“I was terrified. I frantically looked around. I saw, to my relief, the agent, the man with the blonde hair, who had arrested me. He rushed in, and they brawled. “
PART 1 – JUNE SIXTH
CHAPTER 1 – NEW LAW
June 6, 2015. How long ago is that?
All I know is the inside of my cell.
Solitary confinement. No words imply more pain to me than those. As you can probably decipher, I am in solitary confinement. I often wonder why I remember what it’s called. I don’t remember anything else. And then, just like that, the first domino was blown over by the wind.
A guard opened my cell door.
“No, I’m not letting you go,” he said like he’d rehearsed it. He then tossed a newspaper into my cell. “New law,” he said, “We must supply you with reading material to ‘connect you to the outside world.’ Read it thoroughly. This is what you get.”
I’m too stunned to say that it was ridiculous that I get one newspaper in my whole life. So I let him leave without giving him a piece of my mind. I decided to look at the paper.
The title was in a very confusing font, and I could just barely make it out. “The New York Times,” it read. That name sounded vaguely familiar. Perhaps I had read it before. It was apparently from the day of June 6, 2015.
June 6, 2015. How long ago was that? I made a logical decision. I would read this newspaper all the way through. I started with the front page. A dog, on the street, tied to a pole via his collar. I paid very close attention to this picture. In the background, just barely legible, a street sign read, “Folkshore Road.”
“What were you doing at Folkshore Road, Mr. Giere?”
“Folkshore Road, Tarrytown, New York. What were you doing there?”
“Impossible. I was on vacation.”
“I don’t see a ticket anywhere. Or any evidence supporting that alibi.”
I jolted back into the present. That image of the court is all my memory had. I, of course, was Mr. Raymond Giere. I don’t even remember if I was telling the truth or not. Furthermore, what was I even convicted of? And did I do it? I shook myself from these thoughts, and read the article, which was actually quite fascinating, about dogs being allowed into buildings, and not having to wait outside.
I went to the next picture. It was a picture of a courtroom. I flashed back once again.
I was walking into that courtroom. The trial opened. I came before Your Honor, as they said to call him. I remember being scared. Petrified. Wondering what on Earth was going on.
Once again, I snapped back into reality. This led me to believe that I didn’t commit the crime. Wait. I didn’t commit the crime? I was falsely accused!? I had already made up my mind. I would try to make this right.
“This courtroom sees the defendant, Raymond Giere, who is being charged with-” – I still don’t remember what – “on the 5th day of the 6th month of June, in the Year of Our Lord, 2015.”
I jolted violently back into my cell. I triple-checked. The newspaper was from June 6th. And if the trial happened on June 5, the trial might be in the paper! I scoured the article with the courtroom, but it was about renovations, not the trial, and the most it said about the trial was “A trial was going under way.” I was getting nowhere at near lightspeed.
Think. I told myself. What were you tried for?
I had never been able to think logically in this cell, but I found that with the newspaper, it came back to me. How long have I been here for?
I looked through the newspaper for anything about solitary confinement. I finally found something, to do with a speech given in Scotland, abolishing solitary. Anyways, I looked, and thankfully found a transcript of the speech. It said permanent damage is done to the brain within 15 days of solitary. That doesn’t help much. Eventually I found something, tucked away in my memory. Going into solitary confinement, I saw beautiful new steel, bars. Funny. How something so simple as a few rods of steel stood upright can cause so much mental turmoil.
But when I look at them now, they are rusted over. So I figured that I must have been here for a few years. And I was in prison for much longer than that. I estimated 10-15 years. After all, I can’t remember fresh air, and I certainly can’t remember what anyone looks like. Not even me, or not my face anyway. So my crime was severe enough to be put in jail for 10 years. Either a serious theft or a murder. I don’t imagine I would commit murder, but of course, I still could’ve been accused of it. So that or theft. I kept looking through the newspaper. I looked back to the front page picture. I looked closely at the man walking away. He had dropped a receipt. The receipt’s details were not visible, but it seemed to be under the name ‘R. Giere.’
