Pondering His Future

Joshua sat on the stairs, gripping the railing and he wondered how his life was going to turn out.  Many things were bothering him, as his cousin just got sentenced to six years in prison for armed robbery and yes innocent people do get convicted.  It is estimated that between 2% to 10% of convicted individuals in US prisons are innocent.  Convicts that are proven innocent have served more than 23,950 years in prison, and out of 100 sentenced to death, 4 are likely innocent, but only 2 get exonerated.  Joshua was with his cousin Jake on the night in question when they entered the convenience store to purchase cigarettes.  The store camera clearly showed both of them leaving, but the clerk testified that Jake came back in wearing a mask demanding all the cash.  The police picked up Jake later that evening and he did have a gun on him.  Jake lived in the projects, and he always carried a gun for protection, as you never know what is going to happen there.

The clerk said that he was able to identify Jake by his voice and since he didn’t have any money, he got stuck with a public defender that was appointed by the court.  He seemed like a decent enough person, but he was overworked and underpaid and he had a large caseload, so he convinced Jake to take the plea deal that gave him six years.  Jake went back to his home after the cousins left the convenience store and he didn’t have an alibi.  Joshua felt bad for his cousin, but this was not the first family member of his to go to prison and it probably wouldn’t be the last.  Joshua had a job interview, so he put on his best clothes, because he needed to make money to help support his family.  He was applying for a position as a mail carrier at the post office and if he got this job, he could be making relatively good money.  Once he got in, he would have benefits and job security, but his resume was not all that impressive.

Joshua felt utterly helpless, although he kept praying that the world would give him some type of break, but he knew that God helps those who help themselves.  The news was filled with stories about protests that continued around the country against systemic racism and police brutality, and as a black American, Joshua felt fear, and anger and he was weary about all the tragic killings that were becoming so familiar.  Joshua didn’t want to be disrespected because of the color of his skin, but he needed to snap out of this disagreeable mood if he was going to have any chance of getting this job that he needed so badly.  He had to leave soon for the interview, so he wouldn’t be late, but first he looked at the play list on his phone and decided to listen to ‘The Middle’ by Jimmy Eat World, as that always made him feel better.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #132.

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