Thursday, December 3, 2009


Part one

The electric motors droned again. Why wouldn’t they leave him alone?

The dark outline of a man in black turned sideways and slid through the doors as soon as they cracked open. He carried a large Bible in one hand and a small, polished brass case of communion wafers and a glass vial of holy water in the other – everything he needed to assist a dying man.

Reverend James Robichaux, formerly of The Resurrection Episcopal Church, hurried across the waxed linoleum. Reverend Rob, as the lifers called him, was part of the state’s catch and release program. He earned his calling in prison ministries the hard way, touching altar boys under their cassocks.

Three years into a 10-year sentence at Angola, the reverend found renewed faith through the good book. When he finished his sentence, he left the confines of D-Block for death row. He’d been visiting the condemned and saving souls for the last 20 years.

He peered through the bars at Gerald’s hand resting on the bulge between his legs. “Don’t be ashamed.”

“Who said anythin’ ’bout shame? I’m rememberin’ good times, Rev.”

“Well, it’s just that I would think that a man at your stage in life would turn his attention away from the physical and toward the spiritual.”

Gerald reluctantly moved his hand.

“Have you thought about our last conversation?”

“Confession? Confession’s what got me in here. That cunt, Jennifer, was wearin’ a wire. Ain’t got nothin’ to confess to you.”

“I’ve met lots of innocent men in this prison, Gerry, but none as mule-headed as you.” Reverned Rob sighed and scratched his balding head. “I’m not asking you to confess to me. I don’t need it. You’ve got to make peace with yourself and with God.” He took a folding chair time-worn Bible to Ezekiel and read. “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.”

“Save it, Rev.” Gerald fished in his pocket for another cigarette. His mind was 19 years away. He could see the sweat glistening on Chastity’s neck, and he followed the beads inside her shirt between her small, perky tits. He stared at her swollen nipples. She turned to climb the steps of the trailer and flashed him a sly smile over her shoulder. She knew exactly what he wanted. Gerald followed her.

The scent of wildflowers in her deodorant mingled with the stale air in the unair-conditioned living room. Her bicep tensed in his grasp. She gasped, surprised he had followed her. Gerald knew the game. He lingered just a moment to savor the fear in her eyes.