“When I grow up,” I told Grandfather, “I want to be a pilot, just like Slim Tyler.”
I was ten and had just finished a very thick book by Richard Stone, called Aviation Stories For Boys, in which Mr. Tyler had vanquished his enemies, righted aggregious wrongs, and demonstrated considerable backbone by displaying courage and pluck in the face of some pretty extreme circumstances, all while exercising incredible prowess and stamina as a “natural” pilot. These were all qualities I wished to see in myself – wanted to see in my future self, the one I was encouraged to extrapolate upon almost daily.
“I wish I understood it, " I told Grandfather a week or so before my trial, in response to his sad question as to why I robbed a bank. “It seemed like a smart thing at the time.”
I was 24, and already a career criminal. I did not set out to be a robber, nor a murderer. When the bank guard pulled his weapon, I fired. Simple as that.
If I had it to do again, I’d be a hero, not a villain.
Too late now though.