I had just eaten my last meal, and to tell the truth the prison kitchen had out done themselves.¬† I had a rib-eye steak, cooked medium well, baked potato, salad with low fat Italian dressing.¬† Even when you‚Äôre being put to death they want you be healthy.¬† They even allowed me a desert, a nice sized slice of Cherry Cheesecake.
¬†I looked up at the large institutional clock, through the bars of my cell, and noticed that I had only four hours left to live.¬† Four hours until I would be rotting in Hell.¬† You see I had been sentenced to death by lethal injection.
¬†A death I suppose I deserve, but I don‚Äôt want to die.¬† I could guess you are thinking that my ex-wife didn‚Äôt want to die either, but believe me she had really deserved it, as did her lover.
¬†I really didn‚Äôt give a flying fuck about her cheating on me, what I did care about is what he did to my son, and her covering up for the son of a bitch.¬† Yes, she knew what was happening, but turned a blind eye to it.
¬†All she really cared about was having a man to take care of her.¬† That way she didn‚Äôt have to work, and she could sit on her ass all day and do nothing.¬† Even taking care of the baby was a chore for her.¬† To be completely honest I was the one that always gave Alan his bath, changed his diapers, and fed him.¬† Anna‚Äôs idea of a nutritious meal for our son was a raw hot dog that fell on the floor.
¬†I worked forty, maybe fifty hours a week at a grocery story, then came home and did the housework that she would refuse to do.¬† Anna became demanding, and if I refused to do anything she wanted she would threaten me with divorce, and child support.¬† She‚Äôd say¬† ‚ÄúThomas either you buy me a new dryer, or else you‚Äôll be paying out more then that to me!‚ÄĚ Or, ‚ÄúTom, I want that fifteen hundred dollar stereo from Finger-hut, for Christmas or else.‚ÄĚ¬† But, the thing that broke the camels back, was the fact that I finally got sick and tired of her shit, and told her that if she wasn‚Äôt going to do anything around the fucking house, then she was going to get out and get a job.¬† My God, how she fought me over that.
¬†She got mad one night and called the Woodsville cops and told them that I had beat the Hell out of her.¬† They came out and of course read me the riot act bullshit, and I told them that I had never hit her, and that was the truth, but the cops never believes the guy you know.¬† They told me to leave the house or they would lock me up, so I left, knowing that my little boy was the one that was going to be hurt the most in all of this, but I knew that I had to stand my ground.
¬†She had realized that this was one fight that she was not going to win, and finally relented.¬† She found a job at a local fast food place, and she hated it.¬† Her hateful gaze followed me every where I went if we were both at home.¬† It was enough to drive any man insane.¬† When we spoke, which wasn‚Äôt often, she spoke to me as if I was nothing but a rabid dog who had come to whisk away her firstborn.¬† When she would fix dinner, she always made sure my plate was always burnt.
¬†Finally one night while I was at work, I was called up front, and there was a sheriff standing there with a load of documents in his hand.¬† He looked at me with a bit of sadness in his eyes, and smiled a thin smile.¬† ‚ÄúAre you Thomas J. Ericson?‚ÄĚ¬† He asked, with a sigh.
¬†He had a lined and wrinkled face. A white mustache, and a little what you would call roly poly in his waistline.¬† The poor old guy looked like he was close to retirement age, and I felt a bit sorry for him.
¬†With reluctance I nodded and said yes.¬† I felt a lump come to my throat.¬† I remember thinking that something had happened to my son.¬† I was scared, more scared then I could ever remember being in my life.¬† Then I looked at the stack of papers in his hand and I realized that that couldn‚Äôt be it.¬† A cop that had a stack of papers usually meant that I was being served.
¬†He again gave me that faint smile as he handed me the papers, and said, ‚ÄúI‚Äôm sorry Mr. Ericson.¬† You‚Äôre wife filed for a divorce, and it‚Äôs my sad duty to service you with the papers.‚ÄĚ¬† He said in a thick Irish accent.
¬†I was shocked!¬† ‚ÄėShe had only been working two weeks, and she spent her money with this?‚Äô¬† I was thinking.¬† Thinking Hell, Tell the truth and shame the devil Tom.¬† Ok, ok, I wasn‚Äôt thinking about anything.¬† Oh Hell no.¬† I was seeing Red.¬† I was glad that the cop that was standing there couldn‚Äôt see inside my head, for I would had been in jail right then.
