“ Yes, but WHY did you do it? ”

She was looking straight into her attorney’s eyes. Why did he care so much about her motives? She was guilty. She would probably have to go to prison. So what? At 75 that option might be better than going to an old age home.

“ Come on, Emma, why did you pour Javex on this guy’s head? Did you know him? ”

She hadn’t expected the fellow to scream so loudly. The whole neighborhood had come running over by the time he’d collapsed to the ground. They knew it was her fault. She was in the window looking down at all the foamy water pooling on the hot cement. The man had a bald spot on his head like a bull’s eye. Now he was blind.

“ So you dump a 2-liter bottle of Javex over a stranger’s head! Emma, you didn’t know the guy! ”

Someone had to pay. There were too many of them; too many slobs in the world; too many people destroying for the sake of destruction. All those horrible people breaking beer bottles in schoolyards, flicking cigarette butts in parched forests, all those yahoos who don’t care about anything but themselves, loud-mouths who drive loud engines like mad men, chucking their paper coffee cups out the windows of their big fat SUV’s.

And what about the ones who spray paint all those terrible, terrible words on the sides of buildings and bridges? And those who never pick up their doggy-doo! Why do they always get away with their crimes? She couldn’t stand it anymore.

She’d had dreams of stuffing litter into the mouths of teenagers, had fantasized about ramming a water hose down the throat of her neighbor who always watered his driveway during dry summer days. Did he really expect to grow anything through all that asphalt?

What had this world come to?

“ Did the guy insult you? Show you the finger? Emma talk to me please. We have to build a case. You look like a sweet little old lady. We’ll plead insanity if we can, but you have to help me. Why did you do it?”

She’d seen this man standing at the bus stop below her window. Seen him look down and squish the grasshopper with his foot, and right after he’d carelessly thrown his candy bar wrapper on the curb; a crime she had been willing to overlook and forgive. But when he killed that poor little thing. (Really he’s the one that should be on trial). When he stepped on it she could almost hear the crunch beneath the guy’s boot. When she witnessed this carelessness she became very angry.

She had the bottle of Javex in her hands because she was in the process of bleaching her fine white china, liking to keep things clean, squeaky-clean, and sparkly, just like her mama taught her.

“ Emma, I understand that you have principles but let me ask you something. What were you doing with a bottle of Javel water? That stuff is toxic. Did you know that? Same stuff that’s depleting the ozone layer. Did you know that?”

Emma didn’t know anything about ozone layers, whatever that was. She only knew about nuisance. That word she knew well. Clearly, her attorney would refuse to plead ignorance.

One thought on “WHITER THAN WHITE by Julie Hamel

  1. Denis Coupal says:

    Whiter than White is great fun to read, Julie! There’s a Hitchcock flavour to it. Well done!

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