Ryan Slie wrote this piece of fiction to the prompt “Not on the Team.” Listen to Ryan read this piece aloud on episode 50 of Take Note. You can find much more of Ryan’s writing at his web site, Fancy Chimpanzee.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I’d like to thank you all for taking the time out of your busy schedules to afford me a fair trial,” Harvey began. Donovan Harvey, along with his team of passionate but inept hooligans, had been accused of armed robbery. Harvey had chosen to represent himself in his trial and was making his closing arguments. “I want you all to know I consider you my peers,” he continued. “The facts, testimony, videos, and eyewitness accounts we’ve seen and heard this afternoon were impressively presented. I’d like to congratulate the able prosecutor on a job well done. As I mentioned earlier, my memory of these events is spotty, at best, so today was really helpful for me.
“If it pleases the court, I’d also like to apologize to my associates. I can see now that this was all my fault. Gentlemen, for the record, this one is on me. Choosing to go in there armed with Civil War era weapons was a mistake, and that certainly isn’t on any of you. That was my idea. I thought it would be kind of cool and retro. It was impractical. When you shove a pepperbox revolver in someone’s face, they’re more likely to ask you what it is than fear for their life. I mean, sure, I did ask a few times if Jerry could borrow some shotguns from his uncle, so we could use those instead, but that doesn’t change how I feel about it.
“Another thing--planning the heist using blueprints for the wrong building certainly didn’t help. You guys did the best you could under the circumstances. Had I pulled the right file, this whole thing might have gone another way. I’m not going to sit here and blame Gordon because he was in charge of the plan and never noticed the address didn’t match. He trusted me and just went with it. I couldn’t have expected him to look at the front page.
“Also, attempting to count the money right there on the spot was an unnecessary risk. I see that now. Trey, you’re horrible at math and I never should have asked you to do that. You were only supposed to take the money and get it to the car like Gordon planned, and I had to complicate things. That doesn’t excuse the fact that you insisted we use Waze to track the cops during the getaway, but even that ridiculous idea wasn’t as bad as Jerry’s driving. Seriously, Jerry, I still can’t believe you tried to drive on the railroad tracks after you blew the tires accidentally jumping the median, but I’m still proud of you.
“I am proud of all of you. When Gordon first came to me with the idea to rob the Planet Hollywood, I thought he was out of his mind. You guys nearly pulled it off! In closing, I just want to say I’m sorry to the proprietors of Planet Hollywood, who were unable to join us today, the City of Orlando, and my life coach, Barney. I can and will do better. Your Honor, I rest my case.”
The trial was swiftly concluded, the jury dismissed, and Harvey was taken into custody. In the end, Donovan Harvey was sentenced to serve only a fraction of the time given to the others after their subsequent trials. His decision to accept a plea deal, but openly testify against his co-defendants rather than provide a written statement, was the first of its kind. He was released the following spring and lives in Tucson with his wife, Dottie, and their two kids.