¬†The cop had handed me the papers, and made mention of the paper that was laying on the top.¬† ‚ÄúThis one here, me boy, is a restraining order.¬† You are not to go within 100 yards of the house that your wife is living in.‚ÄĚ
¬†‚ÄúWhat about my son?¬† When can I see him?‚ÄĚ¬† I asked even though I had already knew the answer.
¬†The fat burly cop shook his head slowly,¬† ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs for the courts to decide.¬† Me?¬† I hope you make out well.‚ÄĚ
¬†‚ÄúThanks.‚ÄĚ¬† I muttered and turned away, walking slowly back to the back room where I still had the rest of my nights work to do.
¬†Anna had me write out checks that morning for the light bill, the gas bill, and the mortgage payment, knowing full well what I was going to get that night.¬† I knew what I was going to do the next morning.¬† The checking account I used was in my name only, and the best thing I knew to do, was to go to the bank the next morning and put a stop on all those checks, and close out my account.¬† So that‚Äôs what I did.
¬†Did I do it, for spite, or vengeance?¬† No I don‚Äôt think so, I think I did it because I knew that now I didn‚Äôt have a place to go, or money to find a place.¬† I did it because my child would need a place to go if he was with me.¬† I did it out of self preservation.
¬†Her attorney ran to the courthouse after a few days, asked and was granted an emergency hearing.¬† It seemed Anna didn‚Äôt like having me get the batter of her.¬† She started calling me at work, demanding that I pay her fucking bills.¬† I told her what any red blooded American boy would.¬† I told her to Fuck off!¬† They got their hearing three weeks earlier and that was fine by me, because I got to see my son faster that way.¬† He was two years old and was used to seeing his old man around.¬† God, how I had missed him.
¬†The hearing had turned out better then I expected.¬† I only had to pay eighty two dollars a week to her, and she had to make due with that.¬† I got my son every other weekend, and she had to deal with that.¬† My attorney demanded that because I hadn‚Äôt been with my son for three weeks I should be allowed visitation that very weekend.¬† The judge agreed.¬† That really pissed Anna off.
¬†She didn‚Äôt want me knowing, but I found out almost right away.¬† She had moved a man into our house.¬† A man that she was working with.¬† His name was Jack Smalling.¬† He was about forty five, compared to Anna‚Äôs thirty.¬† I would say he was five foot one, and weighed all of a hundred pounds soaking wet.¬† His long brown hair made him look like a little girl from far away, and when I first saw him, I really thought he was a little girl.
¬†One other thing about Jack Smalling… He was a convicted child molester!¬† Though I found that out later.
¬†A friend of mine, whose husband was one of the cops who arrested him, told me about it.¬† She was scared for Alan, and she relayed that fear to me.
¬†I went to the Woodsville police, and asked around about Jack Smalling and was told that I needed to mind my own business, but I persisted.¬† I explained that he was living with my soon to be ex-wife and that she had my son with her and I felt I had a right to know what he was so I could protect my son.
¬†They finally relented, and told me how he had molested his own little girl, and I asked how men like that could live with themselves, and the cop told me he had no idea.¬† I listened intently, and when it was over, he said one more thing that chilled my bones.
¬†‚ÄúMr. Ericson.¬† One thing I need to warn you about.¬† If you in any way tell anyone about Mr. Smalling you will be in danger of going to jail.¬† The man is now a private citizen, and has done his time.¬† You will be invading his privacy.‚ÄĚ¬† The cop stated.
¬†I was fuming.¬† How after what the bastard did to his own child, could the¬† cops protect this asshole?¬† What if he did something to the neighbors children?¬† What would the parents of said children hear from the cops?¬† ‚ÄėWe‚Äôre awful sorry Mrs. Smith.¬† Jack Smalling seemed harmless enough.‚Äô¬† Bullshit!
¬†Alan was potty trained when he came to my house, and I bought him some Lion King underwear.¬† He was proud of them, and showed it by going to the potty so that he could keep wearing them.¬† I would send him back to her in them, yet when it was time for me to pick him up, he was back in a diaper.¬† I asked Anna about this when he was clearly potty trained, and she stated that she couldn‚Äôt get him to go to the potty for anything.¬† I asked her where his underwear was, and she told me that she was keeping them.
