As an American, I love television. When abroad, I consider it my patriotic duty to tune in and see what’s going down in the foreign street. I don’t mean Al-Jazeera or BBC. I mean tee-vee, the idiot box. And Spanish TV is as satisfying as a seven-layer SuperBowl salad: game shows, soap operas, even hip late-nite fare.
But something’s missing. It’s what makes America great and leaves TVE half-rate. There’s no televised arena for Truth, Justice and the SoMerican Way. No “People’s Court”! Now, as a good American, in addition to television, truth and justice, I also adore undeserved profits and unmerited fame. So I am off to pitch “La corte del pueblo” to Televisión Española. Hear ye all, and rise! Court is in session, and the Honorable SoMa presides!
Bailiff: Your Honor, this is Pérez versus Busquets …
Pérez: It is not! We never filed this suit! We only heard about it on TV, just like everyone else! They’re lying! Lying, diving cheats!
SoMa: Sit down, Mr. Pérez. I find you contemptible and your team out of order. (Slams gavel.) That was fun. (Slams again.) First witness!
Anonymous: Well, Your Honor, it’s clear from this video evidence …
(Bailiff wheels in a tall cart with a 20″ Zenith and 1998 VCR, presses “Play”.)
SoMa: What the *&%$# is that? Why is all that snow on my screen?
Bailiff: The machine was not set to Channel 03, Ma’am. The program was not recorded.
SoMa: Oh never mind who cares about evidence I want ratings. You know that Judy byotch beat me by 10 points in Nielsens last month? Old battleax.
(Off-camera, someone moans.)
SoMa: Bailiff! Who the *&^$ is making all that ruckus?
(Moaning: Por qué … pooooor queeeeee …)
Bailiff: It’s the Ghost of Clásicos Past, Ma’am. He refuses to enter chambers.
SoMa: Well, he can spend the entire proceedings in his hotel room for all I care. So who’s the plaintiff? This is a twenty-minute spot, people. I’ve got a hard break coming up for a Seat ad.
Aitor: Your Honor, my name is Aitor Karanka and I’ll be speaking on behalf of the plaintiff.
(Papers rustle. A woman stands up from a small table before the bench and leaves the room.)
SoMa: Who dat?
Bailiff: The court reporter, Ma’am. She refuses to record the statements of Mr. Karanka and has exited chambers.
Ramos: Your Honor, if you please, everyone knows what went on in that video.
SoMa: What went on in that video?
Ramos: Only Busquets and Marcelo know what went on in that video, Ma’am.
SoMa: Is anyone going to tell me what the #$@% is going on here?
Xavi: If I may, Ma’am.
SoMa: Who you? Wait, where you? Come out from behind that table so I can see your face. All right. Are you Busquets?
Xavi: No, Ma’am. I’m second captain of our squad, and I would like to testify as a character witness on Sergio’s behalf.
Sergio: (Tugs on Xavi’s sleeve, cups hand over mouth, whispers:) Thank you.
Xavi: (Shuffling papers) Your Honor, I have sworn affadavits here from Josep Guardiola and Vicente del Bosque. They say that our Busi here is a “buen chico” and “racista qué va”. We all believe in him.
Sergio: (Wipes tear from his eye.) Hombre.
Xavi: Ma’am, Sergio has something special. At first you might see him and say, “This guy’s worthless. He doesn’t even have style.”
SoMa: I’ll say.
Xavi: But he sees the play before anybody else. He’s so tall, all hunched over, but always with his head up. He needs to see the field, see where we are, and then he decides. And he always decides well.
SoMa: Go on.
Xavi: But besides all that, he’s a cabrón, a real bastard.
Sergio: (Murmurs) Uh, you’ve done more than enough for me, man.
Xavi: He sticks a leg out, he goes for the crash. Boom!
Sergio: (Hissing) Xavi baby, really. It’s cool.
Xavi: He’s a whore, you know? A puta. And he’s del barrrio, too, a townie, like.
Sergio: (Crosses arms on table, lays head over arms.) Send me a postcard from Wembley, jerk.
Xavi: This kind of trickery, you’ve either got it or you don’t. I, for one, don’t.
SoMa: (Points gavel at plaintiff’s stand). Do they have it?
Xavi: Oh, sure. Ramos does, and Pepe … They know when to fall over, to stop play. (Turns to public, raises arms to ceiling.) This guy is la hostia! Everybody now! Buu-see! Buuu-see!
Sergio: (Swipes leg under table, takes out Xavi at the knee.)
SoMa: That’s it. I’m done. Case dismissed and clear the court everyone, I’m sick of the lot of ya!
(Public rises to its feet, begins throwing red peppers at one another. Chaos ensues.)
For Xavi’s remarks: