Charles Sims, Feather Painter

Wildlife and Indian art painted on turkey feathers

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Twenty to Life

Posted by charlessims on August 10, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Dick was overcome with gloom as the sun dipped below the prison wall. The light reflecting off the razor wire was brilliant. This was the closest thing to a sunset that he had seen in years. Even though the sun had disappeared, it was not dark. Daylight would hang around for another forty five minutes. That old stone wall was so high it blocked the sun in the prison yard. Unlike the outside, it would get dark inside the yard twice.

In here nothing changes. Everyday at this time Dick would get melancholy and wonder why he was here. Was it because he was mean as a stepped on snake. Was it because he had hurt people? Or was it because his parents had named him Dick? Not willing to place the blame on himself, he always chose to blame his parents. The real reason was one that even Dick did not fully understand. He was, as his name suggested, a virile man. An alpha male, he was comfortable with and loved women. He was always able to conquer and dominate them. However as his late teen years came, he began to realise that he was queer. This realization upset and bewildered him. He became more aggressive toward women. That did not help his situation. The queer feelings intensified. He fought a losing battle. He could not let the public know the truth. It was 1979 after all. But what could he do? He knew that if he went into the prison system, there would be men, captive men.

As we all know, young people do not ever make good decisions. Now that he was thirty-five, Dick was unhappy with his choices. The prison walls, darkness, isolation and fear every night was so unbearable, it proved that he had made bad choices. After entering the prison system, Dick realised that he was no longer the alpha male. In fact he was low on the pecking order(no pun intended). In the dark he was thankful for the safety of the bars.

He was locked in a building with men that were not nice. At the top of the heap was Frank. A large mountain of a man with no compassion and no soul. When he put his white eyes on you, your heart would almost stop. Frank was in for murder. Because the death penalty had been put aside, he was in for life and had nothing to lose. Several of the guards had been injured by him. It was a rite of passage for the new guards to challenge him. If they didn't, it was seen as a sign of weakness. Evil minded Frank sometimes inflicted serious bodily harm.

Of all the men in the prison, this was the one that Dick feared the most. Dick knew that Frank could smell the fear. It was oozing from his body. Dick had become lax in his attention and got too close to the bars. As Frank reached out to the bars, Dick moved backwards quickly. Too quickly. It irritated him for his fear to control him. No one else knew, but Frank. "One day these bars won't be here," Frank said "and you know what I will do then." Dick could not let anyone else see his distress. To cover for this, he said in a loud voice,"I look forward to it!" Frank just laughed. That infuriated Dick even more. However he knew when to be quiet.

After observing Frank for years, Dick knew that he was a cunning and calculating killer. He did not get away with twenty-three murders by being stupid. He was not the retarded killer everyone imagined. Frank had planned each death down to the last detail. He did not target women. It was men, and tough men at that. None of the men were sexually assaulted, it was not like that. It was the thrill of the conquest and victory over a worthy opponent. If he could destroy a man equal to himself, that was the thrill that he needed. His last intended victim was different. The Alabama task force had suspected him for a while. They used a police Sergeant for bait. Knowing that Frank sucker punched his victims just below the sternum, in the diaphragm, was just the edge the Sergeant needed. He placed a metal plate there under his shirt.

The momentary surprise was all the sarge needed. When Frank hesitated for just a spilt second it was over. The sarge broke Frank's jaw with a right cross. As Frank stumbled back, his kneecap was broken by a downward side kick. When the cop put his foot down, he spun around and caught Frank with a spinning back fist on his temple. When he awoke he was in a lot of pain and handcuffs. No one had pity on him, least of all the sergeant. He had spent years with the Yoshukai Karate organization and even had a couple of classes with the founder, Master Yamamoto.

Dick moved away into the darkness. Why had he taken this route? To get to the captive men? He had not been in here long before he realised he was not attracted to men at all. What was he to do? At his age he knew that it would be hard to get out.

Then there was Jimmy...

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