I saw a noose in the antiques shop the other day. It was hanging in a dust-sparkled beam of sunlight, next to an old typewriter. A thick, greasy rope. I stroked the edge, where necks once rested. I couldn’t help thinking of all those necks, all those people who’d been killed by it. Whose last touch was this coarse fibre burning the life out of them. Criminals, of course, but were they all guilty? Probably not. Everybody makes mistakes.
A mad part of me wanted to buy it, to hang it in my living room. It would be something to talk about. An unignorable reminder of the realities of capital punishment. I could get it out especially for those who still believe that such a barbaric penalty should be given. I could even make them wear it – crack a pun like ‘there’s the rub’ while their necks are resting where so many died before.
But there was no price-tag. Perhaps it wasn’t for sale. Or maybe, the shopkeeper had neglected to attach it.
Everybody makes mistakes.