The speaker clenched his hands together and summed up, “...It's all the time. I feel like I should be doing something else, even when I first wake up I'm conscious of the fact (?) that I'm not optimising myself, not making the most of all of my energy. That sparks a crazy guilt, not squeezing enough out of the lemon, holding back, failing to multi task. It manifests itself in funny little ways; making coffee and a snack but supping the coffee and biting into the biscuit before sitting down (to read a book), worst case the biscuit is swallowed before I leave one room and get into another. It's like I've lost sight of everything and at the same time I can see everything and I'm deliberately trying to consume it, there on that spot. A simple target achieved is not enough, I question it's difficultly and it's validity. If there is spare time left then I've miscalculated something, not taken enough on board, not really tried. I don't want any of you to ever feel that same way.”
The speaker then stepped back from the microphone, got some distance between himself and the podium and open up his palms to the audience and slowly raised his arms. A ruffle of applause began and grew and built as his arms lifted. In the auditorium some folks were on their feet, some shouting now, flashes popped like silent machine guns, whistles blew off like stray grenades, more applause, more shouting. The speaker stepped a little further and began to turn away, ready to leave the stage. By now the audience were generating a huge sound that was reverberating around the hall. The evening appeared to have been a success.
The speaker gave a final wave and acknowledgement of the wall of praise and wheeled away to the left ready to depart the stage. In the flash of a strobe a single shot rang out, the sound cut across the din of the crowd as if a bullet had hit each individual, there was a stunned moment. People looked around and then gasped as they caught the big screen image and then translated that with the action of the stage. There was a whirl of blurting activity. People running and reacting, lights turning from stage lights to search lights, buzzing and gnawing into the confusion.
The speaker had been hit. A steady head shot. There was no miss or mistake, no time for reaction or recoil. The man fell where he had stood seconds before, falling like a felled tree and now spread across the stage floor. The big screen suddenly blanked as the security people began their reaction. The audience cried and surged forward. A stock message was broadcast but in the fountain of noise no one heard or reacted, limp and impotent advice that fell into a great chasm of enforced grim silence that was roaring in from the exits. A life was over, the night was over, some other dream was over.
The speaker lay where he fell. A crowd of officials were now around. Police and security personnel were swarming in the aisles, slowly building on their reactive template. The crowd were overcome by the first act were now coming to terms with the presence of a gunman in the theatre. A gunman who could be anywhere, anyone. There was a panic as they laid siege to the exits. The police tried to hold, aware of the haemorrhaging of witnesses, evidence and suspects but it was all happening too fast. And there may be more shooting. The commander quickly chose to evacuate and they threw the doors wide, each body tense against the unseen bullet, the shove, the finger on the shoulder. Heroes and villains blurred into a surge of moving panic like hungry locusts crossing and consuming a field.
The speaker was dead. His assistant was lying across the warm body screaming, she saw his face as he fell, she had been ready with the towel and the water. Another assistant was talking loudly into her ear, she was oblivious in her fresh pain. Now everything had changed. A hi-viz man who appeared to be a doctor was holding the dead head, shaking and shouting but the speaker was gone. Outside the limo engines were still running, the doors unlocked, he was only a few steps away from the safety of the wide open spaces of the outside world. A flurry of microphones cracked the stage cordon, there were fist fights. Questions and anger. The gunman was invisibly gone, nothing, it was too late for a lockdown now. There never had been a plan for this. Frustrated police combed what areas they could, reinforcements arrived, heavy duty detectives and more from the press contingent. A few arrests were made, petty crimes and silly violence, all on the fringes. About forty minutes after the incident, the hall clear, the body photographed and moved a statement was made.
“The Speaker was assassinated here tonight at 2205, it is my sad and unfortunate duty to tell you this. He was killed instantly by a single gunshot. It is believed that the gunman is still somewhere in the area and our officers are actively looking for that person or persons as I speak. I'm sure I speak for all who were here tonight and all devotees of the Speaker when I say that our search for his assailant will be vigorously pursued, a simple target achieved is not enough, I question it's difficultly and it's validity. If there is spare time left then I've miscalculated something, not taken enough on board, not really tried. I don't want any of you to ever feel that same way.” In the flash of a strobe a single shot rang out.