Comes Around (2)
Thirteen hours later:
Aaron was lying on his bed, still wearing the clothes of the previous evening. He was lingering in that vague area between sleep and consciousness, almost able to form coherent thoughts, but also almost dreaming, and not exactly sure if he was asleep or awake when the knock came.
He suddenly charged back into the world of lucidity. He knew who was at the door. He was quite positive that his life as he knew it would never be the same again. Currently a junior in college majoring in pre law, he had no doubts he would never see that degree, never get into law school, never pass the bar exam, never be able to put the “esquire” after his name on official paperwork, never live the current plan he had for his life.
His nose hurt, as did his mouth. He was pretty sure his nose was broken. He had a loose tooth as well. Steve had given him a slight pummeling before throwing him out on the street. Steve did allow him his dignity and gave him time to pull up his pants before the beating began. He had only been hit about the face maybe five or six times before his body rebelled and slumped in Steve’s grasp, as the big man had held him by the shirt with one hand, while administering punishment with the other.
Still grasping the front of his shirt quite tightly, Steve had reached into his pocket and grabbed his wallet with one hand, addressing Satin to take it from him and remove all cash and his driver’s license. Then he put the wallet back in his pocket.
The knock came again, louder and more menacing, this time followed by: “Aaron Samuels, this is the police. Open up the door.”
He walked down the hallway from his bedroom to the living room, and stopped in the bathroom to look at his face. The first things he noticed were the two black eyes. He didn’t remember getting hit in the eyes, and remembered having had read somewhere once that if one is hit hard enough in the nose, it can result in two black eyes.
He touched the tooth that was aching, and when he did, it gave, moving back into his mouth slightly before falling out. He tasted the salty wetness that began issuing forth from where the tooth had just been. It had been loose last night and he had expected it to come out at some point. Little did Aaron know, that he would lose most of the rest of his teeth to violence over the next few years.
The pounding on the door came again, this time followed by the ringing of the doorbell ten times in quick succession. “This is the police!”
Aaron slowly walked to the front door of his apartment and looked out the peephole. He saw at least four figures through the distorted view of the shaped glass. Two up front, whose hands he couldn’t see, and two farther back with guns drawn, but pointed toward the ground.
He knew this was a possibility when Steve had kept his license. He had hoped the beating and the fact that they had taken his money would have been enough for them to think things were even, but he wasn’t fond of the fact that he hadn’t gotten his license back. He knew this was a possibility despite holding out hope that it would never come to this.
When he had been ungraciously thrown out the back door of the establishment, he hadn’t bothered to attempt to go back in or even call Jack. Jack still might not even know what had happened. He didn’t really care what Jack knew or didn’t know, whether Jack was worried or not. Jack had also not attempted to contact him at all since the last time he had seen him.
Aaron thought about not answering the door. He wondered what the protocol was for that. He wondered if they would break it down. He guessed they might if they had a search warrant, but they probably didn’t. He wondered if there was some other, more benign, reason that they might have been there. He thought of going out his bedroom window and running off. He thought about just staying q uiet, as he hadn’t alerted them to his presence. He wondered if they would just leave.
After the third knock, he decided to just answer the door. Whatever was going to happen, Aaron decided he just wanted it to get started, figuring that the earlier it started, the earlier it would finish.
“Are you Aaron Samuels?”
“Were you at the Scratching Post last night?”
“Mister Samuels, come out here and put your hands against the wall.”
“Is anyone else in the house?”
He shook his head.
“Do you have any weapons or needles on you?”
One officer held his hands firmly against the wall on the exterior of his apartment while another began frisking him for weapons. Aaron looked back through the open door of his apartment, wondering if he would ever see it again, not knowing that the answer was a no.
“Mister Samuels, we have a warrant for your arrest. You have the right to remain silent…”
Thirteen days later:
“Fuck Rob, you can’t talk to Jack about the bail?”
“I’ve tried, man.”
“I know that I’m going to serve some time. I just want a little more freedom before that happens, before I go away. I…just want to feel the wind in my hair, settle some shit. Walk more than a couple feet in any given direction…if only for a little bit longer.”
“You know that I don’t have that kind of money, man.”
“Jack might. It was his idea that I try that. It was so stupid.”
