“Here you go, sicko, your last supper. Eat up. Midnight’s lights out for you,” the not-nearly-as-funny-as-he-thought prison guard guffawed, pushing the tray through the requisite space in the steel door.
How quaint, I thought, my last supper. I smiled to myself, thinking that there was something almost poetic, about that. The last supper. I mean, how many psychiatrists had testified to my deep-rooted god-complex thickly entwined with a sadistic personality and psychopathic behavioral tendencies. Hmmmm, now that is a mouthful, I smiled to myself.
I removed the cover from the plate and breathed in the delicious scent. As a soon-to-be-executed prisoner, I was permitted (almost) any meal I desired. Since dinner at the Bar Boulud on Manhattan’s upper west side was not permitted, I had requested a steak, bone-in, rare (bloody), with a baked potato and a glass of Merlot. They laughed at the last bit and suggested grape or cherry juice. Of course I chose cherry...
As to be expected, the meat was already cut, no knife, not even plastic for me. Not even a spoon. They were learning. Ah, but what’s this? They had given me the bone. T-bone. Silly boys…
Earlier in the day, the chaplain had come to visit. He’d sat outside the door and spoken through the little hole provided for communication with those like me: brilliant minds they feared and could not control except through steel doors, chains and death. Shame that…
I ate slowly, savoring the texture as much as the taste, closing my eyes and thinking about the pious prick who deigned to offer forgiveness for my many sins if only I would kneel down before him and god, repent in these, my last moments, and pray. God would forgive me. Forgive ME? That I did not break down into a fit of hysterical laughter is a sign of my superior self-control. Did he really think that his proclivities were unknown? Clearly, they were sanctioned, a blind eye turned by those that put me in chains, put me behind steel, intended to separate my soul from this body. It made me sick. At least I was honest. Well, at least when I was caught.
Did he really think no one knew about the boys, his boys? The (always) young, beautiful men he protected from beatdowns and gang rapes. Oh yes, his boys were kept separately, cleaned the chapel, assisted at Sunday services, never got bathroom duty. He kept them on their knees…praying. He kept their butts safe from harm. The only catch was they had to service his. I hate hypocrites. I began to gnaw on the bone.
I had suggested he join me in my dead man’s walk. Surely, I would have need of his benevolence in my last moments?
As they removed my chains to belt my arms down to the hospital bed, I asked the reverend father to come closer so that I might whisper my prayer for forgiveness.
In the split second my hands were unencumbered by chains or belts, the sharpened bone slipped to my hand and was imbedded in his neck. The blood gurgled, spurting from both mouth and neck to my laughing lips.
So, alas, the execution is on hold as I await another trial. Silly boys…
Clanging echoes in my memory.
Scraping on the wall and a wailing voice. “I’m innocent! You gotta believe me.”
Yeah, you and me both.
I shove a bite of cold mashed potatoes in my mouth. Tastes like crap, the aftertaste acrid on my tongue.
As I eat, I catch a glimpse of my pale face in the dull shine of the metal tray. Grimy, haggard, bones like broken shards of porcelain. Eyes dark and sunken. Emotionless.
Been waiting to die for 83 days now. Until today, I’d hardly seen a single other human during that time.
But I don’t care anymore.
The end is finally in sight.
Tomorrow, I will hear the creak of the cell door swinging open for the last time, walk down the rough, unforgiving halls once more, live out my final moments in this bitter world.
Another bite slides like a rock down my throat.
Why am I even eating? It’s pointless, seeing as how I’ll be dead in 12 hours.
I push the uneaten meat and potatoes away. I consider catching a few hours of elusive sleep while I can, but even that seems foolish and futile.
What’s the point of any of this?
A hazy shell of a face flits in my mind, but I don’t let it settle. That, too, is a useless waste of energy. I’ve already screamed my throat raw a thousand times, begging for some scrap of justice to be served. Or at least, one last chance to see her, talk to her, hear her voice. Even a letter would be enough. They would allow a visit now, in my final 24 hours, but why even hope for that when her life yet lies in the balance on a hospital bed?
The torturous thoughts are like prickling needles against my numb heart.
Justice is a myth inside these forsaken walls. Mercy and compassion, a joke. Time is stuck in a nightmareish loop.
Everything is pointless. Everyone has forgotten about me. Even God.
If he is out there, surely he was not thinking about me when he made the world. Surely he overlooked the mistake of my birth. Surely I was an error in the list of humans worthy enough to inherit the earth.
My mind turns ahead to the moments after they inject me and I leave this mortal cage. I wonder what I will find on the other side. Will anyone be there to greet me?
No. Why would they?
I’m a mistake. I’m less than nothing because I’m taking up space and breath that was never meant for me, that could have been given to someone else who actually had a right to it. I’ve been grasping at scraps of love and meaning that were merely faint glimmers reflecting off a mirror. An illusion. A teasing, cruel fantasy. Never meant for me.
Staring at the scarred, pitted walls of my cell, I think over all this, but numbly, impassively, as if I were only an observer of someone else’s life.
