I look up. That’s my name. That’s who I am. That’s all I am.
Who said my name?
It’s her. She’s there, looking angelic as always. She is looking down on me as I look up to her. There is light everywhere, it surrounds her, but I’m down in the depths, in the dark, and I spit out snot and blood. I laugh, or try to laugh, but it comes out as a cough, almost a whimper. I want to sound strong, but the body has its limitations.
I defy my limitations. This is who I am.
“Send more,” I say with a wheeze, and she obliges. The cell opens and I ball up my fists. I stand up, naked and strong. I raise my fists back. I push forward and connect with flesh and bone as the onslaught begins.
The whimpering cough disappears.
I can laugh once again.
Time slows in here. I walk in circles. I pace. I look down, and the cement is worn from my footfalls. Every step wears down the cement a little more. Little by little I reveal the impermanence of things, of all things, even steel and stone. No cell can last forever. No thing can last forever.
Perhaps not even me.
But I will try to hang on, a force of nature eroding and corroding. I fucking dance my way towards entropy, laughing the entire fucking time.
Don’t blame my mother. Don’t blame my father. Don’t blame the schools, the government, or even the damned universe. This is what I am here for, and I am happy enough, I guess, in my way.
I look up, awake again, or mostly awake. My head throbs. My lips are swollen. My nose is crooked, and every shuddering breath stings my aching ribs. There’s a dull ache persisting throughout all that I know myself to be, all that I am, all that I ever have been, all that I ever will be.
She looks down at me, my angel, and smiles. She is peaceful, beautiful, and so very much above.
I smile at her. “Send more.”
She obliges. She always does.
It wasn’t always this way. Once it was different. I was loved. I still am loved by some on the outside, I guess. My mother loves me, I’m sure. Mothers never stop loving, even if they should. And then there’s my angel inside with me. I think she really loves me, even if I will never rise to her level.
But those days on the outside, when things held a different resonance, a different shade of truth, that was all before. Now I’m here, and I think I’ll always be here. I have no reason to think otherwise, to hope. Not that it matters, I no longer want out. I’ve found my place. In here, I am everything I was raised to be. Things are simpler, stripped down to the single most basic element: survival. Survival is the sound of pounding fists and raining blood and shouting and laughter.
“Thirty years,” said the judge once upon a time and long ago. That’s a long fucking time for stealing some shit that no one really cared about, pieces of paper with a promised value that probably doesn’t exist anyway in the first place besides to balance some ledger or database somewhere. It was an amount that, in the end, no one truly cared about and insurance fully covered for those fuckers at the bank anyway.
Thirty years was the initial sentence. That’s about as long as Christ lived his entire life, according to the Sunday sermons. Thirty years was not enough, could never be enough. My mission hardly begun, those thirty years turned to forty based on additional charges – aggravated assault, resisting – and those years keep growing. I will keep surviving. I will keep spreading my message.
Poor fucking guards. They hear stories, they should be prepared, but they never fucking know what’s about to hit them.
I hear them open the cell. Their boots clomp against cement. I ball my fists and smile.