Write A Prisoner [PREVIEW]

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6. Terrible Surprise

As the time flies fast; two weeks later, she finally gets her hand on Mister J. Mark’s airmail letter.

Dear Miss Messie Denver;

Thank you for writing back to me again. I much appreciated, for I am the challenge you have. So, is this gonna be like one of those aspiration letters? You wrote about your real life story, for me it’s like hearing a childish boring story from a TV show. But don’t worry, I can keep up with that. And since you’re working as a peer therapist, so I assume you suppose to know how to deal with such matter yourself? Pardon if I sound rude to you (again), but Miss Denver, dealing with such huge amount of bills (as I’d like to imagine it), I have a little advice which I think you won’t agree; live your life to the fullest first, but don’t be dumb enough to sacrifice everything you have.

Life is short, Miss Denver. You only live once. But just like I said before, don’t make a dumb decision when it comes to superficiality. There’s other way out, and rather living your life in lie, may I give you a certain advice again, Miss Denver?

You gotta trust who you are, and where you want to be. It’s all about the process. Just enjoy it while you can. You don’t have to be rich, or anything to achieve happiness. Well, if that’s what you’re looking for in New York currently?

Pardon me, Miss Denver, I can practically say all that because I’ve been there, done that. I don’t intend to be rude or anything, so you don’t have to waste your energy on reporting me to the supervisor here about my shitty attitude.

And you want me to share my life story in this letter? Fine. Just like what I have told you before, my life is not much interesting to tell. This is my first time thrown in jail because I was accused by bunch of retard people that I committed murder. People born and die every day, you just got to accept it.

Can life be more enjoyable? What’s your advice, Miss Peer Therapist? Give me some idea please.

Your Penpal,

J. Mark

Wednesday, 07 September 2016

Ottawa County Jail, Michigan

Right after she read his letter, she really wants to curse on him. There’s no way any inmate can sound much more cynical than the individual names Joey Dayson Mark.

Messie really loses her breath. She can’t handle not to let her emotion exploding in the air. She’s tremendously pisses off by his letter. And then she thought to herself that maybe this is the wrong decision to continue on the Penpal program.

Monday already feels exhausted enough after she returns home from a hectic work of listening to everyone’s problem, and now adds with this cynical letter that’s no way helping her to calm down.

And before she gets to write back with fire in her eyes, someone knocks at the front door. It’s Libby. She comes with a very cheerful vibe that makes Messie almost forgets about Mister Sarcastic.

“Hey, I thought I could use a drink after our crazy Monday work today,” she says, while lifting up a plastic bag of a few bottles and snacks.

For a second, Messie glances at the clock, it’s only four p.m. which she still can have fun.

After Messie lets her in, Libby starts preparing two mugs she takes lightly from the kitchen, as if she walks in her own cozy home, and she already treats this place like her own anyway. Libby comes often to Messie’s place, but besides looking for a fresh townie gossip, she’s really looking forward as her best friend, and maybe as the only real friend Messie has in New York.

“So, what’s the hot news on TV these days besides most cheap celebrities’ gossip?” Libby says lightly as she leaps herself on the sofa; one hand on the cracker snack, and other on the TV remote.

Messie shrugs ignorantly; doesn’t care about anything broadcast on TV, except if she has more time to watch about fashion or culinary, but these days she’s been occupying herself with work and Penpal program that just pisses her off.

“Okay, so… everything’s boring…” Libby mutters, while still clicking the remote, tries to search something fine to watch, “and…”

Messie shifts her stare from TV to her. “What?”

“Nothing. It’s just, as if you’re somewhere else right now,” Libby says, then she asks her to sit along.

“No, actually I…”

Messie hasn’t finished her sentence when Libby shouts over to start another topic that she hates the most.

“He’s so madly in love with you, that I can’t even understand it,” Libby says. “I mean, that Mister Repo man?”

“What the hell are you saying?” Messie annoys.

“Don’t ignore that, Messie. He could be a psycho. Next time you meet him, you really need to report him to the cops, or call 911 as soon as possible.”

She understands how worry Libby is, but it seems like a bad idea since Messie herself has a lot of problem with bills which involving that so-called psycho repo man.

“He’s so out of his mind. I don’t even know that guy, except he’s supposed to take some stuff in my apartment, and by force since he’s a repo man,” Messie mutters peevishly.

“Okay, so tell me that you keep on thinking about him?” She asks, making Messie bulges her eyes in wonderment, then she tries to correct her question, “I mean, he will probably take your stuff for real next time, if you haven’t paid all your bills.”

“What else should I do, Libby?” Messie sounds mad and desperate already. “I’m running out of money. Even my monthly paycheck can’t cover up my debts.”

Libby sighs.

“I know. I couldn’t blame you, or saying I told you so. That wouldn’t be fair,” she says carefully, trying to understand her feeling. “I hope that coin you threw in a fountain really happens, you know.”

The last sentence really makes her chuckling, because it really seems ridiculous on hoping such miracle to come true.

