The rope felt rough, so rough, against the sensitive neck of my skin.
It felt so…good.
It was finally my turn.
Twoscore years ago, grandpa had robbed one too many banks and ended up swinging by his neck. Fifteen years ago, his father had chased one too many trains, but was not fast enough to escape the noose. Perhaps I was born for the gallows.
The dust was in my eyes, my ears, my nose, my throat. The sweat ran down my face like so many rivulets, accentuating my thirst. It’s funny how you notice all life’s intricate details when death is at the threshold. He sure ain’t pretty, but guaranteed to knock the breath out of you. Ha ha. Jokes are definitely funnier when you can’t laugh out loud. I guess rebellion runs in my veins. Everything wrong at all the wrong times.
The sheriff went on and on about my list of “atrocities”, no doubt to bolster his self-esteem among the impatient onlookers. Nobody understood him, and nobody cared – they were itching for their entertainment. Heck, I was itching to perform! I had a rough estimate that my dead body would dance for six seconds before succumbing to the dark nothingness. My only regret was that I could not watch my own dance. Pity.
The rope dug deeper into my neck as the minutes dragged on – about a millimeter per minute, by my calculation. Then, the sheriff finally shut up. I heard footsteps behind me. It was time! The curtains were parting; the audience suspended in silent anticipation. The words shot from my lips faster than bullets:
“Ladies and gentlemen I present to you the dance of a lifetugggghhhffftt”
The pain shot through his body from the neck down the spine to his toes. He frantically urged his limbs to move, a conductor orchestrating his final, crowning masterpiece. Left foot forward (one), right foot forward (two), shuffle to the side (three), flap arms twice (four, five)…
…and bow (six).
The bloodthirsty crowd was still, so still. Bewitched. Paralyzed. Hushed in disbelief – nobody could describe what they had just witnessed. Then, thunderous applause erupted as if on cue.
What a performance.
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