Thursday, February 21, 2013

Asylum Walk (48)

“He got what he deserved.”

A man can use a time machine to make a one-way, irreversible trip into the past. Eschewing the chance to witness glories or meet greatness, he resolves to insert himself where he may have maximum impact: murdering Adolf Hitler in the cradle. He does so. The baby killer is arrested, nearly lynched, tried, convicted, and executed.

Did Baby Adolf get what he deserved?

Did his killer?

Embroideries: The time assassin’s lawyer urges a plea of insanity. His client readily agrees. The court hears the evidence—which is merely the truth: an assassin from the future, forestalling genocide and world war—and rules against it. The prosecutor is persuasive, citing the accused’s calm and deliberate approach to the cradle, his cunning preparations and disarming charm. Moreover, there is his prior admission to a lover he had taken in the village of all the particulars of his plan. Her distraught testimony seals his fate.

His sober and pensive demeanour in the box is taken as further evidence of his sanity. Wrongly. He is genuinely, profoundly puzzled. As he raised the knife above the gurgling, blue-eyed baby he realized that history was only a pretext, he had always wanted to kill someone. It was why he had built the time machine. The target—himself—was too elusive to be trapped except by extreme stealth.

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