‘Yes, yes, yes he is a murderer!’
‘I remember correctly, clearly and precisely.’
‘I closed my bakery at 8PM sharp that Friday,and as I switched off the lights, I heard a loud scream and went to look at the window.He hit her with the baseball bat, looked up into the light and that’s when I saw his face.’
'Are you sure Mrs.Nelson you are not missing any more details?’
‘Well not really,she wore a pink night dress,with a ribbon tied to her hair.She’d put cream everyday and arrange her bed and tuck herself in with a book, every single night. That night was no different.’
‘Mrs.Nelson, look carefully, your testimony could be tested here'.
Mrs.Nelson looked around the courtroom; the woman was alive sitting in the audience looking directly at Mrs.Nelson.
‘How could that be? She did not have a twin I know for sure’.Mrs.Nelson blurted.
‘You’re right – she didn’t – so how did she get away?'
The courtroom was in pin drop silence, the whirling fan above the judge's head made its presence felt.
‘B-But how is that possible – I saw it in front of my eyes.’
‘That’s because you did it Mrs.Nelson’ the lawyer said coldly.
The court ruled Mrs.Nelson guilty.
Many years later in the federal prison Mrs.Nelson got a parole for good behaviour.
As she stepped out of the prison,the impressed guard at the exit gate said ‘never come back here again- I am sure you didn’t want to kill her in the first place’
Mrs.Nelson stopped to look back and sighed ‘I should’ve been a bit more careful – she was the unlucky thirteen’.
Gyanban Thoughts - a short fiction - with an unusual character sketch - a lonely baker Mrs.Nelson is the serial killer with twelve prior murders hence the title Bakers Dozen was quite apt I thought. Must say the original idea came from Graham Greene's classic Case for the Defense.I thought that was one the best short stories ever written structured around crime and providence.
image courtesy : here