Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Denny Crane and the Case of the Heiress

by Elizabeth

Genre: Mystery
Pop Culture: Paris Hilton, Harry Potter, Denny Crane (from Boston Legal)

-----------------------------------------------

“The law is crystal clear Mr. Crane. You are not permitted to wear cowboy boots unless you already own at least two cows and no less than 43 Blythe citizens saw your client this very morning, as she walked about in what can only be described as cowboy boots. Hell, TMZ already posted photos of the indiscretion! Now, unless you can produce proof positive that Miss. Hilton does in fact have in her possession two separate bovine, I’m afraid I simply can not dismiss these charges.”

Denny Crane stared dumbfounded at the judge, then sank into the incredibly uncomfortable wooden chair beside his client. Bovine? Blythe? He’d really pissed off the communist regime this time, and now he was paying penance. Plenty of people carry loaded weapons into the courtroom; it’s just makes good sense. He looked again at the judge, whose plaid flannel collar peeked ominously above his robes, then at prosecuting attorney who hadn’t bothered to change from his jeans and Marlboro tee-shirt, and realized drastic measures were needed.

“Your honor I’d like to move for a change in venue. My client is a very busy and very successful celebrity of some importance to the state of California.” Denny rose from his seat and faced the judge with a winning smile, “She’s actually scheduled to make a personal appearance tomorrow at the 8th Annual Erotica Show in Los Angeles. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Famed sexologist Ava Cadell is this year’s ambassador?”

Judge Shermer glared at Denny from the bench before quickly ruling against the change in venue. “Your client can perform in whatever sex show she likes once she faces these charges.” With a ceremonial swing his gavel crashed onto the bench twice as he declared, “The defendant is remanded into custody pending trial. No bail!”

“Your honor! My client will never get a fair trial …your honor???” But the judge had disappeared to his chambers which were no doubt chock full of antlers, kegerators and safety orange. Denny turned to the defendant and celebutante, Paris Hilton, who looked questioningly at him as the bailiff placed handcuffs on her anorexic wrists.

“Don’t worry,” his words were lost in the shuffle of feet as Paris was led through double wooden doors, “Denny Crane never loses a case.”

By morning Paris’ mood was as foul as the body odor, which preceded her into the meeting room. Denny slid a brown paper bag across the table and waited while Paris took advantage of the breath mints, then smiled as she squirted a liberal dose of Binaca into each arm pit. “Ingenious, darling.”

“Tell me you spent the night pouring through little legal journals and have found the perfect loop-hole to spring me from this hell hole!” Her voice rose with each syllable and she looked suspiciously at the guard just inside the door and shivered involuntarily.

“Actually, no. I did spend the night pouring through ‘little legal journals’ and unfortunately you’ve been charged with what we refer to as a blue law.” The blank look on her face prompted further explanation. “Blue laws are obscure, mostly irrelevant laws which are rarely, if ever, enforced. They’re generally not considered worth the time or expense necessary to remove them. In fact, most people outside the legal community aren’t generally aware of them. Which leads to the obvious question…”

“What question?” Paris was hanging onto the conversation, but just barely.

“Someone set you up. These laws are usually so obscure the general populace wouldn’t be aware of them. So, I’m assuming someone who knew you’d be here, and knew about the law, set this situation up. The question is, who? Who knew you’d be filming here yesterday?”

“Only a million people. The shooting schedule for the show is set months in advance so the entire production staff would be aware of it. The media gets a press kit with a detailed schedule, and the production crew has to coordinate with the locals. We practically need permits to cross the street and all that.” Paris popped another much needed breath mint into her mouth and waited patiently for Denny to continue.

“Ok, let’s try something easier. Who, amongst those who knew you’d be here, would want to screw you over?”

“Um, only a million people. Ex-boyfriends, their ex-girlfriends, former employees, attorneys, publicists, managers, directors…” She trailed off and played with a stray strand of over-processed platinum blonde hair.

Denny stared at his client and realized there was quite possibly a million people who would want to see her behind bars. “I’m going to need a list of the crew...anyone with access to the set this week.”

“They faxed all of that over for you this morning. What I wanna know is, when is the arrangement and when am I getting out of here?”

Denny spoke to the guard quickly about picking up the faxes then turned to Paris. “The ‘arraignment’ was yesterday. You were there, remember? And I’m afraid until we figure out who’s behind the wayward cowboy boots, you’re stuck in the clink.”

