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Picture Proof (standard:drama, 3203 words)
Author: Joe EdwardsonAdded: Feb 24 2002Views/Reads: 1941/1344Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Gary Martin is a regular middle aged man who gets into a car accident with a rich Hollywood superstar and suffers through the aftermath.
 



Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story

Don't you see the tracks where I tried to stop?" 

"Oh my God. You can't be serious!  Those tracks are from you skidding
out of control from speeding!" 

"Heh.  Don't forget that part when telling your side of the story.  They
might just believe you." 

I didn't know what was stopping me from tearing into him at that very
moment.  He might have been six inches taller than me, ten years 
younger, and in much better shape, but I could have killed him with my 
bare hands at any moment I chose, in under ten seconds.  I tried one 
last time to reason with him.  "Look, you big famous Hollywood son of a 
bitch, lets quit playing games.  You and I both know what happened and 
if you have an ounce of decency inside of you, you'll tell them what 
really happened." 

"Yeah. . .I'll tell ‘em," he said as he flipped open his cell phone and
walked away while punching in numbers.  Eddie called the police to 
report the accident and didn't say another word to me or even look in 
my direction until they came. 

"Wow.  A Viper.  That'll cost some big bucks.  Alright, guys, what hap--
Eddie Young!?  Wow, Eddie Young, I'm a big fan of yours," the policeman 
sucked up, never once looking at me. 

"Gee, thanks.  If you'd like an autograph, I got tons of pictures in the
trunk.  I'd be happy to personalize one to you even," Eddie said with a 
completely different personality than the one I had previously seen.  
This Eddie seemed like a swell guy. 

"That'd be nice.  Thanks.  But first, lets take care of the paperwork. 
What happened?" asked the policeman. 

"Well, I was just driving. . ." 

I was screwed. 

"Hear all about Eddie Young's Christmas fender bender, next on
Entertainment Tonight," I heard coming from the TV two nights later as 
I was in the kitchen preparing my chicken potpie.  I stopped in my 
tracks, glared at the Failure to Yield ticket that sat crumpled up on 
the kitchen counter, and made my way to the living room to watch. 

After coming back from commercials, the woman host explained. "Eddie
Young was in a small car accident two nights ago on Christmas Eve, in 
his small home town of Minot, North Dakota, while visiting family for 
the holidays.  While on his way to visit his father and ailing mother, 
a car to his right failed to yield, pulling out in front of Young's 
Dodge Viper, totaling it in the process.  Luckily, Young escaped 
uninjured and had these words to say earlier today." 

In disgust, I listened to Eddie's comments. "Yeah, I guess it's just one
of those things, ya know.  It happens.  You can't control the actions 
of others and you never know what they'll do.  Thankfully no one was 
injured." 

"Other than the poor Viper, that is. Ha ha ha!" The hosts continued to
laugh over the accident for a couple minutes until moving on to the 
next story.  I just turned off the TV, grabbed my potpie out of the 
oven, and picked up a phone book. 

"It sounds like you definitely got a bad deal.  I'm positive that, with
the proof you say you have, I could get it reversed for you and taken 
off your record," said my lawyer over the phone after telling him of my 
situation.  By the way, the proof I had of Eddie Young's being 
responsible for the crash was quite simple.  I took a few pictures of 
where his skid marks began and they clearly show you can't see the 
street from that angle, proving the fact that it wasn't my being in the 
middle of the road that caused Eddie to slam on his brakes and go into 
the skid; it was his speeding and nearly running into a parked car.  Of 
course I tried to tell the policeman about this, but he seemed more 
preoccupied with sucking up to the big Hollywood star. 

"Good.  I just don't want my insurance to skyrocket over something
that's not my fault, you know?  And I wouldn't mind proving Eddie was 
responsible so I could clear my name a bit."  It's true.  I didn't know 
the fiasco I was about to stir up by saying that.  I just wanted to 
keep my driving record clear and insurance costs low. 

"Hmm.  You know what, Gary, I think I just might be able to do a little
something more for you than just get the ticket turned around." 

"What's that?" 

