Justice by All
“I don’t know about this.” Melissa averted her gaze from the idiotic looking creature standing in front of her to glance at Paul just in time to see the irritation sweep across his features before he smiled again.
“Will you give it up?” His tone of voice expressed all the impatience his expression no longer showed. “The decision has been made. It’s not up to us to question it. Nothing has changed, not really. You know that as well as I do.”
Knowing that she’d never win this argument didn’t stop Melissa from pushing her point. “It has turned the whole thing into a joke. Look at him.” She pointed at the bad imitation of a shark, cooling its feet in the water. “How is anybody supposed to take that seriously?”
“Who cares if people think it’s all a joke?” Paul sounded as if he was close to losing patience. Then again, he always gave the impression that he couldn’t stand Melissa, so who knew for sure? “Don’t make yourself look even more…” he hesitated. “…more silly than you usually do. It’s all about the ….”
“Counting down to the end of the commercial break.” The disembodied voice interrupted Paul before he could finish his sentence, but it wasn’t as if Melissa needed to hear the rest of it.”
“And we’re live.”
Here we go. I hate this part. Like the professional she was, Melissa plastered the obligatory bright smile on her face.
“Welcome back viewers,” Paul said. “We’ve reached decision time. But before you get to make your choice, let me recap the case for you.”
Melissa sighed as he paused for exactly three seconds as he always did. Surely he had to realise that after having done the same thing at least fifty times whatever dramatic effect his silence might have had in the past had long since been lost.
“The accused as he stands before us is obviously a shark. A high-end loan shark to be precise. As such he’s been responsible for at least three suicides, five violent beatings—two of which ended with the victim dying, and numerous cases of homelessness and despair. In a few more moments you, our democratic jury, will get to decide his fate. The choice, as always is between death and exile and, also as per usual, the sentence will be executed instantly. Please cast your vote sixty seconds from now.
Melissa knew the viewers would see a huge clock on their devises, counting down to zero. She imagined fingers hovering over the button of choice as she reflected on how she’d ended up here. When they’d recruited her they’d sold her on the idea of this show by stating that it would be true justice because the general public would get to decide the fate of those who endangered their society. And, as long as the setting had been a courthouse, she’d been able to make herself believe the spin. Now it had turned into a circus where those making the decision didn’t even see the accused’s face any more.
Melissa silently counted down from ten. The shark would either drop or disappear, depending on what the majority verdict was.
Three. Two. One….
I wasn’t sure I’d come up with a flash this week but clearly having to get up at five o’clock in the morning worked wonders for my muse, because here we are. I hope you enjoyed it and I wasn’t too obscure.
As always more stories based on the same image can be found in the Monday Flash Fics group on Facebook. I’ve already read a few and they’re good!