“…this is fair enough. But the courts are at a loss as to what to do with him.” The man’s round glasses caught the light at such an angle as to hide his eyes from view.
“Be that as it may – the purpose of these measures is to deter not only the criminal but those that made them. Be it through negligence, intent, or basic DNA. Those miscreants outside the gates have no concept of the bigger picture.” The moustachioed man shifted in his seat and adjusted his tie, turning his attention to the window.
Outside, the chants of disillusionment broke through the cold air in plumes of vapour. Banners swayed above the sea of protesters, masked against the cold and CCTV.
“…Times are tense. It’s beside the point. The matter at hand is what to do with Gregory Salt.”
The room was silent. Furtive glances and awkward looks replaced the already limited conversation.
“He’s a criminal, pure and simple, his punishment is fair…” The woman in white leant in as she spoke, but trailed off as she was interrupted.
“Yes, yes, yes. No one is debating the necessity of his sentence. But who is to carry out the sentence? That is the point. The man is a nobody. He has no parents, no siblings. He has no relations at all, blood or otherwise. He is even bereft of the most basic of friendships.”
“None. He is absolutely singular”
The room fell quiet again.
“Could we just keep him imprisoned?”
“The taxpayer does not want to feed the unruly, nor should they have to.” The woman’s comments were met with nods of agreement and she bent back into her seat, content.
The man in the corner coughed politely, readying his audience.
He paused and looked around the table, avoiding direct eye contact.
“…we could hire someone?”
The murmurs turned from understated support to stunned silence. All eyes fixed on the speaker. Who, cowed by the attention, lowered his head.
After some time, a voice boomed across the room from behind a twitching moustache.
“Hire someone?! How would that solve the problem? It would merely provide more work for the council. A – finding a suitable rogue to employ, and B – prosecuting them for the murder of Gregory Salt.”
“That silliness aside, when, or if, we find a solution to the Salt problem, how are we to ensure that something like this never happens again?”
The council was dumbfounded, and their eyes searched each other for answers to this seemingly impossible conundrum.
“He should do it himself…” The man with the glasses mumbled at first. Then, realising the weight of his words, got to his feet.
“He should do it himself. He won’t want to but given some persuasion and a more unpleasant alternative. I don’t see why he would refuse.”
There was a long, empty pause. The crowd outside continued their chanting, and the clock continued ticking time away, second by second.
Then the council broke into one collective smile.
Inspired by this post, submitted to reddit by wongkerz. Thank you.