Conversation Pieces III: Innocence

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By: Wayne Brown

(Writer's Note: Please understand that this is the third vignette in a series called "Conversation Pieces". If you have not read "Conversation Pieces" and "Conversation Pieces II: Warped", I suggest that you read them first. These are designed as "one way conversations" with an undefined other party. I am not taking a stand on the issue but simply trying to put myself in the shoes of the person experiencing this situation and relate what he might say. You can decide for yourselves the guilt or innocence. I also do not intend this to be a statement on capital punishment. I want you to feel the emotion of the person about to have this experience in yourself. Whatever you come away with from that is yours to own. Thanks.~WB)



You probably cannot imagine how it feels to be an honest man who is surrounded by nothing but reinforced concrete and steel bars. You cannot fathom the thought of losing your freedom much less your life even though you are innocent. I find myself in this predicament and my executioner awaits on the gallows at sunset. I will pay for the crimes of an unknown assailant. Lace up that pair of shoes and stand up in them for a while then decide whether or not you will be bitter or helplessly angered by your forthcoming fate--a fate you can do nothing about.


Oh, you think my past does not speak well for my claims of innocence. Well what the hell do you know? So I have had a few scrapes. Everyone has been cross ways with the law at one time or other in their life. I am just an innocent victim of a flawed system bound on matching the crime with a culprit. The evidence is secondary to satisfying the need for vengeance. At sunset tonight, I will become yet another victim of this insanity. I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and I will pay a very high price for that mistake.


You think the evidence is strongly against me…well, what the hell do you know about evidence anyway. I was framed. Don’t you get that. All the evidence was planted to make me look like the guilty party. Somewhere out there, a criminal is running free and the system is about to hang an innocent man for his crimes. Does that not trouble you just a little bit? Does it not create doubt in your mind? You would be a fool not to believe what I am saying here. But the role of playing the fool and clinging to what you perceive as a fair system of justice is much easier to embrace than to go out on that limb and believe that I am an innocent man.


They say I was judged by a jury of my peers. Those low-life people could never be my peers. They were dead set on hanging me before the first gavel fell in that courtroom. It was a kangaroo court only carried out to fill the square. All of them wanted me convicted, even my own attorney. That’s what you get with a court-appointed lawyer, a quick trip to the gallows. He is the very same one who also mishandled all my appeals. He thought I was guilty from the first day I laid eyes on him. That bastard! Once the legal system gets its talon deeply embedded in the skin of a man who can fit the bill to answer for the crime, all bets are off. They have a crime and they have a suspect--all they need to prove is the motive and come hell or high water, they most assuredly will, even if the conclusion is a total lie.


Don’t you see that some things in this world are justified? Don’t you realize that there is a limit to everything. Isn’t it apparent that one man can only stand so much and be pushed so far before he snaps and takes things into his own hands. Well, it happens and I have been a victim of it. It is not enough that I have suffered those indiscretions, I must also pay for my actions with a noose around my neck. I have been victimized by the system my entire life and now the system will deal me the executioner’s hand. My light will be snuffed out in repayment to the victim and all those who grieve his passing from this life. The need to gain an eye for an eye will have been satisfied--no matter who the eye is taken from in the process. The debt demands payment and payment it shall have. That payment is due and demands the end to my life here on earth.


I hope when I am standing there with that bag over my head, the noose around my neck and my feet resting on the trap that you will think about all of this. You think long and hard about it because I surely have as I have waited for this moment to arrive with each monotonous tick of the clock. When my neck snaps today, your conscience will be cleansed with the thought that another criminal has paid his due. I will be dead but you will be haunted for the rest of your life with the thought that possibly you executed an innocent man. The judge and jury has long since dimissed any reasonable doubt in my case.


Look closely at my face, my eyes. Study it well for it will cease to exist at the hands of my executioners. I disdain you, your system, and all that you stand for. It is a sham, a mockery, a delusion of security and comfort that stands as the curtain behind which you and all the other cowards like you hide. Gutless cowards who hold up the scales of justice and drool with power as you delight in watching yet another execution. The execution cleanses your hands and soul of your inability to stop the crime. My face standing before you on those gallows will only be replaced by another, then another, as the debt for crime is repaid again and again. Each payment gives peace to those that remain here that the right thing is being done and the right people are paying the price of justice for an errant human society.


You self-righteous son-of-a-bitch coming down here on my last day on earth to offer me a final meal and the chance to pray for my soul with some tinhorn preacher who salves the agony in his own soul by grieving over mine. Well, you can kiss my innocent ass! I will not give you one moment of pleasure watching me imbibe in your food and drink or pray for my salvation in the after life. Not one moment will I engage in such behavior. For in this last moment, I am the one in charge; I am the one making the decisions and the choices that do not belong to you. Is this your way of saying "Gee, we are so sorry but someone has to pay and that someone today is you." Forget it! I don't need your kindness or your unspoken apology for this lack of injustice on your part.


You can only laugh when I make my claims of innocence, you can only laugh. What does that say? You think me a fool? You think that I make this statement and declare myself a victim just to hear myself talk? You sir are the fool! You have allowed this system to flourish and consume honest men sending them to their graves. You make a grieveous error in doing so for one day, one day, they will come for you as well. And when they do, you will cry out and proclaim yourself a victim. You will scream, cry, and beg your captors to reconsider but all your pleading will fall on deaf ears as mine has throughout this long process. You attempts to save yourself will be futile and the rope will claim your life. It is only fitting that it will work out that way for you and those like you who are deserving of the fate.


