Junior Jacker

Photo By Osbornb via Wikimedia Commons

“Take your time, miss. Don’t worry; they won’t be able to see you.”

The detective flipped a switch. Five weary faces, illuminated by glaring fluorescent light, blinked in my direction.

“I’m strong,” I told myself. “I grew up watching Law & Order for god’s sake; I know how lineups work. I can do this.”

I was prepared to identify one of two men who carjacked me at gunpoint three days earlier.

I wanted him caught. Didn’t I?

“Take a look, miss.”

My fingers fidgeted with the purse strap hugging my torso. Unspoken questions rattled in my head:  “What if I’m wrong? What if I ruin a man’s life by mistake?”

“What if I don’t recognize him?” I asked, warily reviewing their faces.

“He may have purposefully changed his hairstyle,” the detective cautioned. “Or shaved his facial hair.”

“To disguise himself?” I asked.

“Exactly. A perp will do anything not to be identified by a victim.”

Victim. That word. In most areas of my life, I loved playing the victim. Poor me and all that. “Why aren’t I enjoying this?” I wondered. “I’ve earned it!”

Everything I owned was in that car – my Sony Walkman, running shoes and some cheap golf clubs. When two men, Perps Senior and Junior, tried to steal it, I fought back.

My gut reaction was fight! Good to know. Until Perp Senior ordered Junior to shoot me.

My first thought? “I’m going to get blood all over my car.”

“Shoot her, damn it,” Senior hissed.

Before Junior flashed me his gun, I looked into his young eyes. I wondered if it was my fear or his I saw reflected.

“Please don’t shoot me, please, please,” I pleaded, my words echoing in my ears.

“I don’t wanna to shoot her, man,” Junior responded, looking away.

“Junior didn’t want to shoot me,” I told myself. “He saved me. How could I send him to prison? He was scared, too.”

Junior was likely one of the men behind the glass in front of me. Senior was already in custody, caught with my keys in his pocket minutes after he ran away to the sounds of approaching police sirens. Junior outran the police that night.

“Where’s my anger?” I thought.  “A normal person would be angry.”

I couldn’t explain my internal conflict to the detective. He’d been kind to me; patiently explained each step of the process. He’d even bandaged my finger where Senior’s fury cut the flesh.

The detective likely attributed the tears trickling down my face to fear. I didn’t want to disappoint him.

“I’m not sure,” I whispered.

“I know this is hard, miss. We know we’ve got the right guy; his fingerprints were all over your car. Take another look,” he said gently.

I had a hunch about Number Three. His eyes. I wasn’t certain, and I couldn’t look at him again.

“I’m sorry,” I explained, bile rising in my throat. “I don’t recognize him.”

“Coward,” I chastised myself as I walked away.

I am linking up with Yeah Write for Week Five of their Summer Writer’s Series

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

54 thoughts on “Junior Jacker

  1. Wow I don’t envy you. How hard! What a terrifying prospect of being put into that position to have a person’s life in your hands like that, even one who did you wrong. I hope Junior Jacker changed his ways and straightened up his act!

    • Definitely terrifying and not something I’d like to relive. I was surprised by my feelings, given all my exposure to criminal justice, Law & Order style!! Thanks for commenting!

    • I like the word “sentenceless!” The entire experience was horrific, but the lineup episode surprised me. I expected that part to be devoid of drama or at least straightforward. Not for me!

  2. Goodness. . .loved this, and I would have behaved exactly like you. Or I may have invited all the criminals home to feed them soup and encourage them to drink some water lest they be dehydrated by their lives of crime. I was worried about Junior while reading this, just hoping you’d let him go so he could have another chance to be a good boy. I guess we’ll never be cops, but I bet we’re both very sweet mothers.

    • Thank you! I love your take on it, too! Poor, scared Junior … he picked the right girl to jump in terms of compassion, but ended up going to jail anyway. Bless his heart! I’m off to remind my girls what a kind, generous mom they have! 😉

  3. Yeah. This is for REALZ. Too many good things to mention. Everything everybody said up there ^^ (And now I must go because women’s gymnastics is AWESOME) 🙂

  4. I am so, so sorry you had to go through this. It’s truly amazing how people react when placed in extraordinary circumstances. You are a survivor. Let me know if you need to talk about this. I am happy to listen.

  5. Wow! That’s some “feel like I was there” writing. It really “right-sized” my inner victim, too. Riveting, humbling….I wish there were a few more chapters to read. I can’t imagine actually experiencing any of that or having the strength to put it into words. You’re amazing.

    • Thank you! I haven’t thought about the incident in years, yet when I was writing the post, I bawled three different times. I guess my body is still storing some of the feelings. Grateful to be letting go and for your kind words!

  6. This story is a great portrayal of how victims process and cope with the many different emotions that follow a traumatic attack. I think sometimes law enforcement and the law want everything to be neat and tidy, but people don’t work that way. Thank you for sharing your story. You were and are very brave.

  7. Holy cow — I have no clue how I’d react. I’d be terrified, though. I think i prefer my crime drama to not extend into my life… Many hugs for an awful thing…

  8. Oh, man, what a horrible position to be in. I just cannot imagine being held up at gunpoint. And then going through the whole line-up thing. Wow. You are very brave. I can really empathize with your feelings of pity for the “perp.”

  9. Wow! How scary! And I’m impressed with your ability to open up about something so personal. I like how you told it honestly and simply.

    • Thank you! I hope to keep writing simply and honestly – this Yeah Write experience has been fantastic – helpful and supportive. Happy I got a chance to tell this story and grateful for all the great comments.

    • Thanks, love. My empathy is blessing/curse – not sure which it was here ;-). Junior ended up doing jail time and my lack of id didn’t seem to impact his sentencing. Who knows. Grateful it’s in my past and at least I got a good story out of it! Hope you’re enjoying BlogHer!!

  10. I loved the line, “I wondered if it was my fear or his I saw reflected.” I really liked how you related your confusion…it made me equally unsure what was the right thing to do in this situation.

    • Thanks, I liked that line too (which made me wonder if it was something I should cut as our Yeah Write editors so often suggest: “kill our babies.” Glad I didn’t, I think!

  11. You had some seriously powerful lines in there, and this story hit hard.
    I was robbed at gunpoint once, and your words were so accurate in describing everything I felt.
    You did a great job with this one!

    • Thanks, Dawn! I appreciate your feedback! I’m sorry you went through something so horrible and am grateful you can relate. Do you still find yourself having feelings about your incident? PTSD? I thought I was through the feelings but found myself crying a bunch this week during/after writing this post.

  12. Incredible and so well written! I am so sorry you had to go through that, so scary! I didn’t think you were a coward. I was thinking you weren’t positive or maybe you didn’t want to be since he spared your life. I have the chills.

    • Thank you for you kind words! Truly, it was a mix of all those things. I wasn’t sure if it was him and I was terrified. It was one of those times when I felt really alone and overwhelmed by feelings. Thanks for understanding.

      Sent from my iPad

  13. It’s fiction, right? It’s got to be fiction because it’s so so so good. I don’t want to tell you how much I loved it if it’s true and you went through such an agonizing experience. You captured it exquisitely! But, since I know it’s true, I must also say this: What a horrific experience and memory. I hope writing about it was therapeutic.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words and support! you made my day! And yes, very therapeutic. I didn’t realize I still had tons of feelings about it so many years later. Thanks again!

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