A short comedy about carrying out a murder fantasy. 9 min read.
A note on performance: while I have written one or two characters in specific genders, the only gender that is fixed is that of the victim’s mother. All other genders can be changed depending on the cast available. But please, no crossdressing for humorous effect—it isn’t funny.
The Good Samaritan
A courtroom. The audience is chattering excitedly as the defendant approaches the stand. The judge hammers the gavel, shouting “Order!” until the defendant has reached the stand and a hush descends.
JUDGE: Counsel, you may proceed.
DEFENDING COUNSEL: Thank you, your honor. (approaches the defendant) Now, Mr. Moody, we’ve heard a lot from the prosecution in this trial, about what a terrible person you are, about how unremorseful you are, and about how you are a menace to society. (turns to the jury) But that’s only one side of the story. And let’s not kid ourselves: this is a story, and every story has at least two sides. (turns back to the defendant) Now it is time for us to hear your side of this fascinating story.
MOODY: Thank you.
There is a pause, as both sides wait for the other to proceed.
MOODY: So . . . uh . . . what do you want me to say?
DEFENDING COUNSEL: Let’s start at the beginning. Where did this whole sorry affair start?
MOODY: Well . . . I think everybody knows already. The prosecution went through it in a lot of detail.
DEFENDING COUNSEL: But that is the prosecution’s side of the story. We want to hear your side. Tell us your side.
MOODY: Well . . . uh . . . it starts in exactly the same place as the prosecution’s, and generally goes in the same direction. So, I decided to go for a walk one day, and this particular day I decided to take my gun–
DEFENDING COUNSEL: Where did you acquire the gun?
MOODY: Internet. Dark net, to be precise. I also bought a kilo of weed and a kilo of coc–
DEFENDING COUNSEL: Coca cola, yes, we know! (to the judge and jury) On the dark net, they sell coca cola in kilo format. So, Mr. Moody, you bought a gun on the Internet. Why?
MOODY: Why not? It was there. And it was cheap. Or maybe, subconsciously, I’d been harboring these thoughts for a long–
DEFENDING COUNSEL: Yes, everything’s cheaper on the Internet these days. It’s amazing. Your honor, do you ever shop online?
JUDGE: Why yes, I do. I do all my grocery shopping online. It’s much more convenient.
DEFENDING COUNSEL: Because, being a judge, you’re so busy all the time?
PROSECUTING COUNSEL: Objection. Your honor, online shopping, interesting though it is, is hardly a relevant topic.
DEFENDING COUNSEL: Online shopping is taking an ever-larger segment of the retail market. Any retailer who ignores the Internet is bound to regret it.
JUDGE: Good point. Overruled.
DEFENDING COUNSEL: Now, Mr. Moody, you bought a gun at a fantastic price and you went for a walk. Then what happened?
MOODY: I was walking for about five minutes, when this guy stopped me in the street. He was waving to me like he knew me, and then he said, “Hey, how’s it going today?”
DEFENDING COUNSEL: Did you know him?
MOODY: No. I was confused for a minute, but then I saw his clipboard and I realized he was collecting money for charity. You know how they do it? They’re all friendly with you, like they’re your buddies, and they make you feel really guilty about walking away.
The defending counsel, the judge and the jury nod in agreement.
DEFENDING COUNSEL: So what happened?
MOODY: Well, he was asking me about my day, and I was telling him that it wasn’t going so well, that I’d just lost my job, but I didn’t get the impression that he was really listening. And then I remembered that I had the gun, so I pulled it out and I shot him.
DEFENDING COUNSEL: Where did you shoot him?
MOODY: In the chest.
DEFENDING COUNSEL: And then what happened?
MOODY: (chuckling at the memory) So he was lying on the ground, blood gushing out of his chest, and he just looked so surprised, like he really wasn’t expecting it. So I shot him a couple more times.
DEFENDING COUNSEL: And how did the people around you act? Did nobody try to stop you?
