Sunday Scribblings: Regrets

The prompt at Sunday Scribblings is "regrets."

No Regrets
In a sea of regrets, he was the pebble that sank to the bottom, unaffected.
He listened emotionless at the sentencing, where people lined up to cast him as a pariah, a butcher, a monster.
When it was his turn to speak, he raised his hands as far as the chains would allow and quietly, logically, laid out his story. An explanation of that night, the brutal surroundings, the terror. The blood. The two teenagers, dead.
He never once said he was sorry.
Death by lethal injection was the next day’s headline.
The public defender, half-heartedly, said he would pursue an appeal (more-or-less not to lose his standing in the bar).
Solitary, thick gray paint on iron bars. An orange jumper. Plastic slip-on shoes. Three squares a day, one hour of supervised exercise in a pen in the yard, an AR-15 trained on him. Like he could go anywhere, his ankles chained together with a foot of play.
He paced, hands clasped behind his back, and contemplated. He never said anything to anyone, except to answer direct questions.
His hair grew long and went silver, and it helped mark the years on appeal. Appeals he never wanted, granted by people he didn’t know, didn’t know him and the things of which he had been accused; they did it on moral grounds, believing executions tore at the social fabric of society.
The rest of the world? They prayed he’d burn in hell. For eternity.
And in the end, the appeals ran their course. His time was to come to an end.
Newspapers picked up on it, as the date got closer. The first such execution in nearly a decade. The rehashing of the brutality. Renewed calls for repentance.
And again, he showed no remorse. He refused all interview requests. He continued to answer yes and no to the questions asked by the guards.
No new details on that night, now so long ago.
The saline drip coursed into the crook of his arms, just below each bicep. The double IVs were a precaution, in case one push didn’t work, they had the option to introduce the drugs into his system. Three drugs would be pushed into the IV, from another room, that would end his life. First, sodium thiopental, a fast-acting barbiturate to render him unconscious. Then the muscle-relaxant pancuronium to cause paralysis in each and every muscle.
Then potassium chloride, which would stop the heart.
He’d die by cardiac arrest.
Just before the sodium thiopental was injected, he called for the preacher, asked in a clipped, muted tone to bring a paper and pencil. He whispered into the old preacher’s dandruff-covered ear; the old man’s liver-spotted hands trembled visibly as he wrote.
Seven minutes passed until his heart stopped.
The coroner marked the time of death, two hours later.
On the steps of the prison, under the harsh klieg lights of television cameras, the preacher stepped to a bank of microphones, adjusted the thick, black eyeglass frames and read from the slightly crumbled paper.
“What I done, I done for my boy,” the preacher read in a loud monotone. “It’s a sin to kill the feeble-minded, but a child of God nonetheless. For that, I have no regrets.”


Tumblewords: said...

Strong piece. Always a good read at your site...thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love the description of the double IV and the drug protocol. Good work, Thom.

danni said...

powerful tale with some justified moral indignation to stir the pot a bit!!!

missalister said...

Yeah. Ditto all the comments so far.
I love the way you strung the reader along, made the reader wait to see what the old man done for his boy.
And I’ll be darned if you don’t come up with some of the most amazing details. Today’s fave from the Peanut Gallery is in relation to the preacher: the dandruff-covered ear and liver-spotted hands. What a picture : )

floreta said...

agreed with tumblewords. always like coming to your site! i wonder if you had to research any of this for your story?

Anonymous said...

Love your stories .. so rich with words and emotions !