Author : Paul Williams

I meant to pay. Kept twenty Euros in my pocket, you can see it on the camera. I kept it all night. It was still there when the hookers and machines stopped serving. Check their cameras.
We had to run for the train, the barrier was down and no serving machines were about. Not my fault they’re trying to save money by switching off early.

The others drank on board. I never did, you can check the cameras. Front coach. Just us then just me left when the computer announced Aston Station.

The barrier there was down too, like the lights, but a machine still worked. I wasn’t trying to hide in the shelter, check the cameras. I knew it had seen me before it asked for the ticket. Yes, it was polite and clear.

I held out the coins, check the cameras. I couldn’t see the slot. It was card only. Not my fault they’re trying to outlaw cash.
I tried to explain like I’m doing now. It wasn’t programmed to listen. Not my fault they don’t have discretion. Yes, it gave the official warning twice. Yes, I understood it. Isn’t fair though. I didn’t see any warning posters, how could I when the lights were off?

Yes it told me about the right of appeal. That’s why I’m here. I know you have to uphold the machine law as voted for by the majority. I voted for them too. Didn’t realise this would happen. Didn’t think they would find an excuse to start culling us. Execute the real criminals yes but this is just a train fare. You’re half-human, not just a machine? You know this is unfair.

I’ve accepted responsibility, I’ve given you the names of the other worse offenders, apologised and offered to pay all the fare and the fine. Dad has it, legally. Check his tax records. There was no intent to steal, honest there wasn’t.

No, I realise that intention is not relevant under the machine law. Yes, I realise that everyone must be treated equally but that’s unfair isn’t it. You’re a person. A human. You’ve got children. Sons or a daughter like me. A child who made a mistake. I regret it. I’ve learnt my lesson. I’ll repay. I’ve said that. Dad has the money here. He can give you extra if you want.
Well, say something. I’m asking for clemency here. Asking for you to apply common sense. To listen. To understand. I’m not like the other guys. I know we had to do something about criminals. I understand the need for mandatory sentencing and for machines that cannot be corrupted to administer it. I get that. I really do. I just want another chance. Please.

Daddy he’s not listening. Daddy, help me. Someone tell them it’s wrong. Someone. Anyone. Please.

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