When everything is said and done, my existence will be nothing more than a number, a barely recalled statistic in the annals of history. The only person who knows the truth as good as dead.
As seconds, or maybe hours, pass, I strain my ears to hear the sound of footsteps, a lock opening, harsh light falling across me to lead the way to my final rest.
I hope the time goes by quickly.
Le Dernier Repas
*takes a deep breath*
*stares at the dish pushed under the steel door*
Mmhh, this is odd?
Why does the last meal look not so bad?
I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try it—
Eh- *spits the food out* still tastes like dirt~
Uh, they could at least have provided me with something appetizing seeing as this’ll be mon dernier repas
Now I wait for my final moments here on earth
Wait, what was that?
Did my shadow just move?
Nah, my mind is playing tricks on me
Whoa..um...where are the guards?
*steel door squeaks*
Is anyone there?
Eirik, I’m not going to fall for your prank again!
[A shadow with glowing crimson eyes stretches from the side of the door & reaches for the death row inmate]
Whatever you are.....
[The shadow spins around and transforms into a person like form.
Then stares into the inmate’s eyes.
It leans closer toward the inmate, & opens its jaws.]
My Last Supper
The prison guard told me to think about it, "Whatever you want," he said, and he walked away. Sauntering down the hallway, I listened to his boots scuff the concrete in rhythm with the key ring hanging off his belt while the memory of his face morphed behind my eyes. He became she; brown smooth younger than her years skin, brown kind eyes, with the sweetest point of a nose that I inherited and gazed upon every time I looked in the mirror. I saw my Nana, because there was something within his tone that made me feel he saw something in me besides a killer.
He saw me at six when I gave away my lunch to the poor kid. He saw me at ten when I helped my little sister with her homework every night. He saw me at fifteen when I walked away from a fight, even though I knew I could pulverize the son of a bitch that called me a piece of shit. He saw me the way Nana saw me.
….Potato pancakes? But no one could possibly make them like Nana. She would pull out her metal grater, long after food processors were invented, grating potatoes down to her puffy knuckles, never drawing blood, as far as I knew, and the rest of the ingredients were a secret, the way all of her recipes were kept, to keep us coming back long after we were adults with our own kitchens.
….Arroz con pollo? I tried to make it once after she died. It came out like shit, until I called up every relative and friend that knew her and finally got the secret out of my Aunt Marj. "Instead of water for the rice, add a bottle of beer."
"Seriously? Nana. Didn't you know I would still come see you if you divulged the full recipe to me?"
Of course Nana wasn't alive on the night it happened. She was long gone, I'm happy to say. "Forgive me Nana in heaven. You know I always meant to make you proud."
Neither was my true self alive on that night. The one Nana knew. It was the other me, dead me, the one I became because of her and it was only her and I in the room where it happened; our bedroom. The same place we once made sweet love to James Taylor's, "Sweet baby James". Her, the wife that said she'd love me forever and then made my life a living hell for twenty two years.
"Larry stop making that noise with your nose, Larry stop wearing those clothes, Larry stop walking that way, Larry you are a loser. Larry you repulse me. Larry don't touch me." Larry, Larry, Larry, stop being Larry, until I just lost it one night in an instant, after she slapped me for accidentally waking her up, telling me she could do anything she wants to me because I'm a wimp and I wouldn't dare retaliate. So right there in that same bed, with no music in the background, just the sounds of gasps and gurgles rising from her throat could be heard as I choked the life out of her with my bare hands, quicker than potatoes from a box.
The judge didn't buy the whole crime of passion thing. When I heard the death penalty at my sentencing, my lawyer gasped but I did not flinch. I felt I deserved it. My dead wife was right. I am a loser since why did I stay with her all those years? So I guess you can say I've been a prisoner for just about my entire adult life. The death penalty will put a welcomed end to that.
When the guard comes back, I'm going to ask him, "What would you choose for your last meal if you were me?" Without explaining to him how indecisive I've always been. And when he brings it to me, I'll say "thanks but no thanks" and offer it back to him. And just maybe….maybe, if my last dying wish is granted, maybe I'll get to feast on Nana's eyes one more time.
savoring the coldness of my name in your voice
as you bite into my tongue and the lights run wild
i want my blood to smear against your fingertips
to know you’ve dipped your pale white hands
in the river i drowned wanting to erase the past
until you scrub away layers of my fingerprints
i dream of my blood dissolving in your soft lips
and my last meal to be your blood-stained kiss
The steps of the guards rang through the hall as they made their way to my cell. I shivered in the cold, wrapping myself up in a thin blanket one of them gave me out of sheer kindness. Their voices echoed.
“Man, this seems so wrong. She’s younger than my daughter. And in deathrow!”
“I know, but it’s our job. She confessed to the murders and so, she is punished for it. Sentenced to death.”
“You really think a ten-year-old girl killed seventy-two people?”
“No, but she confessed and all evidence found leads to her.”
“Evidence! There was pictures and her confession! There were never witnesses to testify against her! It’s wrong! She needs to be let free!”
