Wineglasses and Inkstains
She threw the expensive wine glasses, his wine glasses, yelling, “I’ll buy you a new one! I’ll buy you a new one!” after each disintegrated on the masterfully laid tile floor.
He approached her through the hail of fine glass and took cover behind an umbrella stand made from the heart of an old maple. He opened a large black parapluie from the umbrella house of Skypis & Drum of Fleet street. The corner of the huge thing covered him like a bat wing; his whole hand fit between two knuckles in the curved, lacquered bamboo handle.
A fusillade of plates began, and the sturdy umbrella began to collapse. He counted as she worked her way through the flatware of a respectable dinner. The lobster dish slid across the floor like a torpedo before shattering. The soufflé plate broke three crystals from the Staffordshire Chandelier with Volvokov crystals. After she destroyed the final butter dish, his saffron-colored one from Morocco, she was temporarily out of ammunition.
He was now taking cover behind a large column in the middle of the apartment. It was the last piece of protection between the Breakfast Room and the kitchen from where she was laying her siege.
He peeked out for a brief reconnaissance only to be rewarded with a giant and bleeding cut on his forehead from a bowl that hit like a cannonball.
“You cut it out!”
She responded with the heavy thud of a pot, which didn’t go very far. It landed right near the cast iron skillet. A lid clattered past him on the floor gliding like a frisbee, gliding like a manta ray.
Finally, when she had exhausted herself, he made his way to her through the detritus on the floor. He was able to regain control of the situation by using several knives to subdue her. The same sushi knives recommended by itamae Mako.
He awoke from his dream, hoping against hope that it hadn’t happened. But it was real: Jonathan Saddler would be waking up just like this for twenty-five more years because he had killed his wife.
“Going to see the doc today?” asked his cellmate.
“That’s right, Marty.”
“Good, good. Maybe you go ahead and stop with that blue…”
“I will, Marty.”
Marty had been imprisoned for finding a glitch in a video poker machine used by dozens of casinos. The way he told it, he had spent a year living it up, traveling the country, and making obscene amounts of money from his discovery.
He loved to act and ham it up, pretending each time that he was shocked and that this was his first big win and that his heart was beating too fast to bear. He thought that would keep everyone off his trail.
In fact, he ended up getting arrested somewhere outside of Pennsylvania. It had something to do with a trail of enraged and impregnated women. They could never really make any charges stick to him—they. He was after all using casino machines, without tampering of any sort; he just kept getting lucky he said. He was arrested in an odd manner, and it seemed that the casinos hadn’t really caught on yet. It was either a judge or a judge’s daughter that separated him from his money. At the trial they said he was essentially an innocent man. He was in prison solely because when the IRS came to collect the taxes on his winnings he had none of his money.
In his spare time in the cell, Marty liked to drum on every surface imaginable with two ballpoint pens. The ends of all the pens were either chewed off or curved inwards from the constant percussion.
Jonathan, on the other hand, had a different use for those pens. He would take out their ink—blue, it had to be blue—and make tattoos for himself with the little pricks of needles dipped in the stuff.
Jonathan said it was tattoos, but they never looked like anything but splotches. Marty knew that the only reason he really did that was because of the ferric content of the blue ink. It mixed with the hemoglobin in red blood cells and they could polarize enough to pass through the highly selective, semi-permeable blood brain barrier at the top of his spine. The blue ink produced a slight euphoric high.
Inmates are always hunting for even the briefest of respites from existence. They believe that by making time fly faster they are fooling the authorities.
Shortening a minute, cutting the corner on some seconds, and shaving off the last couple of ticks on an hour are the stuff that the fantasies of inmates are made of.
Marty knew this. Both of his own legs were covered with blue splotches, now pink, from a lifetime ago. But Jonathan had it worse. Jonathan’s left arm was already covered, and he had only been with the stuff for a couple of months.
They explained the massive amount of ballpoint pens they had coming into their cell by claiming that they were both prolific writers atoning for their sins with narrative therapy. There was never any paper in the cell.
The private prison ran like a well-oiled corporation, and there were positions for everything. There was no Inspector of Pens just yet, and until that position was created and hired, the brief idylls of the prisoners would continue.