Author : J.D. Rice

Today I saw a man murdered.

He was a short man, stocky and unassuming. I watched as he provoked another man into an argument. The second man was large and intimidating. They bickered, back and forth, about some trivial nothingness. The details weren’t important. Neither of them cared about the facts. They didn’t really care about their own opinions. They just wanted to feel angry.

I watched as they pushed each other, first lightly, then forcefully. They shouted. They yelled. Their mouths spewed words I had only read in old banned books. The short man drew a fist back, and hesitated. Waiting. Waiting to see if he would stop. Waiting to see if he could really do it.

I watched as a third man, wild-eyed, came from behind, smashing a bottle over the short man’s head. The large man awoke as if some a stupor and started beating the short man, who had fallen to the ground, without mercy. The two larger men beat the first relentlessly, tirelessly, desperately. There was a gleam of joy in the beaten man’s eyes as his attackers refused to let up. His face was bruised and cut, his blood ran freely.

I watched as the wild-eyed man drove the broken bottle into the beaten man’s chest. He laughed, bleeding profusely, and shouted, “I am free!”

I watched as the two living men were arrested, a look of dull indifference in their eyes. It was a pity. People so desperate to express themselves should apply at the Ministry of Emotional Control. Overriding emotion chips is risky business.

I watched as the ambulance bagged the short man’s bloody corpse, their unfrowning faces a picture of modern sensibility and control. As the janitors wiped the blood from the floor, I politely finished my meal and went home.

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