“Is this really necessary?”
“I’m sorry, but we have to be thorough. Can you please describe the events that happened that night?”
“Well we arrived, she saw him, and then-”
“We need you to be detailed, sir. Can you start from before you and your wife arrived at the restaurant?”
The man let out a sigh, irritated at the fact that they wouldn’t stop pestering him for more “details”. He didn’t see how any information that they didn’t already know was useful. The rest was just trivia.
“I arrived home about a quarter till six. I could hear Sam showering upstairs, and the kids were all gathered around the table eating pizza with Annie, their babysitter.
“Every Friday, or every other Friday, Sam and I go out to this little hole-in-the-wall Palestinian place and have dinner. I remember how excited she was when I told her I was able to get a reservation at that new, very high-end French place everyone was raving about. The name escapes me now. Her face just lit up. She hugged me and quickly began to scour her closet for something nicer to wear.
“The place was packed, and the bar on the opposite side of the room from our table was swarming with people, all dressed much better than myself and all held an expensive cocktail lazily against their chests. We were actually having fun. Granted, this could be due to the several drinks we had before even ordering, but all the same there was something different that night that just made it feel so easy, like how it always used to be.
“We ordered our impossible to pronounce food and continued to enjoy ourselves. I remember they had just brought the salads out when Sam’s expression completely changed. All of her features were bright and happily pointing upwards, but they all of a sudden slowly dipped into this expression of sad astonishment. I asked her what was wrong, and she didn’t even look my direction. She just sat there staring over my shoulder at the bar. I turned around to see what she was looking at and saw nothing out of the ordinary, but then again I didn’t’ really know what I was looking for. I kept asking her what was wrong over and over again, and she eventually looked at me and said something like, ‘I’m actually not all too taken with this place let’s go somewhere else.’
“She then got up from her seat and headed for the door as if we had discussed and fully agreed to a new plan of action for the night. I caught up to her outside on the sidewalk. I grabbed her arm and had to forcefully swing her around just to get her to look at me. She was crying, makeup running all down her cheeks and dripping down onto her dress. Every time I asked her what was going on she would automatically reply, ‘Nothing, nothing,’ and each time she would draw more into herself. I stopped and held her in my arms there on the sidewalk. Trying to fix the problem wasn’t fixing the problem, so I shut up and did my best to make her feel better, feel safe.
“After a while she pulled away, and I asked her again to tell me what was going on. She looked at me, and I could see she was scared, body trembling and eyes watering. She started-”
Brian stopped, as if he had forgotten what happened next, but he knew all too well what happened next. The events had been stuck in his head since that night and had played on rewind ever since. Soon after she began speaking everything became more muffled. All the footsteps and horns and voices transformed from distinct sounds to a blend of pure noise as if he were wearing ear plugs. He remembered seeing her mouth moving but no clear words came through. He remembered her grabbing onto his arm shaking him but no feeling was received. He just stood there, not sure which of the range of emotions to pick. He wasn’t sure whether to cry or scream, whether to hug or hit, whether to sit or run. No matter what Sam said she couldn’t keep him from choosing the latter of each pair. A heat began to rise in the pit of Brian’s stomach, not a warmth but a fiery heat that had to be suppressed for so long but now could finally be unleashed. Every second added kindle to the fire and it slowly spread up into his chest and into his throat.
He turned away from his wife and headed for the entrance of the restaurant. Sam ran in front of him and attempted to block the door. He pushed her aside in a sort of perturbed manner, as if she was attempting to stop the inevitable. He pushed the door open to the introduction of a new mesh of sound composed of clanking glasses and forks and raucous conversation. He walked as calmly as possible without letting show the insatiable anger festering in his body. A waiter passed with a bottle of wine on a tray. “Excuse me thank you,” he said as he grabbed the bottle, not looking back to see the waiters reaction. He scanned the bar until his eyes locked on him, the one who Sam described.
He made for the bar, people looking towards him and asking what he assumed to be for a refill, but all he heard were sounds rather than words. He reached the bar and raised the bottleand swung the bottle downwards on the counter, the bottom of the bottle facing away from him. Shrapnel shot out in all directions and bubbly liquid gold cascaded off the counter. Mouths closed and necks turned; silence spread like a disease. Brian slowly moved down the bar with the jagged glass in his right hand. He locked eyes with him. The bottom of the chair legs screeched as he tried to get up and move away, but Brian lurched forward and caught him in the chest. He fell back, half of a wine bottle sticking out of his shirt. Brian stood there as blood pooled around his shoes, listening to the muffled screams, the loudest most likely being his wife’s. He looked down and noticed his shirt was stuck to his skin.
“Mr. Philips? Mr. Philips?”
“Oh, yes what?”
“You were saying?”
“You know what happens from there.”
“Again, we need you to cooperate as fully as-”
“This is pointless. Just let me out of here we’re done here.”
“I understand how you might feel apprehensive–“
“Apprehensive? No I don’t feel apprehensive. I feel satisfied.”
“You’re satisfied you killed a man?”
“A man? You call that thing, that beast, a man?”
“Sir I understand–“
“Understand? Tell me officer, how would you have dealt with the situation? Approach him, shake his hand, and ask, ‘How was she? Didn’t put up too much of a fight did she?’”
“I only meant–”
“I request to be taken back to my cell.” Brian was led back to his cell, filled with wonders of what justice was.