“ I never defend a murderer,” I said it to that guy as I sat down. “ because I don’t like murderers.”
“ I am an assassin.”
“ All the same. You put an end to people’s life.”
“ So does terrorist, executioner. And so does God, Technically.”
Smart-ass. I Never like one, either. They think they are able to get out of this shit with their smart-ass mouth. All they do is make things worse.
“ Bottom line, I don’t like killer. Whatever the reason and the condition is. People always have choice not to kill.”
“…or not to be killed.”
His eyes…too calm.
“ I will speak in your defense. I read all the report. Now, do you find yourself guilty?”
“ I don’t know.”
What kind of answer is that?!
“ An honest answer, actually, Miss Collins.” He added, as if he heard my mind talking. Maybe he read my face, I often losing control of my expression. Especially when I’m pissed or when I’m surprised.
He went silent. I bet he’s trying to understand what ‘elaborate’ means.
“ I’ve always found the system to decide one’s guilty is funny.”
“ Based on all the reports, the evidences, you are guilty. The trace of blood found in your…what is that sword called..? Katana?”
“ Chisa katana, to be more precise.”
“ Yes, that. You don’t have alibi, and Mr. Gladfire’s secretary saw you in his office at the night of his death.”
“ Oh, Rebecca told the police that? Yeah, she never liked me.”
“ So you admit that you are guilty?”
“ But, you did kill him?”
“ Not ‘kill’. He asked me to execute him. So I did.”
“ What do you mean by “execute”?”
“ As I told you, I am an assassin. A mercenary. People pay me to get rid of another people, and Mr. Gladfire was my employer for almost five years.”
Dammit, Dain wasn’t kidding. This guy and this case is…weird.
“ You did put an end to his life? By your own hand? Using that Katana?”
“ I did with my chisa katana. I beheaded him.”
“ See? You are guilty, by took another man’s life.”
“ Even if that man was the one who wanted it?”
“ Yes, even that.”
“ Confusing…well, okay then. I am guilty.”
“ Yet, I see no trace of guilt in you.”
“ There is none.”
“ How could that be?”
“ I am an assassin. I assassinate, that’s my job. I wouldn’t assassinate Mr. Gladfire if he doesn’t pay me to.”
“ You could have rejected his command.”
“ I couldn’t.”
Speaking more of it wouldn’t get me anywhere. I do want to know about this ‘paying an assassin to kill myself’ thingy, but that’s illogical and not really my bussiness. My bussiness is to defend this guy, and because he admitted that he did kill Mr. Gladfire, it seems like I don’t have to break a sweat in front of the jury and the judge. It’ll end fast and neat.
“ One question, Miss Collins,” he said as I’m about to get out from that room.
“ Isn’t it funny, that you could decide a man is guilty even if he has no guilt?”
“ A Hamburger Royale with extra cheese, french fries and chocolate milkshake. Anything else, Ma’am?”
“ Nope. That’s it.”
I gaze through the window as the waiter took my order, seeing cars passing by and some people who’s not so in hurry. I really like gaze through the window, as I can see my reflection and also the view outside at the same time. My mom always told me that it is silly, while my dad, who rarely gets me, defended me by saying it is beautiful : seeing through the glass while also seeing yourself. You can’t get that by looking at the mirror, mirror only reflects yourself and people on your side. And it’s even more beautiful when in the middle of gaze-through-the-window, your mind often wandering and find some funny or happy memory. Like what I am doing right now. Then Dain stops me with his call. I pick it up.
“ How was it?” he asked.
“ As you said, Inspector. Weird.”
“ Told ya.”
“ The trial will be held three days from now, and he literally admitted that he killed that Gladfire guy, so I think it’s gonna be fast and neat.”
“ Well, for you, yes. For me, no. Based on his ‘story’, the big guy requesting for more investigation regarding this Gladfire thing, we might be able to find something to solve some unsolved cases.”
“ Is it that serious?”
“ I don’t know. Did you ask him about the hiring-employing-executing stuff?”
“ No, I’m not, I mean,” the waiter put my order on the table, and I noded politely. “ What’s the point?”
“ Don’t you want to know?”
“ I do. But not really want to.”
“ Yeah, whatever. It has more thing to do with my job. I gotta run, catch up with you latter, Leslie.”
“ Wait, did he say something weird?” I whispered. I don’t even know why whispered.
“ Weird? I say all of them is weird. Hell, he is weird.”
“ Yes, but he said something…nah, nevermind.”
“ What was it?”
“ I told you later. I gotta eat.”
Dain’s is right. He is weird. Smart-ass mouth, too. But, what’s with his eyes? Those eyes were too calm…isn’t he supposed to feel gulity, a bit of it, at least? Nah, maybe he just played it cool, to mess up with cops and stuff. Crazy people used to do it. Maybe he’s that psycopathic serial killer like one of those movies about them. Or maybe, he had answers prepared before arrested. Or, he’s just a professional assassin as he said. This burger is delicious.
