Behind the soaring 40-foot brick walls that surrounded the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas, Jason Bauman stood out on the yard as he did every morning, admiring his favorite cat off in the distance.
Trigger was the name all the convicts gave this particular feline, and she was renown for mauling and pouncing the other cats that lurked about the compound. A reputation that was celebrated in a culture where violence and brute force earned you power and respect.
“C’mon Trigger,” Jason said as he pushed a bowl filled with mackerel out in front of him. “It’s chow time.” He clicked his tongue a few times until Trigger cautiously stepped forward.
To Jason, Trigger was just misunderstood; her violent outbursts and inability to get along with her species a result of her divine essence. In that regard, he felt that they were the same. Outsiders with special powers that others explained off as psychological impairments.
In his case, it was a diagnosis of schizophrenia. This included hallucinations from four distinct personalities, grandiose delusions that he was the star of America’s most popular reality TV show and had to constantly showboat for the cameras, and suffered from disorganized speech, specifically the repetitious stuttering of the phrase ‘Boats and Hoes.’
If you asked him, Jason would tell you that he was the inspiration for the iconic music video from the movie Step Brothers.
Either way, this would be his last time feeding Trigger.
He was due to be released later that morning, and had no intention of ever returning to prison.
Yet as he stood there and watched Trigger devour the bowl of fish, he couldn’t stop thinking about the question the young kid Booker had asked him many months ago: “Do you have a favorite voice?”
“Oh, that would be easy,” Jason replied to the curious kid. “That’d be Burt. The voice that tells me to rob banks.”
In Jason’s mind, the voices all battled for supremacy, fighting constantly for his attention. There was Taylor, the passionate animal rights activist; Jeff, the creepy pervert; Sam, the devout Marxist; and Burt, the aggressive bank robber.
Sure, he told Booker that Burt was his favorite voice that inhabited his psyche, yet in all reality, it was just a lie as the last thing he needed was to piss him off when he was this close to his freedom.
Time and again, Burt had sabotaged everything Jason had going for him.
He was an impudent voice that demanded his full attention, and often overpowered the others. Worse yet, he was the reason why Jason was in Leavenworth in the first place.
The doctors later told him that if he took his prescribed medications and worked with the psychiatrist, it would all go away.
“I wasn’t ready for that,” Jason whispered while lightly running his fingers across Trigger’s back. “They’ll never take the show away from me. I’m not getting canceled. Not only did the producers warn me about those evil doctors, but do did my dear friend Ivan. You should see him, stuck at that damn hospital for life.”
At first, he began the treatment with an open mind; but as time went on, he grew frustrated, even paranoid as the cameras began to retreat from his life.
“So I stopped taking all the meds,” Jason continued. He stood on up and looked off into the distance. “I cheeked em’ at pill call, then spit em’ on out. Now I’ll just have to learn how to manage them all … and keep everyone happy.”
For the first few months after his release, Jason was doing fairly well. He got a studio apartment in a nice neighborhood, had positive interactions with his P.O., and even landed a good paying job at a call center.
But every time he would hear a pretty female voice on the other line, Jeff would amp up his temptation in a highly charged sexual manner.
“Show me your titties!” Jason ultimately blurted out to an unsuspecting customer. “Let me tittie fuck you.”
A remark that got him fired.
The subsequent job hunt that followed was exhaustive.
Just when he thought he had nailed a job interview, he would shout ‘Boats and Hoes’ at the most inappropriate of times. Invoking an awkward and even contentious response that couldn’t be overcome.
When an opportunity to work at a meatpacking plant arose and his bank account was running dry, he was amazed that he managed to secure a job without an interview.
Which turned out to be a surprisingly good fit.
“I like to work,” Jason explained to his P.O., “it pays well, and it keeps me busy. This was the opportunity I’ve been waiting for.”
“I’ve read your entire file, Jason,” the P.O. replied. “You don’t think Taylor will interfere?”
“No, the meds are working. Taylor hasn’t been around.”
Jason knew this wasn’t true, and actually felt Taylor’s voice growing stronger each day. Constantly tempting him to liberate the enslaved animals and save them from their imminent demise.
A few weeks later, that temptation proved too strong, causing him to open the doors and free the cows the languished in a semitrailer.
“Be free my fellow Earthlings!” Jason announced to a slow moving heard. “You will not be slaughtered because of man’s immoral and savage-like carnivorous ways.”
Out on a job once again, he was able to make a quick rebound when a sympathizing environmentalist offered him a job at her family’s car dealership.
Taylor attempted to oppose, arguing that no true environmentalist would support the fossil fuel industry, but Jason took the job anyway. He was lucky not to have been charged and sent back to prison on a violation. Besides, he needed money and craved stability.
Initially, he discovered that he was good at sales. He even broke the dealership’s sales record, selling 38 cars during his first month on the job. His bank account had begun to swell and his P.O. loosened restrictions.
The only problem was Sam, the devout Marxist. Just like what occurred with Taylor at the meatpacking plant, Sam adamantly opposed capitalism and the bourgeoisie he served.
Jason desperately tried to weaken Sam’s power, but failed.
“You capitalist-loving pig,” Jason finally spouted at one particular customer, going into a full blown bourgeoisie tirade.
Before the manager could intervene, Burt managed to gain hold of his psyche and direct a growing amount of rage.
The cameras would love it, Burt asserted. A normal life ain’t for you. The show must go on.
Succumbing to the fierce power he felt when aligned and in union with Burt, he socked the customer across the face and knocked him unconscious.
While fumbling around in the man’s pockets for his car keys, he spotted a holster underneath his shirt. He unlatched it, and retrieved a sleek Beretta 9mm.
Keys and pistol in hand, he jumped into the man’s Honda and took off for the closest bank. Which just so happened to be the one he was a customer at.
“Mr. Bauman,” a pretty teller announced as he sauntered through the door, “how are you doing today.”
“Shut up,” Jason said, pulling the pistol out from his waistband. “You know what to do. Large bills, no dye packs, trackers. Let’s go.”
She nervously began filling up a bag with cash, when out of nowhere, Jason said, “Show me your titties!”
Frozen with fear, she replied, “Excuse me?”
“Just … just give me the money.”
Once the bag was full, he turned towards the exit until stopping next to a scared man in a three-piece suit. “Listen up,” Jason said before going into a detailed denouncement of bank elitism and oppression of the proletariat.
What are you waiting on, Burt’s voice echoed through his mind. The cops are coming.
Stepping outside, Jason watched as a grandmother approached the bank with two dogs on separate leashes. He marched towards her and immediately removed the prisoner-like restraint from the dogs’ collars. “They shall be free to roam this land.”
He stood proudly until hearing the raging sirens of three cop cars coming towards him. He then threw the pistol and cash into the Honda and waited for their arrival.
Their cruisers coming to a screeching stop outside the bank’s front doors, a group of officers hit the pavement and gave Jason an intense look.
“That crazy fucker is inside,” he said immediately, his hand pointing towards the building.
Heart beating uncontrollably fast, he was relieved when they nodded and disappeared from view.
“Okay, I can manage this,” Jason said to himself while driving off and looking back in the rearview mirror. “The show must go on.”
To read the next story in this series and find out what happens to Jason, click HERE.
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