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If I Should Die Before I Wake
by Jeanne E Webster 
11/13/10
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©2010 Jeanne E. Webster

PART 1


"Itís been a long time."

"Yessir."

"You havenít changed much."

"You neither."

Moments faltered as stammered thoughts riddle through bygone days; eyes clung awkwardly like a skittish handshake.

"Ya wanna sit down?"

"Sure. Have you been here long?"

"Naw, Ďbout a year." Hands fidget across the table, waiting for the right moment.

"I, er... I received your letter." Compassion rendering his unsettled spirit, he gently muttered, "Iím sorry, Joe."

Suddenly breathing came easier; hearts shifted back into normal sinus rhythm. "Thanks, man. I didnít know if youíd come."

"You knew I would. Thatís why you wrote to me."

"Yeah, I knows." His fingers, stuffed in his pockets, fidgeted open and closed, open and closed, open and closed.

"Well..."

"I knows I have done sumpthiní really, really bad, Frank. Aní I gotís ta pay fer it." Clearing his throat he continued. "But thatís not why I asked you ta come."

Looking up with tearful eyes, he leaned closer to Frank, "I been doing lots Ďa thinking and ..."

"...and I needs you for my witness."

"Witness for what, Joe?"

"...for when I meet my maker."

The stagnant air became electrified by the hush. It wasnít what Frank had expected to hear.


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