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"Don't be too hasty John." she pleaded standing behind me.
How can he just stand there and be so happy I thought. He was wearing a dark sports jacket: black as night, and a stained blue shirt. People used to marvel at how handsome he was; that he would go far in anything he put his mind to.
"You don't know what he has done Mary. He... " I could hardly finish the sentence, it was too painful, "He... he cheated everyone. Soon, the whole town will be broke. The banks will go bankrupt and money will no longer be the same value."
She looked thoughtful for a moment, "Do you know that he did that for sure John? Was it on purpose? Do you know for sure?"
I woke with her question still lingering in my ears. Did I know for sure? Did I? JOHN! Did I know for sure?
The cell was incredibly cold this morning. It must be nearing winter now. I can see the trees, white with hoarfrost and hear the crunch of the snow underneath my boots. Winter had been my favorite season. Not because of Christmas, but because of the fresh blanket of snow that covered everything in sight. It looked white, and pure. Even though underneath all that glistening snow, there was a dirty ground. The snow covered, for the winter season, the dirt from the past year. It gave the world a chance for a new beginning.
"Completely isolated" is what they said. Mumbling under their breath about how insane that I am; that I deserved to be locked away forever. I can still remember the court room. The judge looked so disgusted; so appalled.
My suit, so scratchy and unused, had been borrowed from Mark, my lawyer. He looked friendly, and talked really fast. So fast, in fact, that I could hardly understand what he was saying. Mary had told me that he was the best lawyer in town. Apparently his success rate was very high.
However, when the day came I didn't fight the verdict. I didn't even question it. I knew that I needed to be punished for what I had done. I knew it, Mary knew it, even Mark knew it. Somewhere deep inside of me, I felt that justice had been served by the so called crime that I committed, but I also knew that if I thought logically, I couldn't live in society as I previously did.
I was in isolation until the day appointed. The white washed walls, the metal bed frame, the metal desk and the black folding chair were my only company in this horrific place. Well, that is not entirely true. I did have my never-ending thoughts to keep me company.
They never told me how he was. I still do not know if he survived or not. The last time I talked to him was on that night. The night when everything changed.
"And then I said to the senator, Mr. Senator Sir, you might want to sit down now!" The small group that he was talking to all laughed appreciatively. The evening was a success by almost anyone's standards. It was a fundraiser dinner. The lights were now dimmed to bring in a welcoming atmosphere. All the guest's stomachs were full and happy; their conversation light and frothy like the icing on the cake from earlier that evening.
I had been lingering on the sidelines of their group. He stood out in the crowd like a red-head in China. In all actuality, he was a head taller than about every person who was standing around him. Tall, dark and handsome: he was the billboard for success.
It was almost time. Soon the guests would go into the meeting room and he would inspire them all for the blind fools that they are. His voice would drip with enthusiasm and slowly poison all their innocent minds with his lies. It was all lies.
I couldn't let that happen. John, do you know for sure? Mary was busy talking to another lady about an expensive painting that they had both seen. She really looked exquisite tonight; all fancy like in her blue evening gown and black pumps. Noticing me looking at her, she smiled. For some reason, that smile made me think twice. John, do you know for sure?
It was all ready now. He had just told the guests to make their way into the meeting room. It would be ten minutes until he started his speech. Ten minutes for me to do what I came here to do in the first place.
It was midnight when the lock clicked open. Slipping into my cell, quiet as a mouse. I would hardly notice that he was there if I couldn't smell. He smelt rich. Like new clothes, new shoes, and the faint smell of bleach.
Laying as still as I could manage, I waited. Why isn't he moving? He is here for one purpose, that I know. But why was he waiting there, silently, lurking in the darkness; waiting to pounce. Feeling paralyzed, I waited. It was taking an agonizingly painful time for him to come over to the long, hard bed that I now occupied.
It could have been minutes, or hours that he stood there watching me sleep; I do not know. But at long last I detected movement. I could not open my eyes and compromise him, but even if I wanted to, it was much too dark. Well, much too dark to be sure.
The moment that the cool metal of the blade touched my skin, I wasn't quite comprehending all that was happening. They say when you die, your life flashes before your eyes. Your whole life.
I saw him before he saw me, or maybe he saw me earlier but didn't acknowledge my presence. Either way, I was nervous. Hopelessly unsure of my actions. My legs felt foreign to me, and it took all that I had to walk in a straight line up to him. He was standing by the door to the meeting room waiting to go inside.
