“Overreaction, huh? This is almost too easy. What should I talk about? Oh, I don’t know, how about the corona--”
The man’s words remain forever unfinished, as his brains are splattered Jackson Pollock-like on the wall. I put them there. Well, technically, a shiny cobalt pistol put them there. I was merely the vessel.
But I must own the smoking gun, must explain myself. “Don’t worry,” I tell the panicked and hunkered dinner party. “I’m not going to shoot anyone else.”
A woman rises. I think she’s his wife. “Why the hell did you shoot him in the first place?”
“For a very simple reason,” I say, tucking the pistol into my waistband. “He is--was--an unoriginal prick whose only responses were topical and cliche. Real trite stuff. Not a fan.”
“So you kill him?”
“Yeah. He really bothered me.”
Now the hostess stands, her face flushed and sweaty. “I agree,” she says. Then she glares at the lifeless heap, at the still-trickling blood on the wall. “Just a tedious bastard. Furthermore, his most lasting contribution to the artistic community is that brain painting on my accent wall.”
“Well!” the wife exclaims.
Before the wife can unleash her fluster and fury, a rosy-cheeked man addresses the hostess: “Since we’re all being honest...Helen, I’ve never cared for your lamb chops. Always found them a bit underseasoned.”
Now there is silence. The hostess stares at the rosy-cheeked man with spiteful eyeballs. Then she takes a glass of merlot and splashes his rosy-cheeked face, which I think is a bit of an overreaction.