It’s said that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. So what does doing the same thing over and over again and receiving progressively worse results define? Stupidity maybe. Just stop doing that thing. But when you’re in that life, it isn’t always as easy as ‘just stopping’.
I’m in the back of the car, next to Skins, Kit’s driving and we’re just cruising round this fancy neighbourhood that’s like 5, 6 minutes from the estate and Skins is talking some shit next to me, like he’s trying to psych himself and that but I’m ignoring him cause I need to get psyched too but I’m trying not to overthink, I want my mind to stay blank, Buddhism, focus.
Kit rides up the pavement, hard, and we’re all jolted forwards from the impact with the kerb, he brakes sharp and we come to a stop on the pavement. Kit’s pointing straight ahead and saying there’s that little prick, fucking do him so me and Skins jump out of the car and jump this little prick. I’ve grabbed him from behind and I pull him down this alleyway off the main road, he’s shouting for somebody to help him so I put my hand over his mouth but he bites my finger and I’m like what the fuck man, do that again and I’ll break your leg but he doesn’t stop struggling and then Skins just fucking belts him in his stomach, I can feel his lungs empty as he folds over, wheezing. I carry on up the alleyway until I’m sure nobody on the street can see us and then I turn the guy round and pin him against the wall and he starts shouting again, asking for help, asking what we want and stuff so I tell him that I want him to shut the fuck up but obviously he’s not listening to me cause he just carries on shouting so I lift my foot and with all the force I can generate I stomp the side of his knee. I always thought that it would be harder to break somebody’s leg, like you’d have to really position it perfectly, or use some heavy weapon or somat like that but it’s not like that at all, my foot just seems to melt through his knee as his leg crumples and I hear a snap and a pop and he falls to the ground clutching at it, screaming, louder now than before, crying at the same time, wailing. Skins paces up to the body writhing on the floor of this alleyway in this fancy neighbourhood and he kicks the dude in the face then spits on him and whispers to him that he better not catch him fucking around with Kit’s sister again. The guy is drifting in and out of consciousness, his eyes are rolling in his head so I walk back to the body and bend down next to him, I pop the watch off his wrist and slide it in my pocket and Skins slips his wallet and we bail.
We hop back into our ride and Kit floors it, we’re outta there and I’m buzzing, adrenaline is powering my body now and I feel strong, really strong, but I don’t talk for a while I just sit, shaking and Kit asks us what happened, did we get him. Skins tells him that we fucked him up, no chance he will come round our end again the posh little fucker and then Kit asks if we got owt and Skins goes quiet for a second but I think it’s only fair to share what we got. Even though Kit didn’t do any of the messed up work he was still part of it, the getaway man, so I flash the watch out of my pocket and Kit grins, gotta be worth at least 2 Gs he says and Skins pulls the wallet out of his pocket and rifles through it, there’s 500 in cash and he splits it between us and the adrenaline is still making my hands shake and I can’t think straight so I try to go back to that Buddhist state like how I felt before we done that shit but before I can start to focus I see the blue lights flashing behind us, the lights fill our car, as though the flashing bulb is strapped in to the seat next to me, but it’s not, it’s behind us and then the siren comes on and Kit says fuck, what do we do and I tell him to get us out of here but it’s no good, there’s a chopper above us and everyone knows you can’t outrun the chopper. I’ve played GTA so I know this shit, the tanks come next and then you’re really fucked.
So Kit pulls over and the cops cuff all three of us and take us to the station. My dissertation is due in a week so I aint got time for this shit and I tell that to the cops at the station and they ask me what I study so I tell them Applied Physics and they laugh and say they don’t believe me, there’s no University round here anyway they say. I tell them that I study online because not everyone can afford not to have a job when they leave college but they just laugh again and tell me to cut the bullshit. I’m in a room with three of them and I’m cuffed to this chair when a fourth one comes in and nods at his colleagues, he puts a coffee down in front of me and asks me if I want anything to eat. I say no, I’ll eat when I’m outta this shit hole and he smiles patronisingly and then one of the others tells me that they’ve interviewed my friends and that their stories corroborate and that they both said that we was driving when I shouted for them to pull the car over so they did and then I sprinted out of it and grabbed this guy they’d never seen before, pulled him down this alley and then got back in the car a minute later and they didn’t know what happened but I handed them both some cash when I got back in. I said that’s not what happened and then the cop says that it’s their word against mine basically and that they’ve already let them both go and I will be getting charged with GBH and theft once the guy identifies me in a line up.
And suddenly I’m alone in this chair. And suddenly I’m no longer in control of my future. And suddenly I hold no power whatsoever.
The cops tell me that they’ll be keeping me in overnight and obviously I don’t say anything to nobody but I’m scared, like properly scared. I’m shitting myself.
The kid IDs me during the line-up and then I’m found guilty on all charges at trial. So I’m at my sentencing hearing and I’m sat next to my lawyer but I don’t hear anything that’s said because my head is just full of this fuzzy sensation where nothing can get in and I’m just staring at the floor in front of the witness stand while this kid tells the court how his injuries have changed his life and he daren’t leave his house and he can’t play sports no more and all this and I’m just staring, waiting to be hung. Then there’s no evidence left to give and the Judge tells me that what I did was depraved and it warrants a strong sentence and then he says 8 years and I feel the room just swallow me whole and I’m just sat in this pit of despair, powerless to change the course of my life and I think about how I only had five-hundred words left of my dissertation but now the deadline’s passed and I missed it but what does that even matter cause now I’ve gotta learn something new, I’ve gotta learn how to survive in the big house. Suddenly I’m jolted back to reality and everyone is leaving the courtroom and I’m still sat there and my lawyer tells me not worry because he says I’ll be out in 4 on good behaviour and I’m thinking about how much I hate him for saying that because I’m not even thinking about 8 years man, I’m not even thinking about one week, I’m just trying to stay in this moment while it lasts, focus, then I’ll think about getting through one night in hell and I don’t ever want to think about 8 years or 4 years or 2 months or anything like that because if I do that then I won’t just lose my freedom, I’ll lose my mind.
So, I take a breath, breathe, and another one, deeper this time, and I focus on right now. Then the officer leads me out of the court room and into the back of a van, ready to begin the first day of the rest of my life.