I stand at the podium looking down on the stage, waiting for the crowd to finish piling in through the rear entrance, which faces the worker apartments. The rapist stands to my lower left, immobile as a statue, eyes scanning the crowd. What does he hope to find? I can never guess. I raise my hand and a hush falls over the room.
“My method of justice in my house is simple: all workers get a vote. The vote gets tallied and I take it into consideration when making a decision. I am the judge, jury and I will pass the sentence.”
I pause and look at the rapist.
“And make no mistake, if a death sentence is given, I’ll slit your throat myself.”
The crowd bursts into applause, yet still I see no reaction from him. Does he truly have no emotions? Is everything a fake layer? I’ve met a few of my kind and I can’t see anything that forms a pattern linking us together. I find this man to be nothing like me.
The clapping fades and I continue.
“You are accused of rape, assault and being a douchebag. How do you plead?”
“Guilty,” he says, still no emotion. He will not break, eyes hard blue-gray steel.
“He pleads guilty,” I say to the crowd. A mutiny of voices clamor at me, most calling for his head. “This isn’t Game of Thrones. I won’t be chopping off his head.”
A mix of laughter and boos litter the air.
“Since you do not contest the charges, we will proceed with sentencing.”
The man gives a simple nod as if agreeing to everything. He does not play the lamb, his eyes continuing to bore into mine.
“The crowd wants your head and I might just give it to them,” I say, bringing another roar from the stands. Execute him in my own personal town square, like something out of a Hemingway novel…sexy. I shake the fantasy from my head and clear my throat. I grip the podium tighter and tighter until my knuckles crack.
“No matter the other charges against you, I believe you meant to kill me. Therefore, your life is forfeit.”
Silence falls over the room and I use that moment to pull the knife from a pocket and step from the podium. Five steps bring me John’s side and I place the blade against his neck. I have to stretch my arm at an uncomfortable angle to reach and I see a small smile on his face. After all this, I amuse you? This man truly baffles me.
“Will anyone speak for his life?” I ask the crowd. This part sounds like useless formality as I can’t imagine anyone speaking for this man.
My question precedes silence and I tap my phone, setting the watch application to one minute. I start the clock and watch it tick and tick, casting an occasional glace at John. His face remains placid, except his eyes, which send waves of hate at me. The timer reaches zero and I face the crowd once more.
“I will speak for him.” Ray steps to the base of the stage, between John and the crowd.
What? My husband wishes to speak. This must be a dream. I don’t know if I want to hear this or not. I could simply slice John’s throat. But, I could always wait a moment.
“Go on,” I say, my head pounding from excitement and exhaustion.
“To be blunt: study him. He comes from the bad side, killing innocents without remorse or regard. Test him, probe his DNA. Isolate what makes him different from…killers that know to limit the options to the guilty.”
He almost said you. I’m not sure I see how his line of thinking can sway me, but I motion for him to continue.
“We can afford to hire the best scientists to poke and prod and test until we discover the defective gene that causes this level of psychopathy. Perhaps the future can be rid of his kind.”
If I kill him, only he dies. Perhaps I can kill anyone that ever might be like him, with something akin to a vaccine. Take this shot, stop being a psychopath. Would it work on me? Is that what Ray wants? To find a fucking cure for me? I am seeing things out of him of late that concern me. We will have to talk.
“Crowd, what say you? Live or keep him as lab rat science experiment?”
“Murderer! Kill him! Hang him!” the crowd seem to be of one mind, nearly in unison. A very few vote for science pet.
As much as I want to promote science, I can’t allow a woman killer to walk out of my home alive. Bending my knees, I launch myself up at him, driving the blade into his neck. Dragging the knife down his neck, I use my weight to sever his vocal cord, spraying a torrent of blood in the air.
I hear clapping and I turn to face the crowd, blood dripping down my face onto my dress. Folding the knife, I put it back in my pocket and walk from the stage.