“Closing Argument for The Defense in a Woodland Civil Suit” by Paul Richter

Your Honor. Members of the Jury. Mr. Hare’s attorney, Mr. Fox would have you believe that his client is a misunderstood, but ultimately well-meaning member of society. Mr. Fox will tell you that Hare has learned his lesson and that he has been humbled by his loss at the big race. This is simply not the case. Hare may indeed have learned something, but it is certainly not the lesson Mr. Fox would have you think it is.

We’ve all heard the phrase Mr. Fox invented to summarize the events of that afternoon: “Slow and steady wins the race.” I will admit, it is a catchy phrase. I certainly remember it. I think we all do. But it will take more than well written catch-phrases to understand the truth of this case. “Slow and steady wins the race” simply does not apply to this situation. Let us examine the plaintiff’s narrative.

They say that Mr. Hare lost the race because, it turns out, contradictory to the laws of physics, slow is inherently better in a race than fast. They say that Mr. Hare tried his hardest to win the race and that he only lost to my client because he was not “slow and steady” enough. And they claim my client’s remarks to the press after the race were inaccurate, spiteful, and defaming to Mr. Hare’s good name.

Hare did not lose the race because he was too erratic and fast, and he has certainly not, as his lawyer would have you believe, reformed his ways to be more steady and slow. This is a pantomime. Note the way he entered the courtroom this morning, with purposeful, measured slowness and intention of movement, almost a crude parody of my client’s natural way of walking.

The truth is, my client only challenged Mr. Hare to the race in the first place to stop him from abusing and disrupting the lives of all the citizens of our forest. We have the testimony of several witnesses who say that Hare is a braggart and a nuisance. That he is egotistical and his air of superiority as well as his constant self-aggrandizing are not only annoying but down-right disruptive. This is the lesson Mr. Hare should have learned from all this, and yet, he shows no signs of remorse or even willingness to self-reflect.

My client won the race by running as fast as she could. Mr. Hare lost because he was so cocky. He believed he was so much faster, so much better than Ms. Tortoise, that he had gained such a lead on her there was no way he could lose. So, in an equal display of both his obnoxious arrogance and unbelievable laziness, he settled at the base of Mrs. Owl’s tree and publicly announced that he would take a nap.

His loud decree, by the way, awoke Mrs. Owl from her sleep, preventing her from getting the rest she needed in order to successfully hunt for food the following night.

Mr. Hare napped for the entire afternoon, and by the time he awoke, my client was just crossing the finish line. Ms. Tortoise, despite being a significantly slower runner than Mr. Hare, worked as hard as she could and won that race. Not because she was slow. Not because she was steady. But in fact, in spite of both, she was able to win only because of her opponent’s unwavering narcissism, laziness, and lack of character. Indeed, Mr. Hare’s actions in the race served only to prove the exact point which my client set out to make, which she summarized to Mr. Squirrel of the Acorn Press when asked how she felt about her victory and what she hoped would come of it.

Allow me to read the statement one final time:

“I just hope that now he’ll shut up about how great he is, stop bothering everyone, and go do something useful for once like maybe finally giving Mrs. Hare some attention and having some bunnies.” This is not, as the plaintiff wants you to think, defamation of character. This is simply my client speaking what everyone in the forest new needed to be said.

So, mammals, amphibians, and birds of the jury, this is quite simple. Let us put an end to this ridiculous “lawsuit,” and hope that this truly is a humbling and educating experience for Mr. Hare.

And, on one final note, let us hope for Mrs. Hare’s sake, that Mr. Hare takes his new-found appreciation for being slow and steady and applies it not to the race track, but to where it belongs—in their burrow.

Thank you.


Paul Elvis Richter (he/him/his) is a writer, actor, filmmaker, and improviser. He is proud and happy to live in Tacoma, WA. He loves telling stories and believes in the magic of the written word.