An Execution

    Susan moved into the room where Simon was waiting. She motioned him forward, led him over to the table where Roger and Jane were waiting for them. Overhead the hanging light illuminated only the people at the table, leaving the rest of the room in darkness. Each looked to the other, trying to get a better handle on who was who and what they could be expected to do.

Roger was slightly paunchy and splotched, and the pastel teal of his shirt did not help his complexion. His mauve tie somehow matched the shirt, which was not common. The jowls were clean shaven however, the face only lightly wrinkled; beady dark brown eyes and clear teeth in a face colored by artificial tan.

Jane was a taller woman, bordering on 6’ 10”, willowy and mostly legs. She accentuated this by often wearing long-train dresses and heels, her long red-ochre hair accenting the lavender silk dress, which in turn was accented by the amethyst jewelry at her ears, wrists and neck. Her milky skin was only lightly made-up, her face also lightly wrinkled, likely kept at bay through expensive cosmetics.

Susan, by contrast, had brighter, aqua hair done up in a pixie-cut. Her piercings ran up the sides of her ear, but were kept to tasteful studs done in traditional styles with a variety of gemstones. Her clothes were simple: jeans and a t-shirt, matching black and pressed, with a fine grain to the jeans. Her eyes were green, her skin a deep caramel color, her face round.

Simon sat between Susan and Roger, looking uncomfortable. He had a squared off face that some women found attractive. His blue eyes, blond hair let him get away with jeans and a t-shirt that had probably been worn several times over. Unlike the others, who smelled alternately of deodorant, perfume, and nothing, Simon carried his pheromone-cloud unacknowledged. Despite the situation, he felt as though he could handle himself, and his projected confidence soothed over what was lacking in his appearances.

Jane started. “I think it should be Simon.” They had devised rules while they were waiting for everyone, and those were now displayed on the white board behind Jane. Now that she had spoken, they would go around the table clockwise, and cast their vote. If no consensus could be reached, they would each be given several minutes to explain their position and stance, and they would go around the table again with a new round of voting. Susan had contributed the most to the rules: despite being strangers, she felt they should at least be organized strangers.

Now it came to Susan’s vote: “I vote for Roger.”

Simon: “Well, I vote for Jane.”

Roger: “I vote Jane as well.”

Jane had the good upbringing to not look… well, anything. They would go around explaining their rationale now. It had to be a unanimous decision; after all, one of them would be killed from it.

Since Jane had spoken last time, it was now Susan’s turn to start the voting. After considering everyone’s opinion, she spoke properly: “I think we should kill Simon.”

Simon: “I still think it should be Jane.”

Roger: “I feel that since no one has said it, it should be Susan.”

Jane: “I’m much more inclined to vote that you should be the one to go Roger.”

Another round of arguments, some of which got quite heated when these virtual strangers didn’t know they were approaching a nerve. Eventually the time was called for another vote. Simon would start. “I will say this as many times as I have to, I vote for Jane.”

Roger: “I think you missed several good points and I’m going to have to vote for you, Simon.”

Jane: “I think you made several Roger, so I will vote for Susan.”

Susan: “My turn to be obstinate. I vote Simon.”

Another round concerned with the logistics of the murder itself. Roger, despite speaking eloquently had encountered some very good points. He spent a long time considering this vote before finally, softly: “Susan.”

Jane: “Susan.”

Susan: “Pass.” Voting would return to her at the end.

Simon: “Susan.” He said frowning. It all came down to Susan.

 

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