Monday, December 5, 2011

First Time Away From Home - 12/5/2011

The prompt for this week's meeting of our writing group was: "First Time Away From Home." This was my response:

The first time Matt killed someone the degree of difficulty was high. It has gotten exponentially easier since. That he was only a child when he took his first life was certainly a factor in the effort required. The guy was one of Matt's mother's boyfriends. Everybody asked him why he had stuck a butcher knife through the drunken, sleeping, guy's throat. He remained silent. He was embarrassed to say that it was because the guy repeatedly tried to touch his wiener. Matt was exiled to juvenile detention where he remained until, at 18, he would be transferred to big boy prison. At 11, Matt was among the youngest, smallest, and whitest inmates at the Tarrant County, Texas facility. That meant that he also had to be the toughest and the smartest.

There was a plethora of wiener-touchers in juvie, both inmates and guards. After Matt had maimed several older convicts and they still would not leave him alone, he formulated ways to kill some of them. He used all of his abundant free time thinking of ways to create murders that appeared to be accidents or suicides. It became a game. The authorities could not link Matt to any of these deaths, but the streetwise thugs knew and as a result he gained mucho respect among the gen pop. Even the guards steered clear of him. "That motherfucker is crazy," was whispered in the exercise yard as he walked by.

By the time he reached his 17th birthday, he was reluctantly crowned the king of the institution. Others came to him for protection, which he gave to those most in need. He divided most of his time between the exercise yard and the library. As a result, both his body and mind were superior to most of his cohabitants.

At 18, as promised, he was transferred to the Texas State Prison at Huntsville. In his nearly 7 years at Tarrant County, Matt had caused the death of 12 wiener-touchers and other creeps. Eleven were inmates and one was a particularly sadistic guard. Some people need killing. He had not had a visitor during his entire incarceration. Evidently his mother was unforgiving about the death of her boyfriend.

Through the criminal grape-vine, Matt's reputation proceeded him to prison. He was seldom challenged and pretty much kept to himself. He only killed 2 men in Huntsville.

A byproduct of his self-absorption was that he was considered a model prisoner and since his only misdeed was committed as a juvenile, he was paroled a week before his 21st birthday. He had spent nearly half of his life incarcerated.

As he walked through the iron personnel gate to freedom, leaving the only home he had really ever known, he had no idea what he was going to do. Other prisoners had told stories of the wonders of the outside world: soft women, hard liquor, and fast cars dominated the fables. He had never experienced any of these pleasures. He had $267.00 in his pocket that he had earned from prison work projects and a duffel bag containing his scant belongings.

Since the prison was located right in Huntsville, he was able to walk the short distance to the city center in just a few minutes. Matt decided he was going to treat himself to an alcoholic beverage. He found what he assumed was a bar since it had neon signs in the windows advertising many kinds of beers. Above the door was the name, The Manhole.

He walked out of the hot, Texas, sun into the cool, stank, darkness of the tavern. He waited a minute for his eyes to adjust to the gloom and then ambled up to the bar and took a seat on a stool.

The bartender asked, "what'll it be, handsome?" Pretty friendly place, Matt thought.

"I don't know. What do you recommend?" he answered, smiling.

"You look like an appletini kind of guy."

"OK, I'll try one."

"Make that two" a voice two stools over said as he slithered onto the stool next to Matt.

As the drinks were delivered, the intoxicated man introduced himself, "I am Adam." He rubbed Matt's thigh as he spoke.

Adam leaned over and whispered something into Matt's ear as his hand moved up to his crotch. Matt experienced a Deja Vu from ten years ago. The same words, fetid breath, and wiener-touching.

Matt put his hands over Adam's ears and with minimum effort, snapped his neck. The man slumped and quietly slid off the stool to the floor. Matt drank down his appletini, savoring the tart flavor as it burnt a trail down his throat. He had no idea how much the drink cost, so he just laid all his money on the bar, told the bartender thanks, picked up his duffel bag, and walked back home. The bitter taste of his hour of freedom still on his lips.


orionsbow said...

Rick, very dark. I don't know whether I like dark from you. But that's the whole point right? It's exploration. I guess I could draw some conclusions from your choice of terms and almost flippant treatment of a very macabre situation but I'd be wrong right? Are you drawing inspiration from recent events? I suppose, but the angle is...unexpected if anything. I'll have to mull this a bit. As always, entertaining ...but disturbing.

PRW said...

I liked it very much. You can write all kinds of ways and I think you are fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Stop terminating your characters ability to move on to a new set of circumstances. The story can continue if the main character is still free to create. This was good and very believable. I can imagine if he was still out there tormenting the police force.

#1 Fan said...

Excellent job , as usual...somewhat different but very well written and thought provoking...keep em coming I enjoy all you write...

Nadja said...

Sad story, of course it kept me interested until the end, as usual. It would have been nice as Anonymous stated, to keep the story open. I would very much have enjoyed reading more...

Anonymous said...

This is awesome and just reiterates that you should right a book. Though I respect the opinions of others, I'm not sure why it is said to leave the story open. The main character did not die. It isn't a definitive ending. Really great read! Shawshank Redemption/Sleepers which are two fantastic movies.

Anonymous said...

Woops. That last anonymous was me.
Love you Carly

Go Figure said...

MBW: Your prescription is in the mail and legal representation is now open to you! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! Best regards.