Murder One

For Preston

Billionaire playboy, philanthropist, media mogul, and three-time Olympic gold medalist Maxwell Rudolfson was being heralded as the most benevolent creative genius America has ever produced. The streets felt safer, violent crime statistics were at an all-time low, and for the first time ever maximum security prisons had vacancies.

“As you know, I spent a lot of time contemplating the problem of violent crime in this country. One day it hit me. Certainty is security. And as awful as the idea sounded at first, I realized that it was the best solution to the rampant and ever-increasing violence that kept people locked inside their homes, living in fear. It is no lie that it took a little convincing,” Maxwell continued to a chuckling crowd, “but, the proof of the pudding is in the tasting.” Cheers arose all along the mall.

Sure, life in the city had improved since the new legal code allowed each adult to murder one person so long as they filled out the proper application paperwork and notified their requested victim. Most people couldn’t believe how the general public responded so many years ago. Rather than rush into a murderous feeding frenzy, the whole of the country took a deliberate approach. Many people decided to save their kill for truly the right person. Then something astonishing happened. As the society waited to commit the unspeakable act, people lost interest. Looking back, it should have been no surprise that as we got older, we calmed down and wisened up. But still, no one, not even Maxwell Rudolfson himself, could have predicted the immensity and totality of the new-found peace and security that blanketed the country.

Meanwhile, in a nearly empty government building a department of justice official couldn’t believe his eyes. He asked the young man standing before him to wait at the counter for minute.

“Sir. You’re not going to believe this. Maxwell Rudolfson’s son just filled out an application for murder,” the official reported to his supervisor.

“Yeah. Ol’ Max figured this day would come. Who does Jr. want to kill?”

“His father.”

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