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“…And I hereby sentence you to death by firing squad.”
The man went by the name of Guy Blue, by nature of the fact that he was a man and had an apparent fascination with the color blue. This fascination was quite obvious to the townspeople by the fact that his hair was blue, including his facial hair, of which he had a full beard that many of the townspeople admired. His clothing was always blue, as well. His eyes were brown, a constant source of frustration for Guy Blue. When the town realized nobody knew his real name, they combined his color and his sex in to a name. Guy Blue stuck, and the man had taken the name without complaint. Anyway, Guy Blue seemed largely unsurprised by the announcement of his death sentence. The only surprise was the whole firing squad bit. Guy Blue considered himself more of a hangings type of guy, but he figured a firing squad wasn’t the worst way to go, so he didn’t make a fuss.
If you looked real closely, you might see the beginnings of a smile at the corner of Guy Blue’s lips. The right lip corner was pulled slightly higher when he smiled, giving him a crooked smile. Crooked, besides blue, was kind of his thing. His smile was crooked. His nose was crooked. His gait was crooked, which made his cane more than a fashion accessory, though it did look fabulous with his outfit. Unexplainably, his eyes seemed crooked as well, despite being identical in their appearance. His teeth were straight though. Guy Blue had an exceptionally nice smile. But beyond his model smile, Guy Blue was a very crooked man, physically speaking.
Guy Blue watched the judge through crooked eyes, a curved smile residing on his lips, and nodded as if he were agreeing with the judge’s verdict. His right hand came up to pluck his blue top hat off his head, holding it to his chest as he took a small bow, which was, of course, crooked. The Judge, with a capital J as Guy Blue now thought of him, seemed quite unsettled by Guy Blue. Under his desk, the Judge’s hands shook slightly, and there was a slight sheen of sweat covering his body. The beads of sweat were not visible to the eyes of the viewers however, and the Judge’s desk hid his shaking hands from view. His voice gave away his anxiety, however, as sure as a red, or in this case blue, flag taped to his forehead.
“Court dismissed.” The Judge’s voice cracked slightly, and the words came out faster than normal, as if the Judge’s words themselves were in a hurry to remove themselves from Guy Blue’s presence. Guy Blue had defended himself, albeit poorly. He had brought forward no witnesses, and had not pressed the prosecution’s witnesses. He had presented no evidence, or alibis to refute the charges of murder. In fact, he had kept to his habit of saying nothing. He had not even written anything, like he had been apt to do when he needed to say something before. He had remained utterly silent throughout the proceedings.
Gossip and many rumors flew around the small town for why this was, for it was a small town with nothing to do but gossip and drink. Luckily, they could gossip while they drank, so gossiping became the town’s hobby of choice. One view was that Guy Blue had actually committed the murders, and guilt was the cause of the weak defense. The people who believed that theory were also consistently drunk, and believed that leprechauns and rainbows were connected in some way, shape, or form. So, grain of salt and all that. The intelligent crowd of the town, or Willie as he was known, was stumped and held that Guy Blue was insane, an analysis based on Guy Blue’s fashion. The fact that Guy Blue had never spoken a word to anyone since he moved to his shack on the outskirts of town was no help either.
Even without being sentenced to death for murder, Guy Blue drew attention to himself. A light blue top hat, a light blue suit, a light blue cane, and light blue shoes. You couldn’t see them, but he wore light blue socks as well. Little kids giggled that wore light blue underwear as well, and they were right. Briefs.
Guy Blue seemed to not notice the gazes as he stepped out in to the bright frontier sun. Of course, letting a convicted murderer walk free was not common practice, but either was a convicted murderer, so it took the townspeople awhile to figure out that they should probably go and find him. But that happened a little while later, when they were a bit more sober, and a bit less frightened of Guy Blue.
The sun beat down on his brow, and his heavy suit did him no favors with the dry heat. The top hat seemed only useful for acting as an oven for the top of his head, and it was currently in the act baking his hair to a crisp. His outfit began to collect a light layer of dust as he walked towards his shack on the edge of the town. The blue of the suit started to disappear behind the coating of dust that stuck to the suit, the dust a result of a long drought that left the whole town praying for a rainstorm.
His shack was only a short walk, however, considering the small size of the town. There were no locks on his door, a result of everyone knowing everyone, and nobody had anything worth stealing. He toed the door open, and saw that his small shack had been ransacked, his few possessions torn and scattered throughout the shack. His change of clothes, the other two blue outfits he carried with him, were ripped and in pieces. His other two canes were broken in half, and the top hats were now sporting holes and tears. It took him awhile to figure out that his most prized possession, his few books, were missing. The books were the only luxury he had allowed himself, books being a rarity this far from any real civilization.
