blame game

ST. LOUIS — Opening arguments began today in the BabySoft Talcum Powder trial. Plaintiff’s attorney Kip Kipling addressed the jury first.

“Ladies and gentlemen, my client has stage-four ovarian cancer and one year to live,” Kipling said. “Now, I could tell you that BabySoft Talcum Powder caused my client’s illness, and that she’s entitled to $25 million in damages. But I don’t want to play”—he leaned in and made air quotes—”the blame game!”

Kipling paced the courtroom. “Sure, the BabySoft Corporation shouldn’t have sold a product that causes cancer. And lightning shouldn’t have struck my uncle Abe while he was adjusting his satellite TV dish in a rainstorm after drinking twelve beers. Does that mean it was someone’s fault?”

Kipling’s client, Gloria Manheim, fidgeted nervously with her intravenous tube.

“We’d all like to point the finger,” Kipling continued. “But how about taking a good look in the mirror? Haven’t you always had a funny feeling about talcum powder? Why didn’t you say anything?”

The jurors nodded in agreement.

“We’re all responsible, and nobody’s responsible,” Kipling said. “So we can all get out of here if BabySoft just refunds my client’s $2.99 for the powder and pays me $2.5 million in attorney fees.”

The jury foreman stood, dabbed away a tear, and addressed Judge Hiram Wilkins. “Your honor, there’s no reason to continue,” he said. “Mr. Kipling has taught us an important lesson. We don’t want to play the blame game. The jury decides for the plaintiff.”

“This is highly unusual,” Judge Wilkins said. “But since none of us wants to play the blame game, I’ll allow it. Case closed.”

Judge Wilkins banged his gavel. Kipling turned toward Manheim and smiled. “Congratulations,” he said. “Everybody won!”

Tip Shorts

Tip Shorts won fourth place in the Belchertown Continuation School journalism contest. He has written for Solid Waste Weekly, The Deadhorse Picayune, and All About Balls. His investigative reporting led to the 2008 boycott of Al's Muffler Shop in Toad, Kentucky.