"Now everyone feels my rage!" I proudly proclaimed.
I was surrounded by reporters as I was being taken in for my first day in court. They were condescending in their questions, filled with smug superiority, secretly loving it that I showed no shame or remorse for the killing of Debby, a rich white woman, by me, an embittered, resentful homeless loser. For many, it was their class warfare nightmare come to life, a particularly thorny issue with the growing inequality of ultra-pricey San Francisco.
The airwaves were having a field day.
"I hope they hang him twice! We can't have that sort of element in our beloved city. They'll ruin everything if you let them! Can't be too hard on someone like that."
"He couldn't make it in his life so he had to take hers. What a sad, pathetic person! Why can't people just mind their own business!"
"If this town isn't safe for rich, white people there is no hope! We are the essence of San Francisco and we are being victimized by the oppressive poor!"
The wealthy elite even staged a protest driving their Ferraris, Maseratis, and Bentleys through some of the poorer districts, cursing the "resentful losers" who came out to gawk at them. Women protested me as just another male abuser - and one more reason why Hillary lost due to misogyny. Conservatives crowed I was the perfect example of why we need to lower the minimum wage so everyone can have an esteem building job making rolls at Hardees at 5 in the morning. Like I said, I was all the rage.
Fuck 'em, and the horse they rode in on. I alone know my truth.
If only I could have held up a mirror to the ugly faces I saw. No one respected me so this was their big chance to show me their ass without fear of retribution. One got the feeling they wished this happened every week where a homeless man beats one of the privileged few and throws her off the Golden Gate bridge. Rare was the soul with nothing to opine on this crime - a crime which, in reality, had nothing to do with them. Or did it?
On one hand I was completely helpless as my fellow man imprisoned me and deemed my life worthless. Not even Jesus could escape the wrath of the mob. One is completely forsaken, no force in the universe exists that can help. Don't believe any person wrongfully imprisoned who is later set free who says "God" got them out. Your fellow man put you in, only your fellow man can get you out. That's asshole God's rules. But most people don't have to directly face that horror like I did in that moment.
On the other hand I was the puppet master as all these crazed busybodies hung on my every word. Their faces lit up like a child at Christmas when I told them I had no remorse and no regrets over what happened. It was that Aha! moment where they felt totally free to demand I live my life as they say. I would drop phrases like "She's glad she's dead" and "You people should mind your own business" and "You wouldn't care as much if she'd been poor and black." I'd say these things and they'd magically appear as headlines next day in the paper. I owned them.
The state was being clever in having a woman as lead prosecutor which would in their minds highlight the vulnerability of women to men. As she got up to make her opening demonization remarks I had to admit I didn't feel there wasn't one person who didn't need or want me to be as big as monster as possible. Monsters sell! They are treasured scapegoats for an ill society. I actually smirked to myself thinking how hilarious it would be if I were to show "Trading Places" as my defense and that I'm simply a product of my environment. I could just imagine all the apoplectic seizures of the self-righteous who assumed my responses were as self-serving as theirs!
Naturally, that smirk made it onto the front page the next day with the predictable ensuing uproar.
"What I'm going to prove is a pattern of anti-social behavior leading up to a vicious murder of a wife and mother of two children. A Christian woman without blame or guilt who was sought out, stalked, and then brutally attacked in a final fit of rage. And why the rage? Because this beast took out his own inadequacies and frustrations on a woman of whom he knew he was not worthy. If he couldn't have her nobody can!"
I could see the blood boiling in the jurors' faces. Debby's family was seated in the front row ready to pounce on me in vile hate. Idiots. They never knew or asked of my feelings for Debby. But they were ready to give me control over their lives, doing nothing but uttering my name in bitter agony instead of moving on. They said they wanted justice but their faces spoke a different story. As lead attorney for my defense I only had one word in response for my opening statement.
The following day I listened very patiently as the state made its case, telling my story of unrequited love, of how my life had fallen apart, and that I wrongly blamed her until I followed her around San Francisco and committed the ultimate crime. When the state rested their case the courtroom actually applauded! Somehow they felt that my guilt would bring them salvation. Funny. No one was laughing when I took the stand.
"First off, in my defense, I'd like to ask that I be treated like your homeboy Wells Fargo who routinely rips off millions of people with no meaningful consequence whatsoever! Can't I, huh?"
Well, that went over like a lead zeppelin. I even got a rebuke from the sanctimonious judge.
"You people want the truth? You can't handle the truth! All of you - every one of you - should go home and mind your own business and stop sticking your nose into my life. If your lives were as righteous as you say that's exactly what you'd be doing this very minute. There was a Southern black woman, an unsung hero of all time, whose son was lynched and murdered by a gang of whites in the Sixties. One of the killers came to his senses afterwards and broke down on the witness stand, apologizing to the boy's mother, asking how she could ever forgive him. Her reply: 'Son, I already have.' The entire courtroom was bawling."
That calmed the flames for a bit until someone threw that first rock. "No one's going to forgive you, asshole!" Then everyone applauded their hate again. No wonder we have the President we have.
Then I dryly motioned to my defending attorney. "Show the video."
"Who is that? What are you doing? Go away!" It was Debby's voice as I approached her with my handheld camera. I stopped several feet away.
"It's me, Harry."
It was early in the morning around 3 AM on the cold, windy walkway of the Golden Gate bridge. She paused to process what I'd said.
"What are you doing here? Get away from me, freak! I never wanted to see you again!"
"Why? Don't you have the perfect life? How can I do or say anything that could possibly mean anything to you?"
"You can't! So go away. And I don't have the perfect life."
"Looks perfect to me! You've got everything! You're a one-percenter."
"I've got nothing! I did nothing. I only made my lifestyle better, not my life. No one loves me! How can they? They don't even know me. Lie, lie, lie! That's all they want me to do. I can't take it anymore. I want out. I need out. I can't believe you showed up after all these years at a time like this. God, where are You?"
She was hysterical, breaking down from decades of disbelief.
"Run back to your parents until you get things sorted out."
"Are you kidding me? They're hardline religious conservatives. I can't tell them I'm unhappy with my life. They'll just throw a Bible at me. I already tried that, it doesn't work! I tried everything and it doesn't work. No one supports me. I can't tell anyone my feelings."
"Neither can I."
"Oh, what? So you are my savior? Look at you. You look like hell! You're sick with stress lesions I can see from here. You're gross. You've always been gross. God has betrayed me!"
"You're the one who said I didn't need you - not the other way around. What do you think 'need' means? That I'd come out OK?"
"I'm not responsible for you!"
"No, just for you. I've been carrying this feeling of unfinished business between us ever since Florida. You know that! That's why I'm here now."
"Shut up! Just shut up! I don't want to hear any of this. I'm ending it right here and now!"
"Don't be so dramatic. You've still got your family for support. I'm the one with no one and nothing."
"That's a joke! They don't support me. Everyone uses everyone. It's dog-eat-dog in that house but no one says a word! I told you before I had problems with selfishness. My whole marriage - my whole life - was based on selfishness. I'm nothing now. I've nothing left to give. They don't have any use for me. It's over. I'll die before I get exposed!"
You could hear the wind noise on the camera mic. I didn't know what to say to her. I also had nothing left to give. With a California divorce she'd end up with millions and could start her life over. That was the thought inside my head. But she knew that already. She simply did not want to admit her self-betrayal. In a Hollywood movie I'd be the hero at this point and carry her away. Neither one of us had the nerve to make that leap of faith. So she made her own leap into the cold, killing water below.