Hold on, I thought, Wasn’t I falsely accused?
And I thought I was. But maybe not. This proved that I was at Folkshore Road.
Wait, I thought, if the newspaper is from June 6th, and the murder was committed in January, than this doesn’t prove anything. No such luck. The caption happened to be credited to ‘Sean Doctor, Tarrytown, NY, January 8th.’
“We collected this receipt, Mr, Giere, Marked R. Giere, from January 8th, 2015, a restaurant on Folkshore Road, in Tarrytown, NY.”
CHAPTER 2 – HAWAII
I came back once again. I guess that was it. I’m a murderer. I guess I deserve to be here. It’s a painful truth, but a painful truth is better than a warm-hearted lie. Or maybe it isn’t. Me and my lame excuse. Vacationing in Hawaii. How dumb of me. How short-sighted. Vacationing in. . . Hawaii. I was in Hawaii! On that very month! But there was no evidence that I was! So I couldn’t have murdered anyone! I was clean after all! But that’s worse. I don’t deserve it.
It’s so simple! I’ll just go to trial again and. . . no, I can’t. You can’t be tried for the same crime twice. It was hopeless.
I refuse to believe that. I will loophole the law just as it loopholed me. In the event that I get the trial again, somehow, I need at least some evidence. But that receipt kept staring me in the face.
How could that receipt even exist? It’s obviously not mine. My father was Daniel, my daughter Annie, my wife Angela, my brothers Thomas and Robert. Robert! R. Giere! That’s it, I can’t believe whatever lawyer I had would’ve been so stupid to not include that! So the receipt is Robert’s. Does that mean he’s the criminal?
It doesn’t matter, I tell myself, You need more evidence right now.
I was right. I did. But I needed to know what I was tried for. I went back to the picture of the courtroom. There was an outside picture, but on the “turn to” pages of the article, there was an inside picture. What do you know, during my trial. Look, there I am. Suddenly, I knew what I was tried for. It was so obvious.
It must’ve been murder, based on the picture. There was no victim, which there would’ve been if it was thievery. But not if it was a murder.
So, what was the weapon? It was a gun, as I had assumed. Because I hadn’t looked hard enough up until then. There was a piece. Not on the trial, but on the murder itself. There was a picture of evidence. Among them was the receipt, and a gun. Suddenly, a memory hijacked my mind. The gun was a semi-automatic. I know, quite a way to commit murder. Anyways, I now understood why I was convicted.
I was getting a permit for that exact gun. Normally, there’s one permit for guns in general, but this one was so powerful you needed a separate permit. And, as I also remember, I lost the gun in Hawaii. So, between the 3rd and the 24th of January. So it looks just like I left it at the crime scene. Too much evidence against me, despite the fact that I didn’t murder. . . who was even killed? The article says ‘Dominic Pagano.’
CHAPTER 3 – DOMINIC
Dominic Pagano, my nemesis. I apologize if that sounds corny.
There are two types of people that I don’t like. People who are bad people, and people who are faking being good people. But I hate the fakers so much more. And Dominic Pagano was just that. But there are plenty of people like that. Dominic’s major flaw was that he worked for me. So why didn’t I just fire him? Did I desperately need him for something? Who else worked for me? What did I even do?
You may have figured it out. It took me a few minutes of looking through the paper for something I connected with. I was an actor, of course, not a successful one, and Dominic was my agent. And who was that thanks to? Dominic Pagano. He gave me the movies, but of course, all the ones that had no chance. But he was in league with agents of people like DiCaprio, Hill, Brando, and Cage. So I would be an idiot to fire him. Of course, I’ve never seen any of their movies, but the fact that everyone knows their names is a good sign. So of course I couldn’t fire him. What he had against me, I can’t imagine. But I certainly had a reason to kill him.
