Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Execution

"Okay," said the judge giving the final verdict, "is there anyone here who thinks we shouldn't burn her to death?"

Silence around the table, with each and every one of us giving a savage nod.

"Then let's give our..."
"Wait!" I interjected. "I have something to say."


I stood up, for the grand effect.

"As a member of the clergy," I started off, "I would like to say that if this young woman believes it is God's will she is obeying, then she would be right to stand firm. I will agree," I acquiesced, "that she is dangerous. Quite possibly mad. Ought to be locked up, but that is no reason to destroy her."

More silence. I continued.

"She's just misguided. Thinks she's important. I'm not sure we should execute her."
"Yeah," said Blaine, "but that's only because you fancy Sherri."
"That's beside the point!" I blurted out. "I'm completely disconnected from personal life while rôleplaying the trial of Joan of Ar... wait... you know about that?"
"Dude..."
"Father!"
"Father," he sighed, "everyone knows about that. I've seen the way you look at her."

"As a member of the clergy..."

There was a shuffling at the far end of the room as Sherri Joan of Arc took her position. Our history teacher asked for our final verdict, and the girl playing the judge said that it was unanimous: she was to be convicted of witchcraft, and taken to a place of execution to be burned alive. Meg, as designated executioner, dragged her off, at which point we all returned to our notebooks.

"Good work, everyone!" chirped our history teacher. "Next week we'll be rôleplaying aristocracy versus clergy versus the working classes, so workshop that with your groups! Any questions about the lecture, come and ask me!"

There was a general bustle as everyone threw their bits and pieces into their bags. I was herded out into the busy university corridor and elbowed my way through the crowd of confused arts and humanities students until I caught up with Sherri.

"Hey, Sherri," I said, as cheerfully as I could manage. "I've got something to ask you."
"Go ahead," she beamed at me.

"So, yeah, uhm, I don't know if you've heard the rumours, but I've got a bit of a crush on you, and I wondered if you wanted to go on a date some time?" I said.

Only I didn't actually say that. I got as far as "yeah", and then changed tack.

"So, yeah, I wanted to say that we didn't all vote to burn you," I actually said. "I wanted to spare your life because I've got a bit of a crush on you, and I wondered if you wanted to go on a date some time?"

Only I didn't actually say that either.

"So, yeah, I wanted to say that we didn't all vote to burn you," I actually actually said. "I just thought you were mad, and wanted to imprison you for life instead. If that's any better," I added.
"Oh, so I managed to convince you?" said Sherri. "Great! Thanks, that makes me feel better!" And she bounced away, presumably towards wherever she lived (which, I assumed, wasn't student halls, since I never saw her there).
"One more thing," I managed to say. "I've got a bit of a crush on you, and I wondered if you wanted to go on a date some time?"

But, by that point, she was so far away she didn't hear. And, besides, I didn't actually say that anyway.

"Smooth," said Blaine. "C'mon, let's go and play Counter-Strike."

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