“Well, let’s say that we live in a real world. Maybe what I did is just—” Messie shakes her head, chuckling again.

“Ridiculous?” Libby adds. “You should believe in God, not the stupid water fountain.”

They both laugh out loud to the fact it’s probably just a fairy tale story about wishing on the water fountain.

“There’s something I haven’t told you,” Messie wants to spoil the fun, although it shouldn’t be a secret now. “So, I’ve been participating myself in a Penpal program, but—”

“Oh, you’ve been actively exchanging letters?” Libby shouts as she doesn’t let her finish the words.

“You should listen until the end,” Messie annoys, “I’ve been exchanging letters with a prison inmate, okay. I know, scary, huh?”

Libby narrows her eyes, trying to make sense of what she’s saying.

“You what?” Libby asks, her eyes look surprised. “Since when, and why?”

Messie crosses her arms, and she starts talking emotionally, “Since that night after my birthday in July. And yeah, I did it because I need to have fun. I thought it was fun, but turns out really annoying me.”

“Messie, your life is at the verge of dying right now. You can’t possibly add the burden by involving yourself with a prisoner. How come you didn’t tell me earlier?” Libby also sounds emotional.

“I don’t know. I feel really hectic these days that I can’t think clearly.”

“Okay, so what are the letters about between you two?” Libby wonders.

“Just basic, okay?” Messie tries to keep it simple. “Like how are you, I’m fine, and talking about people’s life in New York these days, and his life in jail…”

“Don’t tell me you also tell him with the thing about your bills?” Libby asks like a detective.

“I did. And it doesn’t matter, Libby. He doesn’t know me.”

“Shoot, Messie. I don’t understand you,” Libby sounds angry now. “You don’t know him, just think about the possibility in the future, what if he releases from jail, and what if he—”

“Okay, don’t talk about the horror show with me. I had enough these days,” Messie says while covering both of her ears.

“I would help you pay your bill if I had more money,” she says, giving the sympathy like she always does to her.

“Yes, but you couldn’t help,” Messie mutters.

“Sure, for now,” and then she grabs her bag from the table, and starts taking out money from her pinky wallet.

Messie narrows her eyes in bewilderment when she gives her some money.

“This is all I have to help you. Just take it.”

“You’re out of your mind. You need it to pay your own apartment bills too,” Messie reminds her.

“I know, but I can ask my mom for money when I’ll need more,” she says lightly like it’s no big deal. “And this is my first time helping you with money. So, just please take it before I change my mind.”

Messie sighs, but she has no other option then receiving Libby’s kindness.

At night, she’s finally alone in her apartment’s cozy bedroom, which is the right time to write back. She hurriedly opens her laptop and starts typing.

Dear J. Mark;

Thank you for your response letter. And yes, I’m seeking for happiness in New York. Living in superficiality what makes me happy. As a peer therapist, I see that my life is not entirely living in a lie. I work hard to earn money, even when my monthly paycheck can’t pay all my bills at once. And that’s alright, I have to endure my own suffering in here to achieve my happiness. And yes, luxurious life is what I want, just so you know.

Anyway, you have told me a big game about living in superficiality, it seems you know a lot about it, so why don’t you start telling me about your life? What you were doing before entering a prisoner? What were your job? Or just anything significant, because I’m clueless with your cryptic words this whole time. Mister J. Mark.

Oh, yes, I read that you were a residential seller, were you selling properties? And then what happened next? Why were you in jail? As you stated before, that a bunch of retard people accused you as a murderer, and why was that? And just so you understand Mister J. Mark, so true that people born and die every day, but doesn’t mean you can take someone’s life without feeling guilty about it, and hoping life can be more enjoyable for you.

Let’s say I’m your personal peer therapist, my advice for you is simple; I want you to rethink about everything in your life, why you were saying things that may or may not hurt people, because basically, people can be really cynical, that is caused by what happened during their childhood time. Maybe there was something in your childhood that triggers the sarcastic attitude in you.

Life can be more enjoyable for you, of course. It always depends on how you see the world, your perspective will change that for you, and just be happy about the future. You said to me that being happy can help, right? What would you say?


Messie Denver

Monday, 12 September 2016

Gramercy Park, Manhattan, New York City

Two weeks later, that Thursday afternoon she received his airmail letter.

Dear Miss Denver;

Are you an investigator? Why are you asking so many damn questions?

I only told you what you need to know; that I am currently residing my boring life in jail because of one and two damn things had happened in my life. I was thrown in jail, it was a set-up. I was not guilty of that murder, of whoever the damn corpse in mortgage that I didn’t even recognize, and then I am proven guilty by the judge. Damn it. That was one on my mom. She just got me. And everyone in my family is just that bunch of retards who couldn’t mind their own business.

I would definitely prove my innocence once I got out from this damn boring place. I’d do anything to make up my past, but hell, if I have rather let it go, I just start my life over somewhere. That would probably be more enjoyable for me than pursuing darkness.

