by Eli Crow
Citizens gathered around the scaffold in town square, covering their mouths in disbelief.
| About a month ago, William of Mendon was hanged.
It was a foggy day, and a gloomy one. The air was moist and temperate, not cold or warm enough to cause any particular discomfort. Our fine citizens were gathered around the scaffold in town square, covering their mouths in disbelief. I can remember standing amidst the crowd, staring at William’s swinging body. “Why did they hang him?” was the general reaction, but not mine; I knew better.
What disappointed me most was that William was an educated man, a wealthy man like myself. Even now, on the day of his scheduled death, he was well-dressed; a fashionable peacoat swathed his body, an ascot pillowed itself fashionably under his lapel. William even wore a bowler hat, which did its best to stay on his head as he dropped, but had fallen off when the rope stretched taut. It was forlorn on the muddy earth below. This pained me; it was such a fine hat.
As proper and respectable as William was, the crime he committed was a heinous one—undoubtedly. And as such, the appropriate course of action had been taken; I cannot say I wouldn’t have hanged William myself, given the opportunity. But still, the loss of noble blood is a shame.
• • •
Unfortunately, the example of his hanging was not enough for our fine citizens.
Two weeks ago, on a day not unlike that of William’s hanging, out on the steps of the federal library, a group of young aristocrats—mostly women—were gossiping about Lady Angelina, whom, as you may know, is locally famous for her large social functions. One of the young women, Margaret, was gushing loudly about Angelina’s most recent soirée. “...and she gave every one of us a lovely diamond necklace of her own design.” she said, finishing her story.
To which Charles Langston replied, “I wasn’t invited to Angelina’s garden party. I take offense to that.”
The rest of the group stared at him gravely. One young woman even fainted.
Charles was hanged too, as he ought to have been.
The commonwealth had been convinced, by some rumor or another, that this was because he had complained, that he held contempt toward a member of the gentry. But they should know the truth; that wasn’t why he was hanged, nor William of Mendon for that matter.
• • •
The gruesome criminality did not stop there, however:
Richard of Asperry was hanged eleven days ago.
Sarah Winchall was hanged that night.
Esteban the Foreigner was hanged ten days ago.
Lord John Wainwright was hanged eight days ago.
Steven Sinclair was hanged four.
Jessica Elbrook was hanged three.
Tyler Emery was hanged two.
Herald Seinfeld was hanged yesterday.
• • •
I understand there has been much public outcry as to the severity of these punishments, and that a great number of our citizens are yet unaware as to why William of Mendon was hanged, or Charles Langston, or Richard of Asperry, or Sarah Winchall, or Esteban the Foreigner, or Lord John Wainwright, or Jessica Elbrook, or Tyler Emery, or Herald Seinfeld. As much as it pained me to have them hanged, the circumstances under which they were dealt this, most severe of punishments were grave enough to require it.
They were all hanged for punnery.
-Judge Ethan Arbor II
Arbiter of Good Taste