My kryptonite

Posted in: Stories

"How can you say it wasn't intentional, when in fact you knew that it was his weakness?" asked the prosecution lawyer in that constant accusatory tone which, by definition of the position appointed to him, was required.

"What weakness did I know about?" replied Mariana from her place in the witness box for the hundredth time, tired of trying to convince this hundredth person and the members of the jury of her innocence; although what she was guilty of, she still wasn't so sure. "I just sent him a link to a cat video! We'd been sending links to each other about cat-related things all the time for jokes or a laugh! It's just a little harmless fun!"

"Fun? Do I have to remind you that what you considered 'harmless fun', ended Emanuel's life?"

It had only been 2 weeks since Mariana had posted, in her own words, a seemingly harmless link to a cat video on Emanuel's Facebook page. Anybody else would have agreed with her appraisal of the video: it was just another cat video, one of millions on the internet that collectively fill terabytes of disk space in data centers around the world, to be streamed to a connected public in need of a quick laugh. The pastime of humanity.

Nobody had ever really died of laughter before. Sure, people had died mid-laugh, but that was often because the laugh was interrupted by a heart attack, or a stroke, or a bullet. Emanuel was in decent enough shape - the coroner had found no evidence of a bad heart or a blood clot - and he was hundreds of kilometers away from the nearest gun fight that happened to be occurring at that exact time. Centuries of human history had all but exonerated laughter from possible causes of death, so the coroner and the detectives assigned to Emanuel's mysterious death began looking elsewhere for the cause.

They didn't have to look far.

"What I have here," said the prosecution lawyer, (pausing for what those in the public gallery thought of as dramatic effect, while court personnel thought it was to allow the law clerk to keep-up with proceedings, although the truth lay somewhere between those 2 extremes) "is the coroner's report as to the cause of the death. To summarize for the court:

"The cause of death was found to have been starvation brought about by extreme fatigue. The fatigue was brought on by an extremely low blood sugar level - Emanuel's doctors were able to provide a history of erratic blood sugar levels, despite not having been diagnosed with any kind of diabetes. The coroner could only then speculate that Emanuel was either unconscious or in a state of confusion, brought on by his hypoglycemia, and thus unable to look after himself. The situation was found to be similar to those rare cases of young men spending too long at a computer playing video games, and not taking the time out to rest or eat."

"See, it wasn't me." cried Mariana. "He just... he just forgot to eat." she then said with hesitation and much less fervour than her cries of innocence from before, for it was in that moment that something came to her - a memory of something that Emanuel had posted in reply to 'the killer cat video'. Oh no... she thought, as the pieces of the puzzle suddenly started to connect in her mind.

In the comments to the killer cat video Mariana had posted on Emanuel's wall, before she learned of the news that he had died, which was only moments before she was then accused of his murder, was a reply from Emanuel, seemingly in jest:

They were some of the last words ever typed by Emanuel, and it was those words, the killer cat video, and the Facebook conversation between himself and Mariana that the detectives found when they woke Emanuel's computer from its sleep, looked through his last open programs, and perused through the open tabs in his browser.

It was the smoking gun that fired a bullet of laughter in the shape of a cat video, with Mariana at the trigger, that managed to kill him.