22 Dec Second-Hand Criminal
“Second-Hand Criminal”Written by Andrew Scolari Edited by Craig Groshek Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek Narrated by N/A
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available
⏰ ESTIMATED READING TIME — 6 minutes
My brother Sean was ten years older than me. We lived with our parents in a place called Garland, Virginia which is 40 miles southwest of Washington, DC. When Sean was in his teens, he and my parents didn’t get along at all, and after he graduated high school, he split. I didn’t see or hear from him for three years. Then, in 1995, my parents died.
They were driving home from a party at a friend’s house when the bridge they were on collapsed due to structural failure. Both my parents were an only child in their families and both my mom’s parents and my dad’s mother had passed away by the time I was seven and my dad’s father was in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s, so I was sent to live with Sean. Now Sean lived in this run-down trailer park that was situated between a junkyard and the railroad tracks and an interstate overpass behind it. My brother’s trailer was near the trailer park entrance and he lived with his girlfriend Victoria or Vicky as she liked to be called. Vicky stood at a height of six feet three and a half inches tall and had long curly caramel-colored hair, medium brown skin, had eyes that were dark gray like storm clouds, and a figure like Tyra Banks. Despite the social worker’s apprehension, my brother assured her things would be fine, and that the trailer would be my home temporarily, as he had just started a new job that paid more than his old one and he and Vicky were looking to move once they had enough money to put down on a decent house. My brother could be quite the charmer and smooth talker when he was in a good mood. Heck with his power of persuasion, he could convince a politician to change his or her political views. If that social worker only knew what I would be put through, she would have taken me away from Sean and Vicky as fast as possible.
You see there was a reason why I didn’t hear from Sean despite us being somewhat close. Sean and his girlfriend Vicky were criminals wanted in the states of Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and Ohio, and were dubbed “The Black Bonnie and Clyde” and had committed many crimes using my brother’s red 1986 Cadillac Fleetwood. I wasn’t there for very long when my brother revealed his true colors. It had started when Sean offered to take me out for ice cream. Still grieving the loss of my parents I accepted. Vicky came along. We stopped by a local Dairy Queen, and I got my favorite, a cherry dipped cone with chocolate ice cream. While I was enjoying my ice cream in the back seat, Sean said he and Vicky needed to drop by the bank. I thought nothing of it, and just enjoyed my time out. When they pulled into the parking lot of the Old Dominion Bank & Trust, Sean parked the car but left the car running and the keys in the ignition.
I should have known something was up but I was too naïve at the time and didn’t seem to notice the gym bags Sean and Vicky were carrying when they left the car, I just sat in the back seat munching away on the cone. Several minutes later, I heard a loud ringing sound coming from inside the bank. Moments later Sean and Vicky came out of the door with their bags. Before I could say anything, Sean and Vicky jumped in the car tossing the gym bags in the back seat before peeling out. As we sped down the highway I looked into one of the gym bags and saw that it was full of cash! I looked in the other one too and saw the same thing. I looked at my brother who was weaving in and out of traffic. “Did you and Vicky just rob a bank?” I asked, even though I knew the answer.
Sean simply nodded as he was keeping his eyes on the road. Vicky turned to me, and with a wicked smile, said, “Your brother and I are criminals. We have robbed banks, gas stations, check cashing places, and just about any place where they keep a lot of cash from Baltimore to Toledo.” Just then Vicky’s expression and attitude turned sinister and her voice became stern. “You are now part of our little gang whether you like it or not, and I want no complaints out of you, you little pipsqueak. Understand?” I nodded my head. Just then I heard the sounds of sirens and saw the flash of blue lights. Sean cursed out loud then turned to Vicky. “Them pigs is on our tail, take care of them will you Love Bunny.” Vicky flashed me another wicked smile before turning to Sean and saying. “On it Sugar Bear” and gave him a quick peck on the cheek, before rolling down the window and leaning out with her gun drawn.
The sound of the gun firing was defining and I covered my ears and put my head down. We eventually got away and drove across the state line into Maryland. We eventually stopped at a small motel outside of Frederick where my brother checked us in under false names. When we got to our room, Sean and Vicky sat on one the beds counting the money. I don’t remember the amount but it was a lot as my brother and his girlfriend celebrated and gloated over their gains. I wanted to run, to find a phone and call the police, but I was still in shock and my mind was clouded. For a whole year it was one armed robbery after another, a new city or town, a new set of false names, the works. I was beginning to forget who I actually was. We’d stay in one town for a month or so, living in trailer parks, rundown apartment houses and cheap motels. Then Sean and Vicky would drag me along on another robbery and we’d be on the run again. To make matters worse I was forced to participate and was even given a gun. I still recall the first murder I was forced to commit, though Sean and Vicky had already had quite a few under their belts.
We were robbing a bank in Portsmouth, Ohio, Midwest Bank I believe the name was the name it. A bank guard tried to stop Sean and Vicky, but Sean shot the man in the abdomen. He then turned to me and said “Finish him.” I looked down at the bank guard clutching his wound. I didn’t want to shoot him, but Sean kept shouting at me as the sound of police sirens grew closer. “SHOOT HIM NOW!” shouted my brother. “What’s the matter, you chicken or something?” I remember Vicky saying through that wicked smile of hers that I had begun to hate. Shakily I aimed the gun at the man who stared at me with pleading eyes. I closed my eyes and pulled the trigger. I opened my eyes and saw that the bullet had hit him in the throat and the man lay motionless on the linoleum floor. “Way to go.” My brother said with a sadistic smile “Come on, let’s go.” Vicky said. “I can just see the police coming up the street”.
In total I was forced to kill five people against my will. The images of their dead faces still haunt my nightmares to this day. Finally I couldn’t stand it anymore. We were robbing the Lake Erie Savings and Loan in Cleveland. As usual Sean and Vicky were holding up the tellers, while I covered the only two other people in the bank that Saturday morning. They were a couple in their early 60s. I couldn’t bear the thought of killing them, and decided to put an end to Sean and Vicky’s criminal activity once and for all. I put my finger to my lips and gave a low “shhh” before turning to Sean, my only relative, but to me he wasn’t my brother any more. I aimed my gun and shot my brother right in the back of his head. Sean fell to the floor in front of the young brunette woman who just stood there frozen to the spot. Vicky turned and saw Sean and then looked at me. Those stormy dark gray eyes became even darker as Vicky’s nostrils flared. “You little bas…” She began to say but she didn’t get to finish her sentence or get a chance to fire her gun, as I put a bullet right through her heart and she crumpled to the floor. I dropped the gun and sat on floor crying and waiting for the police to arrive. The police found me bawling my eyes out while the older couple sat on either side of me consoling me.
I told the police everything and more. A child physiologist was brought in and confirmed that I wasn’t doing it on my own accord and I wasn’t a psychopath or anything but would need a lot of therapy for years to come. So I wasn’t charged. Afterwards that same couple I spared at the bank took me in and adopted me since they were never able to have children of their own.
I’m all grown up now with a good job, a wife and two kids of my own. I still have issues though that will never go away. To this day I don’t even walk in to the bank where my wife and I have our account. If I need to do any banking I just use drive up window or ATM, as the mere sight of a bank lobby is enough to cause me to have severe panic attacks.
🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None AvailableAndrew Scolari Edited by Craig Groshek Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek Narrated by N/A