Derek Moore was extremely confused upon waking up in a hospital bed. His head hurt extremely bad.
He glanced over at the panel on the side table. His aching brain struggled to comprehend the words printed below the buttons. After a minute of thought, he was able to identify “nurse” and pushed the button.
A nurse who looked to be about fifty entered the room and smiled.
“How long have I been here?” Derek asked.
“About three days, honey,” the nurse said.
Derek blinked for a second and tried to recollect how he got into this situation. Upon remembering, he jumped up, briefly wincing at the intense pain rushing through his legs, and rushed out of the room.
The nurse came running after him, trailed by a horde of doctors and nurses.
Derek shoved his way through the crowds until he was finally able to dart through the door and make his way to…
Where was he going? Derek stopped for a minute trying to recall where he needed to go.
As a young male doctor, probably fresh out of med school, was about to catch him, he remembered that he needed to go to the police station.
Running onto a crowded sidewalk and shoving aside pedestrians, he hailed a taxi.
“Police station, please,” Derek said.
“Sure thing, pal,” the driver said.
A couple of minutes later, the cab halted in front of the police station, tires screeching.
Derek opened the door and stepped out of the cab. Just as his foot hit the road, he felt the driver’s hand upon his shoulder.
“You have to pay, buddy,” he said.
Instinctively, Derek reached for his wallet, only to find that it wasn’t there.
He was in a hospital gown. His wallet was back at the hospital.
Derek bolted out of the cab door and into the police station. The cab driver ran after him, but Derek was able to lock him out of the station.
Derek went over to the break room, where he found Officers Kenny and Green, the two cops he ate dinner with before passing out.
A shiver went down Derek’s spine as he remembered that night, when he hallucinated Clarence Anglin everywhere. His temples began pounding as he opened his mouth.
“Officers…” he said, clearly short of breath.
Everyone in the break room put down their coffee and waffles and ran to Derek’s aid.
Officer Green pursed his lips and shook his head.
The room began spinning as an unspeakable rage filled Derek. He knew that they tried their best, that he should be kind, that he should suppress this anger, but his severely damaged brain was firing electrical signals faster than he could comprehend. Succumbing to the impulses of a hurt mind, Derek raised his hand and struck Officer Green across the face.
Everybody in the room gasped. Green was not hurt, as Derek’s exhausted body was not able to manage more than a playful slap, but the action was very out of character for Derek.
* * *
During all of this, Clarence was living in a dark alleyway behind a bar, living off of chips, beer, and spare change.
Everyone in the city knew that the infamous Clarence Anglin was on the loose somewhere. Thus, Clarence had to wear a hoodie to hide his identity. There were a couple of close calls here and there, but he had made it this far and hadn’t been caught.
Clarence grabbed another handful of chips and put them in his mouth. He smiled as he examined himself in the broken mirror someone had dropped.
Clarence Anglin, he thought as he took another swig of beer. You have really messed yourself up.
Clarence stared at the pile of empty chip bags and beer bottles that surrounded him.
Regret began sinking into his mind, but he retaliated by eating another bag of chips, and enjoying the cheesy dust coating.
* * *
Derek exited through the back door of the station and stole the taxi from the cab driver, still pounding on the door.
Derek knew that he was severely mentally damaged and was completely unfit to drive, but a larger part of his brain told him that Clarence Anglin must die at all costs.
The thought of killing Clarence made Derek shiver, so he tried shooing away the thought. It remained, though, torturing him.
Derek could feel the sweat dripping down his face as he drove slowly across the city streets.
* * *
Clarence was confused. He pulled his hood over his head, slouched very low, and tried to take a walk to clear his head and get more chips.
Why am I doing this, he asked himself. I don’t know.
He briefly considered turning himself over to the police. At least in jail he would get meals more substantial than chips and alcohol.
As if to answer his prayers, Derek nearly ran him over with the stolen taxi.
Clarence’s hood flipped downward. As he and Derek’s eyes met, more electrical signals flashed through Derek’s brain, overriding common sense and telling him what to do.
Derek opened the glove compartment and thumbed around for something. Anything.
Derek’s fingers touched cold metal. More electrical signals were fired in Derek’s brain as he figured out what he was touching.
A loaded gun.
Derek pulled it out, turned off the safety, and fired through the window.
His shaky arms missed. He jumped out of the car and began chasing Clarence as he ran down the street.
Derek fired the gun wildly, making sure to keep an eye on the number of bullets left in the barrel.
Police chased him down. They shot occasionally, but he was quick and dodged their bullets.
He chased Clarence into a hotel lobby and backed him into a corner.
Clarence was terrified. Derek had a gun to his head and the kind of deranged smile only a killer could have.
“I’m sorry for all the pain I’ve caused you,” Clarence said, crying. “I’m so sorry.”
Derek couldn’t care less.
“Adios, amigo,” Derek said.
The electrical signals fired through Derek’s head faster than ever now, yearning for the sweet pleasure that only the death of his sworn enemy could provide. He fingered the trigger, and began to squeeze.
But he couldn’t. He simply couldn’t.
Derek dropped the gun. He could never live with himself if he had squeezed the trigger. He would have been sentenced to jail for the rest of his days.
After giving him medical help for the numerous wounds he had sustained over the course of the chase, the police caught Clarence and sent him to jail.
* * *
Derek lounged back in his chair and sighed. He had not gotten off scot-free for his rampage. He had to serve short jail time and pay for some property damage, but his punishment had not been nearly as bad as Clarence’s.
He pushed away those thoughts, and for the first time in a long time, he smiled and enjoyed his retirement.
By: Brig Larson
Photo Credits: The New York Times