On the day of the parliamentary election in Funga Municipality in the Republic of Funga, Captain Charles invited his gang of eight to his home to reveal to them his secret plan to rig the election for his friend, Congressman Wilbur. Also invited to the meeting were Father Bob and Attorney Cook. When all the invited guests had arrived, Charles relayed to them his plan in great detail, but little did he know that a day prior, while he was at work, Professor Dan secretly installed surveillance cameras in his house in order to capture the video footage of the meeting proceedings--Dan wanted to use the video evidence to incriminate Wilbur so that the court could disqualify him from running for member of parliament for Funga Municipality.
"Lady, and gentlemen. I'm very glad that I finally found a solution for Professor Dan's stubbornness. Later today, people will be going to the polls to elect their new senator, but that will be just for formality because Wilbur has won the election in advance," Charles said.
"What are you trying to insinuate?" Rebecca asked.
"What I mean is that, through my friends in the office of the electoral commission, I was able to privately secure ten thousand ballot papers for Wilbur. Wilbur's name is already checked on those ballot papers, which means that, even if Professor Dan were to win every vote from the electoral commission, Wilbur would still win the popular vote because the number of the ballot papers I have stollen is three times larger than the number of the eligible voters. I have also reached an understanding with the Electoral Commissioner that Wilbur will be declared the winner regardless of what happens at the polls later today. But this political arrangement requires a prayer so that we don't get caught unawares. That is the reason I have invited Father Bob to come and give us his spiritual guidance. I have also invited Attorney Cook to help us with the legal interpretation of the electoral statutes. So, without wasting time, let me yield the floor to Father Bob. Then Bob stood up and walked toward a stack of stollen ballot boxes. "Everybody please come over and lay your hands on these ballot boxes so that we can all pray together for Congressman Wilbur's victory."
"How can you ask God to bless a pile of stollen ballot boxes? And you call yourself a priest?" Rebecca asked.
"Rebecca, I know you to be a gunslinger, please stop shooting holes in my dreams. Do as I say not as I do," Bob shouted.
Then all of them put their hands on the ballot boxes and Bob prayed. "Lord God, although these ballot papers have been stollen, we know that you will understand. We know that Professor Dan is a decent man, but Congressman Wilbur has unfinished business to do in parliament. Almighty God, you are the only one who chooses leaders. If Wilbur doesn't win this parliamentary election, we are finished! Amen."
"Now, what kind of prayer was that?"
"There you go again! I don't know why you always like to challenge the authenticity of my prayers. I want you to know that I'm a priest and that I have different prayers for different occassions."
"I think we need to give the priest a chance to do his job. Let's also hear from our attorney. Mr. Cook, is it legal or ethical to rig an election?" Charles asked.
"It depends on whom you ask. What I know is that if you are not afraid of going to prison for a very, very long time, you can do whatever you want."
"What? That is not a legal advice; that is an intimidation!" Rebecca said.
"That's what we real lawyers do. We intimidate criminals into giving us valuable information that helps us to defend or convict them."
"We are not criminals, we are election riggers. There is a huge difference!"
"Rebecca, give the professionals a chance to guide us. Let's not argue with them," Bombastic said.
"But what does our congressman have to say about the plan to rig this election?"
"Oh, I'm loving it! I thank Captain Charles for coming up with such a brilliant idea. And because of his relentless efforts to get me elected, soon or later all the troubles that Professor Dan put me through will become a distant memory."
As they were still in the meeting, Professor Dan went and hid in the nearby neighborhood and used a special wiretapping device to receive signals from the surveillance cameras he had installed in Charles' house. After he had finished wiretapping their conversation, he alerted police. And when Charles and his team were about to conclude their meeting, police arrived to arrest them.
"Don't move! I'm Captain Jonathan, the District Police Commander for Funga Municipality. I'm coming in with my full police force and we are carrying loaded weapons. You are now under arrest for planning to rig the parliamentary election. I want all of you to put your hands in the air and drop any weapon you might have so that nobody gets hurt. And remember, you have a right to remain silent, because anything you say could be used against you in the courts of law." Then Charles and his team started quaking as Jonathan and his police team entered with their weapons drawn.
"I can't believe Professor Dan did it to us again!" Wilbur said.
"You did it to yourself. Don't blame others for your fraudulent actions. Listen to your voices on this recording." Then Jonathan played back to them the voice recordings of their conversations about stealing the election for Wilbur. "We shall present these recordings in court as exhibit A, and the stollen ballot boxes as exhibit B."
"How many are you in here, anyway?"
"We are eleven, sir. But can we work something out so that you can let us go? We promise we will never do it again!" Rebecca said.
"This is the end of the road for you. Congressman Wilbur has been on the run for far too long, now his eleventh hour has come. I'm not going to make any deals today. My job is to get criminals off the streets, and you guys are going to jail."
"We are eleven here, but the most wanted person among us is Congressman Wilbur. Why don't you take him and leave us alone?"
"That's right! You are eleven identical thieves and we're going to arrest all of you in alphabetical order. First, in order to profile each one of you correctly, I need to learn more about your past criminal backgrounds by assigning each one of you a grade. So, let's get started. I have a box here with eleven pieces of paper that have different grades. Each of you should draw a piece of paper without looking," Jonathan said. Then each picked a piece of paper from the box. "Okay, the second thing I want you to do is for each of you to show me the grade you picked." Then each showed his or her grade. "Alright, Fr. Bob picked an A+; Charles an A; Wilbur selected an A-; Bombastic, a B+; Ben chose a B grade; Daniel picked a B-; Ethan, a C+; Adam, a C-; Jacob, a D; Attorney Cook got a D-; and finally, Rebecca selected an F."
