Spark Of Thunder
I stood out on the front porch watching the rain come down in sheets. The day was dark. Although it was middle of the afternoon, the sun could not penetrate the thick grey dome of clouds that covered the horizons.
No streaks of lightning to break the dreary. An occasional thunderclap roared and echoed, and only enhanced the bleakness.
Rainstorms normally make me tired. The need to crawl under the sheets and drift away were not with me today. Instead, an event of the past wrestled its way to the forefront of my thoughts and remained there…..begging to be dissected and revisited.
I am well versed in my past. I created it. I have done my best to forgive it and leave it in the mental cemetery of my wrongdoings.
The cemetery is not a peaceful place. The ghosts come back to teach new lessons on subjects already failed. Their goal is not for me to pass, just to show that lessons learned shouldn’t be lessons forgotten and come around full circle.
And I have forgotten many.
I finished my cigarette and listened. The sound of the rain sliding off the shingles on the roof and onto the sidewalk clouded my capacity to remember what really happened. I retreated back into the cold silence of the house to face my past.
It wasn’t my first time being arrested. It was my first time being sent upstairs. Out of the holding cell and into you’re gonna be here a while cell. At 20 years old, my ability to burn bridges by expecting someone to bail me out had worn extremely thin.
It wasn’t a major offense. Unpaid warrants was all, but breaking the law was breaking the law. The nature of the offense doesn’t matter.
I got processed through and was given my standard equipment.
-toothbrush and paste
-white jumpsuit and slip on shoes
I was assigned to a cell and was told to take an unused bunk. Then the steel door slammed behind me.
I was in a concrete room with 23 other men. Some were rolling cigarettes, some were playing cards, some were doing push ups. I was scared.
I walked into a room with 2 bunk beds. 1 was not being used. I looked at the man on the bottom bunk and asked if I could have the one above him.
He looked at me blankly and shrugged. I took that as a yes and carefully climbed up and sat back against the wall on top of my 1″ mattress. All the while thinking he looked familiar, but couldn’t place from where.
I tried to drift off to sleep amongst the various clamor and noise going on, but was awakened by one of the other bunkies.
“Hey, new guy? What cha in for?”
“Lame. You can’t tell people that. You gotta say something like assault or robbery. You will get eaten alive in here for warrants!”
“Thanks. I’ll remember that. What about you?”
His face lit up.
“Grand theft auto! While one of my friends was getting busted for possession I snuck around and stole the cop car….didn’t get far though. I can’t drive very well…”
“So, I’m supposed to believe that?”
“It’s true! I’m being indicted tomorrow!”
“Ok…ok. I’m gonna get some sleep.”
“Wait…don’t you want to hear what you’d bunkie did? He has the best story ever!”
He nudged the guy under me and asked,
“You gonna tell him? He’s gotten know…he’s gonna be right over you! Hey newbie…come down here and sit on my bunk…you are gonna love this!”
I climbed down and sat next to the jittery car thief and waited for the story.
The guy under me leaned up from out of the shadows of the bunk and placed his forearms on his knees, put the newspaper he was reading in the shelf and looked right at me.
Dark, emotionless eyes stared back at me.
“I killed my girlfriend and her lover. I’m in here for capital murder and am awaiting trial.”
The jittery thief spike up.
“That’s it? He has to hear the details!!”
The man sighed and elaborated on his story.
“I knew she was cheating in me, but I had to catch her to be sure. I came home early from work and another car was in the driveway. I walked in the house and heard giggles from the bedroom. I went to the closet and grabbed my shotgun and busted through the door….and there they were. The giggles stopped pretty quick.” His last statement created a small fierce grin in his blank face.
He spoke dryly and monotone.
“I pulled up the gun and couldn’t decide who to shoot first. I used the old “eeny meeny miny mo” from childhood. The very best one was him…BAM.” He shouted.
I jumped but didn’t take my eyes off him as his spoke.
“She tried to explain. And cried. And begged. I turned the gun towards her. BAM. I can put up with a lot, but not that.” He said and bowed his head and looked at the ground.
The thief spoke up again.
“But that’s not it! Tell him what happened next!”
The man continued.
“Then I went to the kitchen, grabbed a beer, sat on the couch and waited for the police to come. I live in a quiet,residential neighborhood, I knew it wouldn’t be long. I went through 14 beers in 4 hours. No one came. So I wrapped the bodies in old sheets, cleaned up the mess and loaded them into my pickup to get rid of them. I drive out into the desert and dumped them and got on with my life. 6 months went by….the bodies were found by some endurance runner who came across them. After that it didn’t take long to trace her back to me…..and here I am.”
He finished. Shrugged his shoulders and leaned back into the darkness.
“I never get tired if that story!” The jittery thief said.
“Lights out in 10, newbie. Sleep while you can. Count is every 3 hours!”
I retreated to my bunk and tried to sleep. I could not.
The story of murder ran through my head like wildfire as I lay there in concrete darkness.
The only noise filling the stillness, was the snoring of the man on the bunk underneath me that strangely resembled the thunder that filled the grey skies that sparked the memory that became this story.