The fated day was here finally. The weather outside seemed to mirror our feelings. There was a cold chilly wind blowing and the sun hadn’t really made an appearance. None of us had slept too much that night. I wondered how the kid was holding up. I didn’t want to intrude upon his privacy and I didn’t talk till he did. As I lay on my bed, I thought of the times that had come to pass. I thought back to my conviction, Angie, life in jail and then this place. I remembered my first day, my life here. How I had met Steve and Parks and finally how I had met the kid. I thought back to the time when I had gotten beaten up for him the very first night. I had thought he was going to kill himself. Not this kid. He was strong. He was made of tougher stuff. I thought about how we had grown close and how much he had affected my life. My existence here I would not have called a life until he came here. He changed our lives by showing us that we had not suffered so much. He had had to go through so much more than we had. On the night of his release he killed a man to save another kid. This was the kind of person that he was. I’d have been proud to say that he was my son.
I thought of what could have been. What if his parents had been a little more careful? What if they had noticed the signs of abuse first on Lisa and then on the kid? What if they had paid more attention to his needs? That poor boy’s life could have been saved. That girl Lisa would have had a life. She would have been saved.
What if I had been there for Angie? What if I had not lost my temper and flown into a rage when I saw my missus with another man? I could have stayed with Angie. Watched her football matches, taken her to her first prom, held my grandchildren and taken long walks with them.
There are many things a man thinks of when on death row. That day, all I could think off was the kid. I didn’t talk to him too much. None of us did. We didn’t know what to say and silence seemed to be the best way to say goodbye.
The cops came for him in their group of seven. It would be these seven that would assist in his execution. The kid was ready for them. They opened the door and called out “R-3199, its time.” He put his hands out to be cuffed and his legs to be shackled. He walked out with a huge smile on his face. He looked at me, flashed a huge grin at me and then walked on. Every convict looked on as he walked right past us and out of our lives.
The mood inside was morose. No one felt like even talking. The kid had been executed. There had been no last minute pardon, no miracle to answer our prayers. Then as I was lying back thinking, I heard the unmistakable fall of shoes on the linoleum. It was Williams, the guard. He stopped at my cell and handed me an envelope. He said, “R-3199, he left this for you. In his will he had specified that after his death you were to be given this.” “What is it?” I asked. Williams looked at me and said, “This is a copy of his charge sheet. He wanted you to have it. Tell me something though; I don’t understand why you guys liked that psycho so much. Especially after all that he had done to those children.” I looked up at him quizzically. I didn’t quite understand. What had he done to children? I took out the kid’s charge sheet and read it. I almost dropped it from shock. Staring up at me from the charge sheet was his photo. Below it, read the following information.
NAME: Rohit Jayaram a.k.a. OC (Deceased)
PARENTS NAMES: Unknown
LAST KNOWN ADDRESS: St john’s orphanage
Murder first degree
Murder first degree
Murder first degree
As the charge sheet drifted to the floor, I thought about the one line that the kid would use repeatedly.
“I only play to packed houses”
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