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They Perch On Their Stilts, Pointing and Daring Me to Break Custom
The cold metal felt out of place in my sweaty, shaky grip. I could almost feel the gun pulsating; pulsating with anticipation of its vastly important role in the end of my demise, and the start of a new life. This little, shiny, black hunk of metal was my ticket out of this plunging roller-coaster of a life. My knuckles go white, as I squeeze the bumpy handle tighter to help steady my nervous hands. Heart pounding, mind racing, knees shaking, I push the glass door, and before I can allow myself the time to reconsider, I thrust my finger down on the trigger, ready for long-overdue redemption.
(CALL LOG 4/23/04 7:34:03)
SEAN STEVENS: HELLO?
DEREK PATTON: HIYA SEAN, I’M UMM CALLING ON BEHALF OF THE VP…UM…I REALLY HATE TO DO THIS TO YOU. SEAN, IT’S JUST…ALRIGHT, I’M JUST GONNA BE BLUNT AND PUT THIS OUT THERE. YOUR JOB IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR YOU AT THIS COMPANY.
PATTON: I KNOW, MAN. I KNOW. DON’T KILL THE MESSENGER.
STEVENS: WHAT, PRAY TELL, IS THE CAUSE FOR MY DISMISSAL!?!
PATTON: I KNOW, TRUST ME MAN, I KNOW. IT’S NOT MY CALL, BUT I AGREE COMPLETELY WITH YOU BUDDY. THEY HAD NO REASON…
STEVENS: I HAVEN’T DONE A DAMN THING WRONG AT MY JOB FOR THE LAST FIFTEEN YEARS!!!
PATTON: I GUESS IT JUST COMES DOWN TO WHAT THE BIG GUYS UPSTAIRS ARE THINKING. THEY VIEWED YOUR JOB AS DISPOSABLE AND YOU GOT THE FOUL END OF IT. I’M SORRY, SEAN.
STEVENS: WHATEVER, I KNOW IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
PATTON: ALRIGHT, WELL YOU HAVE MY INFORMATION, SO…JUST KEEP IN TOUCH. IT’LL GET BETTER SEAN. I PROMISE IT WILL.
STEVENS: I DUNNO AT THIS POINT, I JUST DUNNO.
PATTON: ALRIGHT, I WISH YOU THE BEST. TALK TO YA LATER.
(END LOG 4/23/04 7:42:12)
I hung up the phone, not moving from my big leather chair. Slowly, the realization of the devastating phone call I just received washed over me. I was unemployed and broke. Being unemployed is at the top of the “List of the Worst Things That Can Happen To a Single Father Living Paycheck To Paycheck.” I had to get out there and get a job before the lapse affected my daughters and me.
1387 Pennsylvania Avenue
Chicago, IL 43421
February 17, 2007
Sean Stevens, Average U.S. Citizen
413 West Street
Suburbia, IL 73185
Dear Mr. Sean Stevens:
It has recently come to out attention that you have failed to stay up to date on your house payments for almost six payments now. Now according to Illinois state law, that puts you over the legal state limit.
I’m gravely sorry to inform you that your house and vehicle will be repossessed by the State of Illinois, for numerous missed payments, and a total still due on the house that exceeds $300,000. You must vacate the premise within 30 days of this notice. Please be cooperative or your local law enforcement will be contacted to escort you off the premises.
Again, I am very sorry for your losses and wish the best of luck in procuring a new home. If you have any further questions regarding this topic, you may contact the State Treasury’s Office at 518-723-3340, Monday thru Saturday, 7:00a.m.-8:00p.m.
Jonathon Myers, State Treasury’s Office Representative
“The world around me is collapsing as I know it. I’ve lost every single important or supposedly important thing in my life, save my two daughters.” I paced around my soon-to-be-not-mine house, thinking aloud, trying to figure out my next plan of action. I was getting desperate. Getting a job would be the most obvious solution, but I’ve been turned down more times than I can count. I stop pacing then sit down on the cold barren floor. “I can’t handle rejection again. I just can’t. Hell, I would probably go as far as to rob a bank.” Again, I caught myself talking to no one. My face smirked and I would probably have appeared to be semi-mad, but my thoughts on the last possible straw seemed less and less crazy with each passing second.
“Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded—with what foresight, with what dissimulation, I went to work.”
The cold metal felt out of place in my sweaty, shaky grip. I could almost feel the gun pulsating; pulsating with anticipation of its vastly important role in the end of my demise, and the start of a new life. This little, shiny, black hunk of metal was my ticket out of this plunging rollercoaster of a life. My knuckles go white, as I squeeze the bumpy handle tighter to help steady my nervous hands. Heart pounding, mind racing, knees shaking, I push the glass door, and before I can allow myself the time to reconsider, I thrust my finger down on the trigger, ready for long-overdue redemption.
The gun rang loud, and
I lost my thoughts in the shrills
Of Fear that escaped.
I couldn’t piece a thought together. All the plans I had made and all the mental run-throughs I had imagined seemed irrelevant, childish and naïve in this real time situation. I wasn’t staying true to my morals, and I wasn’t being thoughtful about my actions. I was frightened by a scream somewhere behind me and I turned and shot without thinking about it. I could tell the brunette woman had been beautiful, as I watched her body arc away from the trail of the bullet in a wonderfully tragic sort of way. I was instantly reminded of a broken ballet figurine. I collapsed to the floor with a cry, overcome with remorse for my actions and the lives I had taken. My eyes lay upon a sign I had knocked over as I fell to the ground.
