Carlos Mendez was a thirty-two year old alcoholic with nothing to his name but his father's old pick-up truck. He didn't have anything to lose, and hadn't wanted to put in the effort into gaining anything. His beard had grown longer, as he'd gone days without shaving. His dark black waves of hair were sticking up, and his breath had smelled of whiskey and smoke constantly for weeks.
On Friday, August 21st, he was cruising down a back alley. It was starting to get dark outside, but the weather was still hot and humid as most summer evenings in South Carolina. Carlos had had a pretty rough day, having been fired from his third job in six months. He began to grimace as he remembered the conversation he had with his best friend earlier that day:
"Are you out of your mind? It's time you got your freaking life together, Carlos," his friend Emmet had screamed at him. "NOTHING matters to you anymore, at least not anything better than that bottle in your hand. You're a grown man, for heaven's sake, and I'm worried about you! I don't want to lose you, not after everything we've been through!"
This was rare; Emmet had always controlled his temper. He had grown up with an angry, abusive father and had always been rather quiet and subdued. Carlos was surprised by his friend's outburst, and wasn't sure how to reply. Truly, he was grateful that someone was watching out for him, but that's not how it came out.
"Who do you think you are? I can make my own decisions, thank you very much! You have NO place telling me who to be," Carlos spit out, caught off-guard.
After that, it was all a blur. Carlos was hoping that Emmet would keep going, trying to convince him to do what was best, so he could say yes. But Emmet was so fed up that he just walked away, mumbling.
Thinking of the conversation made Carlos feel sick, so he tried not to think at all. He tightened his grasp on the wheel and stared straight ahead. It seemed that everything he did, he always screwed up. Emmet had been there to lift him up, make him keep moving. And, now, even he was gone.
Suddenly, he felt squeamish and nothing could suppress his growing anger, frustration, and disappointment. Memories flooded his mind: his mother leaving one day and never coming back, his dad lying unconscious on the floor, crying alone as a boy. Everything he had ever done wrong came back to him in a rush and all he felt was depression. I just can't take this anymore. Whose fault is this? he thought. He knew, of course, that he only had himself to blame.
All of the sudden, life just wasn't worth living to him anymore. Thinking of all the misery life had given him had made him realize that nothing was worth it; that all there was in this world was pain and suffering. He wanted to scream, he wanted to tell everyone that life was not worth anything, nothing at all.
My sister, Autumn, was taking a walk, away from our ratty apartment building. She had wanted to get out for a while, like she normally did. She never should have never been walking down that alley way. Autumn was only eleven, after all.
It was 7:32 PM when Carlos Mendez, the man I have hated ever since I heard his name, fired the gun that killed my sister.