The judge’s voice carries a finality that you know can't be
good. The women of the jury won’t meet your eyes. You can tell they don't
believe you. Women have a natural aversion to you. Shy and tongue tied, you’ve
never known how to talk to them. Of course they'd condemn you now.
“Will the defendant please rise and face the jury. Madam
Forelady, has the jury agreed upon a verdict?”
“Yes, we have. We find the Defendant guilty of murder in the
Your knees tremble at those words. What happens now? So far,
it's only been a holding cell. Now it's gonna be prison. Prison! You’ve never
been in prison!
it like on
death row? Death row… shit, they’re gonna kill you. Sure, your attorney
says he’ll file an appeal
but we all know how that goes. You get lost in the system. You have no money,
no power. Nobody cares.
How does it feel to get the final injection? Where do you go
when you die? You don’t want to die. And
you sure as hell don’t want to spend your last days in prison. Your heart’s
pounding out of your chest. Maybe you’re gonna die right now from a heart attack.
Clamps on your wrists, chains on your ankles, they lead you
shuffling like an old man. You’re humiliated and terrified. The bailiff’s grip
is tight. What do they think, you’re gonna run away?
Powerless, afraid and resentful, you hate yourself for getting
in this mess. Wishing to turn back time is useless. You know that, but your
mind still goes there. One stupid mistake...
If only you
had put her body in the river instead of the trunk,
you wouldn’t be here now. You’re not a criminal. You don’t belong with those
animals—behind bars. You curse yourself for how sloppy you were that night in
the forest. One hour of fun and look at you. You screwed up and you have to pay
for it like this. Damn women. Why the hell is it that they just don't like you?
Luann Lewis is a legal
writer who was a published writer of adult fiction in the 1990s before a life
event caused an abrupt change of course. She is now pursuing an MFA and
dabbles in fiction, flash fiction, poetry, and flash nonfiction. She has
had two flash stories featured in 101
Words e-zine, a story performed by Manawaker Studios Flash Fiction Podcasts,
and a piece published in Round Up!
She ahs also won several local contests.