“McCauley! Listen up…”
McCauley turned his back. You done lost me on the last three syllables, you sorry bastard, he didn’t say out loud. As the belligerent, no-account son of a son of a bitch, he’d learned to skip the vocals. But the back-turning? A long, low and satisfying yeah. Oh yeah. The indescribable juiced-up high of 190-proof rebellion. The big Fuck you. Whether the lack of backtalk took some edge off the repercussions or not, didn’t matter, he could deal with whatever. Any psycho shit or violence? Bring it on.
McCauley lit a cigarette and lay down on the bed. He put one arm behind his head and let his eyes glaze over. He brought the cigarette to his mouth and dragged in hard; the smoke drew in easy like the hardness of his existence. He held it in the blackness of his lungs while the drug of it took effect, until too many thoughts started to show up and ask too many questions. Harder was easier. Another thing he’d learned. Just breathe in the satisfaction of it, spend it hard, use it up, then blow that shit out.
“…because this is important, McCauley!”
McCauley narrowed his eyes and focused on the dark shape doing all the talking, all the blathering, the wasting of breath, the wasting of time. The world is full of individuals telling you what’s important. To them. And all the listening up to all their threats and promises of doom and happiness that will come to pass or not come to pass if ignored are a waste of time. Threats and promises from people are lies. Yet another thing he’d learned. Way early on. Can’t anything hurt you or help you if you don’t want it to.
“McCauley! Accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior or burn in Hell!”
McCauley smiled. He loved it when he got to the supposed saints and pissed them off to the point of exposing their impatience, their hate, their anger, their godforsaken humanness. And this one was easy, just a baby, fresh out of the seminary, looked like. McCauley reached over the side of the bed and ground out his cigarette on the floor. Go fuck yourself, he didn’t say aloud. It wasn’t his fault he was born a sick, inbred, abused fuck, a problem to society, another one of the scourge to be stopped on the way to someone’s idea of Utopia.
“Naw, Pastor,” McCauley said. “There ain’t no such things as what you’re talkin’ ‘bout. This is a world of good and evil. Folks like you need folks like me to point up the diff’rence…”
“That is not God’s pla…”
McCauley cut the pastor off, “And then one of your kind always gotta go fuck it up and screw someone else’s wife or kid.” McCauley busted out with a laugh that turned to a snarl. “And when they come for me tomorrow, this cell won’t be cold for two seconds ‘fore another man what done somethin’ wrong to someone else will be occupyin’ it. All that I just said? Proof that whatever’s at the root of evil’s just as productive as it ever was.”
The baby pastor was beside himself. “Go to Hell then!” he yelled, eyes wide. Then he realized what he’d said and done and you could see the gears of his brain going crazy with whether he should apologize and bear with or run away just now or forever.
“Father, it is finished,” McCauley whispered and lit another cigarette.
“The people we think are cool people are just doin’ what they have to do. Don’t go thinkin’ that means they have it easy.” Anonymous
Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” lyrics
I hear the train a comin’; it’s rollin’ ‘round the bend,
And I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when.
I’m stuck in Folsom Prison and time keeps draggin’ on.
But that train keeps rollin’ on down to San Antone.
When I was just a baby, my mama told me, “Son,
Always be a good boy; don’t ever play with guns.”
But I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
When I hear that whistle blowin’ I hang my head and cry.
I bet there’s rich folks eatin’ in a fancy dining car.
They’re prob’ly drinkin’ coffee and smokin’ big cigars,
Well I know I had it comin’; I know I can’t be free,
But those people keep a movin’, and that’s what tortures me.
Well, if they freed me from this prison, if that railroad train was mine,
I bet I’d move it on a little farther down the line,
Far from Folsom Prison, that’s where I want to stay,
And I’d let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away
Train tracks through Folsom, CA from http://k41.pbase.com/o4/78/410678/1/64745206.Ebf7sqr0.4.jpg
Missalister’s “When I hear that whistle blowin’” copyright © 2009, was spun off the Sunday Scribblings prompt “#153 – Listen up because this is important.” Click here for more on prompt #153 from other Sunday Scribblings.