Fiction | July 01, 2011
The Wrong Man
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On the evening of June 17, 1994, when Al Cowlings drove O.J.’s white Bronco fifty miles down I-405 followed by twenty helicopters and god knows how many police cars, I was working in nearby El Segundo, California, at a halfway house for men, debating what to do with the rest of my life. Through the first half of college I had planned to apply to law school, but my parents had gotten me a job at their firm the summer before my junior year, and most of my time was spent in a storage closet searching cases for mention of water rights, which made law school look much less appealing. That fall I took a social work elective on human development and began working with underprivileged children, a job I liked because it suited my nosy nature and gave me the opportunity to tell people what to do. As a lawyer I would only be involved in one side of a case (and a boring one at that, it seemed), with the verdict left in someone else’s hands, but as a social worker, I learned, I’d be making actual decisions with consequences that would better people’s lives. Plus, I wouldn’t have to go to grad school to start practicing. So I switched majors my junior year and started my job a week after graduation.
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