I was just about to get to the highway on my way to police station, when Dain called me again. It was about 10 in the morning, the highway less crowded as it used to. I drove past the gate then pick up my phone.
“ You will not believe this.”
“ What, you shave your beard until it shiny again?”
“ No, seriously, Leslie. It’s about the case.”
“ What’s about it?”
“ After our dinner last night, I got called to the station because someone saying he was Gladfire’s friend.”
“Aren’t you done asking around?”
“ This is different. This guy also know about the assassin.”
“ He was Gladfire’s associate back since Gladfire’s business barely established until four years ago. He said, Brett Williams used to come to Gladfire’s office every week. At first he thinks it was business or errand boy or something, but when he asked Gladfire, Gladfire spilled out everything. Brett Williams recieved payments for his service in ‘taking out some rival’. Crazy.”
“ So that story is true?”
What the hell is wrong with that car in front of me? Is he drunk..?
“ Yes. This Emerton guy was brought some evidence he found. He said it was the main reason why he resigned from Gladfire’s office.”
Is that car going to accelerate or what? I better accelerate and left that car behind.
“ Hey, Leslie, do you hear me?”
“ Yes. But, did he say anything about why would Gladfire asked Brett to execute him?”
“ That’s the reason why this Emerton guy fly across the continent, to find out why. He said Brett wasn’t just a mercenary. Gladfire once told him that Brett was bailed out from the prison by Gladfire, and Gladfire also gave Brett’s family a lot of money.”
“ So what are you going to do?”
That weird car wants to get past me. Well, go on then. Drive away. It’s highway, I wouldn’t take risk.
“ I’ve put a team to investigate Gladfire’s bussiness. You remember Rebecca?”
“ She said a woman was with Brett the night Gladfire’s death.”
“ A woman?”
“ Yes, she doesn’t know who she is, maybe we’ll ask Brett himself.”
The weird car that accelerate suddenly opens its door and a man jumped out the car into my drive lane, stood up and running towards my car. I’m in highspeed, I’ve stepped fully on the brake but it was no use.
I felt and heard my car hit the man. Some car behind me stopped and watch, then I got out the car and run towards the man, lying down pretty far from my car.
“ Shit, Dain, I hit a man with my car in the highway!”
“ What? How?”
“ He threw himself at my car…God! Call an ambulance for me! Shit!”
I turned off the phone then a couple of guy also running towards the body, trying to help. I see blood, and the man with crushed face. He wears black suit, as if he’s going to a funeral.
Oh no…no…not me…no, please don’t die!
I sat there, in front of the jury and the judges, beside my client, the suspect of the murder of Robert Gladfire. I couldn’t hear the verdict, but it’s definitely guilty because he’s admitted all charges, and we didn’t bring any witness. We didn’t do a thing. I didn’t speak in his defense. All I remember was me and Brett doing a conversation on recess, while the jury decided what to say.
“ I saw you…” Brett started the conversation, “…so, burdened.”
“ I am.”
“ I heard you put an end to someone’s life?”
“ You could say that.”
I smiled. Why did I smiled?
“ Two days ago, on my way to the police station, I hit a guy who jumped out of his car in the middle of highway.”
That guy, I think I see his face, just for a moment before I hit him, so calm and serious.
“Dress all black. Later known, he was on his way to his ex-wife’s funeral. He ran towards my car, and I hit him. I put him inside my car, with the help of some people, and drove like crazy to the exit, but he was dead on the way there.”
“ Do you know his name?”
“ Edmund Leidr.”
“ Do you find yourself guilty?”
I paused for a moment. “ No.”
“ Yet, I see a trace of guilt in you.”
He’s right. There is. Why?
“ Listen, Miss Collins. Do you know why I’m here?”
“ You put an end to a man’s life.”
“ so does terrorist, so does executioner, so does God. Now, you too.”
“ I am different. It was him, who threw himself in front of my car.”
Yes, it was him, wasn’t it? But if it’s true, why do I feel guilty?
“ To be honest, I don’t need you to speak in my defense. Because I don’t care if the world find myself guilty, as long as I can defend myself from the guilt. It is I, who decide whether myself guilty or not.”
“ That’s not true.”
“ Then, why does the world say that you are not guilty, yet you have guilt?”
Shit. “ What would you say, in my defense?”
“ Same thing I’ve been telling to myself all these years.”
“ And that is…?”
“ One doesn’t need to have what it takes to be an assassin just to kill someone, and one doesn’t need to be killed to become a victim.”
Then, two cops bring Brett outside, and everyone walks towards the door, including me. I can feel myself walking without knowing where would I want to go, yet my feet still taking steps. Then I stopped, outside the building, near the window of the empty court room. The same court room as before. I gaze through the window, seeing my reflection in the glass, and picturing myself sitting beside Brett in the same place at the court room, just like before. But now, it’s him who is standing. It is him who speaks in my defense, instead of me speaking in his defense.