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Getting Back

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The doors closed behind him, this time he was on the outside. Dressed in an outdated suit, Sean left his home of the past twenty-five years behind him. The guards knew him by name and wished him good luck in all his future endeavors. But all he could think was what kind of future he had left. He forced himself to smile. He had what every crook in there wanted, freedom, a second chance at the world. Yet he ventured into it alone.
He walked around the prison, enamored by how big his world felt on the inside, but what a tiny piece of it he was really experiencing. It was a different perspective on the outside; he tried to see it as the cage society intended it to be. He wanted to appreciate the opportunity he was given. The prison shuttle waited as Sean said his final goodbye; he was a well-respected man. The shuttle dropped him off in town, the driver saying goodbye with a little salute, before departing and formally commencing Sean’s new life. He clutched a ripped piece of the driver’s sandwich paper, the address of a halfway house scribbled on it. He wandered for a bit, amazed by the speed of society in modern day and age; everyone seemed to be in a rush. Car horns echoed through Sean’s mind as he tried to accept this new world he was living in. Finally he abandoned exploration for the day and made his way towards the halfway house.
A soft eyed Korean woman showed him to his room. It was modest, a bed a few chairs and a dresser. Yet to Sean it felt like a castle, easily three times the size of his cell. Yet his first night was sleepless. He missed the silence following the loud clack of all the prison’s lights shutting a once. Sirens and music from a bar across the street intruded into his room and thoughts. His life was open, gone were the structured days, organized to the minute. The freedom is what scared him the most. The house quickly found him work bagging groceries at the local supermarket. For a moment Sean was happy, some organization returned to his day. Sean struggled. Everyone was in such haste. There was no talking, no joking. He missed the raunchy humor of the guys back at prison, the screams of the guards to shut up and work harder. All he had was a small pat on the back from the manager and a whisper, “If you can’t bag faster I’m going to have to fire you.” It was these words that rattled around Sean’s head. In prison punishments were weeks in solitary, physical abuse, or more work. He had never had the option for less work as a punishment. The world felt backwards to him.
Sean convinced himself he needed to return to prison, he needed his men, the guards, the organization. Sean found a local store and bought a gun, his hands quivering as the mustached attendant handed over the firearm. He had not touched one since the last time he was jailed. Older now he felt silly as he approached the liquor store, he did not need the money. A slight rush of regret ran through Sean’s head as he opened the plane glass door, a bell ringing above him. He pulled the weapon from his side and demanded the cash in the register, terrifying the young cashier who opened the register pushing a silent alarm button beside it, “Please you don’t have to do this,” he pleaded. Sean knew an armed robbery charge would not be nearly long enough; he pointed the gun at the quivering cashier and cocked it, “I’m sorry,” Sean said, closing his eyes, a lone tear streamed down his cheek. The sirens blared in the distance; he pulled the trigger.



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