Mike appears in court wearing a bright pink, very tight tshirt with ‘WANNABE LESBIAN’ spelled out with rhinestones. It’s appalling. The addition of tight black jeans – too tight, I suspect, as I see Mike wince and try to surreptitiously pull them away from his groin – makes him look like a slightly psychotic 80s reject. His hair is even puffy.
When he sees me approaching the witness stand, his eyes widen.
“FUCKER!” I see him mouth, clear as day. Oh well, he was going to work out the truth sooner or later.
I manage to get through my testimony without distorting too many facts, but without mentioning paranormal activity, either. Linda would be a bit much for these folk to handle.
As I walk toward the door, Mike turns and scowls at me – so I see his face when they call the next witness, Lazarus. He pales, and for the first time he looks scared. I think he’s just realised that he’s going down.
Linda fades in beside me and sniggers.
“Clothes your doing?” I ask quietly.
“Who else cares enough to help him get ready?” she asks, and sniggers again. “You shoulda seen his face when he realised that was all he had to wear!”
“You should’ve seen his face when they called Lazarus!”
The jury come back, and declare a decision.
Guilty of manslaughter.
Linda, sitting next to me, sighs.
“He murdered me in cold blood,” she says quietly.
“He’s getting punished for part of it, at least,” I offer.
She smiles a little.
“I paid off his debt to the mafia-wannabe,” she says.
“Why?” I ask, shocked.
“Her hitman might not’ve missed next time… and I want Mike to be thoroughly miserable,” she says, looking sideways at me and smirking, “the bastard’d probably repent on his deathbed and go straight to heaven, otherwise – it’d be just like him.”
I snort. She’s right, it would.
“What’s happening to the rest of your money?” I ask, remembering the whole reason Mike killed her in the first place.
“I willed it all to a cat shelter, years ago,” she said, finally cracking out a proper Linda-ish grin. “I told Mike I’d left it to him, then changed my will to leave it to the cats – he’d only have lost it on the pokies or something dumb, you know?” She snickers. “So he killed his golden goose, the moron!”
I heave a sigh. She’s a tough one, but this whole thing must’ve hurt her like hell.
“Yeah, it did,” she says quietly, looking at me.
So that’s it. Mike’s in jail, and he’s scared shitless. Out here, he can pretend to be a decent member of society. In there, everyone knows him for an arsehole, you see. They won’t kill him, though. They’ll just make his life hell for a few years, and that’ll do for payback. Unless, of course, wherever I’m going will let me come back once a year and torment him, just for kicks. That’d be awesome.
You’ve been sweet. You’ve sat there and listened to this whole sordid story, and you’ve never once told me I’m a bloody idiot. Thanks for that.