¬†I called the child protection service, and again was cut off.¬† The woman I spoke to didn‚Äôt seem to care.¬† Oh no, that would be trampling on Jacks rights.¬† I asked what about my rights?¬† What about Alan‚Äôs rights?
¬†‚ÄúMr. Ericson.¬† In this instance, Mr. Smallings rights trumps your rights.¬† He may have been convicted of this hideous crime, but he served his time, and has the right to live his life without persecution.‚ÄĚ¬† She had said.¬† She had a very cold edge to her voice, as if she didn‚Äôt give a fuck about anything I stated.
¬†‚ÄúI‚Äôm trying to prevent something from happening here!‚ÄĚ¬† I roared, in my frustration.
¬†She sounded a little apprehensive at that, as she said, ‚ÄúSir there‚Äôs always counseling if the worst does happen.‚ÄĚ
¬†With that said she pissed me off with no return.¬† ‚ÄúIf that happens, I wont need you, I‚Äôll need a good attorney!‚ÄĚ
¬†‚ÄúSir, he does have his rights!‚ÄĚ¬† She again explained, as if she were talking to a small child of three.
¬†‚ÄúMa‚Äôam.‚ÄĚ¬† I started, trying to keep my voice even.¬† ‚ÄúIn my opinion, he lost his rights when he started dicking his little girl!‚ÄĚ¬† Then I slammed the receiver of the phone down to let her know I wasn‚Äôt pleased.
¬†I told Anna what I had learned from the police, and what I had looked up in the library about him, and of course she called me a liar, and that i just didn‚Äôt like the fact that she was fucking someone else in our bed.
¬†I said that nothing she did surprised me, and that I knew she was fucking other men while we were married.¬† ‚ÄúAnna they have words for women like you, but right now I‚Äôm concerned for our son.¬† You could be fucking Bill Clinton and I wouldn‚Äôt care, as long as our son does not get hurt!”
¬†Three weeks later was Alan‚Äôs birthday.¬† He had just turned three years old, and I took him for a little birthday party.¬† My Mom and Dad, and my brothers were in attendance.¬† Alan was enjoying himself with all the cake and presents, when he said he wanted to tell me a secret.¬† A secret that Jack told him he needed to keep, or he would kill me.
¬†I asked him what the secret was, already knowing what he was going to tell me, and I knew I was going to be sick.¬† ‚ÄúShhhhhhh.‚ÄĚ¬† He said,¬† ‚ÄúWhen Jack changes my diaper, he tickles my pee-pee.‚ÄĚ
¬†My anger rose, and I slowly devised a plan.¬† I knew I had to do something.¬† He was fucking with my child!¬† MY LITTLE BOY!¬† The bastard had to die, and if Anna knew this was happening, then the bitch would die also!¬† The cops and the state had already made their case clear to me, so I knew that the only way to keep my son safe was to take it into my own hands.
¬†If I knew then what I know now, things would have been a bit different.¬† At that time I couldn‚Äôt do anything without the memory of my son, the child that meant everything to me, telling me what Jack was doing to him.¬† Anna, of course, had to know what was happening, and she had been warned.¬† That was what pissed me off the most!¬† SHE HAD BEEN WARNED!
¬†For me to cry was a very rare thing.¬† For me to cry near others was nearly unheard of.¬† But one day, at work, I found that I needed to find a place where no one else would see me.¬† The emotion was getting to strong, and I felt that it was coming!¬† I walked back behind the shelving in the back room, just as the first of the sobs hit me.¬† I was revolted, by the cowardly act that the tears brought, and I felt a fire in the pit of my stomach, and the hatred swell.¬† More then anything I wanted Jack Smalling dead!
¬†Over the next few months, I put the finishing touches to my plan.¬† A plan that would not only rid the world of a predator of children, but would make that bastard fell as helpless as the kids he molested!¬† Dead was too good for the likes of him, so I wanted him to suffer the way that he made his victims suffer.¬† Helpless, and afraid.¬† I also knew that Anna would pay for the crimes that she allowed Jack to perform on our son!
¬†I rented a secluded cabin, outside of Cataract Falls, and got the supplies I knew I was going to need. I thought to myself that with any luck Jack and Anna would go missing and they would never find their bodies.¬† My plan though was to first torture the man that stole my sons innocents.
