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Incarcerated

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Alex never liked orange. As much as he hated to admit it, a bit of Mallory's fashion sense had rubbed off on him. And the fact that from the way things were going, it looked like he was going to be stuck with it for some time. He knew he shouldn't have done it, but his relationship with money had become an addiction, escalating past anything in his childhood. Now, not only coins and bills beckoned him, but money orders and cashier's checks as well, whispering, "Alex, make me yours! We need each other!"

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It turned out the wrong money decided to call Alex's name, money that did not and could not belong to him. It wasn't technically stealing, he told himself. Warrington, his boss, put him in charge of the $75,000 along with telling him to do with the money "as he saw fit". Now, Alex knew the money belonged to the company, and he was supposed to use it within the confines of his job requirements, and under normal circumstances it would have made it from his care into some appropriate stocks and bonds for the company.

But the relationship between Alex and money was anything besides normal. Instead that $75,000 made its way into Alex's personal investments, where, due to unforeseen stock market events, he lost most of it. And when Warrington came looking for the results of Alex's investments for the company, he discovered Alex in a frazzled state, pacing his office while holding and staring at latest stock numbers.

Shortly afterwards, Warrington phoned the lawyers, and Alex's dreams of money collapsed around him like stacks of coins falling over.

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So now as Alex sat in the courtroom, utterly and miserably defeated. In a matter of months, a federal investigator came knocking on Alex's door and in the course of the proceedings he lost everything- his job, his savings, his house. And now, the final step on his path to incarceration, was drawing to a close.

"We find Alex P. Keaton guilty of embezzlement in the 2nd degree," announced the foreman of the jury.

The judge's gavel banged on the bench and Alex put his face in his hands. Oh how he wished there was a pillow nearby that he could hold! He considered hugging himself, but the idea of a grown man, a businessman, doing so in the middle of a courtroom quickly stopped him.

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Alex wilted. He wasn't meant to be in prison. After spending six months in a federal prison, he still couldn't believe he was there. He was meant to be out in the world, promoting capitalism and becoming rich, maybe even run for some political office. At least the judge gave him a light sentence considering, a $7,500 fine and 6 years in prison, as well as a requirement that he seek psychiatric help for his money problem.

He sat, he stared at his knees- khaki, not orange, thankfully. Since Alex never expected himself to be anywhere near a prison, he never knew there could be anything different. Mallory would be happy he didn't have to wear orange, at least. Or that is, if she even knew about his situation. Through all the accusations, the trial, and now prison, he had kept his situation hidden from his family.

He thought of calling home. The thought of hearing his parents' voices comforted him. But wait, when was the last time he'd actually done so? He couldn't remember. It certainly hadn't been since this mess started. They had no idea as to the trouble he'd gotten himself in and he didn't exactly want to start a phone call with "Hey Mom, just calling to ask how everyone is and to let you know I'll be in jail for the next 6 years."

He knew he should have called sooner, right after he'd been caught, probably, if not before. Sure, the thought crossed his mind, more times than he cared to count, but each time something bigger and better and more important got in the way, something involving money and power.

The thirst for money and power- the two things that drove Alex's life. They motivated him to work hard- but not harder than he had to, of course. But now that his world had come crashing down, Alex realized that his lust acted like an accelerator, and without breaks, he kept going and going. The more he gained, the more he wanted. And Alex's breaks evidently had quit long ago, the last time he'd seen his family. Mallory, Jennifer, his parents, they kept him grounded. Those times when he went overboard, Alex could always rely on them to bring his head back to reality.

But going months, years in fact, without breaks affected his mental state, Alex realized. Being his own man meant he needed the common sense to reason logically with himself. And so far, that hadn't happened. It was hitting him just how much, growing up and especially in his teenage years, he relied on his family to hold his lust in check. He also came to the startling realization that he had never told any of them- his parents, Jennifer, Mallory, especially Mallory- just how much he needed them even when he felt like disliking them merely on principle.

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Later that day, Alex asked to make a phone call. As it rang, he waited anxiously for someone to pick up the other end. Then he heard a click and a voice on the other end said, "Hello?"

"Hi Mom, it's Alex. I need to tell you something…"