A Common Tragedy: Part Three

(The setting is a small break room with scattered tables and chairs centered around a small television. In the room are three lab workers at the Livingston Crime Laboratory: Richardson, Daniels and Smith. They are eagerly watching the TV)

Television Reporter: With two weeks to go until the election, incumbent Senator John Livingston has come from a twenty point deficit to obtain a slight lead on his opponent, local businessman Rob Anderson. This is despite the incident a year ago in which Livingston was arrested and subsequently released for his involvement in the death of a young boy and the apparent suicide of his step-daughter. Allegations of murder and child abuse have subsided in the face of a booming economy. Most political analysts say the public at large has forgiven the Senator and that we can expect to see him in the state house for another six years…

(Cheering erupts from the viewers followed by high-fives and a few playful hugs)

Richardson: Did you hear that!? In the lead, I didn't know the man could do it. Man! I am impressed. (Gets up and turns the television off)

Daniels: I knew he could. He'll be back in office and before we know it, it's going to get a lot better around here.

(Enter Davis)

Davis: What the hell is going on in here?

Richardson: Ah, nothing man, we're just celebrating our man Livingston taking the lead in the polls. We're really routing for that guy.

Davis: Yeah, the place is named after him. I guess you would be.

Daniels: Yes, he is the man. Got us all of this cool gear, we have been busting criminals left and right lately…

Davis: It's amazing that more conspiracy theories weren't raised about tampering with his involvement in this place. It's a good thing you guys followed everything by the book or this place would still be crawling with feds.

(The mood changes in the room to a more sullen one, subtle lighting changes act thusly)

Smith: Yeah, right…

Davis: There isn't any truth to the rumors is there? I mean. Come on guys, I know you did things by the book, right?

Smith: Kid, how long have you been working here?

Davis: Five months.

Smith: Then don't bother with it because it doesn't effect you.

Davis: Whoa, whoa, whoa. I have a right to know the truth about the place in which I work. You said if I have any questions just ask. I have one now, what's the deal here?

Daniels: Ok. listen, four years ago this place was on the verge of being shut down. The state government saw no need to keep this lab up. All of the evidence that we process here could have been shipped to the main lab in the capital just as easily. Well, Senator Livingston stepped up to bat for us and, as a part of his "get tough on crime" bill, kept this place alive and even updated it.

Davis: So why didn't you use all of this equipment to nail him for his crime…

Smith: (holding back anger) Because, you don't bite the hand that feeds you…

Richardson: Hey, look around. We've got the best computers. Our own electron microscope, and even our own DNA testing lab. There are departments in other states wanting our help. We are easily the most advanced lab in this part of the nation.

Daniels: Besides, as soon as we lose Livingston's support this place will either be shut down and combined with the other, or they'll move here. Either way we lose our leadership of the lab.

Davis: Let me get this straight. You let a child abuser and a murderer go because he gave you some equipment and pledged his ever-loving support.

Daniels: We had to protect our jobs. It's hard to find work in this profession…

Davis: (furious) This is sick!! This is the biggest load of crap I have ever seen. I can't believe that people like you, sworn to protect the public let one of it's worst pieces of scum not only go free but back into public office.

Smith: (getting in Davis' face, shouting) You will be grateful for what you have you little snot-nosed punk! You come in here all holier-than-thou. You will not ruin what we have worked for, so sit down, shut up and enjoy the fruits of our deeds! Just be grateful!

Davis: (shoves Smith out of his face knocking him back a few paces) I will not! I will not be grateful for the gifts from a murderer. Why don't you just ask me to drink the blood of a child and treat it like it's wine! It's poison, it's all poison! Can't you see all your equipment and every case you win is tainted with the blood of two children! Don't you see how sick this is!

Smith: You will not ruin this for us! (charges in and punches Davis knocking him on the ground, begins to kick him on the ground while yelling) We've worked too hard for this to let some little twerp fresh out of school spoil it all! I'll kill you before I let you take it away! (He is pulled off by the other two men)

Davis (Checks his face for blood) I bet you'd get away with it too!

Richardson: (shouting) Gentlemen! Calm down! Settle down! Take it easy! (motions to Daniels) Get him out of here, we can talk to him!

Smith: (Being forcefully removed by Daniels) You and your God-damned ideals! You little college punk! When are you going to learn that you have to let go of them! When are you going to wise up! (Fighting harder as he gets closer to the door) There are murderers and thieves loose all over the country! The world isn't going to be ideal! Deal with it! (Is thrown from the room and locked out)

Davis: (shouting at the door) If we lose our ideals, the scum of the planet go free and rise to run the land you are supposed to defend!

Daniels: (calmly) Calm down now, we can talk about this rationally…

Davis: What's there to talk about?

