Don’t Tell Him Anything

Posted: October 23, 2013 by writingsprint in Drama
Tags: , , , ,

prison yardPart two of the story “Prisoners.”

Whitaker was taking a walk in the prison yard. The wind blew up, cool and crisp. A few leaves fell. He remembered watching a dog running through a pile of leaves.

“Good morning, Whitaker.”

Crap. “Gruber.”

Gruber smiled, raising his eyebrows in surprise. “Well! A lack of civility from our favorite guest. What is the cause, I wonder?”

It was Whitaker’s birthday the night before. His third birthday without his wife or his children, never mind that she was his ex-wife and only his daughter probably would have been there.

“Happy birthday, Whitaker.”

“Happy birthday to you, too.”

Gruber smiled again. His smile was a strange passing of almost genuine expression on a body that hid everything. Whitaker had dreams where Gruber wasn’t real. “It isn’t my birthday,” Gruber said.

“Even if it was, you’d say it wasn’t.”

Gruber shrugged. “How are you?” he asked. “It’s been a long time since we had a talk.”

“I make do.”

“Do you mind if I walk with you?”

Whitaker glared at him. As if he had a choice. “Please,” he said stiffly.

“I think you miss our talks. You haven’t had anyone to throw that boiling bile of yours at for a long time.”

“You?”

“It doesn’t matter to me.”

The tricky part was not to give Gruber ammunition.

“We’ve been taking an interest in your case again, Whitaker. Your wife is ill. Nothing serious, but she’s been under a doctor’s care for some time. Mononucleosis, I understand. Your wife is a workaholic. I’m sure you remember. She didn’t take it too well.”

“She never took much of anything well.”

“I remember when you first arrived, how you refused to give much more than one-word answers to me.”

“A few months of going silent’ll change anyone’s mind. I gave up trying to figure out what you want a long time ago.”

“I don’t believe that. You’re cleverer than that.”

“I think you relish the challenge. You took a lot of joy in breaking Gretchen.”

“She broke herself, John.”

“Fuck you.”

“There’s the Whitaker I remember.”

“I thought I’d make your day.” It certainly made Whitaker’s.

“Were you talking to Marina yesterday?”

“It’s a lovely day,” Whitaker said.

“Why don’t you answer my question?”

“It feels like autumn. It’ll be getting colder soon.”

“I don’t have anything against you talking.”

Maybe Gruber knew they’d been talking. Maybe he didn’t. He could do whatever he wanted, but Whitaker wouldn’t let himself be the reason why.

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Comments
  1. […] three of the story about the prisoners — read parts one and two […]

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