Democracy in action. Honorable Mention in the Grim Reaper Contest, October 2019.
“I wouldn’t mind but there are so many of you.”
Timon waited for the chorus of angry rebuttals. This time, however, just one voice spoke up.
“Okay then. We’ve elected a spokesperson.”
“And you’re it?”
“Seems that way.”
“Well, you’d better start by going over your proposal again,” said Timon. “It got a bit confusing back there with everyone talking at once.”
“It’s very simple really,” explained the Spokesperson. “There’s some disagreement as to how it should be done but we’re all agreed that you have to go.”
Timon frowned. “Go? What do you mean, go?”
“I mean…” The Spokesperson’s voice faltered and faded for a moment. “This is a bit awkward. You should understand that it’s for the good of us all.”
“I know that. You’d be surprised at how much I’ve overheard of your discussions. Just tell me what you mean when you say ‘go’. I can take it.”
The Spokesperson sighed. “Right,” he said. “If I may put it tactfully, it means that you should be, umm, terminated.”
“Seems a little extreme.”
“I agree,” replied the Spokesperson. “But we’ve talked it through and looked for any other way. It can’t be done. You’re the jailer and, as long as you’re alive, we remain the prisoners.”
A chorus of voices rang out in excitement at the prospect of freedom. “That’s it, Len, tell it like it is.” “Couldn’t ‘ave put it better meself, mate.” “Now yer tellin’ ‘im, Lenboy.”
“So Len’s the Spokesperson, hey?” Timon shook his head. “I might have known that it’s always education that brings the bad news. The rest of you should have the courage of your convictions for once.” He laughed as the double meaning of what he’d said struck home.
Pandemonium broke out as the crowd realised the hidden insult they’d suffered. “Hey, I was never convicted.” “Nor me. None of us was.” “It’s all a put up job. No justice in the world.” “Innocent, that’s me.”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it all before,” said Timon. “But you’re getting off the point. Shall we continue, Len?”
“Good plan,” answered the Spokesperson. “So you agree to the proposal?”
“I agree that it’s the only way, I’ve been thinking about it a lot of late and it does cut through the crap and finish the thing for good. Well, for your good, certainly. And for mine in the long run, I suppose.”
“That’s the spirit,” said Len. “I’m glad you’re taking it so well. We were worried you’d kick up a stink about it.”
“Comes to us all sooner or later, I guess. To be honest, I was about at the end of my tether anyway.”
“I can see that,” said Len quietly.
There was silence for a while as they all pondered the implications of the decision. It was Len who finally broached the next question.
“So how is it to be done?”
“I would have thought that was obvious,” replied Timon. “I’m not standing up here for my health. Goodbye, Len. And the rest of you.”
With that, he stepped off the stool and began to kick and flail at the end of the rope that closed about his neck. A particularly violent kick sent the stool flying to the far side of the room and Timon felt the blood pounding in his ears as his struggles began to weaken. His tongue thickened and protruded and, with one last twitch, he gave up the ghost.
The voices, now silenced, began to pour out of him.
Word Count: 586