Feeling human


††††††††††† Three days in a hold tank was all the jail I wanted for a life time.

††††††††††† So when they finally let me out, I decided to go straight.

††††††††††† Not that crimes I got charged for amounted to much when you consider the collection of losers that shared the cell with me during those three days.

††††††††††† But I knew I had done much worse.

††††††††††† But I also knew I had one thing to do before I called it quits.

††††††††††† When people talk about getting away with murder, they arenít thinking of people like OJ or me.

††††††††††† They mean little things: like running red lights or cheating on your taxes.

††††††††††† Thatís not the stuff they put you on death row for when the cops find out.

††††††††††† I learned about killing people growing up, though I didnít hurt anybody bad until I was a teenager.

††††††††††† I watched and learned from the older kids, the ones that had something hot inside of them that they could only let out by causing pain.

††††††††††† That wasnít me.

††††††††††† I was always cool inside Ė even when I finally hurt some one for real.

††††††††††† A lot of kids admired me for it, saying I had solid nerves they lacked. If I stuck someone in the chest with a knife, my hand never wavered. If I shot someone in the face, I didnít flinch.

††††††††††† I was real popular for a while.

††††††††††† Maybe they thought I was just like them, that I was quivering with rage inside when I did these things.

††††††††††† They didnít catch on until later how I didnít feel anything at all.

††††††††††† The blood didnít matter because it wasnít my blood. The life fading from a dying personís eyes didnít bother me because I was still alive.

††††††††††† Thatís when people really began to get scared. They didnít admire me any more. They feared me. They didnít cluster around me the way they once did, they avoided me, running away whenever they saw me on the street.

††††††††††† Even the hotheads didnít mess with me.

††††††††††† They might have wanted to see what I was all about, but they came from a raging place and didnít understand what it was that drove me. I didnít get angry when some of these wise guys gave me guff, each trying to see if they could set me off. I just looked at them and told them if they wanted to live they ought to stop.

††††††††††† If they stopped, I let them live. If they didnít, they stopped bothering me the moment their heart stopped beating.

††††††††††† These tough people paid me money to do what they didnít have the guts to do, kill wives, husbands, business rivals, and such.

††††††††††† I made a good living, although none of my customers ever used me twice, and none ever said thanks.

††††††††††† They just paid and forgot about me, knowing the police would seek me out not them, and that if I ever got caught, I wouldnít be giving them up.

††††††††††† Later, I learned I could get more out of them even when they didnít need me to kill anyone, but telling them I would talk unless they gave me more.

††††††††††† They always did.

††††††††††† Someone must have known about me, but no cop ever arrested me except for this last time over something stupid Ė a ticket I didnít pay that eventually took my license, and an arrogant cop who decided he needed someone to pick on that day because he had a fight with his captain or his wife.

††††††††††† I didnít give him a hard time. But he Ė like those hot head wise guys Ė needed to see how far he could push me before I lost my cool.

††††††††††† He pushed hard. I never gave in.

††††††††††† This pissed him off all the more. So he arrested me anyway.

††††††††††† Then I spent three days in a holding tank with people half as dangerous as I was, all of them looking to push me in the same way, though after a while someone recognized me and that guff stopped.

††††††††††† But I kept thinking about that cop.

††††††††††† Something Ė for the first time in my life Ė stirred in my chest.

††††††††††† Call it rage. Call it love. Call it finally being human.

††††††††††† But I knew when I got out I had one more job to do.

††††††††††† So maybe it was a bad idea hiring myself to get even. Maybe thatís why when the time came the surge in my head blinded me and made me go after that cop in a way I would have never done for anybody else.

††††††††††† And maybe thatís why Iím here waiting for someone to stick a needle in my arm for killing a cop.

††††††††††† Maybe itís because I finally felt human.



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