A Serial in Eight Parts
retribution: deserved punishment for evil done.
Retribution Episode 1
The sun was just setting as I drove up the main street of my home town. Looking at the familiar buildings, I felt the mixed emotions experienced whenever I returned. However, it was spring break and I wanted to see my brother before he left for his new job in the middle east. I’d been driving since early morning and my butt had just about had enough as I parked at the town square. I walked around the little park awhile to ease the stiffness.
The weather was pleasant, and when my body began feel normal again, I decided to buy a paper, have something to eat, and then get a hotel room. I’d see my brother in the morning. That way, I wouldn’t have to bear the awkward feeling that I always got with Jane, Richard’s wife. As if she felt I was imposing. I don’t know why, but we had never got along at all.
The town was quiet, and when I walked into Georgia’s Restaurant it was almost empty—just two tables occupied, one by a couple with two little kids and the other a single man reading a paper with his back to the door. I sat down and read the menu, a waste of time since I always ordered number seven—monotony being the mainstay of my culinary activity. After ordering, I opened my paper to the crossword and was taking a pen out of my pocket when the man at the table spoke.
“Hey Sam. Aren’t you even going to say hi?” The voice was soft and familiar. I turned to see the face of Levi, my old college friend with whom I had spent many hours, walking and climbing the desert mountains when we should have been studying.
“Levi. How the hell are you? You’re looking really good.”
“Thanks. I’m feeling good these days.” There was an awkward pause, the awkwardness on my part, because of what had happened.
A few years before, Levi’s wife and child had been killed by a local drug addict when they had surprised him ripping off their house. Allens, a fixture of the town square park along with the other addicts, had been a perennial juvenile delinquent who had grown up and graduated to more serious crime. He was seen leaving the house and caught in short order. It took over a year to bring him to trial. They convicted him and sent him to prison for life. Life, however, turned out to be fourteen months because an appeals judge had thrown out his confession and a crucial piece of evidence due to a technicality. Allens’ lawyer had failed to file some motion ‘in a timely manner’ thus depriving Allens of his right to a ‘fair trial’.
The state never retried him. They released him from jail and he dropped out of sight.
To be continued
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