When you slimy bastards pull the lever on that trap tonight and that rope snaps taut under my shackled weight, I want each one of you cowardly murderers to feel that lump in your throat, to feel the intense pressure of that rope around your necks, to feel the life suddenly yanked from your bodies. I want you bastards to suffer like I will for you know you are killing an innocent man. You know that yet you do not have the guts to stop it. And for that lack, I shall go to my grave at sunset. At the very least, I can go there knowing that I have a clean conscience, knowing that I am the victim in this process, and you and all your kind will wake in the wee hours of the coming dawn for the rest of your lives and hear my name screaming in your brains. Damn your kind!


© Copyright WBrown2010. All Rights Reserved.

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Comments 10 comments

Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

Wayne,

This is a very serious subject. When I was young and stupid I was for capital punishment, but as I grew older and respected life I had to change that position regardless of guilt or innocence. I could never kill a human who's helpless and tied and bound it's inhuman.

Therfore I don't want the government doing so in my name!!!!!!!!!!


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

Wayne very chilling account here of an innocent man and makes me wonder how many are out there who are "dead men walking". I used to also be for capital punishment until I got my degree in Criminal Justice. It is appalling how many people are on death row and how easily it is for the government to kill them regardless of their stories. Regardless of their guilt or innocence. The United States with all its technology is still one of the very few countries who still practices capital punishment. It really is appalling. It is also appalling at the rate that a minority will get the death penalty compared to a white person.I applaud you for this hub. Cheers and blessings.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

LJ...I wrote this as the third installment in the "one way conversations." You might remember the second one dealt with the insanity of a child molester. With this one, I left it to the reader to decide whether the man is truly innocent or just claiming to be. I do hint a bit in one of his raving moment where he talks about snaping. My intent was to attempt to get into the mind of a man facing looming execution and attempt convey the anger, desperation, and loathing that he might feel toward the warden who has come to escort him to his fate. Whether I pulled that off effectively, I guess the reader will have to decide. I guess you could conclude that an "unintended byproduct" of the piece was a statement on capital punishment. Thanks for the applause! WB


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

I have some hope for these people on death row through the Innocence Project. Some are actually saved from the gallows, but in truth, I'm sure many more slip through the cracks.

Well done, Wayne.


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Wayne thanks for the cliff hanging suspense. I tried to place my feet in his shoes and I must tell you my anger would be pretty much on the same level against the justice system. How can it not be? If you are innocent, I know I would proclaim it and to every last breath let them know how I feel about being backed to the wall with no hope whatsoever.

I wrote an essay many years ago in school on Capital punishment up here in Canada. I was for not against and my stand has not changed, however I have made some slight deviations on my convictions. Firstly if it is proven without a shadow of a doubt that you are a murderer and planned, premeditated and in cold blood took a person or persons life, then I would be glad to be the Executioner and hang or execute the sob.

The courts have unfortunately sent innocent men to the gallows without really concrete evidence to the contrary and that is totally unacceptable and that's when I am AGAINST capital punishment.

Having said that, cold bloodied killers like In Cold Blood written by Truman Capote is a case in point, those two did swing and they should have. I hope that we can save the innocent men from swinging, but with the penal and judicial system the way it is in your country and ours, there will be innocents lost to the lethal injection. How sad, there has to be a better way.

In this hub I felt his innocence and I also felt his anger at the MAN for doing what they were doing against him, what hope did he have? None...nada, squat...he knew he was going to swing so he let them have it with both barrels with verbal thunder. Love the hub, you are an excellent story teller. Rate UP..


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@saddlerider1...Thank you Ken, I appreciate your comments. Now, I want you to do something...go back and read it from the perspective that the man is guilty and see how it comes across to you...let me know. Thanks. WB


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Wayne you have presented a very angry man here. Either he did it or he didn't. I may be missing that clue except for this sentence you added, which in my opinion may shout out that he was the guilty party.

"Isn’t it apparent that one man can only stand so much and be pushed so far before he snaps and takes things into his own hands"

Having stated that of himself may give a clue to his being pushed to far and him taking the law into his own hands and becoming the killer. That being the case and he was proven guilty. They chose to have him swing for his crime. No appeal came to his rescue.

The opposite side of the coin being that he is angry and in a fit of denial and still guilty, but trying his best to convince everyone else that they are wrong and he is right. Yet he still swings. Or simply that he is an INNOCENT man falling on deaf ears.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

Ken...yes, I tried to write intentionally vague to see what impact it would have on the reader. If you go back and listen to the old man in the first "Conversation Pieces" then listen to the warped thinking of a child molester in the "Conversation Pieces II: Warped" then the anger this man displays can be sorted into the bin of simply a rationalize of his guilt and a belittling of the system that condemned him. WB


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

Yes, what the hell do we know? The most of us are not able, or hardly able, to see our own faults. There is always someone to blame, someone who did not understand us, or something that forced us to do what we did. And by doing this, one is but only honestly and seriously him/her. Yes, who the hell are we, the most “arrogant” creatures on earth: Homo sapiens sapiens. This is really a touching hub, Wayne, forcing one to THINK.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@MartieCoetser...I intentionally left it to the reader to decide if this guy was guilt or not thus how they perceived his rant would also be much different as well. Thanks for the read and the good words! WB

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