But, back to the gun. My brother had no such permit, so I suppose that’s why he wasn’t considered for the investigation, and, furthermore, proof he didn’t commit the crime. But, of course, it wasn’t. This was a homemade gun. It looked just like my semi-automatic, but it wasn’t. There’s no cage for the trigger. This was because when building your own gun, the cage is just a waste of metal for something that is not strictly necessary. This was good. I was building up a case. But it was all for nothing if I can’t prove that I was vacationing in Hawaii. The entire case, all of the evidence being even plausible, was based on that proof. And, unfortunately for me, it doesn’t exist.
Two more years went by. I read the paper, cover to cover, over and over again. I found nothing else. But I recited the evidence to myself every hour to keep myself from forgetting. But after those two years, the unthinkable happened.
“Another new law,” the guard said, resentfully, “solitary confinement is a thing of the past. Follow me.”
CHAPTER 4 – SIXTY-FOUR THOUSAND, TWO HUNDRED FORTY
The guard led me to cell 4, in section C. I laughed. The guard looked at me.
“What’s funny, boy?”
“The cell is C4. Like the explosive.”
“Oh,” he said, and had one chuckle.
While I was contemplating this, he closed the door to my cell. I was still amused by the C4 jail cell, when I realized something in horror.
“THE NEWSPAPER!!” I thought to myself.
It was in my old jail cell. I shouted for a guard, and he came.
“Excuse me, sir, but could you get the newspaper from my old cell?”
“Look, now that you’re not in solitary, you have human contact, and the newspaper is not a necessity.”
“Could you please just get the paper?”
“I could get you a different one, if you -”
“It has to be that paper!”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
He came back a while later, newspaper in hand. I collapsed.
“Thank you. Thank you so much.”
I took this opportunity to assess my surroundings; the cell and anything else I could see. The bars were even more rusted than the ones in my old cell. It was depressing. This cell really screamed depression. There was a single cot, with no bedsheet or pillow. There was a white sink and toilet, each with quite a lot of paint chips. Whenever you opened the seat, or turned on the faucet, a creaking sound could be heard. There was an air vent. The ceiling was absolutely revolting. And finally, I looked outside the cell. Repitition, repitition, repitition. Dozens of cells, and hundreds out of view, that looked exactly like mine, each with people inside them. But most, all of them, were sleeping. And the lights were all out. I figured it must be nighttime. Solitary confinement threw me off of my sleep schedule. The next day, at breakfast, I was elated to see people who I could talk to.
“So who’s the current President?” I asked a man, who looked easy enough to talk to.
“Frank Heath. Republican?”
“I see. What are you?”
“Independant. What about you?”
“I don’t even remember. What year is it?”
“You don’t know the year?”
“Not for sure.”
“Ohh. Were you just let out of solitary?”
“I see. Well, it’s 2027.”
“I was right. 12 years.”
“Say, what’s your name?”
“Hey, I watched your trial. You could’ve won if your lawyer had turned on his brain. The receipt.”
“Robert Giere. I know. You believed me?”
“I did. The evidence was indisputably against you, but I believed you.”
“You know, I got a newspaper, and it had the murder case in it.”
“What are the odds?”
“1 in 64,240.”
“So, pretty low.”
“Yeah. What’s your name?”
“Michael Johnson. You know, I have friends in the business.”
“No. If I get to a trial, I’m going to be my own lawyer.”
“Well, they could at least get you a trial.”
“Yeah, I would like that.”
“I’ll place a call.”
And then, we all went back to our cell. We met again at dinner time.
“Raymond, you said you wanted me to get you a trial, right?”
“I placed the call. Even the warden’s cool if it works out. 9:00.”
“Are you serious?”
“I hope you have a case ready. The court wastes no time.”
PART 2 – VERDICTION
CHAPTER 1 – TIKI MASK
I walked through a giant entranceway. If I looked around, I could see a few buildings I recognized. The Capitol Building, the White House, the Washington Monument. My case was in the Supreme Court!
