"I could tell that the news to come was not good; he was having a hard time to spit out whatever he wanted to tell me."
Gerard, for the first time, followed me to a separate table in the mess hall where several other inmates sat. I hadn’t talked to them very much, preoccupied with Gerard, but they still welcomed me back, playfully hitting me on the shoulder and teasing me with joking insults. Finally, I got around to introducing Gerard. Everyone greeted him warmly, and with that gesture, I knew that Gerard realized it wasn’t as bad as he thought. Ray, one of the first friends I made as an inmate, spoke up,
“So, Gerard, what are you in here for?” Gerard tensed at the question, and I winced. I had been hoping that that question wouldn’t come up, but it been shot at Gerard right off the bat. I answered for Gerard.
“Uh, murder,” I said, not specifying the details. Ray nodded, sticking his bottom lip out; I wasn’t sure if he was impressed or just taking in the thought of the feeble looking man in front of him killing another person.
“How long have you been here?” Ray asked. This time, Gerard answered,
“Almost three years.” Again, Ray nodded thoughtfully, and said,
“Hm, haven’t seen you around at all before you met Frank.” Gerard shrugged. I placed my hand on Gerard’s shoulder, and said,
“Well, I mean, that’s about all there is to know about him,” I laughed, trying to change the topic to something else other than Gerard himself, shaking my head a little, “Just like any inmate here, I guess.” Ray slapped a hand on Gerard’s back.
“Hey, I guess, welcome to the group,” he said, beaming. Our so called “group” was only composed of a few people, maybe ten in total, but all of them decent men, who have, I assumed, found the error of their ways. None were profoundly evil or angry, and I was glad to have found such an anti-stereotypical prison group. Gerard grinned back at Ray; I had seen more and more of his smile these past few days, as I had comforted him and relieved some of the burden he carried, and I smiled to myself, proud that I had accomplished something. One thing I had figured out after caring for Gerard was that I was replacing something that I had lost years and years ago. When I found out that my girlfriend, the one that I had killed, was pregnant, I had, of course, I had been enraged and panicked at the beginning, thinking that I had ruined my life and reputation, but I had realized that I loved the girl, and that our lives weren’t over. In fact, it would probably be worse for her than for me. After a while I had come to appreciate the fact that I was going to be a father. I had fanaticized about taken care of the child and I looked forward to it, even though she would probably give it up for adoption. I wasn’t a completely bad person, I had to say; inside, I was a compassionate, caring person, and I had no idea what came over me on the day I had gone on a mad rampage through the school. I had been preparing to have a kid, and I was inwardly ecstatic, but on that ill-fated day, through the red, I had not seen anything but evil and indignation, and had not considered my actions while in the rage. Afterwards, though, I couldn’t fathom what I had done, and I completely confessed to the crime, believing that I deserved to be punished for my unforgivable act. I guess all the “fatherly love” that I had anticipated was still in me and I was able to release it through Gerard, and it was, quite frankly, the most fulfilling thing that I had ever done. I didn’t have many “good deeds” in prison, up until now, and my life was in a never-ending rut. Thankfully, Gerard pulled me out, making me feel better about myself, along with him. It’s completely true: giving is the best gift you can receive.
As I contemplated my motives on taking care of Gerard, Ray approached me and said,
“Hey, Frank, I gotta talk to you,” he said. That phrase scared me, as I’m sure it did to anyone who heard it. Asking for permission to state something to another person was never a positive thing and I was not excited to hear what he was about to say.
“Have at it,” I said, telling my self that it was probably nothing, and he was just there to tell me something minor and unimportant.
“Here, sit down,” he motioned to an empty table separate from where our group sat. I hesitated to leave the populated area, feeling less exposed with more people around, but I followed Ray, tearing my eyes from Gerard, who had acquainted himself with the other inmates quite nicely, as I watched him laugh at one of the comments make by an inmate. Ray and I sat at the table, opposite from each other, and Ray spoke.
“Rumor has it, now keep in mind that it is a rumor, that the state is…” he interrupted himself with a sigh. I could tell that the news to come was not good; he was having a hard time to spit out whatever he wanted to tell me. I widened my eyes and nodded, pressing him to tell me, becoming impatient that he wouldn’t just say it. He continued,
“The state is considering the death penalty, and through the people that I’ve heard, it’s going strong, and if it passes, they’re going to try and fix the overpopulation in prisons.” I wasn’t prepared for this. I had expected he was going to tell me something about a small change in the prison schedule or maybe even a rumor going around that an inmate was killed through some freak accident, but not this. Granted, those examples aren’t very well thought out, but I couldn’t help but think of better alternatives than that of what Ray had told me. Overcrowding in prisons were becoming a problem, especially in this area of New Jersey, were crime was not uncommon, and though controversial, it seemed that the most convenient way to make space was to kill off all those who had done the most harm in society. This meant I would be one of the first to go, taken that I had confessed in killing the two teenagers, even though I wouldn’t have had to with the dozens of witnesses that had testified on my account. Even worse, Gerard would be taken into mind as well, being that he, too, had committed a wicked act. I appreciated that Ray had told me, and not him, but I couldn’t bear to tell him, and I knew that in a couple months’ time, hopefully more, I’d be taken away to death watch to await my death. Truthfully, like I had said to Gerard, I wished that there was the death sentence in New Jersey because of all the guilt and need for punishment I thought I required, and even though I knew that I would be scared of death when I would be strapped down onto the gurney, I was completely opposed to it now that I had meaning in my life. I couldn’t leave Gerard. He was my only purpose in life. Telling myself this, I realized that it was sort of romantic. Here, because of the isolation of men from women, I haven’t had an intimate moment to share with another woman, and I knew that this was the closest I would get. Of course, I wasn’t attracted to Gerard in that way, but my love for him, yes, love, was sort of fatherly, or brotherly, as I had mentioned wanting to be a father before. I was his father for me, and a brother for him, like he had lost. I had replaced everything we had ever wanted since arriving here, and I was glad I was able to, but that was about to be taken away, even after I had worked so diligently to watch Gerard laugh with other people like he never had before. I told myself to think differently, though. It was not completely decided that the death penalty would be endorsed, and Ray wasn’t even sure if the rumor was true. I told myself to calm down. As of now, I would hold off on telling Gerard this rumor and let him enjoy laughing for as long as he could.
A/N: Hello readers! I have a question for you! This will help me understand how the audience thinks and what I can to do make the story better.
So, what do you think about Gerard's crime? Is he guilty or is he innocent. Of course, I mean morally, not lawfully. Basically, do you think that Gerard did right or wrong?
Review and tell me, por favor! Thank you all :D