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|Picture Proof (standard:drama, 3203 words)|
|Author: Joe Edwardson||Added: Feb 24 2002||Views/Reads: 1970/1363||Story 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? Tweet
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