Richardson: (calmly as well) Listen to reason, it's in the past. You had nothing to do with it and never will. It's over, it's said and done. Forget about it. In two weeks the people will elect him for another term, if the people still have faith in him he can't be all bad.

Davis: The reason the public still believes in him is because of the lies you've fed it.

Daniels: Listen in two weeks it will all be over, how about you take some time off to forget about this whole ordeal. Come on, it's paid time and I won't even dock you sick leave… You just need some time to get things into focus.

Davis: What is there to get into focus? Because of you guys, two kids are dead and the person responsible for their deaths is not only free but he is going to be elected again to public office.

Richardson: He's a very powerful man. He can help us catch many more criminals.

Davis: You're just using that as an excuse…. it's just something to make you feel good about what you are doing…

Richardson: No I'm not, with the equipment he got us we've caught criminals that might have otherwise gotten away. Because of this lab there are countless rapists, murderers and hardened criminals in jail that would otherwise be patrolling your neighborhood.

Daniels: Besides, think about it. Livingston's harmless, he's not going to break into your home, kill your children and rape your wife. He got put in a bad situation….

Davis: Yeah, he beat his step-daughter and killed a young boy. He sure was put in a bad situation.

Daniels: Ok, even we can't prove if he really beat his step-daughter or not. But she killed herself, that was her choice. Our evidence does show that Charles did attack the Senator first. The way we see it, anyone might have done what the Senator did.

Davis: You are trying to tell me that a handcuffed boy who is half the size of the Senator was enough of a threat to warrant lethal force. Please… this is nothing but a pathetic excuse. Who the hell are you trying to convince… me or yourself?

Richardson: (Getting in Davis' face) Listen, this is the real world. Look around you, this isn't college, boy. Criminals get off every day. We wanted to cut down on the number of perps that are walking. So, we made a deal with a demon. More equipment and more help will translate into fewer criminals walking free later on.

Davis: It also results in more money for you, doesn't it? (Richardson sighs and takes a few steps away)

Daniels: You just don't understand, this is a win-win situation. We win, Livingston wins and even society wins. The only people who suffer because of it are dead anyway.

Davis: Do you know how many late nights I've spent wondering if a corpse can feel. (Walks toward Daniels) Just because someone's dead doesn't mean they don't feel anything or don't seek justice.

Daniels: (looking toward Richardson) And you said the kid didn't have any sense of religion? (facing Davis) Listen punk… they're dead, you might as well forget them and move on with your life. Now get out of my face, kindly…

Davis: (very angry) First of all, just because I acknowledge that there's more to a person than mind and body doesn't mean I believe in a higher power. So, don't even drag religion into this, because I will shoot your hypocritical little ass right down. Secondly, what about the family… huh? That boy had a father and a mother.

Daniels: (trying to keep calm) You really are trying to push your luck aren't you? You know his parents loved Charles about as much as Senator Livingston himself. They just wanted to crap on him and kick him to the curb. They're probably glad he's dead.

Davis: So you think that makes it ok?

Daniels: (pauses) No, but it makes it an acceptable evil….

Davis: (explodes with rage) Acceptable in who's mind? Yours, his, (points to Richardson) who? You claim to believe in a God and here you are playing him! (Daniels goes to strike Davis but Davis throws him to the floor. Richardson tries to come from behind to grab Davis but is backhanded by Davis and sent to the floor as well. Smith charges in from the hall and manages to take Davis down but Davis slides to his feet before any further blows can be delivered)

Davis: (Yelling) Don't you see what you are doing? Don't you see how wrong this is? You are destroying the memory of two children just so you can get what you want in the world. Capturing more criminals and making the streets safer is nothing but a side-effect in your mind isn't it. As long as you have money in your pocket and a healthy retirement fund you are happy! You guys are so full of it! I just wish you could see it!

Daniels: (getting off of the floor) (yelling as well) Perhaps, but why can’t you see what a powerful side-effect that is. Believe what you want about us, but you can not deny the good it will do the world.

Davis: You people make me sick. The very sight of you makes me want to vomit. I'm out of here. If I ever smell the foul stench of this place again I may choke… (walks toward the door)

Daniels: (Just as Davis gets to the door) You walk through that door there is no coming back…

Davis: (Doesn't even turn around) Good, the last thing I want is a return ticket to hell (walks through)

Richardson: (to Daniels) Do you think he's any kind of threat to us?

Daniels: (checks for blood on his face) Nah, he's just some dumb kid right out of college. He won't even be able to find a lawyer to take the case. Trust me, we'll never hear from him again, except to pick up his last check.

Richardson: I hope you're right, that kid's got a fire the likes of which I've never seen…

Daniels: True, but fire is easily extinguished…

(curtain falls)

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One Response to A Common Tragedy: Part Three

  1. Enraged says:

    Its true that flame is easily exstinguished, just like the human soul… great chapter Raven.

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