Tell A Tale in 500 Words

Anything But That By Karen Pearson

I wasn’t meant to be here.

“It’s all been worked out,” Morgan said, and that twisted smile of his sounded as creep-shit over the phone as it had looked the day I first met him. Everything was fine with his plan, everything. The airport, the handshake, the drive, the diversion- like all the others, timed to perfection. But that day, somebody watched me make the kill.

And now I can never find out who.

That’s the problem with appeals, they focus on the condemned. Teams of attorneys sweating together, all to buy some jerk who deserves nothing a few empty years in a lonely ten foot by eight. I guess we’ve gotten to know each other, this room and me. I guess I’ll say goodbye to it tomorrow. And no one knows my biggest regret is not finding out which gutless, out of range cop took that picture.

I never told anyone about Morgan though they offered enough sweeteners to make vomit taste like candy. Morgan was as closed as a clam in a vice and he never pretended there was no risk. I owe him something. And all their enticements were empty words. The result would be the same- tomorrow, next month, or next year. Yes, Morgan can sit tight.

God I wish they’d said which one of them followed me. Weeks of questioning, hours together, no toilet breaks because some Freud worshipping psychologist thinks the fear of crapping one’s pants is a legitimate form of interview pressure. Like they know what can scare me. Ten thousand questions and I can’t ask one damned thing. Doesn’t seem right.

And now someone’s coming. If it’s about final meal I’ve got an answer ready, and I don’t think they serve photographer’s entrails in nice hotels like this. But they don’t ask. They lead me out without explanation. Shit. They can bring it forward? Their last laugh, right? What a f….

But we’re in a different room. The investigation lead hotshot’s here, looking like he’s not sat down for a week, spilling words like his mouth’s on overdrive. And I only hear five as he shoves the image in my face.

“Do you know this guy?”

Morgan’s sinister smile hits my eyes as Hotshot’s words hit my ears. “We’ve traced the murder picture back to a phone he was using.”

And it’s too late, because I wasn’t prepared. Hotshot’s seen me balk.

“This changes everything,” he says.

It does. He’s nailed it.

They couldn’t have said who gave them the picture, because they didn’t know. Until now. And I thought I owed Morgan something.

Yeah. I do owe him something. Something else.

So they start the questions. And I’m more co-operative than I’ve ever been.

Now I’m back in my room. It and I are going to be seeing each other for a while longer yet, while I remember everything Morgan planned, every last one of them, piece by piece.

It’s like the chaplain once said. A man can always change.


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