¬†I once again thought that I should pursue a legal recourse, and consulted my attorney.¬† I remember sitting in his office, and him writing everything I said down.
¬†He looked at me thoughtfully and gave a sad smile.¬† ‚ÄúYou know, Tom, Alan is three years old.¬† A three year old has an imagination, and the courts will think that‚Äôs all it is.‚ÄĚ
¬†I spat out bitterly, ‚ÄúA three year old shouldn‚Äôt know anything about that kind of perverted shit!¬† For Christ sake!¬† He‚Äôs been convicted of it before, and you are sitting here telling me that it doesn‚Äôt even matter!‚ÄĚ
¬†‚ÄúWhere‚Äôs the proof?‚ÄĚ¬† He asked, with empathy.¬† I sat there dumbfounded.¬† Looking at the walls lined with all his law books, and I was wanting to scream!¬† I wanted justice for my son, but I knew it was never going to come.
¬†Even though, my lawyer decided to make a case of it, I decided to move forward with my plan.
¬†Going into the town of Cataract Falls was like going into the past.¬† It was an old rustic town, set like an old pioneer village.¬† There was a general store, where you could buy stick candy, any flavor, ten for a dollar.¬† They had potatoes in burlap sacks, sugar in barrels, and an old cash register.¬† There was two old hotels, and one of them was made up to look like a saloon.¬† All of the houses there was made to look like they were log cabins, and I fell in love with the place.¬† I wanted to live there when all this was done, but I knew that it would be too close to the scene of the crime.
¬†I drove into the forest that surrounded the lake, taking in all the sounds, and sights along the way.¬† I remember hearing the cicadas chirping away while seeing the bent over trees and moss growing on them.¬† Everything to me that day was clear as could be, and I knew that I was doing the right thing.
¬†I ask myself everyday if I enjoyed killing me ex-wife, and the asshole who destroyed my sons life and I, to be completely honest, have to say ‚ÄúYES‚ÄĚ I did.¬† Does that make me a psychopath?¬† I can‚Äôt say for sure, but it did give me a certain satisfaction, to know that he would die without a chance to fight back.¬† I was going to make him like a child again.¬† I was going to show him what real power was!
¬†I knew that I would not see the panic set in on him as he struggled to get loose his confines, but I also knew that he would not be able to move, or scream, or anything else.¬† He would be in one place and would not be able to do anything except let death overtake him.
¬†Walking into the cabin was like walking into your new home for the first time.¬† It was warm and inviting.¬† A place where you knew you could instantly call home.¬† Unfortunately, I knew that this place had a death curse upon it.¬† Two people would die here, but I wasn‚Äôt going to let that stop me from admiring it.
¬†I walked into the spacious living room, and grinned.¬† I knew that this was where I was going to do the dastardly deed¬† There was a fireplace, with a moose head over the mantle, a red velvet sofa set in the corner with a lamp to light at night, there were book shelves full of books, and a TV with a VCR for your viewing pleasure.
¬†I walked outside and took the lumber out of my truck.¬† I sawed for a while and hammered the wood together.¬† I was enjoying the sunshine, and went about my work with out a thought on my mind.¬† When I was finished I there was a box about five foot five long, three foot wide, and six feet deep.¬† It was just the way I had imagined it.
¬†I looked up at the clock, and realized I had been talking for almost two hours.¬† It‚Äôs hard to believe how time flies when you‚Äôre so close to death.Especially when you know you‚Äôre going to die.¬† I felt the butterfly‚Äôs starting to flutter in my stomach, and thought that if I was going to finish my story, I had better get on with it.¬† I had less then an hour left.
¬†Some how I got the crate near the boat that was in the lake. I also brought down, one by one, twenty bags of cement, a wheelbarrow, and some rebar that I got from a friend who works construction.¬† I was all ready for tonights festivities. Going back to the cottage, I locked the door.¬† It was getting late, and I wanted Jack to know his fate that very night.¬† I know that I had twinged my back, but it was worth it.¬† I limped to my truck and started it.
