Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Uncles/Aunts (04/17/08)
TITLE: The Turning Point
By Bill Obenauer
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Behind two inches of bulletproof glass sat an officer drinking coffee and reading the newspaper. Tony walked up to his window, pushed the intercom button, and without making eye contact said, "I got a call about my boy, Frankie."
The officer let out a grunt in a futile attempt to express his disgust with the situation, but instead of verbally acknowledging Tony, he picked up a phone and said, "Hey Captain. Caruso's here."
The security device on the door buzzed and Tony was escorted down the hall to the Captain's office. He sat down across from Captain Craig's desk and heard the door slam shut behind him. Craig stood up and said, "I'm gonna make this short and sweet Tony. You should have been down here a dozen times already for this boy, but I always got him out before booking. This time, he got through. He should do time for this, but you've got friends who want it to go away. It's your choice, but understand this, if he walks, your family will be out of free passes. You got it?"
"Just let me talk to him before you release him," Tony replied.
The Captain led Tony to the room where Frankie was being held. Tony looked at his boy, hunched over and chained to a pole, and it brought back memories of himself as a teenager. This was not what he wanted for Frankie. "Frankie, son," he said.
But before Tony could get another word out, Frankie shouted, "Don't call me that! I'm not your son! You killed my parents. Don't you remember?"
Five years ago, Tony had been out celebrating two years of sobriety with a few friends when a congratulatory round of drinks arrived on the house. Knowing that this was the same type of situation that had cost him his sobriety the last time, Tony got up and called his brother..
From what the State Police could put together, Frankie was sleeping over at a friend's house, so his parents went together to pick up Tony. On the way, an oncoming vehicle slowly drifted into their lane. Freddie swerved to avoid it, but hit a patch of black ice and drove over an embankment. Frankie went to live with his Uncle Tony the next day.
Tony furiously flipped a chair across the room. The sergeant watching through the mirror- reversed glass stepped towards the door, but Craig motioned for him to stay where he was. With a full head of steam, Tony got right up in Frankie's face and said, "I know you hurt, and you've got to live with that, but I've got to live with the fact that my brother and his wife are dead because of me. I've got to live with the fact that their son's life is going down the tubes because of me. You've got a free ride ahead you and you're going to blow it. I don't know what to. I want to be here for you, but you don't need me. You've got to find God." Tony stormed out of the police station and left Frankie alone to walk home.
"Okay Greg. The tape is coming to a close and you're on in five, four, three, two, one..."
Greg Andersen looked at the camera and opened with, "And today Frankie Caruso holds the pole position at the starting line of the men's 5000M run here in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. I tell you the truth when I say that he has entered these games with more hype than any American distance runner since the late Steve Prefontaine in 1972.
"I had the opportunity to speak with Caruso earlier today, and we discussed how prior to the tragic accident, his father had started him running at the age of eight. The two of them used to study the careers of American greats such as Frank Shorter and Prefontaine, but at the end of our conversation he told me that the his uncle's words that night in the police station were without question the turning point in his life that drove him to where he is today."
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