It was not the first time that I had done this kind of business. Never would I think of doing this as a living but here I am, standing in front of the harbor at 2:25am in the morning, waiting for the next batch of shipments to arrive at the port. Sure enough, the ship had successfully passed the heavily marine patrolled area. It was an old dilapidated but reliable small cargo ship.
As it reached the port, a ladder slowly lowered down for me. Captain Mark greeted me with a weary smile and showed me the way to the cargo room. As he opened the door to the room, I saw many boxes piled up on one another. Captain Mark took out a crowbar and unlatched one of the boxes. Inside the boxes were packs of smuggled drugs from Mexico. "Well done, captain!" I said with a great sense of satisfaction. "So, where's the money?" asked the captain. I handed him over the briefcase and he quickly opened it. A crooked grin appeared on his wrinkled face, 10 million dollars at least. Quickly I sent out orders to my men, "Hurry men, and get these boxes into the truck!" They immediately loaded the boxes one by one into the truck that my boss had sent.
I got off the ship, making sure that the cargo was loaded properly. Then I looked at Florence, who sat quietly on a wheelchair beside me with a disagreeable look in her eyes. She looked rather pale and this really mad me worried. At childhood, she was inflicted with some kind of disease and her legs were paralyzed. I treated her as if she were my younger sister and I always took care of her. We grew up together in the orphanage home and she was one of the closest friends that I had. She is indeed beautiful and sometimes I asked why God hadn't been so kind to such a lovely girl like her.
As I looked back into her eyes, I asked eagerly, "What's wrong?" and observed her every reaction. She looked up at my face and began whining like a little girl, "This isn't right, Jesse. Why can't you do something that is not against the law? Why don't you choose other kinds of jobs as a living? This isn't right…" I knew she felt sad and disappointed in me. I felt that way too. I am a threat to the society, and a betrayer of my country. I make money through distributing drugs throughout US, making the people unhappy and disillusioned. I am the notorious black sheep of the society and am on one of the most wanted criminal lists in the police department. Usually I was speechless every time she raised these questions, but now I told her, "When I'm done with this, I promise I'll never do it again." Soon a smile appeared in her eyes, "You promise, Jesse."
"Yes, I promise."
But that was a lie…
It's 3.36 am in the morning, and all the cargo was almost ready to go. Then out of nowhere, police raided the harbor.
"Damn it! It's the police!" one of my men shouted.
"Let's get out of here!" I declared and lifted Florence out of her wheelchair and rushed into my car. I quickly sped off. Sounds of gunfire ripped through the silent night. Soon the sound faded away.
"Are you OK?" I asked Florence. She didn't reply. To my horror, I saw blood oozing out from her chest. I panicked. "I've got to get you to the hospital!"
"No, I'm fine."
"Fine? Are you crazy? No, I've got to send you to the hospital right away!"
"No, please! Don't! You'll be caught by the police!"
"Look, I put you into this mess and I'm responsible for this. You'll be alright as soon as you get to the hospital."
We didn't speak a single word after that. I just kept concentrating on the road and within minutes, we had reached the hospital.
Quickly, I brought her out of the car, rushed into the hospital and headed towards the nurse at the counter. "Nurse, she's shot. Save her!" I shouted.
Immediately, the nurse came out from the counter, shouting to the rest of the staffs, "Hurry, we've got an emergency case here!" A bed wheeled towards me and I placed Florence onto it, assuring her that she'll be fine. Then I stood and watched Florence being rushed into the emergency room. Suddenly, a policeman at the hospital approached me. Cold sweat began rolling down my back. I whipped out a gun, pulled a young doctor who happened to be standing beside me and threatened to shoot him if he tried to capture me. Everyone around me panicked and started running towards the exit.
"Quiet!" I fired a shot into the air hoping to keep the situation calm but instead I made things worse. People all around me screamed at the top of their voices, running like crazy, causing the whole scene to be in extreme confusion.
"Stay back or I'll shoot!"
The policeman couldn't do anything to help, as I had the young doctor as my hostage. Yet his eyes are fully focused and with a gun pointed at me, he insisted me to let my hostage go. I'm very aware of the situation I'm in now but the fear of getting shot is overwhelming. And if I'm not careful, he could pull the trigger on me anytime.
No chance. I shifted my gun and gave a shot at the policeman. As soon as he fell on the floor, I quickly snatched away all his weapons and his walkie-talkie. I soon noticed that he's not dead. I gave a few more shots at his arms and legs, only to keep him immobilized. Quite a gruesome act indeed but I had no choice.
Then there was only me, the young doctor in my clutch trembling with fear, the injured policeman, the doctors and nurses in the operation room and several patients there, who were possibly not bold enough to make an escape through the exit. Almost everyone had left the hospital. I saw some of the doctors and staff peeping through the glass panes on the door, shocked to see what was going on.
I was indeed desperate to get out of here, but I can't leave Florence alone. She needs me…
I shouted at the doctors, "Look, I've got no time for fooling around. Get on with the operation!" I dragged the young doctor along and walked into the emergency room Florence was in. I pointed my gun at each and every one of them in the room and shouted, "I said 'get on with the operation!'"
"Go ahead and kill us if you want, because if you do, she'll never have the chance to survive," said the young doctor struggling to get free.
"Shut up and do as I told you!" Still pointing the gun at them.
The doctors immediately got on with their work. I stood in the corner of the room and watched in agony as the operation was performed on her. Florence, I'm sure you'll be fine…you'll be…
It's 5.12am in the morning. I couldn't bear to watch the operation any longer. I dragged the young doctor into a semi-dark, unoccupied room just beside the operation room.