He let his cane drop to the dusty earth that marked his floor, and hobbled over to collect what remained of his outfits in to a large pile on top of the few blankets that marked where he slept. His belongings made a pitifully small pile, as he wrapped the blankets around them, and carried it all to the back right corner of his shack, where he dumped it. He did a quick scan of the shack, finding his only possession that was not harmed or missing, a small flint starter. The flint gave him the sparks he needed to set the one of the blankets to smoldering. His breath gave the fire life, the blaze spreading quickly to the rest of the blankets and clothes, where it then made the jump to the dry wooden planks that formed the walls of his shack. Guy Blue watched the conflagration for a few seconds, before taking the few steps needed to exit the shack, picking up his cane on the way out. Behind him, the flames consumed his shack.
When the townspeople finally came to collect Guy Blue, the fire spurring them to action, they found him with his back to the shack and drawing patterns in the dust with his finger. The mob of people looked a little ridiculous, complete with pitchforks, torches, and one rake. The whole pitchfork thing was Willie’s idea, having gotten the idea from the few books he’d read. It turns out that Willie did not own a pitchfork, however, and was left to bring his rake instead. Nobody else was sure why they needed their pitchforks, but Willie was insistent. The torches were the worst though. The sun wasn’t even setting yet, but Willie was even more insistent with the torches. Didn’t they know that the torches were the most important part?
Guy Blue didn’t seem too interested with the mob in front of him, focusing more on his developing drawing in the dust, until Willie ruined it by stepping on it. Guy Blue gave a silent sigh, and used his cane to lever himself up. He stared at Willie, the corners of his mouth quirked upwards, the right a little higher than the left. Finally, Willie told the crowd to seize Guy Blue and to bring him to the other edge of town, which seemed like an unnecessarily long walk just to kill Guy Blue. Alas, Willie had forgotten to bring the guns with him, being too focused on his lack of a pitchfork and the importance of the torches, so off to the other edge of town they went.
Nobody had wanted to actually seize Guy Blue, so they just formed a circle around him and shuffled over to the mound of rocks that marked the killing ground. It took awhile, as shuffling is not the most effective means of transportation, but since nobody wanted to touch Guy Blue, they kept a perfect circle around him. Keeping a perfect circle is much easier when you’re shuffling than when you’re walking, so shuffle they did.
When they finally got to the rocks, the people that marked the front of the circle parted so that Guy Blue could move to stand near the mound. Instead of standing, like he was supposed to, Guy blue sat down. Shuffling was a tiring business when you were crooked.
The circle broke apart in to clusters of conversation, until Willie found the guns and ordered everyone away from the murderer. Willie passed out the other 3 rifles to the Judge, and two other men. They were all lined up in front of Guy Blue, and Willie was in the process of ordering them to take aim, when someone from the back of the crowd asked if Guy Blue got a last request.
Willie gave a small groan, realizing he had totally forgotten about the last request thing. It was even on the checklist he had made. Guns, last request, aim, shoot. 4 things, and he’d forgotten one. How embarrassing. Willie was pretty sure Guy Blue wouldn’t even say anything, but rules were rules, so he asked Guy Blue if he had a last request. To his great surprise, Guy Blue said the first words they’d heard from him.
“I’d like my books back.”
Guy Blue had a sophisticated sounding voice, each word pronounced with precision. The accent was startling to the crowd, who tended to extend their vowels, giving their speech a sort of drawl quality. When they managed to decipher his words, they were left even more confused. He wants his books back? They didn’t even know he had books; much less that he wanted them back. When they got around to looking at Willie, they noticed his flushed cheeks, and even they weren’t stupid enough to not understand what that meant.
Willie had enough shame to blush as he trotted back to his house to bring back Guy Blue’s books. While Willie was gone, the crowd formed back in to small groups of conversation, with everyone awkwardly glancing over at where Guy Blue sat on his rock. Guy Blue was in the act of using his cane to form designs in the dirt in front of him. By the time Willie came back with Guy Blue’s 5 books, he had 3 triangles, 1 circle, and a turtle.
The crowd reformed around Willie, as he handed the books over to Guy Blue. Guy Blue smiled graciously, and took the books in to his arms, where he cradled them. The townspeople looked at him uncomfortably, the adoration on his face being the same that would show up on the face of a new mother. Awkward silence ensued, with Guy Blue looking at his books, the townspeople looking at Guy Blue, and the books being books.
Eventually Willie got the other 3 guys with a rifle back in to a line in front of Guy Blue, who was still cradling his books. His face was alight with the joy of having his books back, when Willie ordered the men to take aim. Guy Blue’s smiled didn’t diminish any when the rifle barrels came up to face him. As Willie unnecessarily yelled the order to fire, his eyes met Guy Blue’s for the briefest second as Willie pulled his own trigger and his eyesight was jarred away. When his view returned to Guy Blue, he swore. How the hell had all of them missed?
Someone in the crowd coughed, while someone else giggled and was quickly shushed. Willie and the other 3 men took 3 steps forward, and brought their rifles back up. Willie made eye contact with Guy Blue again, as he ordered the men to take aim and fire once more. His sight jerked away again, and when he looked back at Guy Blue, he saw Guy Blue’s only remaining blue suit spotting growing stains of red. The second thing he noticed, as Guy Blue slowly collapsed, was that one of the books had a bullet hole through the middle of it. Willie thought this a needless waste of a good book.