[This is a fiction I co-authored with Louise Norlie. I will be publishing the story in serial installments, every Monday for the next little while. Stay tuned.]
I shouldn’t have been surprised that they prevented me from ending my life as I planned.
By this, they committed another act of terror. They kept me alive when they wanted to see me die.
My final attack went awry and a S.W.A.T. team apprehended me. I offered no resistance, I dropped the detonator I held in my left hand, I put my hands behind my head, and I lay down – face down. They surrounded me, assault weapons ready. Handcuffs were placed tightly around my wrists and my feet were cuffed as well. I was treated roughly, just at the limits of abuse. Predictably, the officers held back from true violence.
The headlines surrounding my capture were numerous. I even heard that a few of the radical presses were hailing me as a “hero,” which I never considered myself. I received hate mail while in prison, mixed with an occasional letter professing admiration, even – absurdly – affection. I was offered several interviews by the major national networks. I declined them all.
On my way to my preliminary hearing, the public showed up in droves brandishing pictures and relics of the ones they had lost due to my attacks. There were screams of anger directed at me. I could feel the hatred emanating from the crowd. I could feel their rage, but not one of them had what it takes to act; I commend the police for intimidating these animals into merely vocalizing their discontent. The situation was not without a certain sense of humor. The police, in their heavy riot gear, had to protect me from them. I told them, “We can dance,” and smiled widely. The media assumed I was gloating in my victory (what victory?). We arrived at the courthouse over two hours late.
I hired the best lawyer I could, and I got off with life in solitary – a disappointment in more than one way. I was placed in maximum security with criminals arguably worse than myself. They created a community amongst themselves out of their hatred for me.
Even in prison, a criminal among criminals, I am an exile.
For some reason, people wanted to visit me. Reporters of all sorts, leftist politicians, right-wing religious extremists, academics who were studying the “terrorist mind,” women with a taste for “bad boys,” and simply individuals I may have inspired or ones who may have wanted to kill me – I refused them all.
I take responsibility for my own unhappiness. If I am unhappy, it is not because of others. That is the way society says it has to be: to each his own. Never mind what they took away from me and continue to take. I live with the rules they set up and I put up with their politics, day after day. Each day I see people succeed and fail, I see them rise above and get trampled. Most of all, I see people just getting by and they seem happy. I do not make the rules, yet I am forced to obey them. I am in prison, but who will be punished for what they have done and what they continue to do?