“Due to new security laws, we have emplaced a new security camera system. Thank you for you cooperation with us while we undergo this maintenance, and we would like to remind you that it is for your safety. Thank you for your patience.”
Chicago National Bank & Trust
I jumped to my feet, terror coursing through my veins like lightening. How could I have overlooked this one crucial piece of the puzzle! I had forgotten about the security camera. I was done for. I grabbed the little money I had acquired, and I ran for the door, accidentally tripping over a man’s foot as I went. I sprawled onto the cold tile floor, my bag and gun went skidding off in two separate directions. I debated lying there until the police came, but my little girls’ faces popped into my mind. I jumped up, and ran for the door with what little strength I had left.
Chicago, IL – Sirens and shrieks violently awoke the windy city this morning. It was announced just hours ago, that Chicago National has been the site of one of the largest, and deadliest bank robberies ever. There have been 34 people reported dead, and dozens more wounded. There is no word yet on who the shooter may be, or whether he or she will even be caught at all. Our hearts are with the families of the lost, and our prayers are with the injured.
I opened the door to our new apartment, pulling the little pink eviction notice off the door as I went. I saw a glimpse of dirty blonde hair as my daughters jumped into my arms before I had even completely crossed the threshold.
“Hey baby girls! How are my two favorite princesses doing today?” I smiled at them, glad that I was here with them, and scared at the same time for what I’d done. I was terrified that I would be taken from these last few pieces of happiness. I closed the door and went about the normal morning routine.
A harsh rap at the door broke the morning calm. Fear struck me in a way I had never before experienced as I back the curtains, revealing three police men milling about on my front porch. I pulled back the latch and opened the door, ready to deny anything thrown at me.
It appears to me, that there is and always will be more than one side to every story and every event. For example, take the recent catastrophic events that occurred at Chicago National. Take into consideration how many events and how many different perspectives each of those events would have been witnessed from; the tellers, the police, the hostages, the injured, their families, and above all, from the perspective of the shooter. Many psychologists have bombarded the city trying to help the disheveled, and piece together the inner workings on the shooter.
Personally, I have been caught up in what was going through the shooter’s mind to commit such atrocities. Think, hypothetically, what could drive you to risk it all, rob a bank, and ultimately take the lives of complete strangers? I urge you to see reason when you judge the shooter without greatly reviewing his recent past. Within a month, he lost his job, his home, and his car. Would you be willing to bypass normal moral standards in order to shelter and feed your children? Just, please, think before you automatically condemn.
Written by John Strokes, Chief Editor of the Chicago Times
May 5, 2003.
I sit in my four by ten, awaiting my hearing, dreadfully missing my girls. I’m cold, hungry, and terrified of what I’ll say to keep myself from crashing down in the hearing. I’m nervous. My city-appointed defender will just not be able to keep me out of here for life. But the more and more time I have to think about that morning the more and more I have to believe I belong here. My attorney said to plead not guilty tomorrow and that it’ll help reduce my sentence. He’s even written response cards for me so that I don’t get ahead of myself and mess up. I’ll try my best. Wish me luck!
Hearing Room Transcript Case #128472
The Hearing of Sean Stevens Vs the State Of Illinois
Prosecutor Joan Beck: I call the accused, Sean Stevens to the stand.
Beck: Mr. Stevens, you have pleaded not guilty to the aggravated robbery and the twenty counts of first degree murder. Is that true?
Stevens: I feel what I’ve done is not a crime. If you think about it, what did I do? I pulled a little piece of metal, asked some people to rest on the floor for a while, and took some papers that probably should’ve belonged to me in the first place. I think it is illogical, and irresponsible to punish me when, logically, I did nothing wrong.
Beck: So you think that you killing people and not getting punished for it is illogical?
Stevens: Actually? Yes I do. I did not kill anyone. The little pieces of metal exploding from the gun did the actual killing. I did not.
Honorary Judge Frank Turpine: It is time for the jury to deliberate.
Jury Spokesperson: We have come to our decision after many hours of arguing, debating, and reviewing the facts. We, the jury, find the defendant guilty on all counts. He has been condemned to die by lethal injection.
(Cell door clinks open and Guard 1 and Guard 2 walk in)
Guard 1: Rise (speaking to Sean)
Guard 2: (Moves about cell as if looking for something) Cell all clear! (Yells down hall) (Guard 1 place handcuffs on Sean and then sits down beside him on the bed, in rolls a tray with a dinner spread on top. Man that rolled tray in exits the way he came in)
Guard 1: We prepared the food you requested as your last meal Mr. Stevens. Would you like us to locate a preacher to pray with you before you take your final steps?
Sean: (Looks up from untouched food) I’ve never been much of a religious man, so thank you, but that will not be necessary. (Said happily)
Guard 2: Are you ready, sir?
Sean: I am. You know, I pictured the end as a child and this wasn’t it even remotely. (Sean stands and Guard 1 takes handcuffs off, smiling sadly at Sean)
Guard 2: It is time Mr. Stevens. May we walk?
Sean: Yes, by god, we may. (He stands as tears silently fall down his face)
(Light fades out as Sean walks down hall with a guard on both sides of him)
Sean: By god, we may.
Credit must be given where credit is due, and I have borrowed a few things that are not mine originally and I must credit those who were intelligent enough to come up with it on their own.
The title was taken from the name of a Saosin song, off of their self-titled EP.
The section taken from Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart was taken from the original printed version found on Literature.org.