The cast and crew of “The Simple Life” had been filming an episode just north of Blythe. The episode entitled Enlightenment, was another attempt to showcase the sad and awkward difference between the stars of the show and ordinary folk. Denny perused the faxed lists and determined no less than 79 crew members were present and accounted for the day Paris was arrested. Another 35 were back in Los Angeles. In retrospect, he realized the list of people who didn’t have access to the show and specifically, who didn’t want Paris in jail, would have been much shorter.

Feeling stymied and disgruntled, Denny slammed the faxes onto the rickety dinner table in his less than immaculate hotel room, and turned the television set on. He flipped channels briefly before landing on an entertainment news network. Ah! His new high profile client would warrant a mention on the entertainment networks and by default, he would warrant a mention. Maybe even a photo or live shot from a past case. He allowed himself to reminisce about the good old days when he and his father wrangled the law in and out of court. Things were better then, simpler. Now, the democrats ruled with their taxes and elevators.

“We’re naturally devastated by her arrest, but production won’t stop. In fact, we’re filming revised scenes tomorrow without Paris.” Denny glanced at the television screen and was met by the beaming face of Nicole Richie. “I mean it sucks that she can’t be with us, but I know she’d want me to go on…. in her place.” Denny snatched the fax from the wobbling table and flipped through to the sheet listing cast members. “Nicole Richie…. supporting actress.”

Most of the cast and crew were staying in the equally disastrous hotel four blocks over. Denny knew from his earlier excursions he’d never find anything even resembling a taxi, so he set off on foot. The concierge stared at him with a familiar blank look when he asked for Miss. Richie’s room number and Denny realized she was probably using a pseudonym. He fished the cast sheets from his briefcase and offered them to the clerk, but was quickly informed the man only spoke English. He couldn’t read it.

“I have photos…see?” He handed the clerk the sheet again and the man smiled with recognition.
“Yes, ci. Is Mrs. Potter.” The clerk beamed at Denny and handed him the fax.

“Potter?”

“Yes, ci. Mrs. Harry Potter. She at park, with Mr. Potter.”

Denny shouted a quick ‘adios’ to the clerk and headed towards the park. He heard Nicole and her mysterious Mr. Potter before he actually saw them. Nicole was wearing her trademark voluminous blouse and micro shorts and was laughing hysterically as she straddling a red and green seesaw. At the other end, doing his best impersonation of a Greek God, was Stavros Niarchos.

“Miss. Richie, might I have a word with you?” Denny approached Nicole from behind and caught her by surprise. She recovered quickly and smiled smugly as she dismounted the seesaw.

“Mr. Crane I’ve been expecting you, but I don’t know how I can help poor Paris.” Nicole sidled up to Stavros and flung her arm around him possessively.

Denny laughed facetiously and shot Nicole a piercing look. “I agree Miss. Richie. I don’t think there’s anything you could…or would do to help Paris out of this mess. I am curious about one thing though…who was your accomplice?”

Nicole glared at Denny Crane. She whispered to Stavros and he reluctantly wandered over to a nearby bench and sat. Nicole watched until he was out of earshot before she turned to Denny with a murderous look on her face. “Do you know anything about destiny Mr. Crane? Do you have any idea who my family is? My father was the lead singer for the most successful band of the 70’s and my mother was a model. I was meant to be a star. My destiny…is to be a star!”

Denny pondered this a moment and said, “I thought you were adopted?”

“That’s not important! I grew up in Hollywood knowing I’d be a star someday. No one ever sat me down as a child and said I’d grow up to be a great sidekick, second best co-star to some used up wanna-be celebrity. Her family isn’t even in entertainment! They’re in the hotel business!” Nicole slumped back onto the seesaw and crossed her arms over her chest like a petulant child.

“So you torpedoed her career thinking you’d step in as the star attraction? And you obviously had help. Why don’t you tell me how you arranged this?’

“Fine. It’s not like you can prove any of this anyway. We get the schedule weeks in advance so I knew we’d be in Blythe. It’s as small town as you can get. Kourtney…. Kardashian was telling me about these crazy blue laws one day. Like, in Alabama it’s illegal for a 200-pound woman to ride a horse in shorts. Crazy, huh? So I looked up the blue laws for Blythe. Turns out they’re just as wacky. I found one about cowboy boots and had a little chat with the wardrobe chick. It’s not like it was hard. Paris is fanatical about what shoes she wears. She’s got these boat-sized feet! Anyway, I called the sheriff the morning we were going to film and tipped him.” Nicole laughed. “I actually had to explain the law to him. Then I had to explain how the arrest would make national news and get all kinds of recognition for Blythe. And let’s face it, they can sure use some publicity…it’s like a ghost town around here.” She gestured around the deserted park and streets to emphasize her point.

