I'm Here to Fix You

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Chapter 83



“I need to speak with him. Right now.” I repeated for the third time, my hands shaking as much as my voice.

“You can come down on Saturday during visiting hours, Miss.” The call center woman replied in a dull tone.

“No, you don’t get it, I need to speak to him right now, right fucking now! It’s a matter of importance!” I insisted, pacing the living room.

“Inmates are not allowed to receive phone calls, Miss.”

“But there has to be a way around such a stupid rule!” I was beginning to panic, and I mean, who wouldn’t? After such a freaking letter! He knew what was in it, yet he pointed me to it, I know that’s not a case, but I keep slamming against this damn bureaucracy. Ugh.

“For the last time, Miss, inmates are not allowed receive phone calls, unless it’s from their lawyer and/or it’s related to their case. So, if you’re not his lawyer, I’m afraid I cannot connect you to inmate Watson, Miss.”

“You don’t get it. It’s a matter of life or death!” My God, why are people so obtuse?! If I’m calling you for an emergency, if I’m so frantic, what part of it’s important you don’t get? Ugh.

The woman on the phone sighed. “You think you’re the first person to say that?”

“No, I-”

“Miss, this is a federal facility. We get calls from all over the country from people that want to hear from their beloved ones. You have no idea what kind of excuses these people invent. Right before you I spoke to a woman that claimed she was in labor and needed to speak to her husband. Turns out they just wanted to have sex on the phone.”

Damnit, people. “I understand your doubts, but-”

“But nothing. I’m really sorry, Miss, but there’s nothing that can be done about it. Rules are rules.”

“Can you at least ... I don’t know, send someone to his cell? See if he’s alright?”

“That would mean breaking the protocol.”

“I don’t fucking care about your stupid protocol!” I screamed at the top of my lungs, frustrated to no end. “I need to know he’s okay!”

“He’s in a maximum security prison, Miss, you’ll have to reconsider your definition of ‘being okay’,” she scoffed. “I understand you miss your boyfriend, all the women out there do, trust me, you’re not the first frantic caller. But, like everyone else, you’ll have to wait for visiting hours on Saturday. Or hope he’ll be lucky to be chosen today to make his one phone call.”

“It could be too late.” I whispered, tears pooling my eyes as I dropped onto the bed. “I need to hear from him now. Or at least I need to make sure he’s okay.”

“Miss ...”

“This is not a whim, you idiot!”

“Hey, listen, you can’t-”

“I don’t care if you get upset, this is an emergency call.”

“What can be so urgent to-”

“I have proof that he may attempt to his own life!” I revealed. I wanted to keep it, but why? She needs to understand the gravity of the situation. Ugh, I shouldn’t have called, I should have just driven all the way to North Carolina, or called his lawyer. “I know for a fact that he’s given up on hope, so he may be ...” I sobbed in my hand, “please, I need to speak to him. Please.”

The line went utterly silent for a long, long moment. Then, she sighed. “I would help you, I really would ... but I can’t. I really can’t.”

“It’s a man’s life on the line ... do you really care about your protocol more than about a human life?” I whimpered, now in full blown tears.

“It’s not about that.”

“Then what?”

She sighed again. “I checked, and ... even if I did want to bend the rules, I can’t. because he’s in the hole, and ... only the warden can get him out of there.”

I blinked my eyes, baffled and concerned. “The hole?”

“Solitary confinement, Miss. It’s an extreme measure to ... punish inmates that misbehave. It’s like grounding children.”

“O-kay ... then ask the warden, do something ...”

She snorted sardonically. “You overestimate the power I have in here, Miss. I just take phone calls.”

“And you’re underestimating my words ... I keep telling you, it’s a matter of life or death!”

“He’s been put in there for protection a few times, it’s probably best he stays.”

“What?” I gasped, bringing a hand to my heart. “Protection? W-Why? Was he hurt? What happened?”

“No ... not his protection. It was to protect other inmates from him.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“It’s what says in his file, I have it before my eyes.”

I sighed. This can’t be real. “Ok, whatever. The point remains, there’s an inmate that may be ...” I swallowed, trying hard to keep it together, even though every single fiber of my being wanted to crawl down the floor and weep until next year, “there’s an inmate that may be trying to commit suicide right this moment. Ask your warden, does he want that life on his conscience?”

“You think he has a conscience. How cute.”

“Okay,” I rubbed my temples, forcing rationality into myself, because if I freak out, nothing will be done, “then take it this way, will he like it when he’ll find reporters camping out of his prison? I doubt it.”

“Miss ...”

“If you don’t wanna be the bearer of good news, let me speak with him, or pass me to someone that can connect me to him. I’m tired of arguing with you.”

Silence. Long, long silence again. I hoped she was thinking it over, because I wouldn’t know how else to solve this. If I call Jake’s lawyers, will he be able to get through? Maybe I should ask Byron, that guy that handled legal matters on behalf of my father while I was ... otherwise unable to speak for myself. I met him, he seems to know his way round, he may be better than all those overpaid lawyers Jake has.

I don’t know what else to do. When Jake pointed me to that letter, I thought it was just another way to convince me not to want him back into my life. And I was right.

