America by Hosho McCreesh
Today at work I learned that
America had been indicted,
Aggravated Burglary and Conspiracy,
for stealing $720 from
a lonely old man.
See, America called him up,
asked if she could come over,
implying something sexual
without coming out and saying it.
“Sure,” the lonely old man said,
“I’ve got a few beers,” and
American said she’d
be right over.
So the old man splashed on
some aftershave, Old Spice,
cracked a couple cans of Modelo,
America showed up, smiling nervous,
and sipped at her beer for a few minutes,
before unlocking the front door
letting two men in.
The men scared the old man pretty good,
“Where’s the fucking money, gramps?” they said,
and roughed him up a bit.
The old man looked at America,
“Just tell them,” she said, “these guys
So the old man gave it up,
and the thieves ran off with
all his cash.
When the cops showed up,
they asked the old man
how he knew America.
“She would never,” the old man said,
he’d loaned her money before, he said
he’d once given her father a job.
“She would never…”
The cops rolled their eyes
knowing the old fool
had been had.
“Did America know you always carry
so much cash?” the cops asked,
and the old man said nothing.
“How else could the thieves know?”
the cops asked, and even though he
still couldn’t believe it, the old man
admitted that it must’ve been America.
Meanwhile outside, America said
she couldn’t identify the robbers,
that she really wished she could help,
but that she didn’t see their faces,
she didn’t recognize anyone,
that she didn’t know anything.
So the cops made like they were gonna cuff her,
and America started in begging and pleading,
“But my kids!” she said, “my kids are
at home…alone! Please…please,
you can’t arrest me!”
So the cops tacked on more charges,
abandoning a child, two counts,
and America changed her tune,
“It’s not my fault!” she said.
Sure, she did it, “But they put me up to it.
I had no choice! They said they’d
kill me…and my kids!”
So the cops asked her
if she’d rat the guys out,
and she gave them up
faster than the meth goes.
The whole filthy lot were rounded up,
arrested, and no one would say
where the money was.
And when America got her phone call,
it was to some sucker ex-boyfriend,
a recoving addict who now installs
hot water heaters under the table.
“Jezus,” he said, but still he left his job,
pulled his child support money out of an ATM,
and bailed America out two hours later.
“I swear I’ll pay you back,” America said,
“every penny,” then kissed him on the cheek and
took off on him too, went on the lam, telling no one
goodbye, or where she was headed.
It wasn’t until five years later
that America was finally picked up
on the warrant, FTA – failure to appear,
and of course America
had been hiding out
in Las Vegas.
Still, we know how these things go:
the case was dropped,
DA said it wasn’t
“a strong enough case,”
that it didn’t warrant extradition,
that spending taxpayer money wasn’t
“in the best interest of justice,”
because that’s pretty much
how it’s always