And sure, you probably read my profile on that stupid Penpal site. Yes, I was selling properties, made a lot of money from there, and I already lived the dream you ever wanted, Miss Denver. I was being superficial, thought I could own the world just because I was rich in a blink of an eye. But that was wrong. All wrong because you don’t see what underneath everything. The glimpse of night world, money, women, and all; made me so blind, because I was once living in a lie. So, I know, of course, Miss Denver, that’s why I’m trying to tell you the truth about superficiality. Just don’t be dumb about it.

And thank you for your advice, I try to rethink about everything that has been going on, and sure, it seems you’re right, Miss Peer Therapist, there was something in my childhood. I was broken. I guess, I don’t talk something like this with just everyone. So, you be sure to keep my secret to your graveyard, alright? My family is different. Not the kind of warm family you’d ever imagine. Just so plain. Even my parents act like dictators, that’s just so unbelievable. Home is just far away. Maybe I just haven’t found the right home for me to return. One day I will. And you too.

Okay, then, I got to be your first client as an inmate, huh? That’s funny, how life can be a comedy in a slightest second we exchange a letter.

Your Penpal,

J. Mark

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Ottawa County Jail, Michigan

She’s breathless. For the first time, there’s a meaning behind his words that makes her feeling something. It’s just emotionally fulfilling for her to get to understand him. That him, being cynical and all, there’s literally an internal matter that’s been happening in his life, and it traces back to his family.

Messie knows it. She already gets used to communicate with clients on TalkPeers about similar case. It’s like she can finally find the loophole. And now’s the time to write back again.

Dear J. Mark;

That’s a good start of our friendship. Thank you for appreciating my advice. And now I got to understand you a little bit. It’s the thing with your family, I thought there’s must be a reason if you feel uncomfortable with them. I won’t be the judge for you, but I know everyone will say the same and feel the same when the word ‘family’ is being mentioned. Because without the family, where else would we go?

It’s true. But maybe, for some people who struggles with internal matter, they would think otherwise. And to think home is not always about family. It could be anything that offers stability, love, and comfort. I could say home is like a safe passage. But where else do we go if we haven’t found Home?

Think about that, Mister J. Mark. As a peer therapist, I could say that you should give it a chance. A lot of people around the world also struggle with the same case as you are. I did too. Just not many people know that I struggle on building a comfortable connection with my parents and little brother who currently live in a countryside, somewhere in England. But I don’t need the feel to tell you the detail. So, just take that, we have something in common.


Messie Denver

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Gramercy Park, Manhattan, New York City

On Monday, the third October 2016, Messie receives his airmail letter again, and she can’t wait to read it.

Dear Miss Denver;

I’m glad we made it as friends now. I’m very well enjoying your response letter every time it arrives in the station. Thought you should know; I read your letters every day while I’m sitting alone in my cell. I used to feel so alone, almost rots like a corpse myself, but after your letters, and jokes, and stupid stuff you write about, it’s like the air changing around me. I feel inspired, and energized. I don’t know, just by reading your letter, you give me strength and hope, that you’re right… Home is somewhere for me. There’s definitely home that may offer the same thing like family. And for me right now, it most probably be you, Miss Denver.

It’s just strange how reading your letter can build such energy in me. I don’t even know how you look like. Just don’t tell me you’re an 83-year-old woman, who in needs of a Penpal friend, and desperately looking for a man in prison as your victim? Please tell me you’re young, and pretty, and just what I could ever imagine of.

I’m sorry if I pissed you off before, didn’t mean to, it’s just my character. I appreciate your support for my life in jail, sure.

I wrote you a poem, Miss Denver. Just think of this as a gift of my gratitude towards your kindness;

The roses are red,

long lost like miracle in the night.

Your pale face turns to me,

like the cold in blue fire,

I need you,

Just like home you would be.

And I have good news. I want to surprise you, but I thought you’d be happy to hear this earlier. So, the police told me they already settle a date for my release. I am surely looking forward to meet you afterwards. Let’s meet each other. I’ll be release from jail on the second October 2016, I guess it will be on Sunday? What would you say? I wouldn’t mind if you want to pick me up from here.

Your Penpal,

J. Mark

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Ottawa County Jail, Michigan

Messie curses a lot since she can’t handle not to be surprised after reading his response letter. And she still curses again, “Holy shit!”

She walks staggeringly toward the calendar that’s hanging on the wall in the dining room. Her eyes catch the date, and she just realizes that the second October was yesterday. It has been a day since his release from jail, and nothing bothers her yet. Surely, she’s just being paranoid, but what’s the odd?

And right after her fear starts diminishing from her heart. Her phone rings loudly on the table. She can’t possibly think strangely after seeing the unknown numbers keeps on calling her since this morning. She has no the time to pick it up since she’s been doing her hectic Monday work again at TalkPeers office.

This time, with heart pounds quickly, she receives the phone call.


There was a second of silence before a heavy masculine voice answers the phone, and says, “Are you Miss Messie Denver?”

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