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SIGNS


Published by Dwayne Albert Bearup at Smashwords


Copyright 2012 Dwayne Albert Bearup


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'Sex offender lives here' the sign reads. It's right out on his front lawn, big as life and twice as ugly. He's wanted to pull it down since day one. Making a life for himself was difficult enough without his past being dragged out and beaten like an old rug, the dusty effluvium of past indiscretions hanging about him like a noxious cloud. He's watched at his job, as though his coworkers expect to find him luring little girls in off the street. Never mind that he was little more than a kid himself when he committed his crimes. Never mind that a decade of incarceration had taught him to make more acceptable choices. 'Sex offender lives here' made becoming a functional part of normal society impossible. His neighbors shun him. Tell their kids horrible stories so that they cross the street just to avoid passing his house. And the vandalism never stops.

He was past hope of escaping the persecution, past hope of living a normal life, free of censure and suspicion. Wherever he went, whatever he did, the stigma would follow him. That damnable sign would spring up on his lawn like a weed for the rest of his life, and if he removed it he would be re-incarcerated. His original 15 year sentence had been increased to life by the simple expedient of a new law. Now society could legally persecute anyone convicted of a sexual offense, and such people would have no legal recourse of their own; they were government sanctioned scapegoats for all of society's fears.

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