Spirit Of Law

Entry by: quietmandave

12th May 2017
'Fly on the wall' is such a cliché, but there are times when the proverbial insect is the only living thing that could have witnessed an event.

The fly would have seen two men standing opposite each other, about six feet apart. One, the man on the left, about five eight, slim build, with a black balaclava covering his face. The other, closer to six feet, more heavily built, certainly older, would have been wearing pyjamas. Or more likely boxer shorts and a T-shirt.

The two men stare at each other without moving. If we look at their hands we see that one is holding a set of car keys. They are the keys to the large BMW on the drive that one might assume belongs to the man in the boxer shorts. He, on the right, holds a kitchen knife in his left hand. Perhaps he is left handed, or perhaps he will use his right hand for stability or to push the other man away.

Neither moves. We no longer want to be the fly on the wall, rather we want to be inside their heads. If we can be a fly on the wall, we can get into their heads. It's no more far fetched.

The man on the right believes he understands the law. He knows that a knife is a more dangerous weapon that a set of keys. He also knows that he might forget this in anger, if the red mist comes down as it has on a couple of occasions in his life. He also knows that once he feels it coming, he cannot prevent this. He is holding the knife tight but holding his thoughts even tighter still. He believes that the law will protect him, and that he can use the knife in self defence. He knows that he cannot stab the other man in the back as he is running away. In between, a scenario that includes many possibilities, he's not sure. As long as he remains rational, he feels confident he will make the right decision.

The man on the left - with the telltale balaclava and the keys that are not his - has seen the knife. He has measured in his mind the height, width, strength and mental agility of his opponent, and concluded that he would not win a physical contest even without the knife. He has only youth on his side. And perhaps, he has very little to lose. He can conceive a couple of ways that he could win. But he's never been in this position before. Every previous entry has been successful. Did he do something wrong? He puts it down to bad luck. Wrong place, wrong time. More specifically, he was in the kitchen as the man in boxer shorts came down for a glass of water. A random event in the scope of the world.

At this point it would be possible to return to how the world existed an hour earlier with a few well choreographed moves. The knife could be placed back in the drawer. The car keys could be replaced on the peg by the front door. One man could return to bed, having forgotten to draw himself a glass of water. The other could leave the house through one of the two recognised exits. Only the broken glass panel on the back door would suggest that this stand off had ever happened. That would be rectified by a call to a glazier in the morning.

But the fly is startled by a sudden movement and instinctively reacts by launching itself from the wall. It senses the rush of air in the room, and darts away from the turbulence. It scoots into the hall, hearing behind it the noise of two people coming together. The fly rests on the hall table and sits there until there is no longer any noise. Curious, the fly returns to the kitchen and finds its previous perch on the wall.

There is now only one body in the room, and that body lies on the floor, face down. There is a small amount of blood on the floor and the body is motionless. It is the man with the balaclava.

Twenty minutes later the siren of an ambulance will startle the fly. The man in boxer shorts will return, still wearing the same clothes, and explain how he acted in self defence.