Monday, July 24, 2017

"Classic Ginger" Life Behind Bars .

As I sit in the dank prison visitor's room, with a smudged pane of class between Carrie, my heroine from First Degree Innocence, and myself, I'm struck by the cold gray walls, the steel folding chairs on the visitor's side, and the lack of any hint of color to brighten the mood.  Nothing about this prison is inviting.  The smell of bleach mingles with food from past meals served, and instead of a sprig of parsley, I envision a individually-wrapped vitamin on each plate to keep the assorted germs at bay.  I wish I'd worn a plastic glove to handle the old black receiver I hold to my ear so I can hear Carrie's answers to my interview questions.  Lord knows who fondled the thing before me.

I turn my attention back to the wide eyes and cute face on the other side of the marred pane.  Under different circumstances, she'd be my next door neighbor's daughter.  Today, I decided to interview her in the early part of her story.  I'm not sure she knows I'm the author of First Degree Innocence or not.

Me:  "So, Carrie, what was your first thought when you arrived here?"

Carrie: "Holy shit, this isn't a nightmare.  It's real."

Me:  "You still claim your innocence?"

Carrie: "For what good it does.  No one believes me except..."

Me:  "Except who?"

Carrie:  "I'm not saying.  I don't want to get anyone into trouble, and I'm hoping that I'll get out of this hellhole pretty soon."

Me:  "I understand you were deemed guilty because there was an eye-witness who placed you at the bank the day it was robbed."

Carrie:  "That's the only reason they convicted me.  I didn't have an alibi.  They day they arrested me , I had called in sick from work, in fact, hadn't moved off the couch all day.  The detective didn't care what I had to say.  With the witness' ID of me supported by fuzzy bank surveillance, I suppose his word was stronger than mine, but trust me, I didn't have anything to do with the robbery.

Me:  "They identified your car, didn't they?"

Carrie:  "So, I have the same make and model car.  I'm sure I'm not the only one in the world.  My problem was I didn't have anyone to vouch for me.  Coincidence is a word for a reason and I got screwed by it."

Me:  "How has prison life been so far?"

Carrie:  *sits forward in her chair*  "How you do expect life is behind bars?  Take a look around.  It doesn't get any cheerier than this, and you're my first visitor."

Me:  "Have you made any friends on the inside."

Carrie: *chuckles*  "I guess you could call my cellmate a friend, although you can't ever be sure anyone in this place is being honest.  Suzanna sort of got railroaded too, and she's been a great comfort to me, but you always have doubts about everyone.  Jet especially."

Me:  "And who is Jet?"

Carrie:  "You know how you always hear about bullies in life?  Well, Jet is the bully that runs roughshod over everyone in here.  She seems to have found favor with the guards, and they look the other way where she's concerned.  For some reason, she's taken an interest in that makes me very nervous."

Me:  "I feel a little responsible for the predicament you're in. You probably know I wrote your story, if not, I'll fess up.  Although I wish I could tell you how things will end, I can't give away the books ending.  I just wanted to meet with you today to give the readers a glimpse of where you are and how you're feeling.  I can tell you there's a light at the end of the tunnel."

Carrie:  "With my luck, it'll be a train."  *She leans back and sighs.  "I don't hold you responsible.  You're just telling...oh, excuse me, showing my story to your readers, and I can't fault you for that.  You get your inspiration where you can.  Just tell me one Jet a lesbian?  I'm a little worried about know with this being all women..."

Me:  "That really the least of your worries as far as Jet's concerned.  Just stay strong."

Carrie:  "Gee, thanks for that bit of advice."

The sound of a buzzer echoes through the room and a voice booms over a loud-speaker, announcing that visiting hours are over.  Carrie rises, receiver in hand and looks at me with sad eyes.

"Just get me out of here,  please."

As I hang up the phone and scrub my hands down my pant legs, I feel a pang of guilt for the situation Carrie faces.  I know the ending to the book, but what happens between now and then isn't going to be easy for her.  I hope she can stay strong...and if you want to know more, too bad, you have to buy First Degree Innocence to find out.

The novel is published by Books We Love, and you can purchase it on Amazon for a ridiculously low price.

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