February of 1999 rolled around, and the utterly unexpected happened: we both received summons to return to court. It seemed Mr. Rook had not yet had enough of the whole deal. We drove the ninety-minute route back to Athens a second time to be told upon our arrival that the hearing had been rescheduled due to the fact that our lawyer's father had had a stroke and no one had thought to tell us. Finally, on March 16th, we went back for the third and final time. The third time's a charm, they say.
The heart attack, despite its value to the drama of the story, had, in the final analysis, been something of a bad thing. Not because he blamed us for it, which was absurd (who was trying to prosecute whom here, anyway?), but because it allowed Rook a do-over of a hearing which had been going 100% our way, giving him a few months in which to chew over just what he'd done wrong the first time, which had been most everything. He didn't bring a lawyer, but he did bring a VCR, and as if the contents of the tape weren't bad enough, he alleged that we were also responsible for pasting the 12 Monkeys-style flyers on his store due to the fact that the giant dart affixed to the giant dart gun we'd brought sported a crony head, copied from the same clip art of Rook's that had inspired the "12 cronies" flyer, drawn conspicuously on the front. Nevertheless, there was something entertainingly surreal and wholly laughable about hearing highly-educated legal professionals discussing "the Kronies" in deadpan-serious tones. After this, things started to level off in terms of efficacy. Rook brought as a witness the lunatic cop who had escorted us from the motel, who took the stand to propose that the big foam dart with the crony head hand-drawn on it with a Sharpie was actually some kind of stamp which had been filled with ink and shot against the comic book store, somehow producing the far more complex picture on the "12 cronies" flyers that were glued there (as stated in the report on right). No, those flyers could not possibly have been made with anything so prosaic as a copy machine, such as the ones at the Kinko's that was about one block from Rook's store; in the eyes of Sgt. Yokel McShortbus, they were obviously the product of blank sheets of paper stuck to a storefront which were then shot with an ink-filled foam dart hand-decorated with a far simpler image, through which the ink somehow magically knew to flow. Our lawyer countered with, "Your Honor, I submit that that is ludicrous," to which the cop replied that "he'd seen it happen." I'm sure you have, Mr. Officer.
Then it was the defense's turn, and our lawyer laid into Mr. Rook (whose repeated attempts to bypass the attorney and speak directly to us were flatly denied), asking if he'd ever been diagnosed schizophrenic (an indignant "No"), inquiring about the rampant alcohol consumption at his event, to which Rook replied, "I don't drink. I don't do drugs, either. I never have," somewhat unasked, and demanding proof that we'd violated Rook's membership policy, of which there was none, really (MOCK's rules mentioned nothing about transferability of wristbands, and I'd surreptitiously discarded the fake badge before it was found on me). Rook tried to deflect notions that he thought we were part of a conspiracy and overplayed it, unexpectedly turning witness for the defense by claiming he'd never seen us before in his life (despite identifying us as "the guys from the Radisson" to his staff). He insisted that therefore we must have been put up to it by someone, and he was pretty sure he knew who, and then went totally silent when asked for the name. When the judge insisted he reply, he changed his claim to, "I only meant I'm pretty sure it's somebody." Past lawsuits do tend to have a chilling effect.
Ultimately, the judge didn't have too much difficulty seeing things for what they were: Rook was a fruitcake, and we were taunting him. She pronounced us as a couple of "brats," which I don't really dispute, and, clearly referencing our own satirical Krony manifestos, in what was an obvious jab at the plaintiff, she asked us to "stop controlling Mr. [Rook]" and let us go without so much as a slap on the wrist. We were only forbidden from personally contacting him for two years. Bizarrely, Rook interpreted this as a victory, though we had walked scot-free. But of course, that wasn't the end of it.