This story is by Josiah Mitchell and was part of our 2018 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Probably my last entry as I sit at this sticky desk in my prison.
I will not say what has happened, other than they busted me—at least, this is the attitude I must adopt. Maintaining this pretension until it is all over may get me through these next couple of hours without immediate termination. At least this is my belief. I plead the fifth.
They caught me, as I have stated before. I have been living a crime life since I was six: if anyone had mastered his trade, it was I.
But now, the realization and comprehension of this feat—that they could snatch me—is absolutely tantalizing. I deemed myself cunning, agile, wise as the owl, yet with the outward innocence of a child. My feet never touched the ground without my knowledge and forethought. Like the stealthy Native American, I stalked each target. If one were to consider the intense detail in which I forced myself to follow: the astute pattern and correction which I applied, it is unthinkable how my delinquency was exposed. It is all stupid, if you will excuse my language.
Apologies. I did not mean to go on a rant.
Damien Darhk: subtle, inscrutable, and extremely well-connected! I scoff at his picture lying on my desk (I am a fan of the imagined criminals’, especially those older minds than mine have created). As for friends—ha! I have more friends than Greenwich Village, New York has karate schools (A fan of Bill Cosby, this is from his bit called ‘karate’). Every day I look at the Terminator and smile. I have earned that name better than he over my crime ridden years.
Of course, you still fall in line with all of those who believe in justice. But you must understand my precarious position: how unnaturally beautiful my crime was. If you had even thought of doing what I have done, even mentioned it to your mother, she would turn you over to the authorities, who would then place you under constant surveillance until you died. Or so that is the rumor that has passed through my ears. I do not want to grow—the handsome gentleman I will be—walking through the grocer under watch of as many cameras as you can imagine, as if I were still a baby and had to be watched so I would not wander off. Not even allowed to choose the type of clothes I wear, or what haircut, lest it be to thought provoking of my crime.
Any ways. You may be wondering what it is that I have done. If you don’t know already, too bad. Swearing in court won’t get the truth out of me, no matter what happens. But I can tell you what will happen to my poor person.
I will be subjected to extreme ‘disciplining’ as it has been called by the authorities. I can only describe the evil tool with disdain, so pay attention all you crooked, evil, heartless people who use this object of death. It is nearly one of my arm lengths long. It has a handle, thin and made of wood, until it reaches the last four inches. The wood then tapers outwards into an oval shape. The oval bulges slightly on the back, and dips inward on the front. All in all, it is a terrible sight to see in the hand of the authorities: if I were president of this country I would immediately illegalize these objects, however long it procured my time. Many have suffered by them, at least many of my friends have. Yes sir. I have seen many of my crime-ridden kin fall to this tool. None come back the same. All are turned. I have told myself many times—encouraged my strength of will you might say—that I will live past the torture, if it ever came to this: that I will make it to the other side, ready to continue back in my ways of crime.
Drat. As I look at my clock now, I gather my time is coming to an end. My life will be over soon. Not once during my crime life did I stop and dwell on the idea that all bad guys come to justice. They do of course, as I have witnessed now, but I believe that this crime was worth committing. The authorities would have you believe otherwise, but I would implore you to see that the crime is harmless.
I hear the garage door at the front of my prison open. Only a few more minutes. I wish it weren’t so hot and stuffy in here. If only I had a bazooka or tank, that way I could obliterate this place and escape.
Thinking over my life now, I feel strongly about my lack of an apprentice. If only I had invested in someone. If I had a brother to teach the ways of a crime lord, one who lasted for as long as I did. Teach him my ways, my mistakes, my genius. Alas my life will pass away, history forever empty without me.
I hear footsteps in the hall. Loud thumps. They belong to heavy boots. Here he comes now. The executioner. The door opens, he walks in, head lowered, weapon in hand. It appears that he is wearing a white undershirt—must have discarded his over-shirt. His khaki pockets are bulging slightly: most likely because of his wallet and keys. I glance into his eyes. I see a flash of hesitation. Maybe I can sway him! No. He shakes his head. My eyes fall to the tool. An involuntary wince comes: I can tell this will hurt. Funny how obvious things become when you are going to die. His dark eyebrows seem to have locked into a permanent scowl now—resignation. If only the news was broken after dinner, he may have been more agreeable. Sad, tonight was cheesy enchiladas. My favorite.
He gestures at me, the deadly tool in his hand. Sighing, I slowly stand from my desk. My head is downcast. Now in front of me I see my bed. Being the only object which I have gazed at since my confinement, I know the sight well. Neat: always. The war face of the Captain America, his shield raised, filling me with hope. I may survive. I place my hands on the bed, my eyes studying the war hero. Iron Man is behind him. Maybe I will live through it all. But, as I dwell on the pain, my fears start coming back. I begin to blame people, for of course, it is not my fault.
As the man kneels to my level I consider mom. Tattled. Predictable. I should have known. Didn’t want to handle it herself. I am to old I guess. Dads always spank harder and with less emotion anyway. I should have made a break for it when I realized my pleading wasn’t getting through to her. But she never really wanted to hear my explanation. Just sent me to prison. I didn’t have time to bolt. I still love her, though. She was forced to by law of the house. Oh well, at least the cookie was worth it all.
I am still sleepy from the mission last night though. My schedule was rough. Waking up at twelve to steal a morsel is tough work for a seven-year-old. There. I guess you know my crime. I stole cookies, unnoticed for a year. I have no shame, only regret at my discovery. It was a good decision; however dismal the ending would be.
When fate showed me a fork in the road I had to decide. The left sign said: “Cookies: pleasure and satisfaction as well as the thrill of a cunning theft.” The other sign said: “No cookies: momentary displeasure, good sleep, and a well defended trust with your parents.” I still remember my gut clenching, it would be painful to leave the cookies alone, then again, if caught, I would face something worse. To a seven-year-old, these decisions define our young lives.
But I can hear you now, you mocker and brutal haters. “What kind of crime is that?” they say. It is one that was very important to ME. At seven, what was it you did? Picked your nose? Played with dolls? While you sat in your room playing with your toes, I contemplated each step; each breath was calculated. For a year I walked unnoticed by the world. Until now.
And here, now, my life of crime and genius comes to an end. No more cookies. I am doomed. I can’t bear to watch Captain’s pained expression as I die: as the first blow falls. Remember me. Good-bye Captain.
Sofia Emory says
I love this story. Sorry, I’m among the mockers and haters that you mentioned. Any mother with sons will understand. Your plot is suspensful to the end, keep me guessing what the crime was. I like your detail descriptions of the tool, the prison, and the parents. Good luck with the contest!