My grandma always said I had the devil in me. She meant it as an endearment rather than an accusation. I was full of mischief but my “crimes” never hurt anybody. Well that’s not entirely true, my pranks furnished me with a reputation that I was never fully able to absolve.
I preferred to get my education outside of the classroom. Nature is the only honest depiction a man’s got of his history. Textbooks are biased. Man’s ego always supersedes truth (I think I might have negated my argument by saying as much). Needless to say I wasn’t exactly an honor student and although I graduated high school I never did make my mind up about college. I got a job right away. I didn’t get on well with my dad (my mom left when I was still in diapers) and I wasn’t keen on sticking around. I am not sure if it was the drinking or if he was just a bastard (I suspect the former enhanced the latter). I moved out as soon as I had two cents to rub together. It wasn’t a home so much as a roof but it was enough for a bachelor like me.
I learned to fight when I was a kid at least I learned to block and dodge I never did like to swing my fists. I am a big man I’ll take a blow if it’ll keep the peace. I met Michelle at the diner, she was a waitress, we talked casually. She wasn’t one to flirt with the customers though plenty of men had an eye for her. I admit to thinking she was cute and if she had given, even an inkling, of interest I might have asked her on a date. Not so much as a wink. I reckon she had someone in mind already. Now I saw her next to everyday on account of the diner had the best coffee and the refills were free. She was good company for small talk but I talked more to Steve, Steve is the cook, at least he was last time I was there. We were in elementary school together, Steve is one of those guys you can just pick up with real easy.
I didn’t usually go to the diner at night but it was the holidays. Ever since my grandma passed holidays are a lonely time. Michelle was there, which surprised me cause I figured she’d have people at home waiting. She seemed out of sorts but I couldn’t get anything specific from her. She left before I did on account of a call, which by her face was important. She was in a hurry and I didn’t think it right to interrupt just for the sake of my own concern. Had I known what was going to happen I would have offered to escort her.
I left not long after not in search or anything but I’d finished my “Christmas” dinner special. I thought about going strait home but it had just started to snow (I love snow). Now it was pretty late for dinner I admit maybe 12 pm but the ham sandwiches I’d eaten earlier just didn’t satisfy my Christmas spirit. Anyhow I was walking and it was pretty well lit with the addition of the holiday lanterns. I never did think much about taking the alleys on account of no one messes with me (speculation on my appearance?). I saw the body soon as I came around the corner. I thought maybe a homeless woman had collapsed on account of the cold. Once I got closer I recognized the uniform and Michelle’s curly blonde hair. She grabbed my arm, clawed into it real hard and looked me right in the eyes before collapsing dead in a pool of blood. Now I don’t know what she saw in that moment but I am certain it wasn’t me. I’ll never forget that look either, it was something between terror and rage. After that you know what happened I was spotted by a patrolling officer. I lost my life that night right there with that poor girl.
Whether my death will weigh upon the people’s conscious I cannot say, even now I maintain that there is more good in this world than bad (though I have seen much within these walls that would discredit such notions). There’s very little conciliation knowing that the true culprit walks the streets. And even less conciliation in the fact that I cannot furnish a design for his rehabilitation in the short time I have left. Though I regard his crimes as the very lowest I still do not condone the death penalty. In about an hour I’ll receive my last meal (I’ve decided on a Thanksgiving theme).
When I was a kid I once caught fireflies in an old mason jar. I kept them by my bed and when I woke the next morning they had all died. I still can’t claim to know exactly how they felt but as I sit here waiting for my life to run out, for reasons incomprehensible to me, I think I have a fair idea.
I am not much of a story-teller I am afraid! After proof-reading this I am wondering about Michelle’s perspective until her death.