There's a clock on the wall. It's five p.m.
He comes to my cell with a tray.
I’m innocent. I haven't done anything wrong, I tell him.
Judge thought otherwise, he says. Brought your dinner.
What is it, I ask.
There’s a parfait glass on the tray.
What’s it look like.
It looks like lime Jell-O salad, I say.
Eat. While it's cold, he says.
With what. There's no fork. No spoon.
Cain't give ya anything metal, he says.
A plastic spoon. Or a plastic fork.
Cain't give ya that neither, he says. You can take plastic. Heat it, cool it. Turns hard as crystal. Hard as something could cut through a heart.
So what do I do.
Eat with your fingers. Quit talkin' and eat. Your lime Jell-O salad's startin' to run.
At eight the next morning he comes to my cell.
Breakfast, he says. You want bacon or sausage.
Really, I ask.
No, he says. It’s lime Jell-O salad. I was just funnin’.
I don't want to cry.
I confess; I did it, I tell him. I killed a man. A woman. A nun. I boiled up a weiner dog. Ate it with mustard. I robbed fifteen banks and I’ve got parking tickets. Overdue library books. Whatever. I’m guilty as charged.
He blinks. Lime Jell-O salad, he says.
I sigh. Still no utensils, I guess.
Precautions, he says.
In a small voice I ask, how long will I be here.
Judge sent ya, he says. Judge says when you can leave.
I stomp my foot. I'm innocent. I don't belong here.
Cain't be, he says. You cain't be innocent. Innocence don't eat lime Jell-O salad for breakfast. And lime Jell-O salad for dinner. Quit bellyachin'. You got it better 'n' most, anyhow.
Tell me the truth.
I narrow my eyes.
Why am I here.
He looks into me like I'm an abyss.
What did you do in the world, he says. What did you take that you didn't want. What did you keep that you didn't need.
I stare at the glass of pale green fluff.
You took a heart. Turned it to something could cut through plastic. That clock up there. It's wrong, by the way.
I start to ask, then think better of it. I finish my lime Jell-O salad instead.
The parfait glass. It’s etched with leaves. I hadn't noticed that before. I tap the rim with my finger and thumb.
It rings like it's made out of crystal.