a Short Story by Raquel Swann

You undoubtedly brought me here to answer some questions. You probably want me to defend myself. I’ll tell you now, that’s not going to happen in the manner you’re expecting. I don’t even know what has gotten me to this point but I feel that the judgement you have passed on me is inaccurate. Yeah, I said it —inaccurate. I don’t care who you are and what you think you know, but your data is not correct. Let me explain.

I will handle these allegations one at a time if that would be good for you. It started from when I was a child. All my friends had led normal lives. Their daddies took them bowling or to the fucking zoo or something like that— I never went to a fucking zoo. I was given something completely different. My dad used to slap me for being in the room when something made him angry. Something always made him angry. He would drink and drink and drink some more until he was out of his damn mind. I guess you could say that me and my mom kept him sane, to a point. Instead of going out in the world and hurting someone else— he didn’t have to, we took the brunt of that. Who do I have to thank for that? I didn’t have to go to the zoo, my fucking house was the zoo. I used to wake up some nights with him over me, the stench of alcohol on his breath, sometimes he would beat the piss out of me, sometimes — not. We were the animals being mistreated. Where were the people who were supposed to protect us from this? Where were you?

Fast forward to my teenage years. I was so high on drugs trying to forget the past, that I am going to just submit that your information on that is correct. My only salvation from my life and the past was the cocaine, the weed, the pills. I began to shoot up whatever I could get into a syringe and inject it into my veins. As long as I could forget — which I never did.

The human mind should have been created with an erase button. I don’t fucking know, you press in your temple while holding your dick and everything is gone— poof. Don’t you look at me like that. I can see that stupid look in your judgmental faces, that this isn’t going well for me. I beat the shit out of some kid and nearly killed him, but he was a piece of shit. Some jock talking about my mother— the same woman that was getting her ass beat every night by that son of a bitch. So they sent me away. I was separated from my mother who was still getting abused and who knows what else.

I got out of there when I was eighteen and I had no money— no nothing. What did you expect me to do? Get a job at Mcdonald’s? Nah. I robbed that bank at gun point, not just for me, but for my mom. She needed to get out of there as soon as possible. I needed to save her. Even as the cops rolled up, toting guns, waving them in my face— all I could think about was her. She would die while I was in prison. I did drugs and robbed banks to get the fuck out of that house and she died in captivity like a goddamn animal. Oh the word goddamn bothers you? Well goddamn you!

You guys have your fingers on that button. Let me finish before you press it. So, naturally, when I get out of jail there are limited choices. I can either get my life back together or do what needed to done. So I drank myself stupid. I loaded myself up on alcohol and cocaine. I wanted my breath to stink. I wanted that same wretched stench of booze and drugs all over my mouth, when I finally got to say my peace to that son of a bitch. I saw the fear in his eyes, as I tied him to his wheelchair. He was begging for forgiveness. I couldn’t forgive him— but it would seem that you could. That’s the fucking motto around here, isn’t it? Well, I punched him in the face, repeatedly, as he called your name. It was my pleasure delivering pain upon him. I figured he would be the one sitting here— explaining things. Even when I threw him to the floor and pointed my gun at his fucking head, I never realized that I was setting him free. Free to frolic among the fields of green, dance about the clouds, reunite with the one person that he never seemed to care about. And I’m the bad guy?

I get sent to prison again for murder. My heart was fueled with hatred from all the shit that you gave me. He deserved to die— yet he gets paradise? Your standards seem a bit flawed, don’t you think? Some clown shanks me in prison, because I wouldn’t let him rape me. He stabbed me right in the fucking neck. I vowed that no one would ever touch me again for as long as I walked on that rock down there. So. What’s it going to be? That motherfucker is dancing among the stars and I am here explaining myself. I am not sorry. I am definitely not sorry. You should be sorry. Go ahead— press that button and send me home. I’ll dance among the flames in caverns made of stone, before I share anything with that bastard. I will burn in the eternal fire and accept my punishment. So what’s the verdict?

They must have pressed the button. I am suspended in some kind of liquid. There is a tiny white light ahead. I can barley see it. The liquid rushes out quickly and I slowly move towards the light. This is a far worse punishment than I  could have ever expected. Going back to that place is worse than hell! 

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