School Zone

School Zone

Jack smashed the alarm clock. It was 6 a.m.

Jack, like every other weekday morning, rolled out of bed and poured himself some whiskey.

He drank so much whiskey so fast, by 6:45 he was hammered, according to plan.

Then, like every other weekday morning, Jack grabbed the keys to his prized ’72 LeMans, got in his car and drove around the grade school at 40 miles per hour. From the first to the last bus dropping off the kids, Jack sped around the block at twice the school zone’s speed limit. Once all the kids had filed inside, Jack drove home to sleep it off.

Around 1:30 in the afternoon, Jack woke up again and started on more whiskey. By 2:30, like every other weekday afternoon, he was hammered and jumped in his slick, Alpine Green LeMans to race around the grade school again – this time as all the kids filed back into the buses or walked through the crosswalks on their strolls home.

Jack’s practice of getting drunk and racing around the school went on for years, until the afternoon he got so shitfaced he plowed through a group of children in the crosswalk.

Jack was arrested and sent to prison for aggravated vehicular manslaughter. Given the horror of the incident, the judge slapped Jack with the maximum sentence for each death, to be served consecutively.

Years later, at his parole hearing, Jack was asked if he regretted his actions and their consequences.

Jack replied, “No.”

“Why not?” the judge asked.

“I was the victim of circumstance,” Jack said.

“What circumstance?”

“Bad luck.”

“I’m having a hard time following,” the judge said.

“It’s like when a house gets struck by lighting,” Jack said. “Most houses don’t get struck by lighting. So when one does, it’s a matter of bad luck for the house and its occupants.”

“How was your luck so bad?” the judge asked.

“I musta circled that school thousands of times, drunk as fuck and speeding. And in all those years of lapping around the school with all those kids about, nothing ever happened. Then, that one time, bad luck struck and something happened.”

“Like a house getting struck by lightening?” the judge asked.

“Exactly,” Jack said. “The house was a victim to the circumstance of the thunderstorm passing through.”

“But you were drunk. You never considered that it was good luck that you never struck a child before that unfortunate day?”

“No,” Jack said. “Not running over a kid was normal. I avoided it thousands of times, so it was nothing special. Either good or bad luck are special events, not the norm.”

“You feel no remorse, Mr. Ross?”

“I feel bad about what happened to those kids,” Jack said. “But as far as I’m concerned, it wasn’t my fault. It was a matter of bad luck for them and for me.”

The judge said she’d heard enough. She slammed her hammer. She denied Jack’s parole without any qualms.

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