Speeding - part 5: Probation and Revenge by thadeusz
Joshua was waiting for me with the old clergyman. He introduced him as his father. He also offered to take me to work with him and I accepted his offer with pleasure: I liked being a carpenter and … Ruth was really a nice girl.
Joshua and I worked very hard. We were making roofs, windows and sometimes stairs or a whole house. After 6 months, I suggested to my boss and now friend to hire Kim who was now free, but also with a long probation. Joshua accepted because we had loads of work. Kim was glad to have that opportunity when he was freed and he behaved perfectly well.
Immediately after leaving the Hard Labor Camp, I decided to regain every hair I had lost. I let my hair grow as long as possible, and I grew a long beard like that of Joshua and his father.
Every month, I paid a visit to my probation officer who had nothing negative to say.
After about a year, my hair had really grown but Ruth did not like it. So she gave me a kiss and made me promise to go to the barber. It was my first visit to a barber since I had left the camp, so I asked Kim to come with me. There, I decided that since had to be a completely new part of my life, I needed a completely new haircut. I asked the barber to give me a nice H&T. He did it, using first his clippers with to give me a very short one on the sides and back I then asked him to give me a real short one on the back and side, using clippers with no guard. He used then his clippers with guard to create the nice upper part. It was short, as i had required it, but I did not look like a prison bird. The barber went through the pushing, pulling and turning movements he needed, but these movements were nothing compared to what I got in Hard Labor Camp. I went back there every other week. The same Barber also trimmed my beard, making it short and collar like, but I could not have a mustache … because Ruth did not like that for our kisses. Kim got the same haircut as me, without the beard. I was now a full member of Joshua’s father congregation, despite the fact that I was still not convinced of the existence of God.
You probably guessed that even before the barber episode, what was expected happened: Ruth and I were in love, we lived together and we got married. It is Joshua’s father who married us and the Captain, Sam Carlisle, who served as my best man.
Everything was perfect except for one thing: I was not allowed to drive a car and this was a problem for my job since Joshua had sometimes nobody else than Kim to do two special deliveries simultaneously.
My probation officer told me that he could not do anything, except going with me to the Judge (still the same) and asking him to change his sentence. Joshua told me to avoid that move since the Judge was really a bad person.
I felt much stronger and decided to go anyway. The Judge told me that since his decision to cancel my driving license was linked to my first sentence, he wanted to judge me while I was back in prison uniform and in shackles. This time, I was ready for his attitude and I objected that I served my time and that I was now doing everything that he had required for my probation, except that the non-driving order made it more difficult for my boss. The Judge did not want to hear this and ordered a guard to arrest me. That’s when my joker came out of his box: I had come accompanied by a lawyer who said that the Judge’s behaviour was unconstitutional and that he ordered him to let me go free to a higher court. The Judge objected that I had agreed, like all the people he Judged, to consider him as "only and sole Judge", but the lawyer replied that this offer made by the Judge was precisely unconstitutional. He added that if the Judge wanted to place me in jail, even for a second, he (the lawyer) would make sure that the Judge landed rapidly in Hard Labor Camp for high treason. That was enough for the Judge who let me go, but without giving me my driving licence back.
My lawyer took my whole file to a higher court in the State Capital. There, my whole sentence was canceled on the basis that the Judge’s offer was unconstitutional. I was given a certain amount of money for my car and for the money that I had with me on the day of my arrest, but nothing for the 3 years I spent in Hard labor camp, since I had "defended myself in a stupid way and, had accepted an illegal sentence".
The main thing was that I got my driving license back, but moreover that I was no longer an ex-con, simply a stupid guy who had accepted, by sheer ignorance, an illegal sentence. All that pushed me to enter local politics and make a big campaign in favor of education, including compulsory education for detainees. The Captain was one of my main supporters.
A few years later, the Judge was subject to reelection. He was convinced that he would be the only candidate and thus would easily be re-elected. Joshua reminded me that I had dreamed to become a Judge: here I could become a local one. I made a campaign based on the principle that we should not only punish the criminals, but also try to make them better in order to avoid further problems. To my great surprise I was elected Judge by a huge majority. I took the oath and tried to serve my community to the best of my ability.
Joshua is now grandfather of a little boy whom Ruth and I named George, like my father. Kim accepted to be his godfather and does a good job with the little boy. We hope that the second baby will be a girl.
I spend part of my time working as carpenter, and part (in fact most) of my time working as Judge. I have taken all the old files and whenever possible I send them to the superior court asking them to approve my proposed cancellation of an excessive punishment. Kim’s sentence was reduced but it could not be canceled completely since he had actually tried to steal money, but for an good reason which was taken into consideration.
I never suggest to people I have to judge to accept me as "sole and unique Judge" : I am not God and they have the right to ask a superior court to reexamine their file.
I still go every other week to the barber, and every time I have a small regret whenever I see his mustache.