Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Ballad of the Hanged Men

There's a lot of "Mikes."

Probably millions in the US... maybe more. There's probably another million in Ireland. Hell, I'm sure there's millions in other countries; they've all got their linguistic variations of how you say it; Miguel in Spanish, Mikkel in German, Mícheál in Gaelic. However, in all languages, it means the same: it is to be named after the mighty archangel, the warrior of God who cast Satan out of Paradise so long ago, entombing him in his fiery pit.

Somewhere, 35 years ago, in a county in New Jersey, a mother gave birth to a son, and gave him this strong name. She probably had hopes and dreams, like all good mothers do; she probably prayed that he might be like the other millions of Mikes, the ones that had good jobs in offices, young wives, and would raise good, compassionate children that would lead good, strong lives.

But that was not the path that was to be taken for this lad.

I see him now, doing the diddy-bopping shuffle that only people with chained legs learn, as he steps down from the jury box and towards the defense table. The orange jumpsuit stops around his elbows, and his arms are heavily tattooed. He's got a cross on the back of his neck just above the collar line, and his eyes are sunken in that heroin-throttled way.

As I look around the courtroom, I can see it all. I see the kid from Cali with poofy yellowed hair who's wearing daddy's suit; he's probably hear for a DUI. I see the cracked out hood rat who was on the lam for a decade until they finally caught her with large amounts of some drug or another. I see the thick black guy sitting in front of me, his hair wound in tight cornrows. He's waiting for his turn.

And there I sit, with my collared shirt, leather jacket, and small pad to write the notes out, and I am just thankful that for once I'm staying on this side of the bench. I remember how it was to have court dates hanging over your head; it's always in front of you, like when you see a great rising storm in the distance but, for now, only feel the wind slowly getting colder. When you laugh, it's there, and it ends your glee abrubtly. When you're having sex, there's still a part of you that knows when the moment is over with her, your court date will be there. When you're drunk, you'll talk about it. But only when you're drunk.

35 years ago, Mike's mother never knew that this is where he would be. She didn't know that he'd make all the wrong choices, and become a product of the system, in and out of jail for a laundry list of violations. She didn't know he'd be all inked up, the needle's veteran, and begging a judge for mercy... again. I wonder what she would think.

After his case, they bring my boy in.; I'm hear to write about him. He is of average height, skinny, shaved head, white-trash looking. He stands accused of molesting a child multiple times. He looks right at me, and his eyes aren't like the rest of these guys; they aren't sad, they aren't regretful, and they aren't hopeful.

No. These are cold pin prics of ice. It chills me, makes the hairs on the back of my neck rise, and immediately I know that he is guilty and wish that men like him were executed. Slowly. Mercilessly.

I think that if I could kill him with my bare hands, I would do it. If I could twist that scrawny neck 'till the body went limp, and watch them the ravens eat him, I would do that too.

I wonder if his mother is in hell for having him, or if she knew not what was happening when she gave birth to this incarnation of evil.

I wonder how God handles such things.


Anonymous said...

great post

BH said...

Is it her fault for having him or his for making the choice to end up as he has?

BH said...

PS - left you a question on my blog per your comment.