5.05 / May 2010

Points for Execution

The previous quiet was sub-par.   Not profound or cathartic enough.   Almost disappointing.   Just a chair, heart monitor, and syringes in a blank, bulletproof glass room.   An echo in every metal chair scrape or errant cough.   A shabby killing instead of a show.

Now, there’s a choir.   They sing any song requested by the prisoner.   Verdi or Aretha Franklin, Elvis or Eminem.   Once, even a nursery rhyme.   The performers practice for a week, strumming their lungs over these death tunes.   They scrape their vocal chords with notes, bring a murderer’s musical into their showers and traffic-locked cars.   The choir wears black robes and hoods, they’re in on the morbid joke.   They do hand claps and sway.   They testify.   When needle nicks skin, their voices carry and quiver and threaten to open stiffly beating chests.

And once, only once, have the windows broken under the pressure of those voices.   After the glass separating murderer and witnesses collapsed, every pulsing eye stared at the empty, open space.

5.05 / May 2010