Tom Sawyer In Court

Fall '15


The courtroom sweltered in Missouri summer heat as the whole town awaited the verdict of Tom Sawyer’s trial. After what seemed like ages, the jury returned to its stand and a tall, bespectacled fellow read the decision mighty loud:

“We, the jury, find Tom Sawyer... GUILTY, for first-degree murder.”

The verdict sent the courtroom stirring. Aunt Polly let out a whimper and near fainted. But from the defendant’s stand, Tom beamed the biggest smile you ever did see.

“My, my, my, Thomas Sawyer! I don’t b’lieve you understand the verdict,” Judge Reinhold bellowed, “you went and committed murder in the first degree, and now you’re gonna be locked up for upwards a’ sixteen years!”

Tom contemplated the judge a bit, and said: “Well, Judge... wuddya mean by ‘locked up?’”

This piqued Judge Reinhold’s interest.

“Why, son, ain’t PRISON bein’ locked up?”

Tom resumed his smile and answered:

“Well, maybe it will be. All I know, is, it suits Tom Sawyer!”

“Oh come now, Tom! You don’t mean to let on that you WANNA be locked up, do you?”

“Well, I don’t see why I oughtn’t to be! Does a man get a chance to read every day? A chance to exercise, and laugh among other men?”

That put prison in a new light for the judge.

“Anyway, ‘spose you’re gonna cuff me now.”

Tom held out his wrist, eager to be cuffed, but before Bailiff Sam could get to Tom, the judge banged his gavel.

“Say, Tom, let ME go to prison for a bit!”

Tom considered, and was about to agree; but he changed his mind at the last second:

“No— no— I reckon it won’t hardly do, judge. You said it yourself, the laws’ the law—there ain’t no way ‘round or ‘bout it.”

“Well, wait— we know there are exceptions. Oh come now—I’d let you if you was me, Tom.”