Old Jimmy

He flushed the toilet again. “Well, there’s another one off to see the damn Warden. I ate so much last night; I think I can shit enough for all the pigs on the yard, too,” snorted Old Jimmy.

“Ha! The food was actually pretty good last night,” responded Charlie. “I wish we had pork chops more often.”

“Yeah, me too.” Old Jimmy could see Charlie tapping his right shoe under the partition to some annoying beat. Up, down, right, left. “My old lady used to make the best pork chops in the world.”

“Used to?” Charlie half grunted. “Where she at now?” Another grunt, and the sound of his toilet flushed.

Old Jimmy waited until the hollow roaring subsided, then muttered, “She gone.”

“Hmm.” Charlie’s foot had stopped moving.

Old Jimmy eyed the shoe with hesitance. He didn’t like to speak about his wife and the reasons why she had divorced him and left him alone in prison. But he also didn’t want Charlie to think he was some loser that couldn’t keep a family together. Old Jimmy hardly knew Charlie, but this was prison, and everything was about image and reputation. Something his wife could never understand whenever he had paroled. Jeannette constantly nagged about what she called his “deadbeat friends” and how they were only around when he was out. So when he was given this 34-year sentence for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, she decided, in her words, “to not do time with him anymore.” How ridiculous was that? How was she doing his time? He was the one that had to be in prison. He always took care of the bills when he was out, and she didn’t have any complaints then. Thinking about it made him upset. Charlie began tapping his feet again; it seemed he was waiting for a response.

Old Jimmy decided for his version of the truth. “She left me 20 years ago when I took the deal. Said she loved me but she couldn’t do it no more.” As if to provide emphasis on how he felt about that, his bowel moved and Old Jimmy flushed the toilet.

“That sucks,” Charlie said.

Old Jimmy leaned forward on the toilet seat and mumbled to himself as he flushed the toilet three times in quick succession. When it was quiet again, he began thinking about his wife.

Jeannette had said he was far too old to still be fighting, but she couldn’t understand how that chester had it coming. So what if he was 46 years old at the time? He had been fresh out of prison less than three months, and that was something the prosecuting attorney had emphasized during sentencing. With all the different enhancements for being an ex-felon, Old Jimmy ended up getting a fairly long sentence at the time. What drove Jimmy crazy though was how Jeannette had said he should have never hit that child molesting bastard with the tire iron. How would she have liked it had somebody molested their own son, James? What made him more upset was the last argument they had when he

had first been arrested. Jeannette was complaining about how he was a burden to their family. How the hell was he a burden? She never had to send him money or packages, because he always had money stashed away for when he did come back. Yet she nagged about how he was not there to contribute to the family, and his loyalties were only to his friends. Which he felt was ridiculous. He did not know what was wrong with women and the way their brains were wired, but there was something wrong with all women, he knew that much.

Six months ago he had an interview with the prison’s staff psychologist for his upcoming parole hearing, and just his luck, it was a woman. They had what he thought was a pleasant interview, except for when she had asked about the chester he had beaten with the pipe, there was a look she gave him when he had said he did not intend to give the man brain damage, only teach him a lesson when it comes to little kids. He thought she agreed when he said an adult should not be touching any young boys or girls. Yet when he received the report the doctor had diagnosed him with some psycho babble terms like antisocial and narcissistic personality disorder, and said he had no sense of remorse for his crime. What the hell was there to be remorseful about, the chester had it coming! And who the hell was she to judge him, smelling of stale cigarettes and cheap perfume?

Charlie’s foot tapping brought him out of his thoughts; Jimmy realized his own right foot had become numb. He used the rest of his toilet paper, flushed, and said to Charlie, “See you later, Charlie.”

“Okay, Jimmy.”

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