"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again..."

Location: Tampa, FL, United States

Monday, January 23, 2006

How Do We Know You're Not a Cannoli, Cascioli?

"May I call you Luigi, Mr. Cascioli?"
"No. I prefer Cascioli, ... mister."
"Fine then, Mr. Cascioli. If I've understood you correctly, you have stated before this court and this jury that Jesus Christ never existed. That He was, as you put it, a 'fable.'"
"That is correct."
"You wrote a book to this effect."
"Yes, I did."
"Luigi, are you--"
Throwing his fist into the air, "I said to call me Mr. Cascioli."
The prosecutor continues, "Mr Cascioli, how do we know for sure that you aren't a clone? Not really Luigi Cascioli. Mr. Luigi Cascioli?"
"Don't be silly. I'm here, and I'm Luigi Cascioli." He turns to the judge, "Excuse me, your honor, May I have a double Italian espresso, straight up, no sugar?" The judge rebuffs him.
The prosecutor continues. "How do we know you're not a cannoli, Mr. Cascioli?"
"Don't be ridiculous. I am Luigi Cascioli. You are a cannoli."
The judge pounds his gavel onto the bench. "Mr Cascioli, you're out of order. One more outburst like that and I'll hold you in contempt."
"I'm sorry, Your Honor, but he called me a cannoli."
The judge responds. "How do you know he said anything?"
The prosecutor turns to the judge. "Your honor, may I...?"
"I'm sorry. Continue," said the judge.
The prosecutor presses his point. "Mr. Canoli, er, Cascioli."
Luigi turned red. He grabs his fist with his other palm and rubs furiously.
The prosecutor prods deeper with his line of reasoning. "For all I know you are a cannoli. And you're a cannoli that never existed."
Luigi turns towards the judge. "Your honor, this man is making no--"
The prosecutor interrupts. He points at Luigi directly. "Just answer the questions, 'talking cannoli.'"
Mr. Cascioli stands in the witness chair, screaming, "I am not a talking cannoli! I am an atheist; I am an author; but I am not a cannoli." He turns to the judge. Sweat now detectable in his pits.
"I demand these charges be dismissed!"
The judge's eyebrows flip up. "Mr. Cascioli, you brought forth the charges."
The prosecutor seizes the moment. "Mr. Cascioli, can you prove you exist?" The courtroom hushes.
"Don't be stupid."
"I'm sorry, you said something?"
"I'm here. I'm right here."
"No further questions your honor. The evidence clearly proves Mr. Cascioli does not exist, and that Jesus Christ did exist."
The judge stands. "I'll instruct the jury and we'll render a verdict once they report back. Court adjourned."

The head juror stands. "So we're all in agreement then. Finally. We agree that Mr. Cascioli's charges are false, that Jesus Christ did exist, but that we'll return a verdict of guilty anway. Let's keep it in this room though. When we hit the book signing and talk show circuit remember, Mr. Casciolo is what?"
Juror One said, "A victim?"
"Right, and not a cannoli. And, what else?"
Juror Five chimes in, "An Italian hero?"
"Right again. And what else?"
Juror Seven answers, "Someone worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize, and an appointment to the United Nations."
The head juror rubs his hands together. "Let's go."

(Ten Years later Luigi Cascioli dies and is buried in a field outside of Venice. On a daily basis people from all over the world maintain a vigil there--holding candles, sharing Bible verses and drinking cappuccinos. Oh yeah, they eat cannolis too.)



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