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A Criminal with a Heart of Gold
“Clink.” The sound of the metal slamming on his Alcatraz cell door startled Stephen Olsen. He rubbed his swollen black eye and tried his best to sweep back his dark hair, like Elvis Presley, with the water from the faucet in his cell. He was back from dinner in the mess hall and he already was a punching bag. It was not a good sign that by this time he had fought with his roommate, because it was only his first day at the prison. Stephen didn’t want to be hit again. So since it seemed he would be hurt, or worse killed, in only one week of his imprisonment, he had no choice but to play nice.
“So what are you in here for?” Stephen asked his cellmate Tony, although he couldn’t really care less.
“Bank robbery, how about you?” Tony replied halfheartedly.
“Murder,” said Stephen with his Italian-American accent.
“Oh. How many people?” asked Tony pretending he had no interest, when in fact he was just starting to respect Stephen.
“Oh. Wow, how come? Are you a serial killer, a mobster?” inquired Tony, now a little worried about his own wellbeing.
“Nah,” Stephen laughed, “It’s my brother, he has bad kidneys. He needs a transplant or he’ll die. I’ve been killing everyone on the waiting list for a transplant to secure a kidney for my brother. But I was caught before I could finish.”
“I'm sorry. How long does he have?” asked Tony.
“Just months at the most,” Stephen answered.
“You need to get out of here and finish what you started,” said Tony, “I’ll help you. I’ve heard stories of prisoners’ escape attempts. I’ve already started planning my escape. You want in?”
“Yeah, absolutely,” Stephen agreed.
The day before the escape Tony caught an ocean sunfish. Because his girlfriend was a nurse, Stephen knew that Tetrodotoxin was found in the ocean sunfish and could allow someone to seem dead. On August 15th 1958, Tony and Stephen began their escape.
“How are you going to inject yourself?” Stephen asked Tony on the morning of August 15th.
“I’m not,” answered Tony, “It would be way to suspicious if we both seemed dead. I can always escape later; you need to get out now to save your brother.”
“Thanks,” said Stephen, “That means a lot.”
“I hope you brother knows how much you care about him,” Tony added.
“He probably doesn’t,” responded Stephen, “We haven’t exactly always been on good terms. We haven’t seen each other in over ten years.”
“You should change that,” said Tony, “Maybe you could even offer your kidney to him.”
“That’s a really good idea,” Stephen replied, “Thanks for everything, Tony.”
Then Tony injected Stephen with the Tetrodotoxin and just minutes later Stephen was airlifted via helicopter off of the island. He was brought to a hospital in San Francisco to see if he could be revived. But when he was sure no one was looking, Stephen sneaked away out of the hospital.
Stephen then caught a cable car down to his brother’s apartment and knocked on the wooden door. Stephen’s brother, James and a spitting image of Stephen opened the door. When James saw Stephen he began to slam the door shut, but because of James’s frail, weak body and Stephen’s strength from years of baseball, Stephen pried it back open and dashed into the cramped apartment.
“What do you want?” said James monotonously, clearly not welcoming Stephen’s company.
“It’s about your kidney failure,” said Stephen, “I think I can help. We just need to get tested to be sure I'm a match-?
“You’re unbelievable,” muttered James, “It’s been over ten years and now when I’m practically on my death bed you have the audacity to show up here! Where were you when we buried Mom and Dad, huh? Where were you for my wedding? Stephen, you can’t just walk in here like nothing happened!”
“I’m sorry, James,” apologized Stephen, “I really am. That was a rough part of my life, but I’m back now. You have to know I really do care about you; you’re my brother, James.”
“Yeah right, I know how much you care,” said James sarcastically, “Don’t think I don’t know what you’ve been doing. I'm not oblivious to the fact that you’ve been running around killing people. I’d rather die than have part of a killer in my body.” Then James stormed out of the apartment, leaving Stephen who was using all his strength to fight back tears.
Then Stephen took a cable car to the hospital. He found a girlfriend Janet, who conveniently was a nurse at the hospital.
“Stephen!” squealed Janet with her Bronx accent as her curls bounced when she ran into his arms, “You’re back!”
“Yeah,” murmured Stephen, “But keep quiet about it because I'm supposed to be in Alcatraz right now. Can I see the list of the people who need kidneys again?”
“Sure,” replied Janet, his partner in crime.
Stephen looked at the paper and was very surprised to see that James was first on the list.
“But don’t get your hopes up,” said Janet after seeing Stephen’s ecstatic expression, “It could be weeks ‘til a kidney donor dies and James has only days.”
“Can you get me tested to see if I can give James my kidney?” questioned Stephen.
“Look at that,” said Janet after the examination and Stephen had informed her of all the excitement of the day, “You two are a match. Too bad he won’t allow you to give it to him…”
“Wait, Janet, would James know who his organ donor is if the donor is deceased?”
“Not necessarily, why?” asked Janet.
“Uhh, no reason, how quickly do you think you get me an organ donor card with a fake name?” Stephen requested.
“I'm sure I could pull a few strings,” said Janet, “Besides, it is my break right now.”
A few hours later, Janet arrived back to the hospital with Stephen’s new organ donor card in hand.
“Now you better be grateful, because it took a lot of negotiating to get this,” said Janet as she looked at the card, “According to this you’re Henry Winters.”
“Perfect,” whispered Stephen as he put the card in his pocket, “Will you do me a favor and in ten minutes go outside and when my brother comes in tell him that I left the country?”
“Um, sure,” said Janet slightly confused, for she wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, “Why? Stephen, what’s going on?”
“You’ll get it later,” said Stephen, “Love you.”
“Wow, Stephen, you’re a criminal with a heart of gold,” whispered Janet to herself as Stephen headed outside.
Stephen walked out side of the hospital and took a revolver out of his pocket. He had swiped it from a cop when Janet was out getting him an organ donor card. Then lifted the revolver to his head and pulled the trigger.