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Prompt #1

Updated: Nov 29, 2020

Once a day. Once a day it happens, the intrusion of myself upon myself. I’d imagine this happens to everyone, it must, right? Everyone remembers the wrongs they committed. Though we all try to block them out.

To the outside world I’m a person whom you could trust, an upstanding citizen, some might go as far as to say noble. But once a day, at least once a day it happens. The realization of who I really am, or was. How could a noble man do those things? And why do they haunt me still?

I don’t understand it, nor do I figure I ever will. The things that haunt me are far from my most atrocious acts. The thought of intentionally killing my sister's hamster as a child never burdens me. Yet a memory from that same age, the thought of asking the neighbor why he had not received any presents on Christmas when I knew his parents had been out of work for quite some time, came to me just the other day. I have empathy, I am sure of it. In moments when it is required I rarely don’t show it.

I’ve been told the measure of a man is how he feels when he is alone. But does that mean I am ninety-nine percent good and noble? It’s only once a day, once a day when I remember the un-favorableness of my past. Or is it worse, is it much worse? Is once a day not enough? Surely, I have done much more, much much more. If I sit and think, truly think I can remember much worse than what haunts me. So why do they haunt me?

The last time I tried, I became too sad to try again. I was a young man, big enough to possibly stop it but smart enough to just watch. Father used to drink before he passed. Always alone. I can’t imagine he had any friends, I never saw him with any. There he sat watching basketball, rooting for the infamously bad New York Knicks. We were upstairs when we heard it, my sister and I. It was my mother, screaming at the top of her lungs. Down we ran, knowing what we were walking into. But this time, this time seemed different. Her screams were louder and her voice sounded actually freighted. Hence why we ran.

At the bottom of the stairs we saw him with his hands around our mothers throat. My little sister braver than I yelled, “Daddy, stop!” Over and over. But me? I froze too smart to move a muscle. I knew one step would mean I was next, and even then I was far too smart for that. I never saw my mother after that, I wanted to go to the funeral but something held me back.

Once a day, at least once a day I have a fleeting memory of something that haunts me. But not once has it been my mother. If I could do it again, I would have stopped him, for her, I am sure. I even imagine if I had I would not be here, speaking to you.


Your honor, it is my professional opinion based off the recording that you just heard that the defendant is suffering from copious amounts of trauma. That he truly can not recall his actions and further I believe he was tinkering on insanity when he committed these crimes. I recommend that he be sent to a mental asylum rather than prison.

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