Feature by Norman Levine

When the judge in a courtroom drama asks the defendant to rise…I get up from the couch. This is what happens from taking on the world. There is much to account for. Historians may well ask where were you, Citizen Levine, when your country napalmed Viet Nam, overthrew Allende, invaded Iraq and tortured prisoners.

It's bad enough that I swiped a deposit bottle from the back shed of a candy store when I was twelve and then brought it in the front door for the 2 cents. I also re-used an un-cancelled stamp once or twice and sneaked into a second movie at a multiplex. It's been a life of crime, I admit.

For those of us with a conscience even these misdemeanors weigh heavily and grow exponentially in the fecund soil of the unconscious. In my dreams I most often find myself in the shoes of an escaped felon even if I forgot what it is that I did. I'm tired of being the international drug lord, serial killer and embezzler. I'm ready to turn myself in and confess to every unsolved case on the police blotter.

This could be my shadow-self. That guy who has been following me behind the newspaper on the subway, that goon holding up the lamppost across the street at midnight. I could be that double-agent urban guerrilla who forgot my assignment.

May I approach the bench, your honor? I ask that the jury disregard these previous remarks. My client is given to delusions of depravity. If he fell asleep in Star Wars-3 and woke up in Star Wars-5 it was unintentional. As for his alleged crime at age twelve the records will show that he never was twelve. He skipped from age eleven to thirteen. Further forensics will reveal that it wasn't his DNA on those un-cancelled stamps. The defense rests.

The prosecution asks the jury to consider the accused acts of omission as well. In his near 83 years this country has gone off course and he did nothing to stop the skid. When we recklessly allied ourselves with corrupt scoundrels Mr. Levine merely whimpered in protest. Where was he when we kicked the hornet's nest in the Middle East, engineered coups, occupied sovereign states, assassinated with drones and violated the Geneva Convention? The chronicle of History will show he tacitly endorsed these nefarious acts by his vigorous inaction.

We, the jury, find the defendant shall be sentenced to another year of guilt-ridden dreams. He shall be haunted by every cardboard box at the off-ramp, be made to feel the sting of para-military police rage and the toxic tongue of dangerous fools.

Norman Levine's latest book, AND FURTHERMORE, was published IN 2018 and is available for $15 from Amazon.