“I’m going to agree with you there. What the fuck were you thinking?”
“I suppose I wasn’t.”
“Jack’s currently ghosting me and won’t return my calls. You know how he gets when he meets a new girl. Just spends all his time with her and ignores everyone else.”
“He met a new girl?”
“Yeah, he actually met her at the strip club you two were at that night.”
“Of course he did.”
They both remained silent for a time before Rob ventured: “So, what do you think will happen?”
“My lawyer, court-appointed of course, thinks that I should make a deal. I agree, but he wants to hold out and actually take it to court first, until the prosecution drops some of the charges. He thinks that if he has a lot on his plate, the prosecution does as well. I can get let time if I drag it out longer.”
“Is that a good idea?”
“I don’t have any idea. All this shit is new to me. He thinks that he could get me five or six years if we hold out.”
“I’ve never heard of that.”
“Nor have I.”
“So what’s up with school?”
“Zero tolerance policy. I’m officially no longer enrolled. Any sexual assault where the man is an accuser, it’s guilty until proven innocent, and sometimes guilty even after having been proved innocent.”
“I’m sorry, man.”
“I deserve it. I did it.”
“Should you be admitting that? Are they recording us now? I know that they aren’t allowed to listen to you and your lawyer, but I ain’t your lawyer.”
“I don’t know. I don’t give a shit. I deserve some sort of punishment. I feel so bad, man. I hear her screams as I try to sleep. I see my dick with the condom on it, with blood and shit on it. It’s hard to sleep.”
“Don’t feel so badly. I checked the club, against my fiance’s wishes, of course. She didn’t even miss a night of work, it seems.”
“Any word from your sister?”
“Nope, she’s ghosting me too. I could have predicted that, though. She’s quite the feminist activist.”
“Yeah, but you’re still her brother.”
“That doesn’t matter. I’m glad my parents aren’t alive to see this.”
“I’ll try to get ahold of Jack again.”
“Please do. He’s the last person that I can think of that could help me here.” Aaron had no idea that it would be years, over a decade, before he spoke to his friend, Jack, again.
Thirteen weeks later:
“I did it, and it was a foolish thing to do. I’m so sorry, it was a horrible mistake and I do deserve to be punished for it. I am so happy that she is doing well and she isn’t suffering any permanent damage from my disgusting behavior.” Aaron was allowed to give a final statement. For days he had thought it over and couldn’t really think of more to say than he just did. He thought it would just be pretentious and insincere to say more, or beg for a lesser sentence.
“Mister Samuels, just because she appears to be physically fine, does not mean that she is undamaged. Just because there are no physical scars, does not mean that there are no emotional ones.” The judge was stern and old and female. His attorney assured him that this was just a formality.
Aaron merely nodded. His attorney had made a deal with the prosecutor. The prosecutor would recommend seven years, and he would be eligible for parole in approximately four and a half years. Some of the charges had been dropped, just as his attorney had advised.
The judge continued: “This kind of behavior is abhorrent. Criminals usually show signs of remorse, but that doesn’t fool me. Are you sorry that you did it or sorry you got caught? I suspect the latter.” His lawyer had warned him that the judge was hard ass and liked to give lectures on morality during sentencing, when for all intents and purposes all the legal rules were done and people could speak a little more freely without using facts and evidence.
As the judge sternly glared at him and continued speaking, Aaron couldn’t help but to let his mind wander. The images of that night, frozen in his mind, continued haunting him. He thought with time that they would dissipate, but that hadn’t happened yet. Maybe he just needed more time. He truly hoped that Satin, whatever her real name was, had moved on from that. He liked to hope that people shoving their penises in her was something that happened nightly, and his hitting the wrong hole didn’t cause her anything more than a little tearing and some anger. He hoped that she was easily able to get on with her life and hadn’t suffered any PTSD due to the situation. He couldn’t be sure either way.
After several minutes he realized that he had zoned out for too long. He wasn’t paying attention at all to anything the judge was rambling on about. He happened to glance at his attorney and that was when he started paying attention to the judge again. His attorney’s mouth was dropping open as he made eye contact with Aaron.
“…and so regardless of the prosecution’s recommendation, I sentence you to fifteen years in a maximum security facility.”