Lying to Ourselves

My contribution to this week’s Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge 

*****************************************

“Lying To Ourselves”

Jimmy Thornbucket jumped off the railing and did a swan dive to the deck below.

We all breathed a sigh of relief.

It was over.

We were free.

For too long, Jimmy had ruled the Terran colony Birren with an iron fist, with the steel toed boots of his cronies, known “affectionately” as the Bire boys.

And now he was gone, and we were free.

The Colony Ruling Council would finally be free of the corruption and Terran law would be the rule of order again.

***

The gavel rang down hard, echoing its might around the Council Hall.

“Arn Atcheson. You are hereby found guilty of violating the Good Samaritan Law when you helped Darrell Haft get free of the debris that trapped him during the incident at the refinery last week. You caused several thousand credits of damage to Company assets when you used your laser torch to free Mr. Haft’s leg.”

A roar of outrage appeared as if conjured, and again the gavel fell, demanding order.

“You are hereby ordered to make restitution to The Company in an amount of 15 thousand credits. If you cannot make restitution, this council will have no choice but to send you to the Quix Penal colony on the 15th moon of the Gor system. Where you will be made to work off your debt with the rest of your life.”

The Council Hall erupted into utter chaos. Atcheson’s wife stopped restraining her her sobs, allowing them to grow into deep belly twisting pain.

“Mamma. What wrong Mamma?” A small child had toddled over to Mrs. Atcheson and was pulling at her sleeve. “Mamma, Poppa home now?”

Mrs. Atcheson scrubbed over her face before replying, “No honey. Poppa isn’t coming home.”

During the hubub, the Colony Public Safety Officers had taken Arn away without a chance to say any farewells.

“Oh Emma.” A woman had forced her way to Mrs. Atcheson’s side. “Nobody expected anything like this to happen! In the old days, Arn wouldn’t have even been arrested! Jimmy and his boys would have thrown him a party for being such a hero!” Emma Atcheson fell into her arms.

“Now the only good deeds are the ones that The Company says are good. Try to help someone and get transported for life.” Someone nearby groused.

“Shut your mouth Fird Owens! That kind of talk could land you in a whole heap of trouble.” Someone else snapped.

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