Griffen Household on 31st of February Street is a nice suburban house of Mrs and Dr Steve Griffen and their two young children Amy and Sue, 8 and 6 respectively. Quite common, the house viewed from the outside, is a plain old time house with two floors. Almost every day in the evening we see the two young children playing around on the front porch and a proud Dr Griffen looking at them play as Elizabeth, his wife brings his evening tea out.
This wet winter afternoon the sky was full of broken clouds, and the whole neighborhood was swept by their shadows. The street lights to the northward were obscured by a heavy shower, traces of which were drying off the slates of the sidewalk. The back yard was a well-kept lawn with a few clipped holly-trees. The land was enclosed for the use of the girls.
On this rainy winter afternoon a car stood at the door of Griffen House. The car was that of Mark Griffen, Steve's younger brother who was married to Sandy and had two sons Peter and Paul. As we move indoor to observe the proceedings we see that within-doors, in the drawing-room, Dr. Steve Griffen was sitting with a petite lady aged about thirty-five to his right and a rather attractive couple in their late thirties in front of him. Both the ladies were elegantly dressed, of attractive features, and only falling short of absolute beauty in their complexion.
"No compromise whatever, I am sorry to say," the doctor spoke.
"This is not like you," said Liz, the lady to his right, rubbing her hands.
"It is quite natural that you should feel disappointed," replied the doctor. "I would earnestly advise you to try and talk to Mark about the dilemma that I have placed in front of the three of you. The choice is quite straight forward and someone as astute as Mark must be capable of taking a firm decision--" The doctor stopped and looked at Mark, who was sitting right in front of him. Liz's face had lost most of its shine but her features were still striking. Mark raised his hand with a gesture of protest.
"Oh, no, Steve," he said. "I am not going to make this decision; I will not make it easy on your soul. I know that if you do as you propose, some of the blame will fall on me but I am not likely to take a decision of who lives and who dies. As to taking a life away, that is your decision. I agree that when I slept with Liz I crossed the line that is set for decent behavior and family but it was a mistake that millions of people make and no one dies over it. I should not have a moment's peace from this day just knowing that my actions turned a decent man like you into a monster but I will not decide who lives and who dies. You will give us a trial, will you not? Will you not hear what we have to say?"
"Certainly. With the greatest displeasure," spoke Steve, looking at Mark and Liz with the most hateful look that you could imagine. "I shall listen as long as you speak. But"--here the doctor toyed with the gun in his hand, "you cannot appeal to my better nature because I have decided that I will kill either your wife or mine before the night is through."
"But why," said Sandy, sitting to the left of Mark, evidently still coming to terms with her husband's infidelity and the Sophie's choice laid in front of the gathering. "I have done no wrong, yet I find myself in a game of Russian roulette where my philandering husband decides if I get shot or the live bed-warmer that he was using." questioning the doctor's doctrine. "What about my children? If I die they will suffer too."
"Hmm!" said Dr. Griffen, toying with the gun in his hand. "That would doubtless be unfortunate but imagine this — Mark tells me to shoot Liz and I hang, while Liz meets her maker. This leaves Amy and Sue to the mercy of the US government. On the other hand if he tells me to shoot you, Amy and Sue have Liz as their natural parent and Peter and Paul have Mark as their natural parent. So, if you think about it pragmatically the only good choice here is for the two innocent parties, you and I, to die."
"Not at all," said Liz, interrupting him hurriedly. "What if no one dies and we all go back to how things were. I promise that I will never be in the same room as mark as long as I shall live. I promise that I will not as much as think about another man. It was just..."
"Do not use the word just." Steve thundered. "I am sick and tired of the word just in relation to this affair. What was it? It was just a blowjob from the same mouth that kisses my daughters in the morning each day? What was it? It was just another man between your legs because I was lacking when it came to sex? What was it? It was just another forbidden thrill that was missing from life since you got married? Say what, this too is JUST an effort of mine to set the balance right." Steve got up and poured himself a glass of water.
"So Mark, you wanted to be heard and to have a fair trial. Speak now. Give me a reason why it was alright for you sleep with my wife and destroy a family that has two young children. While you are at it also give me a reason why you thought taking my wife to bed would not have any consequences? I, last but not the least, would also like to know why I should not just shoot you and the things over with."
Mark sat quietly knowing well that there were no reasonable explanations for any of the questions that Steve had raised.
"Oh! Then you would not like to speak anything in your defence?" Steve paused, "Most decidedly not. I hope now you know why I think this game is played better this way."
"I want you to stand up now and Liz, you too." Steve spoke as he got up and took place in the center of the room. Now, Liz and Sandy were sitting side by side and Mark was sitting facing them.