Sunday Scribblings: My Oldest Friend

Prisoners
We became spit brothers first, undersized third-graders on the playground who found strength in the number two.
The blood brother thing, that came a day or two later.
When I get stressed, I often find myself fingering the ragged, two-inch scar on my palm. The one that started out as a single poke with a penknife to draw a few beads of blood.
I realize – now – the kinds of funk third-grade boys carry on their person, but who could have known that Tod and I would get some sort of staph infection from mixing our blood in an oath of loyalty to the very end.
Both our palms look like a river valley, shot from space.
Mine itches when I get anxious.
I get anxious a lot.
I’m supposed to be brilliant, just you know. In a Time magazine cover way.
I’m a geneticist. I was the one who isolated the enzyme on bad T cells.
And with it, I may have found a cure for Type 1 diabetes.
It’s hard to know what Tod feels, or thinks.
He’s still in Pelican Bay, a "supermax" prison with a razor-wire view of the California coast.
He vows he won’t talk to anyone, accept anyone’s visits until he gets out, walks free. He said going in that he didn’t want anyone to see him like this. He didn’t want to feel the embarrassment, the eyes that kept asking why.
The sentence is life.
He took the rap.
For one night of indiscretion.
My imprudence.

4 comments:

Jason said...

Wow... I loved it Thom.It was so short, but very deep and meaningful. I wanted more, but you did a great job wrapping it up.

Anonymous said...

Wow is right... Where the hell did that come from? Very nice!!
More, more!

- Snarky Pants

danni said...

what a kicker ending - great writing!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Thom:

Great story. You probably already know this but staph is not spelled staff. I had a really bad one that almost killed me so I know. Just a heads up. Thanks