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Short Story - The Snake’s Slither – Christopher Brancato

By: Christopher Brancato

To most people it was just another Monday, but this wasn’t the case for a selected few. The day started like any other for Mike Johnson. Mike would wake up, organize his attire for the day on his bed in a very civil manner, jump in the shower, get dressed, and head downstairs to read the paper over an oversized cup of coffee. Mike was glancing through the pages before approaching an article that seemed oddly familiar. The caption read “Five Car Pileup Leads to the Death of a Police Officer.” The reason why this article seemed so familiar to Mike was because Mike happened to pass by this ghastly scene as it occurred the night prior on the way home from the office, but was stricken with fear, that he impulsively continued en route.

Mike had noticed that the accident was pretty severe from his rearview mirror. At the bottom of the article it stated, any witnesses please make yourself present at the Mulberry Courthouse on Monday, May 31st at 3:30 P.M. Mike was frightened at first, but felt that it was necessary for him to attend. Mike went into the office like usual at 8:30, and informed his boss that he would have to leave early to attend a court case. Mike’s boss asked him “Did you know anyone in the accident?”

And Mike replied “Yeah, something like that.”

The day dragged on, and Mike grew anxiously nervous to appear at the courtroom. By the time 3:00 hit, he bolted for the door and made his way to the Mulberry courthouse. Upon entering the large stony building, in the waiting room he noticed a few people sitting. Judge Dibiase walked by and gave a solemn “hello” to Mike, in which Mike replied “hiya” nervously. Mike somewhat knew Judge Dibiase because Mike happened to be an attorney that had dealt with him in the past. A real stickler Mike viewed Judge Dibiase as being.

Mike then introduced himself to the few people who were seated outside of the courtroom. The group of people held a mix of occupations. There was a physician, a teacher, a professor, and a nurse. Mike had asked why they were all present, and they all stated that they were involved in the accident. The physician then decided to ask Mike “Why are you here? You weren’t involved in the accident?”

This question caught Mike completely off guard, in which he awkwardly responded, “I knew the police officer he had died at the scene.” The physician then immediately apologized.

After about a fifteen-minute wait, the group of people entered the courtroom, and Mike just took a seat behind them to listen in. The session lasted about a half hour, and the cause of the accident remained inconclusive. For some reason, the police officer plowed into the back of another vehicle on the highway, causing a pileup.

After exiting the courtroom, Mike followed the group listening on their conversation. All everyone kept say was “I just don’t understand how this could have happened. Why didn’t he just stop?”

As the group of people each individually made their ways to their vehicles, Mike then relaxingly lit up a cigarette and thought to himself, “I got away with it. Amazing.”

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