As I watch Corey Eisner setting up a poster size picture of Kevin, my mind slips back to my first night in jail.
I was exhausted after what felt like hours of relentless interrogation. I’ll tell you now, the movies don’t exaggerate the mental beating detectives put you through. There truly is a protocol for good cop, bad cop. Detective Spencer played the good cop. I’m sure his boyish good looks serve him well not only in his chosen field but his personal life. I trusted him far less than Detective Kray who exuded a genuine dislike for his fellow mankind. The more exhausted I became, the greater their resolve to reduce me to a puddle of tears. I held firm to my determination not to cave by remaining silent. It was Detective Kray’s raised fist flying towards my face which put an end to the interrogation. His partner narrowly missed deflecting the blow to my jaw before angrily shoving him towards the door. Both men shot me a dirty look as they nodded to the startled rookie to escort me to my cell.
After the humiliating experience of being stripped searched and deloused, I was led to my new home. And my new cellie. Wanda wore the air of someone who was old school in the ways of being a criminal. I watched as her eyes grew wide with greedy delight as I hesitated at the entry into our cell. She appeared to be in her mid-forties, although I suspected she was probably younger. Her hair wore the disheveled style of a woman who had no time to worry about outside appearances. Her brown eyes were etched deeply with weariness displayed in the form of wrinkles. Her mouth formed into a grotesque smile of sorts, showing random missing teeth.
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t the Ice Princess herself,” she cackled with glee. “I have me a real life bona fide celebrity right here in my cell. Come on in, sugar. Old Wanda ain’t gonna bite you. Not unless you ask real nice.”
I stood frozen in my spot, willing myself to wake up from this horrible nightmare. It was in this moment Kevin’s death and the reality of my situation hit the center of my existence full force. There was no turning back the hands of time. No undoing the actions which drained Kevin’s life from his body. No escaping the bitter truth of what my life was to become. Had become. The rookie gave me a gentle push, telling Wanda to play nice, before chuckling as if he were comedian of the year.
Drawing myself up, I pretended not to feel intimidated as I went to put the sheets on what I assumed was my bed. My stomach gagged at the strong smell of urine embedded in the mattress. I contemplated the choice of sleeping on the floor, deciding it was my best option. Taking my time, I refused to look in Wanda’s direction until I sat down on the bed mere inches from her. She gave a little snort as she swung her heavily tatted legs on the floor.
“So, it’s gonna be like that, is it?” Her eyes narrowed, nostrils flaring. A mental image of a bull with her face jumped into my mind. For the first time in my life, I truly understood the concept of fear.
“I guess they was right to give you that name. Ice Princess.” She drew the ‘s’ out sounding much like the serpent who tricked Eve into taking a bite of forbidden fruit. “Suits me just fine. Ice Princessssssssss. Makes no never mind to me. Cuz in this cell block, I’m the Princess. I call the shots but you’ll figure that out.”
She stood, surprising me with how petite she was in build. Leaning towards me, she grabbed my face, squeezing hard. “You best play nice with Old Wanda. I’m the best friend you got now. What’s that girl’s name? The one they call the Little Girl Lost?”
“Angela,” I gasped. “Her name’s Angela.”
“Yeah, Angela was your best friend but mark my words, when you least expect it, she’ll turn on you quicker than a snake in a hen-house. Yep, you best mark my words. Ice Princessssssssssssssss.” Letting go of my face, she adorned me with another smile. A smile I soon learned meant someone was to pay hell for the demons raging in Wanda’s mind.
Write in the “close” first person:
John Updike’s short story A & P is a great example of writing from this close “I” colloquial (spoken) point of view; it is through the spoken tone here, that we come to know this character as a teenager:
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