#Saturday Shorts, April 23, 2011

Irony Behind Bars

He hadn’t seen the point in eating. For an hour he stared at his final meal, enjoying it for its beauty. A top-cut steak; cooked precisely as he’d ordered, with tender baby asparagus and a baked potato, topped only with cheddar cheese. He had already eaten the apple pie; certain things he just couldn’t resist.

The first time he held human life in his hands had been at the age of twelve, Mrs. Kilgour. He worked for her on weekends doing odd jobs, the oddest being to help her commit suicide. Experts would blame this incident on his sickness but the truth of the matter was that this experience was simply the tipping point to the inevitable.

The problem with being a genius and “Shit-balls Crazy”, as the doorknob of a guard who was last on duty, once called him, was the awareness. It took fifteen years for them to even know there was a serial killer stalking the southern states. He was exceptionally careful. He knew how all of the serial killers got caught, Jeffrey Dahmer, Dr. Harold Shipmen and Ulysses Velveteen. His victims were woman, men, children the elderly, rich, poor, black, white, it didn’t matter. He could make each victim appear to have died in all different manners but each had suffered. He held their lives as long as he could, watching the spark nearly leave their face then returning it. If they were still begging to live they had months, if they were pleading to die, weeks, if they had succumb to insanity, prisoners within their own minds and bodies having survived levels of torture medieval in scope and modern in execution they had days. Once their brains had stopped coping and went dead it was time to move to the next.

One day the police arrived as he was removing the intestines from his latest victim. They had allowed him to replace the guts and sew her back up before he peacefully surrendered. She had survived and here he was, inside Ellis Unit, now three hours past his scheduled execution wondering what the hell was going on. There was no one. The Gargoyle of a guard, Luther had not been around to take his supper. Father Alex hadn’t made one last attempt to save his soul. Even his annoying lawyer, campaigning against state executions wasn’t there to convince him to make one last appeal. It was as if the world had suddenly forgotten him. He picked up the plastic fork and began to eat.

Afterthought:

The true irony of the situation for our character is that he is a survivor. All around him the world has collapsed under a cloud of radioactive dust. In his climate-controlled impenetrable cell he was immune. Perhaps the one man who deserved and wished to die the most lived. Let’s hope, for the sake of our world that this man dies alone, for if he is to survive, there is no telling what kind of humanity would remain on earth.

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