But those other parts ... I would have focused on the whole disastrous family part, or on the drugs, the violence, but what stood out, for me, were those words, that goodbye. Had he known it’d have happened in years, he wouldn’t have pointed me to it right away. But he did. That’s a call.

I don’t know whether it was unconscious or what, but pointing me to that letter, now I realize, it was his own way of reaching out, seeking help.

He couldn’t survive jail, he said. He couldn’t survive being trapped with his own mind. Why would he confess such a thing, if not to ask for help?

The other chance is that he pointed me to the letter because he knew what he said in it would be real. I keep hearing in my head those words. He couldn’t survive in jail. He couldn’t survive. What does that tell you?

I heard some shuffling on the phone, and then, finally a male voice. “Warden.” Finally.



“You know, all these stains on the wall, they’re not food.” He said. “People go crazy in here.”

“Shut up.” I barked, not even wanting to see him.

“But my Jakey is stronger, right? Ahh you can make it, we know you can. But for how long? I mean, you don’t look good right now ...”

“You’re not real.” I repeated myself.

“Yet here you are, talking to me.” He laughed. “Come on, Jakey, we’ve been together a long time, haven’t we? We’re indestructible together. Why don’t you get us out of here? We can start over.”

“I thought you’d like seeing me down to my knees.”

“Oh, I do.” He grinned. “It’s actually a gorgeous sight. But come on, we’re wasting our time in here. So many scumbags to punish out there. Come on, let’s go.”

“It’s better here.”

“Aww Jakey is afraid now? What happened?”

“I’m not afraid.” I scoffed. “But it’s safer here.” It was getting out of control. I said I punished a few dirtbags and attacked a guard or two. I didn’t say the rest. The more I did that, the stronger he got, the less able to control him I was.

It took me so long to realize it was him, but when I did, I stopped talking. The only way to keep him under lock and key, is to ignore him, but in a place like this, it’s near impossible. His voice echoes in my head, and I just can’t get it out.

“You mean they’re safe from me.” He smirked evilly. “Wise choice. Then I guess we’ll have to bond, you and me. Because we’ll be here for a long, long while. So tell me, what would you like to discuss? Personally I love the part where you pretend to cry after you gave mom the lethal cocktail. Ahhhh, I didn’t know you had it in you, Jakey.”

I shook my head, closing my eyes. “Stop it, just ... stop it. You’re not really here.”

“I’m afraid I am very much real.” He wiped the blood off his lip. “You know I am. Actually, I’ve never been as real as now, and it’s all thanks to you.” He inhaled deeply, grinning like a Cheshire cat. “Ahhh it’s good to be finally back. I thought that bitch was gonna keep me out forever, but, my, my, Jakey, you did an amazing job at getting rid of her, I gotta say.”

“Don’t.” I hissed. “Do not talk about her.”

“She can’t save you, Jakey. Not anymore. You’re mine now. All mine.”



I tapped my foot nervously, biting my bottom lip until I made it bleed. I just couldn’t sit still. The warden was taking forever. He said he would call me back after he checked in on Jake, but so far, nothing.

Maybe I should just go there. There has to be a flight for North Carolina that leaves in the next hour. Or a bus. A train. Anything.

I stopped tapping my foot, and took a deep breath. How stupid I am. How could I believe a man that would have every interest in not letting me find out the truth?

I mean, if word goes out that he threw an inmate into solitary confinement and left him there for over a week, neglecting him, the warden will get in trouble. I thought that would push him to solve the problem sooner. But what he decided to just ignore me?

When my phone rang, I startled, my heart starting to beat faster than ever. I ran to it, and answered at the first ring. “Yes?”

“You can relax, Miss Watson.” The warden’s gruff voice filled my ears. “I checked personally, inmate Watson is perfectly fine.”

“Is he still in solitary confinement?” I asked frantically.

“I just finished filing the papers, he’ll be out in a couple of hours, I promise.”

“Give me a reason to believe you.” I spat through tears.

He chuckled dryly. “For starters, I take care of my prisoners, each and every single one of them.”

“Is that why you left him to rot in the hole for over a week?” I scoffed, tired of his mellifluous tone.

“It was an administrative detention status, Miss Banchi, not torture.”

“With all due respect, Warden, you can call it chocolate and wrap it in a nice jar, but it still remains shit.”

He laughed, the jerk. “You’re quite the sharp mouth, huh?”

I clenched my jaw. “I want to know what happened to Jake Watson. Why was he put in solitary confinement for so long? Why didn’t anyone think it wasn’t legal to do so? I want to be utterly sure your words are true, that he’ll be leaving solitary sooner than soon. Otherwise ...”

“Otherwise what, Miss Banchi? Are you threatening a federal employee?” The warden’s voice got rougher and sharper, as it to intimidate me. But it didn’t work.

“Working for the US Government does not make you untouchable, Warden. And you really don’t know what an anguished heart is capable of.” There, I hung up, a plan already forming in my mind.

I thought my only problem would be getting to Jake before he did something stupid, but now my mission is, getting him out of that damn prison. And I think I know just the person that can help with that.

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