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A Prisoner Named Andrew Croswell
By Tim W. Day
It is April 2nd, 1952, in a Montana State Prison. A prisoner named Andrew Croswell, number 5716 stitched on his left breast pocket, has been locked up for nearly five years. He tends to get tired of wearing the same uniforms daily, as he and the other prisoners wear black and white vertical-striped jumpsuits. Andrew misses wearing his casual clothes and grey fedora, which is locked away at the front desk, waiting for him to be released in two weeks. He plans to return working as a detective. None of the criminals are the wiser about his past as he has been good at keeping it a secret.
Andrew has been serving a sentence for killing his partner Louis. It was a muggy summer night in 1947, when Louis gave him no choice but to defend himself. Louis’s eyes seethed with venom as Andrew walked into his home to see Louis’s wife at a usual time on a Friday. Andrew felt the heat rise up in his skin as sweat ran down his back. Louis sliced his wife’s throat in a jealous rage.
“You thought I would never find out!” He pointed his blade at Andrew.
“I’m sorry Louis. Just please put the knife down and let’s talk about this.”
“You’re not sorry for fucking my wife!”
Louis leaped at him with his knife as Andrew swerved left and grabbed his arm. Twisting the knife lose from Louis’s grip. It stabbed Louis in the chest until he collapsed right beside his beautiful wife. Andrew regrets killing him, even though it was self-defense. He also regrets getting involved with his wife, but he has paid his time and soon he will be a free man.
Lunch has arrived at twelve o’ clock sharp. Today’s meal is a small pot of chicken noodle soup and a slice of wheat bread with a mug of water. There’s hardly any chicken or noodle in the soup. The wheat bread is hard and stale and the water in their mugs is cloudy, but they have to keep themselves hydrated.
Andrew sits with a couple of his friends; Ivan who is sitting to his right is a somewhat buff guy who has saved Andrew’s life twice in the past five years. He loves to lift weights and relax during his free time. Carl, who is sitting in front of them, is known to be a junk collector. He loves to build things out of the collected junk items. Andrew could imagine Carl wanting to be an experienced carpenter, but he says that the things he builds keep him from dying of boredom. What Andrew mostly does in prison is read books, whenever he can find one lying around.
While Andrew, Ivan, and Carl try to enjoy their meal, the sound of a confrontation echoes across the cafeteria. A man yells,
“Where’s my Marlboro!?”
Andrew and his friends rise up from their seats and quickly walk up to a group of prisoners circling around the scene of a fight. A man in his late thirties whom Andrew can’t identify lies on the ground. He’s crying and soaked in his own sweat and filth while a man holds a shank to his chin. The person with the knife and greasy combed-back hair is Saul. He threatens the unarmed man over his cigarettes.
“You owe me a pack of cigarettes you prick!” Saul spits as his blade touches the unidentified man’s throat.
“I don’t have any smokes man. I’m sorry. P-please give me some more time. I will g-get them for you soon.”
“I’m not going to wait and you have hogged up my time!”
“No, please wait!”
Then Saul slices his throat and stabs him multiple times while half of the men in the circle look away in disgust. Andrew watches Saul and reflects on the memory of himself stabbing his partner Louis, how Louis lay like the unidentified man drowning in his own blood, gasping for air.
“Hey, you there, Andrew!” Saul shouts. “You got any smokes on ya’?”
Andrew stares at Saul’s shank while he gets up from the wounded person, pointing at him as it glints in the light. Saul dives at him with it, jabbing it into his stomach. Andrew falls flat on his face while Saul climbs on top and stabs him repeatedly in the back.
Andrew breathes his last dying words, “Looks like you got your payback, Louis! See you on the other side.”
#Unreal #Fiction ##Jsil #Smoking #GreakoutOut #RunningFree
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