I figured I’m being televised. But I can’t see any cameras. And there they were. The nine judges. Or, justices, I think. There was no lawyer beside me.
“All rise,” said a man from the court, “You’ll have to forgive Mr. Giere here, he may not remember the court etiquette, and may come across as rude, but I assure you -”
“Thank you, Mr. Ivanovin,” the man in the large chair, presumably the Supreme Justice said, “I wish to waste no time. The court is now in session. Mr. Giere, I understand you are acting as your own lawyer?”
“Correct,” I reply, respectfully.
“Alright then,” he said, eager to continue.
A lawyer, probably the prosecutor, stepped forward.
The trial went on. He presented his evidence, I presented mine.
“Chief Justice Lasser, may I say that his entire case rests upon the fact that he was in Hawaii, yet he has presented no evidence of this?” The prosecution lawyer points out.
I feel around in my pocket. This suit was from my old house, which, oddly enough, was empty when I picked the suit up. In my pocket was a picture. I take it out, and view it privately. My eyes go wide. It’s evidence.
It was a picture of me, holding a traditional Hawaiian mask, in Hawaii. Finally, proof! But it came at a price.
The mask was an artifact. And I was nowhere near a museum, so I obviously stole it. So, while this proved I didn’t murder Pagano, it proves I stole an artifact from a Hawaiian museum. I had a tough decision to make. So, I stepped forward.
“Chief Justice Lasser, I would like to present not evidence, but proof, that I was indeed in Hawaii that entire month.” I spoke up, and presented the photograph to the panel of Justices. One spoke up.
“Mr. Giere, how do we know this was that month?” He asked, thinking he’d beaten me.
“You see, sir, that the solar eclipse is ending. Quite good timing for a photograph, actually. And that’s the only solar eclipse we’ve had visible from Hawaii, at that angle, in my entire lifetime. So, yes, it was from that month.”
“So, I think that this evidence is irrefutable,” The justice began.
“I agree.” I replied.
“But it also proves that you stole this thirty thousand dollar hawaiian tiki mask from a museum.”
“But I’m being tried for murder,” I said, confident.
“No, Mr. Giere. You are being given a chance to get out of jail. And I’m afraid your honesty has been your demise. You’re going back to prison.”
Total shock. I was sentenced with 10 years. But my personal philosophy has always been that rules were made to be broken.
CHAPTER 2 – ESCAPE
I had it all planned out. Not tomorrow night, but tonight. It had to be tonight. And there was a very good reason for it, too. But before I get into that, let me warn you very clearly.
I am going to escape prison, and I will use any means necessary to ensure that it goes well. You will not like the new Raymond Giere, nor will you see the old one. So let me say my goodbye to you now.
It is a new sentence, so I’m not set up yet. When they take me back, I don’t have anything. Not a cellmate, not a uniform, not a single thing I had before. And I mean not one thing. This is very convenient. When the guard comes into my cell to set up my cot, I knock him out, steal his keys, uniform, set up the cot, and lie him down, so you can’t see his face, and they think it’s me. Then, I casually make my escape.
It’s nighttime. I’m waiting in my cell, for him to come and set up my cot. And he does. He rolls the frame in, disassembled, and I take a rod and hit him with it, making sure he’s out instantly. I then replace his outfit with mine, and mine with his. I finish setting up the cot, and lie him down, as if he were me. He’ll wake up soon. I unlock the door, keeping my face partially obscured with my hat. And just like that, I’m at the door. I walk out into the fresh air.
CHAPTER 3 – THE MOVIES
It surprised me; it didn’t feel as refreshing as I thought it would. I thought it would be just like the movies: I would stretch out my arms and kneel down in the pouring rain and scream with victory, and the rest of the world wouldn’t even exist, and the credits would roll. But instead, I walked away from that horrid place. No dramatic music. No credits. Just me, still walking. It’s not like it is in the movies. And it’s not like it is behind the scenes. You don’t get to leave your character behind in real life.
