What Had Happened Was

To begin with, I just want to say that I think it’s stupid that I have to do this. I know it’s supposed to make me rehabilitate or whatever, but I really, really don’t feel like doing it, and to be perfectly honest it seems kind of petty. I mean, I’m already in jail, right? You caught me! You win! It seems sort of lame that on top of all that, I have to sit here and draw up a list of where I went wrong and what I could have done differently and all that bullshit.

I mean, am I supposed to be learning something from this? Because, okay, it seems like lesson #1 would be “don’t stage a fake armed robbery of a convenience store to impress a girl who works there”, and you know what? Mission accomplished, okay? Consider that lesson learned, dude. That is absolutely never, ever gonna happen again. You don’t gotta worry about this boy. I can guarantee right now, my one and only instance of faking a convenience store robbery to impress a girl who works there will also be my last.

Anyway, “whatever”. I guess I should start with Missy.

Her real name is Melissa.  Melissa Rae Hagerty, as you know from the court transcripts. I dunno, she just doesn’t seem like a Melissa to me. She’s blonde, for one thing. Melissa is really more of a brunette’s name, you know? Like, a curly-haired brunette, or one of those girls with an asymmetrical punk-rock haircut dyed purple. I dunno. It’s hard to explain. But the point is, she didn’t just let anybody call her Missy. It was sort of our special thing. Nobody but her and me. And I know she said at the trial that it wasn’t anything special, and the prosecutors made that out to mean we didn’t have a “relationship” or whatever, but let me ask you this: does anybody else call her Missy? No. Just me. So it has to mean something, right?

I don’t know what it is about her. She’s not like me in a lot of ways. Like, she didn’t go to college, and she doesn’t like to read much, and she was never a big talker. Not an intellectual creature at all. But man! Something about her just drove me crazy. Just one look with a certain cast of her eyes, or she would turn one shoulder so you could see how she’d been wearing a swimsuit over the weekend, and she had me. I was in love! What can you do when something like that happens? So I guess that was my first mistake, was falling in love. Please forgive me for that, you know? Big crime, falling in love, I know.

There’s really not much to do on the late shift at a 7-Eleven, not in our neighborhood. It’s a really quiet residential area and there’s a lot of schools nearby, so it’s busy in the morning and afternoon and part of the evening, but the graveyard shift is dead. And there’s no gangbangers or anything, so it’s not even dangerous. All she’d get in there is perverts who were coming in to buy skin magazines and stuff like that. I would think about it, about her having to deal with those sick fuckers as her only company, and I thought, well, if it was me, I’d get pretty lonely. So that’s when I started seeing her almost every day, just trying to keep her company.

Now, I know what the prosecutors said. Let me say this again, for the millionth time: I am not a “stalker”, whatever that means. Stalkers are creeps who follow you to your apartment and send you hair in the mail and slash your face with a razor. I would never hurt Missy; besides, I don’t even know where she lives. And she never, ever told me to get lost or fuck off or anything like that. It’s not that she didn’t want me around; she was just…she’s just shy. I don’t know how you can be a stalker if the person doesn’t tell you to quit bothering them. Or was it all the stuff I did for her that all of the sudden I’m a criminal? Like keeping her company, that’s my big sin. And bringing her homemade sausage, which by the way she ate, oh, excuse me for doing that. Maybe it was hanging out in the parking lot to offer her a ride home that was so bad, huh? So, there’s a place where I went wrong: I was nice to someone I cared about, so that made me a “stalker”. I guess what I could have done different is to have been a dick.

Beyond that, though, I am the first to admit that the, uh, the relationship was not going the way I had planned. Like I said before, she’s shy, and I’m kind of, well, I don’t have the world’s best history with women. I think what happened when she first started asking me how come I hung around so much, and saying how it kind of made her uncomfortable? I think what was happening is that she was saying, and forgive my language, “shit or get off the pot”. You know? I think she was frustrated that I wasn’t taking it to the next level in terms of asking her out, and she was saying, look, Gerry, either be a man and admit you love me, or move along and find some other girl. So that’s what I tried to do, but I would get really tongue-tied and just not say anything when I really needed to, or she would get an important phone call from her sister or her supervisor or whatever. One time I left my house keys on the counter after I stopped in to get a Big Gulp, but they were still there in the penny tray the next day. That’s when I realized, duh! How would she know they were my keys? So a week later I left them again, this time with a note containing my home address and cell phone number and a note saying ‘CALL ME’. Which she did, to say “Hey, Gerry, you left your keys on the counter again”. I know, she wasn’t quite as on the ball as I am, but I loved her anyway.

As far as the robbery goes, I want to say once more: lesson learned. I will not do it again. But I also want to say, the plan itself was good. The reason it fell apart was not because it was a “stupid plan”, like District Attorney Williams is some kind of expert on brilliant robbery plans, but because of bad luck and because of Kendall. It’s a really straightforward idea: Kendall pretends to rob the place, I show up, I knock him out with my numchucks, Missy realizes I saved her life, I declare my love, we live happily ever after. It’s not complicated. The whole thing is, I didn’t choose wisely when I picked Kendall. So, okay, there’s a lesson: don’t have such stupid friends. The ninja outfit? Kendall’s idea. Saying to hand over all the donuts when he busts into the place? Kendall’s idea. Hitting that bakery truck driver with a night stick? Kendall’s idea. Also, fucking up the fake fight by doing all that kung fu crap for like half an hour so we were there for so long it gave time for the cops to show up? Definitely not my idea, I tell you that. Of course, I wouldn’t learn the ‘Kendall can’t keep his mouth shut’ lesson until the trial, and I got a little crash course in legal lessons, like “you can’t plea-bargain in exchange for information if someone else beat you to it”, but it was already too late.

Looking back on it now, it doesn’t seem like I could have done anything differently. The whole thing had the inevitability of a dream. It was like it was destined to happen, and there’s really nothing I could have done that would have made it turn out other than the way it did. So when you ask me to say what I should or shouldn’t have done, it would be no more appropriate for me to make that judgment than if I were to do something like blame the whole thing on Missy.

Although, really, if you think about it, she did give me that free Coke once, so who’s the real criminal?


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