"Can you let me go?" insisted the young doctor.
"Alright. But don't you dare run away from me," I spoke in a stern voice and raised my gun. "Or I'll shoot you, along with your friends." I let him go but I still kept my eye on him.
"Why are you doing this?" asked the young doctor, obviously unaware that his speech might get him into trouble. He looked somewhat handsome; with dark black hair and a pair of bright looking eyes under the specs. He reminded me of the actor who played "Jesse" in the old sitcom "Full House".
"Why should you care about me?"
"I mean why are you doing this to yourself? Don't you know that you could have risked this girl's life doing this?"
I was taken aback by his sudden respond. He seemed to understand what I'm going through or possibly even more than I expected.
"OK, Carl. I never wanted this to happen in the first place, but I have no choice. Everyone seemed to push me into this situation. I never wanted her to get hurt. She's the only one I truly care about. I'm prepared to risk my life for her."
"No, you are the one responsible for putting her into danger. Obviously, you are the one pushing her into this situation if you hadn't realized that you're being selfish for choosing this kind of path."
I was speechless. Carl was right. If I hadn't chosen to be a drug smuggler, she wouldn't have gotten hurt in the first place. Then I remembered what Florence said to me that morning 'this isn't right, Jesse. Why can't you choose other kinds of jobs as a living? This isn't right…'
Then one of the doctors swung open the door widely and said, "Dr. Carl, we need your help. She's in serious condition!"
Carl stood up and said, "I'm coming over."
"Wait! I'm coming too." I told him.
Carl stood there for a moment and glanced back at me, "Please let us go. And please don't hurt any of my friends. We'll do our best to save her."
I paused. All of a sudden I felt a tinge of respect towards Carl. For a young doctor like him, he is indeed wise in every aspect. "Alright, I won't hurt you all. But remember that you and your friends are still my hostages."
Suddenly images of Florence waiting at the harbor in her wheelchair flashed into my mind. Those mere words this young doctor spoke to me kept reflecting in my mind almost unceasingly.
"Sir, you promise?" asked Carl, raising his voice.
Immediately, I was brought back into reality. I looked into his face and gave a big sigh and replied, "…I promise."
Carl returned a grateful smile.
Seventeen minutes later, I was still in the emergency room as I watched helplessly the doctors attending the operation. I just couldn't do anything to help. I looked through the glass panes on the door. The policemen weren't here anymore. All the patients were gone too. Now, I believed there were only Florence, the doctors and the staffs performing the operation, and me, left in the hospital.
Suddenly, loud police car sirens pierced through the night. I looked out of the window, and to my horror, I saw police cars all over the place. "We know you're still in there, Jesse Anderson. You are now surrounded. Come out with your hands in the air!" said one of the chief police officer over the loud speaker. I began shaking with fear.
"I guess you should better surrender yourself, Jesse," said Carl. "It's the only way."
"Who asked you?"
"Please listen to me. There is nowhere you can escape. The only way is to surrender yourself."
I looked at Florence as they slowly stitched up her chest. Sure enough, the operation was a success. However, should I surrender myself to the police?
No! I couldn't surrender. Florence needed me! I couldn't send her over to the police!
"I'm sorry, Carl." I grabbed him to my side, pointed my gun on his head and dragged him towards the entrance. "I can't hand Florence over to the police."
Carl turned pale, "Jesse, don't be a fool! You'll make things worse!"
I was in deep desperation and tears began rolling down my cheeks. He's right. I was indeed a fool. I never got things done right. I only made things worse…
"Jesse, you love Florence, don't you?"
I was taken surprise by his sudden remark. Again, he repeated his question, "Jesse, do you really love her?"
"Yes, I do! I do love her!" I cried in sorrow.
"Then why are you doing this to her? Please, for once, do something right for her!"
I just didn't know what to say to Carl. He was amazing as though he could almost read my inner feelings. "Y…Y…Yes, you're right. But I can't surrender now…At least I kept my promise."
I opened the entrance door and shouted to the police, "look! I've got a hostage beside me! I'll kill him if I'm forced to!"
"Jesse! What are you doing?" exclaimed Carl. Cold sweat began running down his back. "No, don't shoot!" he shouted to the policemen.
"Bang! Bang! Bang!" Three shots of bullets were fired. My breathing suddenly turned heavy. My whole body collapsed to the ground and my vision slowly blurred. I was shot.
"Jesse, why are you doing this to yourself?" grieved Carl.
I turned and look towards Carl and stammered, "I…I…I guess it's because… I love Florence. I was a disappointment to her. I never kept any promises. At least I kept a promise for her. P…Please tell her that…I still…love…her…"
That was my final breath. I am now nothing but a fragment of memory of the past.
Heavy rain began pouring from the dark sky. The police were glad that they had successfully freed the hostages. Carl stood there under the rain, watching over Jesse's body on a pool of blood. The chief police officer approached him with a wide grin.
"Well…well. It seems we've finally gotten Jesse Anderson – one of the most wanted criminals in New York City."
"Sir, why did you open fire?" asked Carl.
"Huh? You could have been killed if we didn't do so!"
"You shouldn't have ordered your men to open fire."
Carl instinctively took Jesse's gun, open up the loader and found no bullets loaded in there. He searched around Jesse's body and all the bullets were lying inside his pocket. "He kept his promise not to hurt us…" whispered Carl.