Talk about irony, four of us will get off because five of us are guilty. The teller knows us to look at us, or thinks she does, knows all five of us. She could point to anyone and be correct but the situation blinds her. She thinks four of us are here to be eliminated. That’s what the cops think, too. They only suspect one of us and it’s not me. The prosecutor wants a positive ID. Behind the one-way glass, he speaks calmly and touches our witness’s arm. She only wants to make everybody happy. I look down this row of knuckleheads I pulled the bank job with and I know this doesn’t register with them. They didn’t recognize the teller in the hallway either, when they brought us to this room, didn’t see how she looked at the prosecutor. They wouldn’t recognize her if she handed us another bag of cash. How did I hook up with them? There’s nothing to connect us except pure chance—well, and the fact that we actually did it. But the setup exonerates us. It’s as if they were citing Oedipus as an example of the Oedipus complex. The fact that we’ve been brought in to stand with the suspect makes us the only four guys on earth who aren’t suspects. But, still, we did let her see our faces. Faces weren’t supposed to matter with the plan we had. That day of the robbery one of us twisted his ankle. When we turn to face right and I stomp on the foot of the guy to my left and he stumbles, that’s more than just juicing the odds. It’s asserting the power of will. She sees him falter, catch his balance, and something clicks. It’s him, she says: Number four.

Copyright © April 30, 2007 David Hodges

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