Saturday, August 30, 2014

4 humans, an ice cream cone, and an automatic weapon

by bob brady

illustrated by roy dismas

bradley robinson sat at his window and watched the world go by.

some of the things he saw, he approved of.

other things he saw, not so much.

there was one thing that really got to him.

there was this guy who walked past two or three times or once in a while four times a week.

he looked like a college professor.

bradley figured he was a college professor because he wore elbow patches on his tweed jacket.

and about half the time he had a big fat book under his arm.

but here's the thing.

you know what he was doing most of the time ?

eating an ice cream cone.

sometimes a candy bar or a doughnut, but mostly an ice cream cone.

can you believe that shit?

a grown fucking man, walking down the street licking a fucking ice cream cone like a little kid.

it pissed bradley off, every time he saw it.

finally he decided to take a stand.

he went to the drugstore and bought a gun magazine and he sent away for an automatic weapon and some ammo.

a real automatic weapon like freedom fighters use all over the world.

this baby had some fucking firepower, and could kill you.

he sat at his window and waited for the professor.

he waited for a dark, rainy day, when there wouldn't be too many people outdoors in the street.

finally the day came.

cold and dark and rainy, and here came the professor , licking his strawberry ice cream cone like some kind of subhuman monkey.

bradley put his weapon under his overcoat and went down the stairs and into the street.

the professor was two blocks away but bradley kept him in sight.

sure enough, he followed him to the edge of town, where the college started.

where all the cocksuckers who thought they knew everything lived in their ivory towers.

the professor came to a wide street and looked before ways before crossing it.

bradley closed the gap.

just before bradley caught up, the professor must have heard him because he started to turn around.

bradley whipped his weapon out.

"you've licked your last ice cream cone, you doofus motherfucker!" bradley screamed, and opened fire.

he cut the professor almost in half with his blazing barrage of bullets.

then he turned and walked away in the rain.

bradley wasn't stupid.

as much as he would have liked to keep the weapon, he took it apart and threw the pieces in the river that night.

it was in the paper the next day.

professor bradley johnson cut down by an unknown assailant on the outskirts of the campus.

it seemed weird to bradley that the professor turned out to have the same name as him.

it made him stop and think, like it was fate or something.

bradley was ready for the police, because he thought they might question everybody in the street where the professor walked by, or even everybody in town.

but nobody ever questioned him.

the case remained unsolved.

twenty-five years went by.

elena mae gonzalez was a detective assigned to cold cases.

one day, hannah baker, professor bradley johnson's granddaughter who was herself an instructor at the college, came to visit detective gonzalez and requested that she look into the case.

detective gonzalez looked into such records as could be obtained of all sales of guns in the town and five surrounding counties around the time of the shooting.

she found a record of the mail order sale of the weapon that bradley robinson had purchased three weeks before the shooting.

the type of ammunition used by the weapon was consistent with the cartridges found at the crime scene.

detective gonzalez, accompanied by detective martha marsh, visited bradley robinson, who was still living in the same room in the same house, and he confessed to the crime immediately.

"i always knew this day would come," he told them, as they handcuffed him.

although bradley pleaded guilty at his trial, the judge sentenced him to death, because of the "heinous savagery" of his crime.

everybody understood that, given his age and the slow process of executions in the state, the chances that bradley would actually be executed were almost nonexistent.

detective gonzalez and the prosecutor, jennifer martineau, expressed the hope to hannah baker that she would find some closure from the proceedings.