Sonoma Index TribuneI’m on record and I’ll say it again, Sonoma has the nation’s best small town newspaper, the inestimable Sonoma-Index Tribune. And the best part of that twice-weekly paper is the Crime Report. Yes, the editors of the IT have taken the mundane police blotter and turned it into Pulitzer-worthy High Art. More often than not, the roundup of petty thefts, public drunkenness and misdemeanor hijinks reads as if Mark Twain had written it.

The Crime Report is the first thing I turn to. So imagine my surprise and delight this past Tuesday when I found the lead item under the title above. Now the the Crime Report is channeling Shakespeare. As a public service, I repeat the entire item report below:

Love’s Labours Lost in Sonoma?

Shakespeare’s 400-year-old comedy got a partial replay at a west side Sonoma home early on the morning of Saturday, June 12, with one impromptu performer playing the part of Spanish swordsman Don Adriano de Armado, and another playing the country idiot Costard.

In this real-life re-enactment, the Don Armado character returned to the home of his lady love on Junipero Serra Drive in the early morning hours after picking her son up at the airport.

As he was retrieving one of two suitcases from his car at about 2 a.m. the Costard character rode past on a bicycle and shouted, “You’re dead!”

Armado returned for the second suitcase at which point, vouchsafed a witness, Costard passed by again and exclaimed, with Shakespearean passion, “You stole my girlfriend.”

According to the best information assembled by Sonoma police, Armado judiciously retreated toward the front door of the house but Costard pursued him, crashing through the front door “like a linebacker,” and carrying Don Armado through the portal and into the adjacent kitchen.

The only way this could get better for me would be if they made a play out of it starring terriers!

There, the larger and stronger Don Armado pinned the apparently inebriated Costard to the floor until the fair maiden in question appeared and urged Don Armado to release the wastrel beneath him so that her ex-lover could make a timely departure.

Don Armado released Costard, who promptly sucker-punched the swordsman in the eye. Armado quickly put Costard back on the floor and restrained him for a matter of minutes before seizing him by the hair and escorting him from the house like an unruly child, all the while telephoning police with a wireless device not available in Shakespeare’s time.

Police were alerted to look for a man in his late 40s in a black leather jacket with a bicycle.

The gendarmerie quickly spotted him and arrested his progress by directed him to stop forthwith and sit on the curb. Costard objected and replied that he had been assaulted and wished to press charges. The odor of alcohol, noted the responding officer, was heavily upon his person.

Remember the modern dress movie version from Kenneth Branagh? The Sonoma version is better!

Upon questioning the aggrieved parties – Don Armado and the fair maiden – along with adjacent witnesses, police arrived at the conclusion that Costard was, in fact, the offending party. But the inebriate insisted that, as he innocently passed the fair maiden’s home on his two-wheeled steed after departing a local saloon, Don Armado lay in wait, hiding “behind a box,” jumped out and attacked him. They grappled on the ground, said Costard, before the fight somehow migrated to the house.

In that case, said the officer, if you fought so vigorously outside, how came this hat of yours to be left in the home?

“It’s a tight fit,” explained Costard.”

Whereupon the officer placed the hat on the offending head and it slipped off easily.

Costard, aged 54, was levied charges of burglary, false imprisonment, battery and disobeying a court order.

Don Armado, also 54, did press the charge of assault against his adversary and the fair maiden, 49, did secure an emergency restraining order against the same, after a learned magistrate was roused, none too happily from sleep, at 3 a.m. In all, a night of high drama was had by all.

If this isn’t a compelling argument for why electronic media will never kill the hometown paper, I don’t know what is?

NOTE: The Sonoma Index-Tribune’s coverage area is aggressively local. I don’t know that you can even get it outside of Sonoma and the few satellite hamlets and wide spots in the road surrounding our town. But all of you can enjoy the electronic version here. Don’t forget to activate the drop down menu under News and read the Crime Report!

ADDENDUM: The above Crime Report is copyright Sonoma Index-Tribune. I haven’t exactly reprinted with permission. But as I’m their Number One FanGrrrl, I don’t think they’ll mind.