A woman arrives at the pier to wait for the ferry. A man is already there, waiting.
There is that uncomfortable silence that only occurs between strangers in a small, shared space.
The woman decides to break the silence with small talk.
"How you doin'?"
"Well, that's a complicated question, now."
"What do you mean?"
"Well firstly, there are relevant contexts that would need to be elaborated upon, and I wonder whether we've got time to hear it out. Though of course, you could mean that in an entirely colloquial way, just a polite question that necessitates an equally polite response, like 'I'm fine.' though indeed the case might be quite the opposite. It's a manner of interest and time."
"Well, having said all of that just now, I'd be remiss if I didn't implore you to elaborate. I shouldn't want to be made to be so shallow, should I?"
"I'd imagine not, missus."
"Well do go on, then. How are you really, then?"
"Well I'm a flurry of mostly unchecked emotion, whirling weirdly about the inside of me and succumb to whatever passing fancy they seem to seek out. I am presently engaged in some interests that give me certain optimisms and doubts that inform my general demeanor."
"My, you certainly think hard upon these things, don't you?"
"Easy or hard are not descriptors of meaningful thought, missus. I simply think. I go on thinking all day and night, rounding about to this notion or that, never really slowing down or stopping, only just enough to perhaps share in the process with someone else."
"It must be very tiring."
"It can be, missus."
"Well, what manner of engagements have you that leave you with these doubts and optimisms?"
"Well missus, for one, I've just killed a man - a man who, for a long time, had owed me a great deal of money and left my high and dry and quite seriously frustrated. This went on for months and I recently discovered he intended to leave the country, so of course I had to take direct action. Thankfully, he had prepared accordingly, so all of that which he had to his name was on his person when I found him. Not quite the debt owed, but he made up for the difference with his life, so I feel mostly vindicated."
"Surely you jest! Nobody could speak so candidly and distractedly about murder!"
"If you wish it to be jest, missus, then do as you may. I claim no authority over your interpretations of my sentiments."
"Of course it is jest. I can't imagine why a man would confess murder to a perfect stranger."
"Perfect strangers we might be or not, missus. You see the man I killed was Samuel Barcliff, who I am sure you are intimately familiar with."
"Why, that's my husband. I am Rowena Barcliff. Has Sam put you up to this tomfoolery? He is always making crude jokes, though this is too much, I say. I must have a stern talking-to with him when I arrive home."
"You may do as you like, missus, though I can't imagine the discussion being at all a lively one, if you'll excuse my saying. In any case, I do wish you the best of luck going forward, though for now I must be off."
"Do go on off, you strange man. Bah! Talk of my husband as a debtor! And murder! I daresay, this is quite too much, Sam. You'll have to play the part better in your next little show, good sir!"
"I will do my best, missus. Good 'morrow."
The man exits the pier, leaving the woman alone.
She notices a glint on the vacated seat. Left there are her husband's cufflinks.
Her faces registers the cufflinks, and she stares after the man, now gone.