¬†I drove to Woodsville, and waited outside of Liams Pub.¬† Anna had once confided in me that Jack was a drunk, and that she was scared of him after a night at Liam‚Äôs.¬† She said that he went there every night.¬† I think she was wanting me to get into a fight with him, and get hauled to jail.¬† ‚ÄėThis time,‚Äô¬† I thought, ‚ÄėThe joke would be on them.‚Äô
¬†Watching the doorway for them was like watching paint dry. It was boring.¬† People went in and people went out, but there was no sign of the man that i was going to kill.¬† I was just about ready to give up, when I saw, not only Jack come out, but Anna was with him, and I could tell they both were three sheets to the wind.
¬†Getting out of the truck, I heard a small voice in the back of my mind say, ‚ÄėTom, you can still stop this!‚Äô¬† But I knew what had to be done.¬† I grabbed my pistol out from the truck and as quietly as I could I walked up behind them.
¬†They were arguing, and Jack was bitching about something Anna did.¬† I walked right up behind them and brought the butt of my pistol down at the base of Jacks neck.¬† He went down like a ton of bricks.¬† Anna turned to look at me, and she started to scream.
¬†‚ÄúScream, bitch, and you both die right now!‚ÄĚ¬† I snarled, and she stopped right there.
¬†She was shaking all over, and I was glad that she couldn‚Äôt see how scared I was at that moment.¬† She collected herself, and asked,¬† ‚ÄúWhat do you want?‚ÄĚ
¬†I smiled despite the sick feeling in my gut.¬† ‚ÄúWhat I want, is for you to drag that child molesting ass of his to the back of my truck, and then we‚Äôll talk about what happens from there!‚ÄĚ¬† I said, hearing myself from about a million miles away.
¬†‚ÄúWhat the Hell do you think you‚Äôre doing?‚ÄĚ¬† She asked, fear was oozing from her, like the stink of the carcass of a three day old road kill.
¬†I gave her an innocent look, and smiled.¬† ‚ÄúWhat makes you think I‚Äôm doing anything?¬† Just drag him to the truck and we can get this party going!‚ÄĚ¬† I grinned.¬† Looking back, I really believe I went around the bend.
¬†She dragged him to the bed of my truck and I ordered her to put him in, and with a bit of effort she finally succeeded.¬† While she had her back to me, I brought the pistol down on my second victim of the night.¬† She fell right beside the man that she chose over our son.¬† I then took duct tape tied them up, and gagged them.
¬†As I pulled the tarp over them, I cooed,¬† ‚ÄúSweet dreams, for tomorrow you both will be dead!‚ÄĚ¬† I remember chuckling a little at that, and then I got in the truck and drove back to the cabin.
¬†By the time I drove into the secluded driveway, they were awake and alert.¬† The full moon gave me enough light so that I could see what I was going.¬† The owls were screeching, and there were bats flying overhead.
¬†I pulled the tarp off my play things, and went to work having show and tell.¬† I first showed then the crate that waited by the lake for them.¬† They were trying to scream through their gags, but only muffled sounds came out.¬† I was really enjoying this!
¬†‚ÄúActually, no.‚ÄĚ I laughed, manically.¬† ‚ÄúThis is only a means to the end.‚ÄĚ
¬†They were struggling with the duck tape that bound them, and I sighed.¬† I remember thinking to myself why they just couldn‚Äôt make it easier for me and give in to their fate.¬† I grabbed one of the bags of concrete and poured it into the wheelbarrow.
¬†‚ÄúOk boys and girls… It‚Äôs story time!‚ÄĚ¬† I said, and sat down on the ground.¬† ‚ÄúI‚Äôm now going to show and tell you what to expect.¬† You are going to die tonight, but the manner in which it will happen will teach you both how it is to be little and at the mercy of others.¬† I am going to fill this crate a third of the way full of concrete, then I will place you both in it.‚ÄĚ¬† I produced four straws, and smiled.¬† ‚ÄúThese will go into each of your nostrils, this way you will be able to breathe when I pour in the rest of the cement.¬† See, I want you to both know how it feels when you can‚Äôt even struggle, when you know that danger is threatening to hurt you.¬† I will then take the block of cement that holds your tomb, row out into the middle of the lake, and the deposit it at the lowest drop-off.¬† There, you will go crazy as you realize that you are going to drown.‚ÄĚ
¬†I remember laughing as I stood up, walked over the the wheelbarrow, poured the mixture I had made into the crate.¬† I smoothed out the cement, and walked away so that I knew they couldn‚Äôt see me.¬† I grabbed an old t-shirt, and poured ether onto it, and walked back to the scared duo.¬† Jack was the one that I hated most, so Anna was first.¬† I wanted Jack to see what lay ahead for him.¬† I grabbed Anna by her long golden locks, and put the shirt over her nose and mouth.