I walk and think for a long time. I think about my family, and where they are, as they weren’t in my house when I got my suit. I think about where I can go, as the police will be after me within a few hours. And I think about the murderer. Why he would do this? A hatred built up inside me.
I put finding my family and clearing my name on hold. I needed to find this man. Besides, I feared the worst. I had a bad habit of doing that. I was afraid I might die trying to find this man. And I didn’t want to find my family and then die immediately. A strong feeling built in my gut. Unlike anything I’ve ever felt. You must get this feeling whenever you’re about to die. I knew I probably wouldn’t come out of this alive.
PART 3 – NO TIME TO WASTE
CHAPTER 1 – MIKE
I decided to walk around the streets. I saw someone in a prison uniform. At first, I thought it was the guard. But it wasn’t. It was Michael, the man who got me the trial. I was about to go up and greet him, when he crested the hill, and I saw that, right behind him was the very guard I replaced myself with. I supposed he was trying to get Michael to spill where I was. Despite my conscience, I hid.
I ran as quickly as I could to the porch of the nearest house, and by sheer horrible luck, they walked into the backyard, so I ducked behind a table. They had a conversation, but I was too distracted to hear it. They both seemed angry. Suddenly, the guard pulled out his pistol and shot Michael.
Just like that. There was no slow-mo. He just fell to the ground. I kept myself from shrieking, and watched as the guard, oblivious to my whereabouts, ran off. Once he was out of sight, I ran to my deceased recent friend’s retired body. I heard what I figured was an ambulance siren. In actuality, it was that, and a police siren. The ambulance took him away, and the policeman, with short-ish blonde hair and medium build, apprehended me.
“You’re coming with me. You’re coming to my office,” he said, with a slight stutter. And so, I went.
And then we arrived, before I knew it. I was not in handcuffs, to my surprise. He handed me my shirt, which I had used to stop the bleeding, to no avail.
“I believe this is yours,” he said. I nodded, and put it on. “So,” he began, “I just want to ask you a few questions.” I gave no response. “Alright, can you tell me exactly where you were today, just 3 hours ago?” I gave no response. “Alright, can you explain why there was a gun found right next to your feet?” I gave no response. “Sir, are you deaf?”
I smiled. “If only I was,” I responded. This got his temper up.
“Tell me why you killed him!” He said loudly.
“I didn’t kill Mike!” I shouted as he was walking away, having given up.
Then, another man, dressed in a suit and a fedora, with brown hair, walked in and sat down.
“I also want to ask you a few questions, but let me start another way,” he said, catching my attention, “I am not going to pretend that you should confess to me because I am a better man than you, because there’s a good chance I’m not. But I will say that you can either keep being stubborn, and get four more people like me, who aren’t as nice, or you can confess and get it over with.”
I have to admit, he was convincing. But I didn’t give in.
“He was my friend,” I said.
“You still could’ve killed him.”
“Well, I didn’t.”
“And why should I believe you? It’s your word against his. ‘Whose?’ You ask? The officer’s. I did this with him too. Well, technically he’s an agent. I didn’t believe him just on his word, and I don’t believe you just based on yours. So confess, or I won’t leave this room.”
“Alright,” I said.
“Alright what?” He said, maintaining calm.
“I killed him,” I lied, and ran like the wind.
CHAPTER 2 – DOCTOR
Oh, you’re probably wondering why I lied. Well, it’s not such a hard answer. I wanted out. That guy was intimidating, but more than that, he was so convincing, that I was beginning to worry I would spill the real beans: having broken out of prison. He never got my name. I decided I was making a journey to the library. I went to the newspaper section, and picked up the newspaper for June 6th. I thought that maybe I could figure out who really killed Pagano through this paper.
I looked at the picture of the evidence. There was also a picture of the scene itself. And I looked at the caption. Credited to Sean Doctor. I flipped back to the front page. Sean Doctor. I got to a library computer, and looked up “Raymond Giere murder” and went to images. Every single legitimate image of the scene was credited to Sean Doctor. I think I had found my murderer.