And so it began.  My lawyer went on to tell me all about how I could
successfully sue Eddie Young and the Minot Police Department for mental 
anguish, defamation, and slander because of Eddie's lying about the 
accident and the policeman's ignoring obvious facts, causing the media 
to run my good name through the mud, making everyone think I was the 
one at fault for the accident.  Sound a little far out there?  It did 
to me.  I was a little upset over hearing about it on TV and everyone 
in town thinking I was to blame, but it wasn't a huge deal.  The 
insurance costs were my main concern.  But he went on to tell me how 
easy it would be to get a good settlement or even probably win if it 
went to court, throwing all these long intriguing numerical figures at 
me, until I finally caved in and said, "Yes, let’s do it." 

First thing was first; we needed to get the ticket reversed.  With the
picture proof I had, it was a piece of cake to win, proving Eddie 
Young's fault.  Eddie didn't even show up to court.  Second, we needed 
to notify the press that Eddie's unfortunate Christmas Eve night car 
accident that caused him to be a couple hours late to see his sick 
mother was actually Eddie fault after all.  When you can prove your 
gossip and don't charge anything, they eat it up, and the newsbyte 
quickly found its way on Entertainment Tonight and every other pop 
culture news/gossip source. 

By no means was this tiny piece of news treated as a huge deal.  It was
just a passing little slice of info meant to take up a couple minutes 
of airtime or a few paragraphs on a page.  The fiasco didn't start 
until the next week when my lawyer filed the defamation, slander, and 
mental anguish lawsuits against Eddie Young and the Minot P.D.  It 
wasn't long before everyone was talking about the lawsuit against Eddie 
Young; we became headline material and top story gossip after that. 

They tried to settle fast. 

His lawyer, forty years old, blonde hair tightly pulled back in a bun,
wearing a navy business suit, was confident.  "We know we can win this. 
 You can't prove my client was the cause of any defamation or slander 
towards you, nor, I bet, can you prove you've even been slandered or 
defamed.  But my client prefers to just get these types of things over 
with and out of the way before a fuss is made." 

She went on to offer a settlement whose lack of zeroes caused my jolly,
pale, brunette combover, middle age attorney to spit his water out.  
Literally, just like on TV, he spit it out, all over the table, before 
saying, "That is nowhere near enough.  You know for a fact we could get 
ten times that in court, despite your feeling on which way the decision 
will go." 

"Uh. . .Yes, well, we're willing to take our chances if you're unwilling
to compromise," she replied. 

For once, a lawyer was telling the truth.  Mine told me they wouldn't
let it go to court, no matter how much money they had to fork up, but 
that wasn't the case.  We had a couple more settlement meetings, one in 
which Mr. Young actually decided was worth his while to show up for, 
though he never said more than a couple sentences, but none of them 
produced a figure my attorney was happy with.  We went to court. 

It was a circus.  The media came out in droves to get a picture of what
Eddie Young would wear to court and to ask fifty questions at a time.  
It was even crazier inside the courtroom. 

"Have you ever been convicted of a felony, Mr. Martin?" Young's lawyer
asked while cross-examining me on the stand. 

"Um. . .yes, I have." 

"And what was that-- or those if there were more than just one?  Are
there multiple felonies?" 

"Yes." 

"Alright.  Please explain." 

"For narcotics possession in 1982 and assault and battery in 1989," I
said with a hung head. 

"And that's just felonies.  Let’s take a look at misdemeanors.  Whoa,
now, lets start counting.  One. . .two. . .three counts of possession 
in the last ten years, one. . .two D.U.I's, and one. . .two. . .three. 
. .six, holy cow, counts of simple battery.  Do you have anything to 
say about that?" 

"No.  I don't think anything really needs to be said about that.  That
was many years in the past and they don't apply to the current 
situation." 

"Yeah, I understand.  Four years, yeah, that's pretty much a lifetime
ago.  All of these assaults, fights you've started, are you proud of 
them?" 

"No, I'm not--," I was cut off. 

"Of course you wouldn't be.  So you won't ever be in another fight in
your life, will you?" 

"I can't say that for sure--," I tried to get out. 

"Okay, thank you, Mr. Martin." 

