Marcus had been in plenty of jambs in his tumultuous life but nothing like this. Mid January, even in the desert is cold, and the cold makes one do strange things to survive. Add a bad drug addiction and yet another run in with the law to his already deteriorating condition and a bleak picture is painted.
A police cruiser falls in behind Marcus from a side street he himself had just emerged from. Marcus knew how to handle himself, just be cool and act normal, like everything is fine. The cruiser maintained a slow roll behind him, no doubt running his plates. Marcus played out scenarios and the prescribed responses he would inevitably be forced to endure. With his right hand he expertly hid his stash of fake ID’s but the dope he would keep on him even if he went to jail.
They both drove for what seemed an eternity and Marcus become hopeful that the plates had come back clean, but that hope soon faded as the red and blue lights began to swirl. The rental hadn’t been reported stolen yet but he didn’t know that. He knew it would be better to be caught driving without a license than with a fake ID, so he calmly pulled over and waited.
With an officer on each side of the car, running wasn’t an option, he’d just have to let it play out and try to sound convincing; but deep down inside his heart was pounding.
“You made an illegal turn, can I see you license and registration please?” said the officer.
“Sure, here you go.”
Marcus handed the registration of the rental to the cop and fumbled through his wallet for an ID that didn’t exist.
“Oh man, I guess I ain’t got it on me, must have fallen out at home or something.”
“Ok, well I’ll need to get some information from you ok?”
This is where Marcus excelled, lying through his teeth with the straightest face you’ve ever seen. He calmly recited all of the information he had memorized. Birth date, social security number, address, mothers maiden name, work place, it all rolled of his silver tongue like Wile E Coyote’s, “super genius.”
The cop had to hand it to him, it all checked out, but the cop wasn’t buying it. The other cop had been busy snooping through the back window viewing all of the packages in the rear seat. The two convened at their cruiser.
“There is no way this guy is who he says he is,” said the cop who was doing the snooping.
“Oh no way, but I am impressed with his presence.”
“Let’s get consent to search, there is a ton of merchandise in the back.”
“Excuse me Mr. Oritz but would you be willing to cooperate and consent to a search of the vehicle?
“Sure,’ Marcus said, ‘anything for the boys in blue.”
The last remark struck a nerve with the nosy copy as betrayed by the look on his face. “Great,’ he said, ‘why don’t you step back here with us please.” The cops opened each bag from different stores. “Why do you have all this stuff?” Asked officer Nosy.
“I like to shop what can I say.”
“You have receipts for all this stuff?” Said the the other cop.
“Sure do, they’re in the bags man.”
All of the receipts were for cash, except two, they were return receipts stapled to the originals for large amounts bearing different account numbers. The cops knew something was up. So they turned their attention to the front and back seats. Diligence in their search bore fruit as they discovered the stash of ID’s. The jig was up and Marcus threw his hands up and said, “You got me.”
They booked him into county jail on a multitude of charges but drugs wasn’t one of them, true to his fiend, he managed to get his drugs past the booking procedure and into the holding cell. With no other method of ingestion available to him, he took out the last of his speed and ate it.
The days passed and so did the effects of the dope. Now that he was completely dried out reality began to set in. He was dehydrated and malnourished. Being in county jail was bad enough but starving too was making things quite uncomfortable. He would stand at the trash container during meal time and wait for the other inmates to come by with their trays and beg for scraps. This didn’t take long to get the attention of his race and they called him into one of the cells to instruct him to quit making them look bad. He said, “Ok.”
But an individual of another race had taken notice of him too and began to instigate run-ins. Eventually an altercation was inevitable and a small race riot ensued. After the dust settled Marcus found himself in the hole. There would be no chance of any extra food now.
While in the hole he got a celly who had troubles of his own. The man was very young, a boy still. He was very disoriented and had trouble speaking coherently. The man was upset that they had thrown him in the hole and wanted to get back into general population. No one likes the hole.
Because of the condition of the young man Marcus felt sorry for him and took him under his wing. Moved with compassion to try and help this kid Marcus started writing letters to the jail staff to try and get the kid back in general pop. Days went by and the kid wasn’t getting any better. The jail had a TV positioned outside of the cells up high on the wall. The inmates would stand at the front of the cell and watch whatever miserable programming was available.
The news was always a favorite. The hard heads would eagerly watch to see if they showed the car chase they were involved in would be aired. So there stood Marcus and the youngster watching the news when a story came on. It was heartbreaking. The news anchor held back tears as she described the events that led to two children being drowned in a pool. The young parents had tied cinder blocks to the children and thrown them into the pool where they perished.
It was a horrific and sad story. At the end of the segment they showed the couple and there on the TV screen was the picture of the youngster, Marcus’s celly. It was him. The kid just stood there blankly staring at the screen and didn’t say anything. The rest of the block began yelling at Marcus, “Hey, that’s your celly, get him!” “Kick his a…s, beat him down!”
Amidst the uproar Marcus now new why the kid was so incoherent. Marcus stood there looking at the kid staring into oblivion. The yells increased to the point of frenzy. Whatever evil that had overtaken this young man and compelled him to murder his own children, was now in the cell block coming for him. Marcus knew what he had to do, if he didn’t the word would get out and that same evil would come for him too.
Marcus was overwhelmed with sorrow, Sorrow for the children whose lives had been so cruelly taken. Sorrow for the grandparents. Sorrow for the anchor woman who had to report on such a horrendous crime against humanity. Sorrow for the prosecutor who would have to present the case and the judged who would have to try it and the unfortunate public defender who would have to represent the un-representable. Sorrow for the young man who didn’t even know who he was any more. Sorrow for himself.
With the thundering of feet stomping the cement floors and iron bars ringing with chants of death, Marcus looked through the teary eyes of a sinner and contemplated the wreckage of his own life. How did this young man get to the point of no return? What drove him to madness? How did Marcus get to where he was and how much difference was there between himself and the lost soul before him, how much difference really?
With evil and hatred clinging to the air like a thick fog Marcus looked at the boy and purposed that whatever he could do to him couldn’t compare to what the boy was already going through. Such loss of humanity, such devastation, such ruin and pain. Marcus would not add to that pain today, nor add to the evil that was tangible beyond description. This was not for him to judge. He would take his chances with the crowd and leave this up to God.
How much of a difference would it make in this world if we viewed it through the eyes of a sinner?