Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Crime and Punishment (not about the book) (07/21/11)
- TITLE: Hope Vanquished Misery Rejoicing
By Loren T. Lowery
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âWait,â a voice, muffled though a metal vent pleaded. Glancing back, she saw her boyfriend still seated, his features distorted through the Plexiglas separating them.
She bent toward the vent, resting her head on the transparent screen. Closing her eyes, she raised a hand, palm opened to rest on the plexi. Her hair was limp from lack of air-conditioning in the room, her polka-dotted dress wet and stained under the armpits. âI wanted to look pretty today,â she whispered.
She shook her head. âNothinâ, Sam. I gotta go.â
Sam half-rose from his seat to mirror the palm of his hand with hers - every aspect observed but for the lack of actual human touch. âI didnât mean to yell; sit back, please.â
She looked at him, her own reflection ghostly reflected over his image in the window. The plastic pearls sheâd bought at the five-and-dime to match her dress shimmered in the glass.
âYou gotta get me a new lawyer, babe. That court appointed DA ainât worth squat. I got five years lookinâ me square in the face.â
She sat back down. âNot just you, Sam, you got a family put on hold, too.â
âFamily, what you mean family?â
âYouâre what!â he hissed. âHow come you went and got that way; ainât things hard enough without another mouth to feed.â
âI thought maybe itâd help,â her voice faded. ââSides, Iâll be takinâ care of it now.â
âSee that you do and donât go spendinâ a lot of money for it âcause you gotta get me a good lawyer.â
âIt wonât be costinâ you a thing, Sam and I wonât be gettingâ you no lawyer. You robbed that store alone and you gotta pay for it the way the law says. And Iâll pay for what I gotta do.â
Sam sat up straight, eyes wide. His hands reached out, blocked only by the plexi. âYou know how I feel âbout beinâ caged like some dog. Iâll go crazy. What I done I did for us both.â
âQuit lyin'. You did it for the drugs. They got you more tied up than any jail ever could.â She bowed her head, kneading a damp tissue in her hands. âWe coulda had a good life together.â Her voice became a whisper. âI prayed to God âbout it; but I guess he didnât hear me âcause of our livinâ in sin.â
She looked up at him, a faint hint of hope in her eyes. ââBout the only descent thing I could ever do in life is gettingâ married.â Her look became distant, a smile shadowing her lips. âI bought Babyâs-breaths today, the kind I always wanted to carry at my weddin'. They guard took them when I came in.â
Sam huffed. âYou feelinâ sorry for yourself? Here I am the one locked up and youâre out there free and bleatinâ âbout yourself.â He shook his head.
âI got guilt, Sam, âbout all the bad things I done and itâs got hold of me â like those drugs and jail have you. Difference is, in five years you get out.â
âWhat you talkinâ âbout?â
She held the tissue to her face. âMaybe I could live in misery knowinâ there was an end to it, but it donât work that way for me. Iâll carry misery the rest of my life âcause part of it is rememberinâ the hurt it all caused.â
A bell chimed. âSam Davisâ a voice crackled over a speaker. âVisiting time is over.â
Dorothy sighed. âI loved you once, maybe I still do. Maybe if weâd done better - cleaned up for real - we coulda had a good life.â She got up and rubbed her belly. âYou, me and the baby.â She smiled, wistfully. âI wanted you to remember me pretty, like maybe on our weddinâ day.â
âIâll go crazy, I tell ya. Donât forget 'bout that good lawyer, babe.â
Outside the room, the guard handed Dorothy back the contents of her purse. âRat poison and Babyâs-breaths,â he stated holding the box of poison next to the twig of wilting flowers. He handed them to her. âRat poisonâs got arsenic, says right here on the box.â He shook his head. âKills âbout anything.â
Dorothy took them both. âI know,â she answered. âI know.â
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