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  1. On this day 20 years ago Paul and Mary were happily married. When I say happily married I mean as happy as you can be when you marry for the wrong reasons Growing up in the Bible Belt and having children out of wedlock was not something that was encouraged. So with the Kids off to college, all that was really left of the relationship was a piece of paper and God's eyes? As Paul was driving to work, a thought occurred to him. He knew how to pay of his outstanding gambling debt! With the kids gone, and the in place perhaps it was time to get a new start.

    Rashard awoke to the cries of his 4 week old daughter sleeping in a makeshift bed next to the closet door. Diandra was already up with the formula bottle in hand, trying to comfort and feed the cold and cranky child. Glancing at the clock Rashard jumped out of bed, dressed, kissed his baby mama, and tenderly put his hand on his new baby girl Princess's head and went out the door. It was a cold crisp Rochester morning the night's snow was laying on the ground like a thick white blanket. "Its time to make these bills today," Rashard said aloud as he crossed Martin Luther King Blvd on his way to his little corner.

    Paul was sitting in his Cruiser drinking a scorching cup of coffee, with thoughts Just as dark. He had been on the force for 15 years, and had only become more distant, and more inhuman in dealing with the underbelly of society. With only a loveless marriage to look forward to after his shift. Tonight would be different though. He would escape to a new life, and a new world. He revved his engine, put his coffee down, and started his patrol.

    Rashard was standing on the corner with his shorties, now R-Cash was not a large or physically imposing man, but he had an immense presence, sort of the Napoleon/Alexander of the Hood. Slinging and hustling had been his reality since he had been in junior high school. He spent his entire life trying to feed his little brother after his mom died of an OD and his Daddy had gone to jail for life. Today would mark a crossroad for R-Cash.

    Mary was sitting quietly looking out the window, an invisible tear was moving down her cheek and her eyes were cold and blank.
    "Where is Jesus? I've been looking for him all my life but I feel like am not as strong as Job. My child is a blessing, but that blessing has left the house and I'm now alone with emptiness..."

    She stepped back to the kitchen as the alarm clock sounded. It was time to take the Roast out.

    Diandra was standing by the mobile heater trying to stay warm. The heat was off for the third time this year. Diandra was trying to stay warm, but she had a smile on her face thinking about the gift she had prepared for Rashard. It was their anniversary tonight.

    The two met at a retail store. She was a cashier. He came in to buy a pack of Newports and when they met eyes their future together was sealed. Love is a strange thing. It creeps up unexpectatedly but never trulyleaves.

    She was happy, she was in love, and she was freezing. A knock on the door came suddenly. Diandra was not expecting Rashard this early. She quickly went to the door. To Diandra's surprise a police officer was standing there.

    ["Good morning Ma'am,"] he said coldly. He continued "The reason I'm here is to search your premises..." he continued to look coldly toward the young women.
    ["You got a warrant?"]

    Paul got agitated and pushed Diandra. [He stepped] through the threshold. Diandra panicked, but continued to demand a reason for this intrusion. Paul took his baton and cracked the young girl on her head. Diandra fell hard to the floor but remained conscious.
    Paul was now beyond incensed but also a bit aroused. Paul had always been nice enough but was repressed man. Now that repression would culminate in [a] crime of the soul.
    After the dark deed he went into the bedroom, ripped out a section of drywall, and took the hidden stash. [He was] surprised to hear a cry from the corner of the room. Paul was horrified to see a baby laying there under a few blankets, but he was beyond the threshold of sanity. As he left the now quiet house, he went and sat in his cruiser and drove off into the cold afternoon.

    Rashard met his quota for the day, and started walking to the flower shop on the other side of town. He loved to walk the streets, and the cold air made him feel alive. He proceeded with a paced step, thinking of his soul mate and his new baby girl.

    He glanced over to the nice houses starting to appear. Someday he thought, someday. For him the game was only the means. He had saved money and planned to open a rim shop on Beverly rd.

    Suddenly he smelled the strong sent of smoke. A house at the end of the block was on fire. He ran toward the inferno and heard screams coming from inside. Rashard didn’t think twice before using a trash can. He broke through the glass porch door. Running inside he saw a a women bleeding on the floor, trying to crawl away from the blaze.

    He quickly ran to her, scooped her up, and together they ran out of the house into the cold snow. She held onto him, and after a brief pause she looked up into his face and uttered [one single word...]
    "Angel," before collapsing.

    The Ambulance and Fire Departments were on the scene in a short while. She was alive and he had saved her. Rashard picked up the flowers he'd dropped on the way in, and soon after was at his front door.

    He was surprised to see the door unlocked. Stepping inside he dropped the flowers, and his legs no longer could hold his body. Sharp pains shot through him. Rashard's soul had been shattered in two.

    Paul had received a phone call soon after, "Sorry to tell you but your wife is in the hospital under sedation she should be up soon". Paul was in panic.

    "I thought she was dead." He decided that he couldn't face the loss of his dream, and now he would have to go to jail. That evening hunched over his cruiser's steering wheel Paul Zinger was found dead with a bullet to the temple.