I have no idea what I expected him to look like before his speech. Nervous? No, that wasn't like him. Maybe I just wanted to know that he wasn't as perfect as he seemed, but his calmness caught me inevitably off guard.
"Hello John. I have been expecting you. " He didn't even look at me when he was talking to me; just staring at the wall.
I just stood there. Didn't even say a word. After all that I had thought about saying to him, when the time came, I didn't say it. He was too calm. Much too calm for someone who's reputation could be ruined instantaneously.
"Well?" his voice sounded impatient. I could feel my insides churning with anger towards him. "What do you have to say to me John? I am a busy man, I cannot wait all day."
"I know you are a busy man, I can change that for you if you like. " my voice sounded foreign to my own ears. What was going on with me? I should have been able to yell, to scream at him for everything that he did, and was still doing, but I could not get all the words out.
"I quite like my life as it is, thanks." He was still looking at the wall.
I could not take it any longer, "LOOK AT ME!" I shouted.
Slowly, ever so slowly, he turned. His eyes, black as coal, bore into mine. I felt my body start to squirm under his penetrating gaze. No John, stay strong, I thought.
"You think that you are so high above me, on a pedestal, but you are not. You are just a lying cheat! Not even fit to be in the position that you are! I cannot believe that you would be so heartless to not even care how many people that you destroy. And now, you are going to go and poison all those lovely people's minds!" My mind was racing; the words just tumbling out, "You should not be able to just... to just... just sell people like they are animals. It isn't right, and will never, ever be right."
His eyebrows furrowed at this comment, and he looked like he was sorting his thoughts. He replied cautiously, "John, I do not know what you are talking about. I haven't cheated anybody, and I would never sell people. Where on earth did you get that idea from? Maybe your work schedule is too hectic, maybe you need a break; to relax."
"I do not need any time off!" I growled, "I have proof. "
He didn't even flinch.
"I saw you with him, you cannot lie to me. I took a picture. You cannot participate in that madness and think that you will get away with it. Slavery is wrong; its horrific!" My knuckles were white.
"Slavery? John, I do not participate in slavery. It is dead in America. Who did you see me with? You can't prove anything with a picture. Let's think rationally now." He sounded like he was trying to soothe me. This was going wrong, horribly wrong.
I felt my anger boiling inside of me. "You are lying to me!" I shouted. What happened next I do not regret, not even in the least. The sound of the cracking bone as my fist connected with his face was entirely satisfying. Then I just let myself go, pounding and pounding on him; I didn't want to quit. He didn't try and fight back; just stood there and took it.
Are you sure John? Are you sure? Yes, I was so sure in that moment, that no one could have convinced me that me seeing him with Daniel Barnes, the corrupt politician who was busted for the slave trade, talking in a corner was an accident. They were not just friends; they couldn't be. Why would he want to be friends with him anyways? It's just wrong; simple as that.
Someone had seen. They ran over, and pulled me off of him. It was such a blur, I could hardly see where I was going. All I do know is that I didn't fight it; not when the security threw me around, not when people rushed out of the meeting room and gawked at me, not even when the police drove me to the station. I didn't fight it once.
Just like now, I didn't fight it. Feeling the blade on my skin, I knew what was coming. He was mad, I noticed that much when they were taking me away. His face was screwed up in pain, but his eyes, his deep, black eyes, were shooting daggers at me.
Somewhere inside of me I guess, I always knew that this would be the end for me. That he would get his revenge. People in power always get the happy endings. One thing that I knew for sure, was that he was guilty. Both of us were guilty for the crimes that we were accused of. Me for assaulting him and threatening him, and he for participating in the slave trade. It is not dead in America, it is alive and well in the shadows; in the dark corners where no one looks, or avoids. I never knew what happened to him; if he was found out for what he did.
They told me that I was crazy: when they locked me up. The isolation gave me a chance to think. A chance to ponder why I did not control my actions and why I had decided that for once, he should be the one who was punished. I guess that it was because of justice. The word justice is a joke to me now. There is no way that there is justice left in the world because of the screwed up morals of people. Truth is not valued anymore. It should be, and needs to be, but isn't. It's sad, but people don't want to hurt; they don't want to feel pain. Truth, reality and justice hurt but there are some things that are worth a little pain. Like justice.