Denny just stared at her. Despite everything, he liked the kid. She wasn’t nearly as stupid as he’d thought and she had spunk. She was a bit crazy, but then so was he. Unfortunately, she was right about one important fact. He couldn’t prove she’d done anything...and that wouldn’t help Paris.

For the next two days Denny sat next to Paris while the prosecution paraded a stunning array of witnesses through the courtroom. Apparently half of Blythe had turned out to watch the filming of the Simple Life. After each and every witness swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but…they all testified to seeing Paris sashaying about city streets in the offensive cowboy boots. Denny seemed to be paying rapt attention and would occasionally scribble furiously on his official looking legal pad. Paris grew more anxious with each passing witness. From her seat next to Denny she was able to see the legal pad clearly and couldn’t help but worry at the growing number of caricatures of Judge Shermer and the prosecuting attorney in various compromising positions. On day two, Denny gave up his doodles and began making slash marks in count with the number of times ‘ya’ll was uttered by the witnesses.

The third morning of the trial the prosecution finally rested. Paris was near tears by this point by Denny seemed jubilant. He leaped from his seat and approached the judge.

“Your honor, I’d like to draw the court’s attention to exhibit 1-A.” Denny held up a small book. “The Department of Podiatry: A History of Boots written by Cameron Kippen, professor at Cullen University of Technology in Perth Washington.” Denny flipped to a page marked by a yellow post-it.

“Standard cavalry issue during the American Civil War was the Wellington Boot. The modern Wellington had a low cut heel, which was calf high and not thigh high. Low heeled, high-topped boots made in hard, black leather called kip were often made by German immigrants. The most popular was the Coffeyville Boot from Coffeyville, Kansas. It combined the various US Cavalry styles and the original British leather, Wellington boot. By the 1880's the cowboy boot was beginning to emerge as a distinctive style. Starting life as a dress Wellington or full Wellington, the fashion merged with the hardwearing lace up boot (or packer), worn by drovers.” Denny looked up to be sure he had the court’s undivided attention before he read more.

“ Later the three-piece military boot was incorporated and worn by Hollywood's Cowboys. At first, films were made in the Eastern States and the costumes were based on exaggerated clothing illustrated in cheap novels and comics. By the time the industry moved to California in 1914 and employed real cowboys, their clothes were dull compared to the illusion. Instead actors wore highly decorated boots outside their trousers. It is therefore somewhat surprising to think; today’s cowboy boots are really fantasy footwear fabricated by Hollywood and have little to do with the Wild West.” Denny closed the book before he faced the small jury and continued.

“Today’s cowboy boots are ironically enough, an invention of Hollywood...the very place from which the defendant hails. More importantly, it should be noted the term ‘cowboy boot’ is a slang expression adopted by movie producers in relation to the western themed movies produced in the mid 1920’s, in which these boots were used. Cowboy boots are actually an adaptation of the English Wellington boots. So, I ask the court, if cowboy boots don’t actually exist how can my client be guilty of wearing them?

Denny placed the book gently on the judge’s bench before declaring, “I move all charges against my client be dismissed.”

Denny wandered over to the local drinking hole after the trial hoping for a cigar and some libation. Within minutes of the dismissal his cell phone had begun to ring. Now, hours later his head was throbbing from the cheap beer and smokey interior. When the waitress approached he inquired about something for his headache. “A percocet, vicodin, a tranquilizer!” The waitress promised to look behind the bar and replaced his empty bottle with a full one. Denny exhaled slowly and picked up his phone. He’d been forced to turn the ringer off after the twentieth call, but looked at the brightly lit screen to see who was calling this time. Paris? He clicked the ‘talk’ button and tentatively said ‘hello’?

“Mr. Crane, remember those blue laws? Well, apparently there’s some in Nevada too. Something about riding a camel down a highway. Could you come to Vegas?”

2 comments:

Redneck. Diva. said...

For someone who's never watched Boston Legal, you sure captured the essence of Denny Crane!

Elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.