The Duel

“Mr Bradbury.  You’re being charged with the death of a Mr. Marshall.  How do you plea?”

“Guilty as charged.  May I go now?”  He leans back in the chair, tapping his foot expectantly, arms crossed.

“Oh no.”  The judge chuckles.  “You’ve just admitted to the killing of another human being.  We must now discuss sentencing.  You won’t be going anywhere for a while, Mr. Bradbury.”

“I killed that man fair and square.”  He admits confidently.

“Oh?”  The judge cocks his eyebrow at the aloof defendant.  “Please explain.”

“It was a duel.  Mr. Marshall knew what he was getting into.  Heck, I could have been the one shot, and he would be here before you today.  Either way, we agreed it would be the most proper way of going about it.  I believe we resolved any issues between the two of us.  We need not discuss this any further.”  He says, shaking his head emphatically.

“Mr. Bradbury.”  The judge leans forward menacingly.  “We have a witness who has attested to seeing you shoot Mr.  Marshall, clearly though the heart with a .45 Colt Single action revolver.”

“I would hope he would have seen it.  You need a witness to affirm the duel, after all.”  Bradbury turns around, scanning the audience for familiar faces.

“Mr. Bradbury.  We take murder very seriously here.”

“Murder?  No, no.  I’ve already explained.  It was a duel.  There was no cold blood, no malice.  Tell me, who is pressing charges?  If it’s Mr.Marshall’s estate, they should have to back down.  They belong to me now, after all.  That was one of the conditions of the agreement.”

“I don’t think you understand, Mr. Bradbury.”  The judge grinds his teeth.  “The district attorney is the one pressing charges.  No amount of negotiation between you and Mr. Marshall will change the fact that killing somebody with clear intention is illegal here in the United States of America.  In addition, the disbursement of any property as a result of this ‘arrangement’ may be nullified based on our findings, which may include making sure they are properly notarized… among other things.  I’m assuming, in your moment of perfectly rational thinking, you got these terms in writing, am I correct?”

“Of course.  They’re even signed in blood.” The defendant replies, matter-of-factly. “They’re as good as anything.”

The judge purses his lips.  “I see.  I think we may have to suspend this trial for another day while we… make sure of certain things.”

“Listen.”  Bradbury speaks up.  “If we just head out back of the court house right now… I’m sure we can find a way to settle this, like gentlemen.”  He nods his head at the judge, making gun motions with his fingers.


%d bloggers like this: