I suppose it's a bit story to start off a tale with "It all began a few years ago" or "Once upon a time, in a land not far away," so I'll spare you the melodrama and begin with a couple definitions.
Look up the word "law" in the Oxford English Dictionary (the only dictionary acknowledged by highfalutin know-it-alls), and you'll find these words: "a rule of conduct imposed by authority." Further down the well-worn page, you'll find a further definition of the word: "the body of rules, whether proceeding from formal enactment or from custom, which a particular state or community recognizes as binding on its members or subjects" (emphasis mine).
In other words, mess this up, and you're screwed.
But let's throw another term in here. Say you look up the word "grace." Say you thumb through the pages, hungrily searching for the meaning of the word that has given hope to so many sinners as they scratch at solemn cathedral doors, so many weeping wretches crying out for one last hope as they hold guns to their sorry heads, so many dying bodies as that one last breath beats out their raggedy lungs. The trusty old English Dictionary from Oxford will say, "favor; benevolence" and go even further by defining grace as "a quality of God: benevolence towards humanity, bestowed freely and without regard to merit, and which manifests in the giving of blessings and granting of salvation."
Well, law exists. I only have to open my eyes to be presented with proof that law exists. Gravity snatched my favorite porcelain doll's ankles and dragged her to the floor, where she died a death of hundreds of shards mingled with my heartbroken tears. The law of gravity, they say. Or I could take into consideration the law that you can't steal someone's boyfriend, as manifested through the punch in the face I received from greasy-livered Manna Fulton when I went around kissing her Nate Stantelli.
Or the law that everyone dies. Everyone. Even my sweet mother, who never hurt a fly, never said a bad word about anyone, never let a hateful glance shoot from her eyes. She didn't deserve to die in a drunk driving accident.
The drunk driver was arrested, convicted, and punished for manslaughter. That's one of the few laws I've ever liked - the one that made Carson Howe face up to the crime that heaped six feet of dirt on my mom's lifeless shell.
Another law was the one that threw me into a courtroom after the cops found me carrying a knapsack with marijuana to my brother's friend's apartment. I swore I didn't have anything to do with it - my brother said "give this to Mikey, and I'll give you twenty-five bucks." Oddly enough, the authorities didn't believe me when I said I hadn't guessed there was illegal crap in that knapsack. Darn those authorities.
As for grace, if it's out there somewhere, tell it I'm looking for it. I know pretty darn well that laws exist, but I could use a pinch of grace to get me out of this bind I've constructed. Well, I guess this is that cliched part where I exhale deeply and tell you to kick back and relax, because I've got a ton of explaining to do, and very little time before I enter that courtroom and explain why I murdered him.