But death will be freedom.
One of the guards, the one who gave me the blanket came into view and smiled at me.
“Hello sweetpea. How are you?
“I’m scared.” I murmur.
He nods and the other guard watches. “I know. What do you want to eat today?”
That’s when I realize, today is the day they kill me. Just like the other inmates warned. They only asked what we wanted to eat before they killed us. Shivers travel throughout my body.
“Crawfish.” I answer finally.
“It’s not crawfish season.”
“Oh.” I think long and hard. I want my last meal to be decent, even though there’s no point in having one. “shrimp alfredo, like a professional one... And those tiny french cookies from thayt American Girl movie... Where she’s in France.”
The other guard walks off to go put in my order.
He stares at me, sorrow in his eyes. “Why did you confess to those murders? I know it wasn’t you.”
“It was me.”
“Those people I killed... They ruined me. Death would be freedom.”
“You are ten! You didn’t kill anyone!”
He doesn’t believe me and I understand why.
“I did. I can tell you exactly how I did. I can tell you what they had in common and who they were.” All were pedophiles. All were elitists. And many, were the reason why I didn’t care whether I lived or died, because I’d once been their victim.
“Then tell me, why did you?” He asked.
“Because, someone needed to avenge the children they harmed, such as myself... But no one else would be their avenging angel. So I was.”
~A few hours later~
They had finally brought me my food. It was warm still... Most likely courtesy of the guards who’d grown fond of me over the past several months.
I began eating, thinking of all my victims. They’d only ever found seventy-two but there were many more than that. Lesser known people who no one would notice if they disappeared.
If reincarnation is real, I hope to come back as a child again, and be the avenging angel again. Kill more; save more. I’d go through deathrow a billion times, just to save my brethren who need me.
“Sir,” I ask, “I want you to know, I don’t regret the murders... I’d do it all over again if I could.”
He nods and says, “I know, little avenging angel, I know.”
And somehow, I know, he’ll find a way to carry out my work, one way, or another.
“Here you go, Garfield ass motherfucker,” said the guard as he tossed a still frozen family-sized Stouffer’s lasagna with extra meat into my cell. At least it was family-sized. He was all pissy because when he’d asked what I wanted for my last meal I said, “ayy lemme get a lasagna bippidy boppidy boo” with exaggerated hand movements. Turned out I was saying this to the one prison guard named Jimmy Strombili, and he didn’t take kindly to my cultural insensitivity.
So I took a fork to that frozen block of cheese and decided to make the most of my final joyful moments. The thought of death is so wild to me in that I would never taste lasagna again. Not a year long lasagna hiatus. Not five years. Not 100 years. Eternity. And to be fair, I was barely eating it then and there due to its frozen nature.
I thought back to my crime with a mix of regret and apathy. There was no pathy left to give; why fight what you can’t control? I was arrested and charged when I touched MC Hammer. It turned out that his famous ‘You can’t touch this’ song wasn’t so much a boast of elusiveness but an explanation of a legally binding mandate. This, I was not aware of. Whether the punishment should be death is something to be debated by people with much more power and brains than me.
So, I just munch on frozen layers of cold and wait for it all to be over. It will be over, won’t it? Or maybe it just continues in a new way. Why hypothesize when the answer is moments away? Much of what we do is futile. Perhaps I’ll get excited about being in an exclusive group of people who know what death brings, but that is likely futile as well. Oh well, at least the lasagna was family-sized.
Steak & Orange Juice
Steak. So bland.
It had been five years since I had last tasted a person. Five years since that satisfying dinner in my apartment. I had only been able to get through half of the child’s meat when the police had burst in with their dogs.
The dogs...they had a hard time controlling the dogs that night.
Well, that had been the end of living vicariously for me.
And now, for my final meal, I had to eat this insipid dry mass. Didn’t I deserve at least one leg piece today?
Just a tender, freshly cut chunk off a youngling...
Kids tasted the best- unadulterated and juicy. I had even given the guard a set of instructions on how to cook it when I noticed the disgusted look on his face. I guess not even years of being a model prisoner could make them look at me any differently.
Differently? Rather the same way they looked at all the other nondescript killers.
I often wondered if they’d ever understand. If they’d see that I wasn’t a monster. I didn’t kill for money. I didn’t kill out of jealousy. I didn’t kill because I enjoyed it. I killed simply to feed myself. And wasn’t that something they all did? How was it any different from them butchering pigs and lambs, and fishing every weekend at the lake? Didn’t I, in fact, deserve better treatment than the rest of the hooligans? Didn’t I deserve a lesser Hell?
Yet, here I was, in isolation, while the others got to share bunks.
I finished up the last few pieces of my steak, and washed it down with orange juice. Steak and OJ- the standard meal given to anyone about to be offed, if their actual wishes cannot be fulfilled.
Standard? Ah! The irony.
Perhaps my wish did get fulfilled. The wish to be treated like any other, normal, standard, fellow. I couldn’t help but smile. The steak didn’t feel so horrid anymore.