My evidence for your god is more circumstantial. I have met Satan, who identified himself as Lucifer, a fallen angel, and who agreed that he had been cast down from the presence of God for the sin of pride. There is a Satan, ergo, there is a God. Although it occurs to me that Satan is a terrible liar. Try this for a hypothetical; there is no God, except as a scarecrow set up by Satan for his amusement. He watches mortals make fools of themselves in the somewhat smug knowledge that all will eventually go to Hell, because there is no alternative. Think of all the evil that has been done in the name of God–we are in a chamber full of instruments of torture, after all–and then think of how my hypothesis would explain so much.

Well, why not? It would make a change from cribbage. Oh, contain your outrage, madam. I am merely playing devil’s advocate.

Hah.

My actions–most courts would regard adding the adjective “nefarious” as an affront to the judicial process, but I don’t suppose that bothers people who dress for Halloween in August–my actions were necessary. If they are crimes, it is unfortunate, but irrelevant. You have no idea the things I have done to get this far. Stopping my researches, that would be the crime. My right may be your wrong, and that may mortally offend you but, believe me, madam, the answer to your last question was entirely heartfelt.

I do not care.

Now, I can hear your guards falling over one another in their haste to meet my revolver. That is acceptable. Good day, madam.

May God have mercy on his soul. And may the court have mercy upon me. . .