I Googled Sean Doctor. Only one picture came up. It was a man, holding a camera up to his face, like he was taking a picture, and his logo. The camera obscured his face, but he had blond hair. I took note of that. Sean Doctor had blond hair. I started looking around. I searched Sean Doctor on the web, instead of images, and it showed, though it didn’t show any picture, that he was an FBI agent. I logged out, thinking I had a lead. How I would find an FBI agent, I had no idea. But I certainly would try.
And then, as I was rounding the bend, as I predicted, the men who had been interrogating me were catching up to me after my escapes.
But after a closer look, I realized that it wasn’t them. It was the first interrogator, the one with blonde hair, and someone else who I’ve never seen in my life, wearing a vibrant pink jacket. They started chasing me. I ran into someone’s yard, and climbed a tree. They saw me, but had no way of actually getting up to me. But now, they weren’t the same people.
This time, it was the same guy who I didn’t recognize, but with the other interrogator, the one I ran from, in the fedora. That man, in the fedora, ordered the other to kill me and ran. The man whom he ordered, in the pink jacket, started racing up the tree. Eventually, I outpaced him, being the skilled climber that I am, and he fell. I saw him talking to the man in the fedora, who I assumed was his boss. I listened in.
“Did you get it done?” The boss said, aggravated.
“No.” he replied.
“He was quite far into the tree.”
“You had a Glock! You could’ve shot him.”
“Trees have leaves.”
“Which a bullet would easily go through.”
“But they did obscure my vision. It was a risky shot.”
“What is this about? You used to be so reliable.”
“It’s about the fact that I am quitting this stupid mafia, or whatever you want to call it.”
“I don’t think you are,” he said, sternly.
“Watch me.” He got up, and left, walking away. The boss got up, chased him, strangled him, and ran.
CHAPTER 3 – REVELATION
As soon as he was gone, I climbed down from the tree and processed all of this. The man who interrogated me was some kind of mafia boss, or something. It was shocking. I decided to settle down, and I went over to a nearby diner. And it was there that I saw the prison squad, looking on the streets, in an attempt to find me. I considered giving myself up. It was a bit too much for me. No. I have to find Sean Doctor first. So I ran. They saw me, though. I ran. Without thinking. I ran. Eventually, I found myself in another diner, though fancier.
I had a strange feeling. Like things were ending. I hoped the feeling was wrong, or misinterpreted. But either way, I decided to calm down. I ordered. It came quickly.
“Coming right up,” someone said. I looked up, and to my horror, it was the mafioso.
“What are you, even?” I said.
“It’s really none of your concern.”
I was terrified. I frantically looked around. I saw, to my relief, the agent, the man with the blonde hair, who had arrested me. He rushed in, and they brawled. They fought, but eventually, the agent came out on top. We shook hands, and were about to talk, when the prison squad rolled in.
“We’re here to reclaim Mr. Giere,” said the prison guard.
“Officer, from what I understand, he was being tried for murder, and you can try him for thievery, but the case has not been filed yet, and the second prison sentence you gave him was unlawful. Now, of course, so was escaping, but I suggest you let him go or he will give you a lawsuit you never thought was possible,” said the agent, quite confidently.
“What makes you an expert?” the guard asked.
He flashed his badge, though I couldn’t see it.
“FBI agent,” he said, and they left, and he put his badge back in his coat pocket before I could read it. We engaged in conversation.
“So, what’s your name?” I began.
“I shouldn’t say,” he said.
“What made you so interested in this case?”
“Well, it sort of came to my desk.”
Eventually, I had a thought.
“I was convicted,” I said, “Of murder. That was public. But when they let me off, it was private. How did you know?” I asked.
“Impossible. It just happened. They’re pending,” I said, “How did you know I was innocent?”
Of course, he didn’t answer because he knew he didn’t need to. I saw his eerie smile, and his short blonde hair, and it was over.
I have found Sean Doctor.