IN THE COURTYARD
Striding to a center spot, Saul clears his throat and waits for silence. The men stand at attention, backs pressing against the marble wall of the courtyard. Removing a cell phone, he taps a message and sends it, but still does not speak to the men. Instead, he lights another cigarette and scans the lot in front of him, moving his attention slowly from man to man until he looks over each of the fifty.
"Pull your shoulders back. At least pretend to be a man," Saul barks and points at a man in the middle of the line. Taking a drag on the cigarette, Saul checks the phone for messages. "We can begin."
A group of armed guards approach, twelve in total. Trailing behind, Ray Holden saunters towards Saul smoking a cigar. He wears a black evening jacket and a top hat, looking like something out of a movie.
"These are the men Ella spared." Saul tosses the cigarette and moves aside to give Ray the center spot in front of the men.
"Very good." Ray approaches the line of men and stops within an arm length. Puffing at the cigar, he scans the men. "What are you here for?"
One near the center begins to answer, but hesitates and turns his gaze to Saul.
"Answer the question," Saul says, voice echoing off the courtyard walls.
"I'm a men's rights activist."
Ray removes the cigar from his mouth and tilts his head to the side. "The fuck you say? Better start explaining yourself, real quick."
"Most of us here are activists. We fight for men's rights. Some of the others..." the man's eyes look down the line. "There are some Nazis."
"Nazis in America?" Ray shakes his head and puffs at the cigar, analyzing the man in front of him. "How many Nazis do we have here?"
Saul spits and takes a few steps toward the line. "It's about half of each, though Ella didn't give me specifics."
"Jesus. What am I supposed to do with this lot?" Ray waves his arm towards the group of guards and the men trot into a small line-up in front of the men against the wall. "Ella told me to...make some use of you men, but Nazis..."
Fifty sets of eyes stare as Ray crushes the cigar with a leather shoe. "Speak up, where are these Nazis?"
"If nobody will speak, I will announce your fate."
A chorus of murmurs and whispers run like panic over the men. Ray lights another cigar and waits for silence. He lifts an arm into the air and the guards spread out, covering the line of prisoners with rifles.
"As Master of Holden Farms, I sentence you all to death by firing squad. There will be no Nazis in America while I live. I bid you goodbye from this life." Ray lowers his arm and the guards fire multiple rounds. Most of the men are hit on the first volley, but those few not struck scream into the cold morning while the guards re-load.
"Fire," Ray says and the guards let loose the second volley, hitting those remaining on their feet. A cloud of smoke from the rifles obscures Ray's vision. The wind carries the smoke into the sky and Ray steps forward to analyze the men. A few writhe in death throws and Ray raises his hand once more.