"Please rise for the Honorable Great Spirit. In the case of X-Indians v. Al Cohol, Prosecutor Marlon Buffalo will be representing the X-Indians, and Defense Attorney Beelzebub will be representing Al Cohol.
"Prosecutor Buffalo, please approach the bench!" shouted the courtroom officer, who looked like every courtroom officer: old and white.
"Thank you, sir," said the prosecutor. "Today we are here for the trial of Mr. Cohol. My clients, the X-Indians, have determined through rigorous research and firsthand experience that he is, without a doubt, the one solely responsible for the massive number of murders, repeated rapes, and countless assaults committed among members of their race. Further, that he plays the leading role in a conspiracy to kill off their entire culture. And my clients seek the Damnation In Hell Forever penalty, plus punitive damages for their generation's pain and suffering." Prosecutor Buffalo was armed with a confident lawyerly appearance. Sporting a tailor-made suit, a pair of high-priced shoes, and a neatly trimmed haircut, he was no longer the Marlon of his teenage years. He'd given up his past along with his long hair. And it was obvious that he was on his way to becoming a rich, successful lawyer.
"I object, Your Honor!" interrupted the deep-voiced Defense Attorney Beelzebub, the greatest demon of them all. "It is far too inappropriate to suggest any form of sentencing before my client has had a chance to prove his innocence." DA Beelzebub was fire red, and tall, with horns curling down from his head toward his chin. He was majestic in an evil sense, not ugly. His goat legs, however, were hideous, and he made the courtroom smell of sulfur.
"Objection sustained," ordered the Honorable Great Spirit, who was nothing but a light, yet a light so indescribably beautiful it could only be seen in the Courtroom of Humanity.
"Forgive me, Your Honor," said Prosecutor Buffalo. "I meant it only as a motion. Now, if there are no other objections, I'd like to proceed with the examination of my first witness. Mr. Cohol, please approach the witness stand."
Al Cohol, a demon who resembled a spiritlike serpent, slithered his way up to the witness stand. Puffs of smoke shot out of his body, creating a thin cloud around him. A thicker haze hid his face, and, even in the light of the judge, no features were visible except for a pair of glowing red eyes.
"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you Great Spirit?" asked the courtroom officer.
"Yesss," answered Mr. Cohol, his voice cold as death.
"Please be seated."
"Yesss, sssir." Mr. Cohol coiled himself up inside the witness stand. Smoke no longer came out of his body.
"Your name is Al Cohol, correct?" asked Prosecutor Buffalo, pacing back and forth, twirling his thumbs. He was fresh out of college and not very experienced in cases like this: mythical, but priorities of humanity.
"And exactly when were you first introduced to my clients' ancestors, the Indians?"
"Let me sssee. Fourteen hundred sssomething, fifteen hundred sssomething. Sssomewhere around that time. I don't recollect the exsssact date."
"Fine. But around that time, was there any sort of conflict between you and the Indians?"
"No. Actually, we got along very well."
"Very well? As in, you tried to destroy them, the way you are trying to destroy the X-Indians? Is that what you mean by 'very well'?"
"Objection!" shouted Defense Attorney Beelzebub, fire shooting from his mouth.
"Objection overruled," said the judge.
"I've never tried to dessstroy anybody," resumed Mr. Cohol, "essspecially them. They were friends of mine. My mossst loyal friends, I might add," he said slyly.
"So all of the pain and suffering was just a part of your 'friendship' with them? Well, my clients believe something entirely different. They believe that their ancestors were poisoned by you, that they were doing just fine until the day you came into their lives. Then it all went to hell - the hell you come from!"
"I thought thisss was about the X-Indians?"
"Oh, it is. Once you introduced yourself to the Indians years ago, your evil took root in them and has been passed down to my clients like some sort of diseased heirloom."
"Are you implying that I've been inherited by your clientsss?"
"I'm not implying anything. I'm telling it like it is. You put their ancestors in a hole they couldn't dig their way out of, which, in turn, put their children and their children's children in the very same hole. And you call yourself a friend. What kind of friend are you to them, exactly?" Prosecutor Buffalo asked.
"I've been there for them all, jussst as they have been there for me," answered Mr. Cohol, fixing his gaze on the prosecutor as though he wanted to pierce his soul with his eyes.
"Is that so?"
"Actually, I'd consssider myssself more than jussst a friend to both the Indians and your clientsss. I'd like to think of myssself as more of a . . . father figure to them all."
Excerpted from X-Indian Chronicles by Thomas M. Yeahpau. Copyright © 2006 by Thomas M. Yeahpau. Excerpted by permission of Candlewick, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.