The Criminal Mind

For many years he had been searching for some deeper meaning to his life and just five years ago he found it. Arnold knew that date ever so well, for it was exactly half way through his 10-year gaol term for a failed bank hold-up and a foiled forgery. His incarceration had finally come to an end and he was to be set free tomorrow morning.

He reflected on his time behind bars. He recalled how depressed he had been in the early years; that he was paying for a crime from which, except for a prison cell, he had gained nothing. Just five years ago, however, he realised that what he was really paying for was his lack of criminal skill. Grasping that point changed his life. During the remaining five years of his term, he thought quite another way. He was glad he was in prison! He mixed with the most hardened criminals and sought to know their thoughts, and to discover the mistakes they had made that had brought them to justice. No longer was he content to be an inept thief but, rather, wanted to be the most expert criminal mind in existence. And so, for the final five years, he thought of nothing but crime. Meticulously, he wrote down every illicit act and dastardly deed he could think of. He was determined that those who had sent him to prison, the honest public citizens, that is, would be the ones who, in the end, would pay for his evil thoughts.

Now, only hours from release, he thought of what he would do the moment he was free. His first stop would be the bank where he had committed his crime a decade before. He intended taking a very large amount of money from that bank, but this time with a signed withdrawal slip that in every detail would look normal! He would then go to another spot in the city, and there take money from the public. He was so much smarter now. There, the public would freely hand him their money, though most would wish him to sign his name. No forgery this time, though, everything would be legal.

You see, five years ago, Arnold found a deeper meaning to his life when he ceased to be a criminal and became a writer of crime fiction. During those final five years in prison, his many books had sold in the tens of thousands. To redress past wrongs, the profits from their sales had been deposited with the bank that he had tried to rob. His first public appearance upon leaving prison would be a book signing at the biggest bookstore in town.

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