I was in my kitchen, puttering around the stove, encrypting the essence of a bouillabaisse recipe. I had the TV on and there was some case being prosecuted, the hegemony of a man who shot a boy. The attorney was utilizing a dummy to prove some point and an expert witness sat, corpulent in bearing, ovate. They were particularly interested in the gun. “And given that the defendant was right handed, where would the gun have been?” Apparently aimed right at the boy’s heart. I threw some thyme into the pot and scanned the recipe book for more direction. I was worried I might end up with a half baked soupcon of tastelessness. “And if the victim had his knees up to the defendant’s shoulders, then where would the gun have been pointing?” The erudition of the witness was obvious, pontification aside, he blurted out the answer that the bullet penetrated the boy’s heart.
Clearly a tragic case, I set about my business of creating dinner. I glanced occasionally at the defendant who was often writing on a small pad as if taking notes for himself or his attorneys, utterly devoid of affect. Immutable as the Buddha. “And where was the gun when it went off?” the attorney said.
“Four inches from the boy’s chest,” the eristic witness pronounced. I tossed in a pinch of salt and some more crab meat. This was to be quite a stew. Apparently the trial had been highly publicized, an object of intense fascination. “And did the victim continue living after the gunshot?” I heard the lawyer ask.
“Yes, perhaps a minute or two,” the expert said, mumbling through thick jowls, a slight involuntary flutter of the eyelids. It all seemed to revolve around the position of the gun and the handedness of the perpetrator. The beating of a teenage heart. A tragedy, no doubt for all involved.
–Celery, finely chopped, two stalks, preferably organic– I’d lost my cleaver skills but set about macerating the vegetable in as delicate snippets as possible.
“He simply grabbed for the gun with his right hand and pulled the trigger without thinking, an automatic impulse to protect oneself,” the lawyer said.
The witness, blotting his forehead with a kerchief, shrugged and then nodded in ascent, “Perhaps something like that,” he said.
–Garlic, four cloves, chopped–
I watched the defendant as I rummaged in my drawer. Stone cold, immutable, desiccated. He continued jotting down notes, breathing, giving no evidence of a reaction of any sort.
As I got out the garlic press, it was then that I noticed it. The pen he was writing with was in his left hand.