In This Life, or the Next, or the One After

Author: David C. Nutt

The Bailiff stood and took a deep breath. Once he prided himself on being able to do his entire spiel in one breath. However, with the newest fad of rolling one’s last three past lives into one’s current name…well, breath frequently required.

“O yea, O yea, O yea, all persons in attendance the 3rd District Court, city of New Los Angeles is now in session. All present with business before the court draw nigh and stand ready to present your case before the court, the Right Honorable Magdalena Babbage, nee Wilson Ackridge, nee Samantha Ford, nee Betty Chang, presiding. All rise.”

The court stood and then was seated. Dalton Scott, nee Mary Andrews, nee Bill Fulton, nee Vito Vespucci rose to address the court. “Your honor my client does not deny that in a past life he may or may not have committed an offense against the plaintiff in her previous life. The statutes of limitations surely dictate that my client is immune to prosecution. If-“

”Objection!” William Benson, nee Maria DeSoto, nee Wanda Kunce, nee Soren Olsen leapt to his feet. “Since physicists have proven that reincarnation is indeed a fact, and the Supreme Court ruled that a person in the present has definite quantum temporal attachments to entities formerly known as a living persons, then they can seek compensation for offenses committed to them in a past life. Statutes of limitation are now meaningless.” Benson-DeSoto-Kunce-Olsen nodded smugly and sat down.

“Your honor, surely my esteemed colleague recognizes that there is no precedent for this and therefore the existing statutes of limitations must be our baseline.” Scott-Andrews-Fulton-Vespucci pounded the table for emphasis.

Benson-DeSoto-Kunce-Olsen leaned back in his chair. “Exactly my point your honor. Since my client is seeking compensation for damages incurred by the defendant killing her-

“It was an accident.” Interjected Scott-Andrews-Fulton-Vespucci. “The records indicate that it was a horrible and tragic accident.”

Benson-DeSoto-Kunce-Olsen looked over to opposing counsel and smirked. “Never-the-less the court found the defendant negligent and that negligence caused my clients death and ordered him to pay compensation.”

“Which my client did- to the family of the plaintiff to the tune of 22 million dollars.” Scott-Andrews-Fulton-Vespucci said pounding the table again.

“Of which the defendant only paid 14 million leaving a balance of 8 million outstanding,” Benson-DeSoto-Kunce-Olsen replied rather cattily.

Scott-Andrews-Fulton-Vespucci threw up his hands in exasperation. “Only because my client was bankrupted by the lawsuit and committed suicide. Indeed, your honor we are submitting a countersuit for wrongful death of our own against the plaintiff and her family, citing the crushing settlement and the plaintiff’s family’s hounding my client directly leading to my client’s past life suicide. As noted in Exhibit A, the suicide note. Our psychologist will prove the stressors caused by the plaintiff and her past life family are a primary cause of the aforementioned suicide.”

“Your honor this is outrageous!” Benson-DeSoto-Kunce-Olsen interjected. We’re here concerning the defendant’s failure to finish what was required of him. And because of this, my client, and her past life family, cannot move on.

Scott-Andrews-Fulton-Vespucci sighed. “I can say as much your honor, as my client, and both his past and present life family cannot move on as well.”

The bailiff handed a note to the judge. Babbage-Ackridge-Ford-Chang sighed. “Gentlemen, unfortunately at present, none of us can move on. I have just learned that in previous lives I knew both the defendant and the plaintiff intimately and therefore I must recuse myself. I have no other recourse than to declare this a mistrial. Justice is indeed blind, and karma is a bitch.”


  1. SimonJM

    That takes the current ‘delight’ in apologising for the sins o the past to a logical conclusion, only beloved of the solicitors 😉 +1 for dropping the final sentence.

  2. Jae

    Suitably daft yet sadly apt. Fun tale.

    Personally, I feel you should have gone with triple-barrelled/two past lives.

    I agree with the opinion of ending the tale at the sentence ending in “mistrial”.

  3. mina

    I enjoyed the silly name convention enormously. As a child in Spain, I did have to use two surnames (patronymic + matronymic) and, as one was double-barrelled, it was quite a mouthful. I would have stopped at the word “mistrial”. It’s a shame to finish such an enjoyable story with trite sayings.

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