PROSECUTING COUNSEL: Objection! Your honor, the defendant has clearly confessed to a murder. I call for the defendant to be found guilty.
JUDGE: Come, now. Murder might be a little harsh. After all, the man was a charity collector. I want to hear him out before I make a ruling. Mr. Moody, please continue.
MOODY: They were all shocked at first, but only for a few seconds, and after he stopped squirming on the ground, people started coming in closer, and then, one by one, they started clapping, until, finally, they were all cheering and calling me a hero. Somebody pointed out another one — charity collector, I mean — but she ran away as soon as I looked at her.
PROSECUTING COUNSEL: Your honor, this is grossly insulting, not least to the poor victim’s family.
DEFENDING COUNSEL: Victim, your honor? The man was clearly chugging.
DEFENDING COUNSEL: Charity mugging.
JUDGE: Mugging . . . hmm . . . sounds more like self-defense than murder to me. . . but the prosecutor has a point. How did the charity collector’s family feel about the whole incident?
DEFENDING COUNSEL: You honor, we can ascertain that right now. I call to the stand the mother of the charity collector.
A weeping woman walks up to the witness box, where Moody is still sitting. Moody looks confused, unsure whether or not he is supposed to leave, until she shoos him out and takes his place.
DEFENDING COUNSEL: Now you are the deceased’s mother, are you not?
The woman nods, crying, unable to speak.
DEFENDING COUNSEL: (pointing to Moody) Please tell the court, in all honesty, do you blame this man for the death of your son?
She looks at Moody for a long time, crying, before finally shaking her head.
MOTHER: It’s like I told him, over and over again. It’s a dangerous job, collecting money for charity. You aggravate a lot of people. One day, I told him, you’re going to aggravate the wrong person, and then . . .
DEFENDING COUNSEL: But this is the man who killed your son.
MOTHER: If it hadn’t been him, it’d have been somebody else. It was only a matter of time.
DEFENDING COUNSEL: (to the jury) Charity collectors are among the most annoying people on this planet. But do they deserve to die?
The jury confers animatedly, and finally the head juror speaks.
HEAD JUROR: We, the jury, feel that yes, charity collectors deserve to die.
The judge nods in approval.
PROSECUTING COUNSEL: Objection! Your honor, this is outrageous. The defendant is getting away with murder!
JUDGE: There’s that word again, murder. Now Prosecutor, I caution you to control yourself, and mind your language. Clearly, Mr. Moody was not committing an act of murder. In fact, as far as I can see, he was performing a public service. Rather than punish Mr. Moody, I would be inclined to reward him. However, we are not finished. (turns to the woman in the stand) Madam, thank you for your testimony. You may step down. Mr. Moody, please resume your position on the stand. We still have the matter of your other indiscretions to clear up.
Moody returns to the stand.
DEFENDING COUNSEL: So, Mr. Moody, you heroically disposed of a public nuisance. And then what?
MOODY: Well, then I remembered that I had an appointment to go look at a house I was thinking of buying. So I decided to take the subway, and on the way, I was walking down the escalator when there was some idiot standing on the wrong side, so I couldn’t get past.
DEFENDING COUNSEL: It sounds like another public service was necessary.
PROSECUTING COUNSEL: Objection! You can’t kill somebody just for standing on the wrong side of the escalator!
JUDGE: Overruled. That may or may not be, but I’m more interested in what happened with this house. Mr. Moody, were you by any chance on your way to see a real-estate agent?
MOODY: I was.
JUDGE: I understand perfectly. And how did you handle this situation? With gravitas, I presume?
MOODY: I shot him five times, your honor.
PROSECUTING COUNSEL: He’s just confessed to another–
The judge silences the prosecuting counsel with a wave of a hand.
JUDGE: And did he cry in pain? Did he beg for his life?
MOODY: Yes and yes, your honor.
The judge leans back, very satisfied and smiling.
JUDGE: And did you see the light flicker out in his eyes?