¬†She put up a struggle, but in no time she was out.¬† I looked at Jack, smiled. and nodded.¬† He tried to scream, but the gag was doing it‚Äôs job.¬† He got that deer in the headlights look, and I felt satisfaction that he was finally afraid.¬† ‚ÄúYes Jack.¬† Have you ever wondered to yourself what would happen to you if you fucked with the wrong mans family?‚ÄĚ
¬†He laid bound on the ground, with his eyes widened.¬† He didn‚Äôt even struggle.¬† Jack was taking all the fun out of what I was doing.¬† I thought that he may have even wanted to die.¬† In a way, I started to feel pity for him.¬† I had to harden myself against it, so I thought of Alan saying that he was tickling his little pee pee, and that brought me to my senses.
¬†I picked up Anna, and walked over to the crate, a carefully placed her on top of the concrete I had just smoothed, then placed the straws in her nostrils.¬† It was so simple.
¬†Walking back to Jack, I smiled evilly, and repeated the process.¬† I then mixed the rest of the mortar, and filled the box the rest of the way.¬† I was sweating like a stuck pig, but it was worth it, in my mind.
¬†There were two mistakes that I had made that I hadn‚Äôt counted on.¬† The first was that the cement would kill them by crushing their bodies while it was drying.¬† The second was the DNR agent that had a nasty habit of coming along when you least expect it.
¬†After I had filled the wooden crate, I went into the cabin and fell into a deep sleep.¬† I had no nightmares, even though I thought I would have. I awoke in the morning to daylight, and totally refreshed.¬† ‚ÄúIt is going to be a good day!‚ÄĚ¬† I said aloud.¬† Boy, was I wrong about that!
¬†Walking out into the warm sunshine, I noticed the man sitting on the top of the crate for the first time.¬† He was about five foot ten, and a hundred seventy-five pounds.¬† He looked to be around forty-five, and he just sat there looking at me like he knew my secret.
¬†‚ÄúHelp ya?‚ÄĚ I asked casually, as I started towards him.
¬†He looked back at me, staying seated where he was.¬† ‚ÄúYeah, maybe.‚ÄĚ
¬†He studied me, when he asked,¬† ‚ÄúWhat‚Äôs with the cement?‚ÄĚ
¬†I had to think of a lie and fast,¬† ‚ÄúWell I‚Äôm a wannabe sculptor.¬† Though,¬†¬† I‚Äôm not very good, I still like to try.¬† I use cement instead of marble.¬† It‚Äôs cheaper!‚ÄĚ
¬†‚ÄúSo,‚ÄĚ¬† He started,¬† ‚ÄúThat explains this!‚ÄĚ
¬†I walked up to the crate, and gasped in horror.¬† Anna‚Äôs forearm stuck out of the cement.¬† It seemed to me then, and I still believe now, that Anna had gotten her hand free and tried to get out of the drying cement.¬† I looked in disbelief, as the man stood up.¬† I started to back away, when I noticed that cops stood around the woods waiting for me.¬† I dropped down to the ground, and let them take me in.
¬†I was charged with murder and found guilty six months later.¬† In the courtroom, I admitted everything.¬† I was sentenced to death, and now I am here.
¬†As I lie strapped to this gurney, I await my fate.¬† I look at the plungers that will soon take my life, and smile.¬† The warden has just asked me the question that I have been waiting for, since the day of my sentencing,¬† ‚ÄúDo you have any last words?‚ÄĚ
¬†I looked at the two way glass that seperated me from Anna and Jacks families, and spoke the words I had been dying to say for a long time.¬† ‚ÄúAt least my son has been safe all these years.‚ÄĚ
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON E. L. DAWSON, AND HIS WORK GO TO:
LAST MEAL -¬†A SHORT STORY BY THE AUTHOR OF ‚ÄúCHAT‚ÄĚ-E. L. DAWSON
¬© 2011 E. L. DAWSON