"Are you guys discriminating against me because I'm a woman? This is unusual! I have never received an F in my entire school life. I have always been a straight-A student!"
"I don't know what Rebecca is complaining about. I got an A+ because I'm a man of God. When one is a faithful servant of the Lord, God blesses him or her abundantly. So my sister, don't be jealous. I'm sure that if you pray without ceasing and keep God's commandments like I am doing, maybe in ten or fifteen years you will be able to get an A+ like me in your next criminal activity. So, keep the faith and stop whining,"
"I agree with Fr. Bob. I also got an A because of my hardwork. I would have been embarrassed had I picked an F."
"I concur with my friends. I got an A- because of the tremendous work I have done for my people in parliament for the last twenty years I have represented them. Don't you see that our colleagues who got lower grades are not complaining? It is because they have accomplished nothing in their life. So, Rebecca, don't try to be a troublemaker."
Meanwhile, the police officers were starting to get irritated by the nonsensical arguments of the suspects about their grades. "Hey, have you guys forgotten that you are still under arrest? I'm still in charge here. Stop complaining about your grades; Judge Williams is about to arrive to interpret your grades for you and sentence you alphabetically," Jonathan said. In a few minutes, Judge Williams arrived being escorted by his secretary, Melisa.
"All arise! Judge Williams is presiding," Melisa said.
"Wait a minute! You can't turn my house into a courtroom!" Charles protested.
"Remember, you are under arrest and your house is under our jurisdiction," Jonathan said.Then Judge Williams sat at the dining table and everybody sat down to listen to the court proceedings.
"Your honor, here are the grades that need your interpretation," Jonathan handed the grades over to Williams.
"According to the laws of the Republic of Funga, here is the interpretation of the grades and their scores. By the way, congratulations, Father Bob, you selected a score of A+, that was pretty good!"Judge Williams said.
"You are welcome your honor! I have always been a straight-A student especially in my favorite subjects such as mathematics, biology, physics, and chemistry. I also want to let you know that in the seminary, I was always on top of my class!"
"That is the gospel truth."
"Unfortunately, the grade of A+ has the criminality score of fort-five, which means that you will spend forty-five years or longer in jail."
"What? There must be some misunderstanding! My high score of A+ should be exonerating me from any wrong doing not sending me to jail!
"That is not all. Since your grade has a plus sign in front of it, it means that I have more years to add to your jail time."
"Objection your honor!"
"Objection overruled. Who are you?"
"I'm Attorney Cook and everybody here is my client."
"Then you had better find yourself a lawyer because you are also under arrest for being an accomplice of this crime. I'm giving Father Bob a longer prison sentence because of his high criminality score. That is the law of the land. I don't make the laws; congress makes the laws, I interpret the laws and police enforces them."
"I still think, your honor, that an A+ should mean no jail time!"
"What makes it even worse is that your man of God misused his religious office by engaging in fraudulent activities. Had he not been a church minister, I would have reduced his jail time significantly."
"I'm not Mr. Judge. You may call me 'your honor,' okay?"
"Okay, your honor, I'm not really a priest. I have been pretending to be one so that I could put food on the table for my family. If there's a way for you to reduce my jail time, I swear I will never pretend to be a priest again."
"Since priesthood seems to be your calling, I hope by the time you finish serving your jail time, you will have become a very honest priest. Therefore, I'm adding two more years for perjury to your jail time, hence bringing the total years of your jail time to forty-seven years."
"Your honor, I need to discuss this with my wife and kids first."
"Oh, you are married? So you have been lying to people and yet you are not really a priest? Then that is another crime and I'm adding two more years to your jail time to bring the total to forty-nine years."
Then one police officer became irritated by Bob's utterances and poked him in the stomach with his pistol. "Can't you just keep quiet? Do you realize that the more you keep talking, the more you waste our time? We are here to arrest you not to listen to your nonsense."
"Let him keep talking; I have no problem giving him more jail time. I want discipline in my courtroom."
"Your honor, this is my house; it's not your courtroom!"Charles said.
"Then that brings me to your sentencing. You selected a grade of A, so your jail time is forty years; Wilbur's jail time is thirty-five years; Bombastic, thirty years; Ben, twenty-five years; Daniel, twenty years; Ethan, fifteen years; Adam, ten years; Jacob, five years; Cook, two years; and Rebecca, zero years.
"O my goodness! I didn't know that a grade of F could save me jail time!" Rebecca said.
"Don't celebrate yet. Your sentence of zero years carrys a maximum sentence of 100 hours of community service. I know that!"
"At least I'm not going to see the inside of the prison like you."
"You, two, cut it off! Judge Williams said.
"Your honor I have a question, but I'm worried that if I ask, you might give me more jail time," Wilbur said.
"Okay then. No more questions. Ladies and gentlemen, I want everybody present here today to know that voting is a constitutional right, and that it is the only voice that the poor and the marginalized have to express their opinions. So, by rigging their election, riggers take away the only voice that these poor people have. And that is cruel! Therefore, it is from this premise that I'm handing these criminals tougher prison sentences. I hope that will deter all those planning to rig elections in the future from making the same mistake these criminals made. That said, I have the swearing in ceremony to preside over. According to the communication I have received from the office of the electoral commission, Congressman Wilbur has been disqualified from contesting in the Funga Municipality parliamentary elections because of attempting to rig the election; therefore, Professor Dan has won the parliamentary seat for Funga Municipality. Jonathan, those criminals are now in your hands."
As Captain Charles and his colleagues were being handcuffed by police officers, Professor Dan arrived being escorted by his family and supporters. He then went and stood in front of Judge Williams and raised his right hand, "so help me God," he said. After the swearing in ceremony, police took Wilbur and his group to jail.