Judgement DayM. Stanley Bubien
(The scene opens in a hot jury room. The ceiling fan spins. Some of the jurors fidget, and a tense, quiet small-talk passes between them.)Female Juror: (Taps table for attention. Pauses while room passes to silence.) "Let's try it again. The charge is murder. How many say he's guilty? Show me those hands."
(The jurors shuffle, raising their hands without a word passing between them.)Female Juror: (Counts.) "4... 8... 11... And..." (Sighs heavily.) "Once again, eleven for, one against."
(The jurors vocalize their disappointment with grunts, groans, complaints.)Female Juror: "So, what do you have to say for yourself, Mr. Stevens?"
(Break.)Stevens: (Forceful.) "We can't convict him of murder."
Male Juror 1: (Responding in kind.) "Oh, come on! The guy's a total scum."
Female Juror: "That's right. Look at his record. Arrested for drunk driving. Several convictions for assault. Possession of cocaine. And if that's not enough, he was even caught cheating on his wife."
(Several jurors mumble agreement.)Male Juror 2: "Yeah. What more do you want?"
Stevens: "Evidence. None of these things mean he's a murderer."
Female Juror: "It shows he has the mentality for it."
Stevens: "C'mon, nobody's perfect. Think about it. Any of you ever cheated on your spouse? How about fighting? Or driving under the influence?" (He pauses for a response.)
(Jurors rustle quietly but uncomfortably. The spinning fan can be heard.)Stevens: (Continues.) "You see! We have to look at the evidence..." (Voice fades out.)
(Court room scene fades in with echoes from the general mulling of people. A gavel bangs. The room quiets.)Judge: "Have you reached a verdict?"
Female Juror: "Yes we have your honor. The evidence is incontrovertible. We find ourselves guilty."
Copyright ©1997 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.
Please contact the editor for free text versions of this very short story formatted for e-mail, usenet news, or ftp.