Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Waiting Room - Halloween Story 2009

By Roger A Wilbanks

“About time you showed. He’s almost here.”

“I was busy, sorry. Have I missed it?”

“No. They’re still in the prep area. He’s got plenty of time. Sort of.”

“Shame, this one. He was such a nice guy. Never gave nobody no trouble. Just did his time and kept his mouth shut.”

“Yeah, but what are you gonna do? The chair don’t care if you’re a nice guy. It only hates you for being alive.”

“Well THAT’S about to change in a minute, right? Where are they?”

“They are walking him in now, see? There goes the light.”

“Only a matter of time now, boys. Any last minute calls from the Governor?”

Cold laughter erupted from the pale yellow room. “I guess not. Sucks to be him.”

“Come on now. Show a little respect. That’s a dead man walking this way.”

“What’s it matter to me? I done my time. I paid my due. Now that some sucker is getting the golden road I’m supposed to throw rose petals at his feet? Screw that shit and screw him!”

“He didn’t do it though. You know that!”

“So the fuck what? How many people taken that last sit didn’t do it? More than anyone’ll ever care to admit and YOU know that of all people!”

“Still…an innocent man is about to die. You can at least show some sliver of compassion. There they are. Look sharp boys.”

“And Girl.”

“Sorry Doris. ‘And Girl’ There they go. Strapping him in, shaving his head. He looks scared.”

“Don’t see why. We all gotta die sometime. He’s just getting a jump on the competition.”

“Would you PLEASE show some respect??? If you can’t show compassion then show some silence!”

“You two knock it off. Padre’s giving him the Last Rites now.”

”Look at him. Still saying he’s innocent. How cute. The chair don’t care, pal. A real man would know that and stop whining about how fair life isn’t.”

“Wonder what he got for his last meal?”

“Steak. They always get steak.”

“Yeah. That and Ice Cream. One hell of a dinner if you ask me. That shit’s good if you can live long enough to keep it down. Instead, these dumb bastards just shit it all over themselves when Hank fires up old Sparky there. Me? I would have picked broccoli.”

“Shittin yourself’s the least of the toll you pay to ride that lightning.”

”Knock it off, they’re about to hit it.”

“Look at those witnesses. Cheering like idiots. Crazy bunch of cocksuckers. Wonder if any of them care that he’s innocent? His family’s watching for cryingoutloud.”

“Oh NOW you care. You are a hypocrite man. Always have been.”

“Look. I don’t give two shits in a snowstorm if he did it or didn’t do it. Not a lot I can do about that from here IS there? But those people over there…THEY bear the responsibility for his death. They are the ones that wanted…no, Demanded an eye for an eye. They are the ones that ignored the evidence. They are the ones with his blood and charred flesh on their hands. Me? I’m just a witness in the waiting room same as you.”

“You made your point, now shut up. They are about to throw the switch.”

“Funny how the lights still dim when they do that. Everyone knows they run on a separate breaker.”

“That’s for effect. Gives the witnesses a basis for comparison. Some way to gauge the amount of power flowing through him.”



“OK, it’s over. Let’s go get him.”

“Where…. where am I?”

“Relax there buddy. You have moved on.”

“Who are you people?”

“We are the ones that have gone before you.”

“Every one of us here has ridden Sparky for the last time. We all come back here when the next person rides the lightning and welcome him…or her…to the other side.”

“But I didn’t do it though. I’m innocent!”

“No man, you’re dead. Guilty or innocent don’t mean shit over on this side. Not yet anyway.”

“But the real killer…”

“Will ride his own lightning some day. I guarantee you that.”

“And trust me pal, it’ll be infinitely worse for him than it was for you. You innocent guys got it pretty good over here. It’s us slobs that actually done the crimes that get shafted.”

“I shit myself…”

“Should have gotten the beef stew and broccoli man. Make them clean THAT up. Rookies, when you guys gonna learn?”

“What’s next for me?”

“Next? That’s a good one. What do you WANT to do man? You got all the options now.”

“Will I ever get to see my family again?”

“Oh yes, when they move on. Till then, think of this as a well-earned vacation. All we gotta do is come back when the State decides to fry another poor sucker (no offence) and help him out.”

“Yeah…we’re the welcoming committee. Ain’t no parade for you though, just us.”

“But I didn’t do it though. I didn’t want to die. I had so much to do…”

“Quit your whining, boy! You got to accept the fact that you are dead and move on now or you will end up just like those poor bastards over there. They NEVER leave. They have to stay here because they can’t accept the fact that they are dead. Living folk call them ghosts. Me? I call em suckers. You gonna be a sucker, boy? Go get your chains fitted right now then and we’ll see you when we see you. Otherwise get a grip on your situation, accept the reality and move on with the rest of us.”

“That’s harsh man.”

“But necessary. This jackass here’s got it made but he can’t see that till he accepts it. He’s fucked if he doesn’t and you all know that.”

“He’s right. Just accept your state and we’ll help you. But we can’t do anything for you till you do.”


“THAT a boy! What else?”

“I’m innocent…and it doesn’t matter? That’s what you got for me? Just take my pride and let go of everything else? And let those pieces of SHIT get AWAY WITH IT???”

“Whoa man…that’s a dangerous place you’re dancing in. You can’t come unglued now. This is a very precarious time for you. You HAVE to make the right decision here. You gotta let go and move on. The alternative is too bad to mention.”

“I let go and they get AWAY WITH IT!!!”

“No they don’t. Not ultimately. Trust me on this.”

“I don’t care! I want them to pay NOW for killing me.”

“He’s already lost man. Let him go and let’s get going.”

“No he’s not. Not just yet. Listen closely to me here. You are literally standing at that fork in the road. Walk away with us now and you continue on the right path. All options are open to you, you control your destiny. If you decide to take the other path and stay here filled with hate and revenge, your destiny will control you. You will NEVER leave. EVER. Do you understand me? EVER! You have heard of Hell, right? Well this place will become yours innocent or not. This place won’t care. The more the merrier as far as it’s concerned only it won’t be merry for you. That’s your alternative. I can’t tell you what’s on the other side of that door. It’s different for everyone but you are gonna like it. All you have to do is take all that hate, take all that revenge and leave them here in this room. We all did, well most of us. The ones that didn’t…well you can see them over there. You want to join them, that’s your choice. It always is your choice, always has been.”

“Who makes them pay? Who balances the scales?”

“You just gotta have Faith, bro.”

“Faith? I prayed every Goddamn day when I was on Death Row! What good did it ever do me?”

“If you gotta ask, you may not ever know.”

“Moment of truth pal. We’re leaving and that door’s gonna close on you forever when we do. Got that? Forever.”

“Faith, huh? Trust some room full of spooks that everything is going to be all right and just walk out that door and leave all this anger and hate behind? Move on?”

“That’s it in a nutshell.”

“Pretty much.”


Silence gripped the room for some time…

“Ok. Lead the way. Can I look at my family one last time?”

“Why not? You’ll see them soon enough though. Time ain’t normal over here.”


He looked at his family full of pain and sorrow and turned away.
“Ok pal…that’s enough. We have to go now. You coming?”

“Yeah…might as well.”

“That a boy! You’ll like it here. I promise.”

The end

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