You would think that at some point they would get the message.
It’s one thing to be sentenced to death, but it’s altogether something different for the judge to overreact so much he brings back the firing squad for one little mistake.
In my opinion, it’s really very understandable why I did what I did next.
“Do you understand the sentence?” the judge asked, his five o’clock shadow now bearing down on full beard.
“You're going to shoot me,” the convicted man said.
“How I wish it was to be me,” the judge muttered quietly, but loud enough for both the stenographer and convict to hear.
“Inappropriate,” the latter admonished as the former made sure to record everything.
Once again the judge looked like he was about to blow his top, but this time he managed to keep his temper in check. “You will be shot!” he almost yelled. “At dawn, as soon as we can dig out a firing squad from somewhere. And until then you are to be held in a cell, alone and with no one in earshot. Do you understand?” the spittle flew from his mouth and landed on the convicts prison outfit.
Of course, Your Honour,” he said.
“Finally,” the judge breathed and brought his gavel down hard onto its plate. “Get him the hell out of here.”
It was called a time of universal harmony where archaic things like the firing squad, and even the death penalty itself, were supposed to be things of the past; of the time they would prefer to forget. But then a few things happened. Some enterprising, yet stupidly naive, lawyer brought an issue to light which he claimed was of national importance: when the government had implemented the new laws, they neglected to remove several hundred now obsolete laws.
Second of which was a rather surprising move by the government which was to rush to fix this issue. The problem was though, because of a rather interesting loophole in the way the legislation worked in their nation, in order to rectify the problem, for a period of 24 hours, both sets of laws would be inactive. The media tried to explain this to everyone, but it really required a 4 year political science degree to fully understand.
Enter Tad Riordan. A 38 year old unemployed man who just so happened to have a masters in political science and who by an astounding not-coincidence knew the original lawyer who brought this to light.
Not quite now, but later than the sentencing…
Riordan sat in his cell, his back against the door so his face could soak in the few minutes of sunlight that came through the window each day. He also enjoyed sitting against the door because it drove the guards insane when he wouldn't move to the bed when they wanted to open it.
He had been back in his little hovel for almost a week now and he had heard no news of when he was supposed to cop the bullets he had been promised.
The guards took great pleasure in busting into his cell right at the end of their shift on this day. The sun had gone and Tad had moved back to the bed; unusual for him, sure, but he wasn't about to let anyone call him predictable. He wasn't asleep, which did nothing to bring down the guards hyperactivity and he didn't jump or react in a startled manner, but he did stand straight away.
“Hello, Riordan,” one of the guards sneered.
“Evening, fellows,” Tad replied, ever jovial. “Come to have a few drinks with your old friend Tad?”
“You killed our friends,” one of the other ones said.
“I promise you I did not,” Tad replied, sitting back down. “I was there, but I didn't kill anyone.”
“Doesn't matter,” the head guard said, grinning. “We just came here to tell you they found a firing squad. You'll leave here in the morning and we will never see you again.”
“Cause you'll be dead.”
“Yeah, I got it thanks. Tomorrow? Thanks for telling me,” Tad smiled and waved the guards back out of the cell. “Have a good night guys,” he shouted as they closed the door, confused as to why the prisoner wasn't upset by all this.
The warden shook his watch. It said 8.22am. Every other clock he had in his house said the exact same time, down to the second - the warden was a stickler for punctuality – yet it was still dark as midnight outside. The moon was still high and the stars twinkled happily.
His phone (8.22am) rung. “Warden Ellis,” he intoned down the line.
“Yeah, George, it's Tim next door.”
“Tim, I was just about to call. Did I miss daylight savings?”
“I don't think so. What’s going on? It looks like it’s midnight out there.”
“22 fucking years,” someone moaned. “What do we do?”
“We could just shoot him.”
“We have no idea if that will even return things to normal.”
“I know. I'm just sick of him being him. Even if it doesn't reset everything, it will make me feel better.”
“And even if it does, CDC and WHO amongst other smaller organisations are beginning to get concerned that returning the day/night cycle back to normal all at once will fuck a whole bunch of people over.”
“It’s all his fault.”
“Sure is,” a new voice, Tad’s voice, said from the doorway. “I mean, you could just ask me to turn the sun back on.”
“Will that work?”
“Who knows? Maybe I'm feeling generous.”
“Tad, will you ple-”
“No, haha guess I'm being an asshole again.”
“Why are you doing this?”
“Because I'm sentenced to die at dawn. I told you.”
“Your sentence was revoked years ago!”
“Yeah, but I don't trust ya’ll.”
“Why are you even here?”
“I dunno. I guess I just like hanging around. I need other people, you know? Most other places don't like happy-go-lucky people like me bringing them down.”
“I should shoot you.”
“Little ironic. Also inappropr-”