"You may take your seat, Mr. Martin," said the judge, and I slowly
walked to my seat, glaring at Eddie Young the entire time.  He smirked 
back. 

We made our case.  We brought in the psychiatrist I had been seeing for
the past two weeks before we started proceedings to tell the court 
about how badly the misinformation over the car accident had affected 
me.  With conviction he told everyone how depressed I was over losing 
all my faith in the Minot P.D. and being falsely blamed for an accident 
that wasn't my fault in the news.  It's funny, he didn't seem to 
believe me this much while I was actually seeing him.  He must have had 
time to think it over. 

We also had my testimony, part of which fell completely apart during the
end of cross-examination, which you heard a moment ago.   All in all, 
it wasn't a very good case.  It came down to a question of whether a 
person like me could be so greatly affected by a simple little car 
accident.   And then there was the star testimony from the defense, 
Eddie Young himself.  His lawyer asked him a few questions, but just 
one really created the shadow of doubt. 

"Mr. Young, could you please tell us your version of the accident that
occurred on the night of December 24th?" asked his lawyer. 

"Yes, I can.  I was driving to my parent's home for Christmas Eve
dinner.  I was going down 12th street, which is very curvy as we all 
know, and I didn't take into effect how icy the road was.  As I turned 
left on a curve, my car started to slide," he explained. 

"Were you speeding," she asked to clarify. 

"Absolutely not," Young perjured, then continued.  "I was going at least
five miles under the speed limit.  The ice was just too slippery.  I 
lost control for a few moments but I regained control before an 
accident occurred. I can't stress that enough; I regained control!  And 
this is where Mr. Martin took his pictures that supposedly proved I was 
at fault for the accident.  He took the pictures where I skid on the 
ice before, which had nothing at all to do with him.  I then continued 
driving for several feet before I saw Mr. Martin's car on the right 
hand side, perpendicular to me.  He, of course, had a yield sign and I 
assumed he'd yield to me.  I shouldn't have blindly trusted that he'd 
follow the law.  You never know what kind of person is behind the wheel 
of the car driving on the same street as you." 

"Thank you very much, Mr. Young.  No more questions.  The defense
rests." 

I'm telling you this story from a ten by ten jail cell.  I feel no pride
for what I've done but I will not apologize for it.  Everyone’s got 
their limit.  A person can only be pushed so far and that distance for 
me is much shorter than it is for most people.  How I got here is quite 
simple and you might have already guessed how. 

My case was dismissed.  The Minot P.D. and Eddie Young were both found
innocent of the erroneous charges brought against them. It didn't 
bother me too much, honestly, or at least I wasn't surprised.  The 
judge, jury, audience, and even my lawyer were all in awe over the 
presence of Eddie Young.  It was his show. 

Afterwards, I walked outside the courthouse alone, not even one reporter
by my side.  Most didn't know who I was and the rest were just chasing 
a pipe dream of getting some comments from Eddie Young.  Eddie was 
cornered at the courthouse doors, answering questions from the media 
such as "How do you feel about being cleared of all charges?" 

"I'm quite happy.  All I wanted was to clear my name and for the truth
to come out," he answered. 

"Do you think Gary Martin was just out for money or for the fame?" 

"I'm sure it was a little of both.  I don't blame him though; he's only
human.  He saw an opportunity and didn't have good enough sense to make 
the correct decision." 

"What would you say to Gary Martin if he were standing right here?" 

"Heh. . .nice try." 

I was standing right there.  He didn't see me. 

"Is there any truth to the rumors of you dating Gwenyth Paltrow?" 

"Ha ha ha. I'm afraid not." 

I couldn't take any more.  I attacked.  He finally looked in my
direction, we made eye contact, the sea of people parted, I charged, 
crashed into Eddie Young, and sent the back of his head flying into the 
cement wall behind him, leaving a small stream of blood running down 
the cracks of the wall.  I kicked him in the face too many times to 
count, crushing his head between my steel-toed boot and the brick wall 
each time.  Before I could lay in a satisfactory amount of kicks to the 
torso, the people from the media pulled me away, but not before I broke 
at least two ribs, I'm sure. 

And so here I am.  I'm the one who's in jail.  Can you believe it?


   


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