MOODY: I did, your honor. It was very satisfying.
JUDGE: I’ll bet it was.
The prosecuting counsel is horrified.
PROSECUTING COUNSEL: Is there nothing this man can confess to that you will condemn him for? He killed a charity collector, a person standing on the wrong side of the escalator, and a real-estate agent. Mr. Moody, who else did you kill on this day?
MOODY: Well . . . being honest . . . there was the woman in my building who was always spouting motivational nonsense. She was one of those glass half-full, every cloud has a silver lining kind of people. You know the ones?
DEFENDING COUNSEL: (mockingly) When one door closes, another opens.
JUDGE: (also mockingly) There are no problems in life, only challenges.
HEAD JUROR: (also mockingly) Be the change that you want to see in your life.
MOODY: Yeah, all of that. So I changed her life.
JUDGE: Did you say anything witty while you were doing it?
MOODY: No, I didn’t say anything.
JUDGE: (deflated) Too bad. I’d have said something.
DEFENDING COUNSEL: What would you have said, your honor?
JUDGE: Oh, I don’t know. Maybe something like “Is this a big enough challenge for you?”
The judge imitates shooting somebody, even making gun noises. The defending counsel and jury are impressed. They applaud. Even the prosecuting counsel grudgingly approves.
JUDGE: Anybody else, Mr. Moody?
MOODY: I killed a lawyer.
The prosecuting counsel shrugs shoulders, the jury nods in approval.
DEFENDING COUNSEL: I wish I had your courage.
MOODY: This man in the cinema who had a really irritating laugh, you know, one of those laughs that says something’s way funnier than it actually is, like he’s laughing just to get attention.
DEFENDING COUNSEL: And you gave him some attention. Good for you.
MOODY: And then I killed a famous football player.
The entire courtroom is shocked. The audience starts to talk, the jury are debating among themselves, and the judge hammers the table and shouts for order.
JUDGE: (once order has been restored) Mr. Moody, which football player?
Oh, I don’t know. He was stylishly dressed, drove a fast car, really arrogant, big ego . . .
DEFENDING COUNSEL: Well, that could be any famous player.
MOODY: I know he played for one of the New York teams.
The courtroom is in uproar. The judge demands order.
JUDGE: Mr. Moody. I’m going to ask you this once, and I need you to think very carefully about your answer. Did he play for the Giants, or the Jets?
MOODY: (thinking hard) I’m pretty sure . . . he played for . . . yes, definitely . . . he played for the Giants.
The judge cries in anguish. The defending counsel falls to their knees, the jury are wailing and the prosecuting counsel is banging their head repeatedly off the table.
MOODY: What’s the big deal? It’s not like he was a scientist or anything.
The cries intensify, slowly subsiding. The judge fixes Moody with a look of hatred.
JUDGE: Mr. Moody, up until this point, I thought I understood you. In fact, in your deeds, I even felt as if I had been the one to act, that I was acting through you, such was the empathy I felt with your actions. I had come to believe that you were a true good Samaritan. But this . . . this cold-blooded murder . . . this butchery . . . this evil slaughter . . .
The judge breaks down and cannot speak anymore. Once composed, the judge continues.
JUDGE: Having weighed the evidence, I find the defendant–
HEAD JUROR: Your honor, you do not have the authority to rule. That is for the jury.
JUDGE: Oh yes, I forgot. Jury, what say you?
HEAD JUROR: Guilty!
JUDGE: (hammering) Guilty!
There follows a brief moment of various people shouting guilty, including both counsels, the jury and the judge, as if releasing all the pent-up bloodlust inside of themselves.
JUDGE: Sentencing will take place at a later date, but just to put your mind at ease, Mr. Moody, I will be sentencing you to death. Court dismissed!
As Moody is dragged away, we can hear him say, “But he was just a football player! I don’t see what the big deal is!” The entire court tries not to hear his blasphemous cries.
Copyright © 2017 Bohemian Breakdancer.
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