Tuesday, July 21, 2015


     Heinrik lay on his bunk, staring at the ceiling.  He wished she hadn't written to him.  He'd written to her, though, about two weeks after they processed him, but four weeks later, his letter was returned to sender, address unknown.  After five months of nothing, he reconciled himself to just doing his time alone, contemplating what it meant to be in jail over 40, with no one on the outside missing you at all.  Life just went on, man...sure, there were people who would be happy to see him when he got out, but it didn't really matter to anyone that he was gone.  That kind of thinking got him down.  But here was a letter - all full of words the same way Blanche was, tumbling out of her onto the page in a rush, branching off into other stories that went on for pages.  Like he was right there in the room with her, and they were having a conversation.  It made him smile, but in here, a letter from her was as unwelcome as a fresh breeze, because once it blows through, it leaves the air behind it even more rank and foul than it was before. God, he actually missed her.
     Rolling over on his stomach, he shuffled the pages back into order and started over from the beginning - 'Blessed Beltane, Brother!'  God, he didn't even know what time of year it was, past Hot.  That meant summer, right?  And if the Solstice was on...June 21, then it was coming right up.  He wondered what phase the moon was in, and made a mental note to try and see it out the window at some point, soon.  Heinrik sat up on, then jumped down from, the bed, and got a piece of paper and a pen from his locker.  Sitting down at the table with Blanche's letter, he began, "Hey Blanche, so good to hear from you!"  He filled the front of the page with his standard response - a quick run-down of the place he was in, how much he hated it, a countdown to when he'd be out, and a request for more letters.  Heinrik looked up at the sound of Andrew pulling out a chair to sit down across from him while asking, "Whatcha doin'?  Writin' a letter?"
     "Yeah."  was all Heinrik offered.  Andrew wasn't a bad sort, just not the sort he liked to call his friend.  He laughed his strange laugh; halting, like he was testing the sound of it, unsure.  "Ha ha, who would right you a letter in here?  Nobody likes you, man - ha ha!"  Heinrik felt his chest fill with air, but blew it out slowly through his nose while creeping a sly half-smile across his lips.  "It's from a girl, Andrew...a woman.  A woman who may be my best friend in the world, Andrew."  He leaned back in his seat, and let his eyes drift skyward, spreading the grin out as he affected the appearance of remembering fond days gone by.  Andrew's uncertainty increased, and a frown briefly ticked across his generally open face as he assimilated the new information, and worked out what to say next to keep Heinrik engaged in this rare display of camaraderie and inclusion.  "No...," Andrew lowed, "couldn't be...there's no women that would have anything to do with a low-down loser like yourself."
     Heinrik fully grinned as he swung forward on the weight of the information he was about to impart, hooking Andrew into his story, and enjoying the tiny bit of gossip this crumb of humanity would bring him in the next week, in advance.  "Yes, Andrew, my friend Blanche would - when she used to write me during that stretch I did in Stockton, we weren't allowed to have any magazines or anything, so she would write these pornographic letters for everyone to read.  We'd pass them around.  She had a bunch of fans by the time I got out."  That thought actually did make him a bit nostalgic, but he shook it off just as quickly as it came on, and sat back in his chair again, finished conspiring with Andrew, who was rapt with attention.  Letting Heinrik's words settle into his understanding a bit, Andrew smiled slowly and shook his head as if he thought the possibility highly unlikely, stating, "No, ha ha ha!  No..."
     "Yes, Andrew, it's true!  I really do have a good friend who writes to me, and I've just finished writing her back," Heinrik assured him, as he stood up, stretched just enough to make his point, and sauntered away from the table to find an envelope and a stamp so he could send out his response as soon as possible.  "There's no woman writes you nothin' from nowhere, ha ha," shouted Andrew, in his simple, halting way, "probably your gay-ass boyfriend from wherever you hippy fuckers live, ha ha...yeah, hippy fuckers, ha ha!"  Andrew nodded and fidgeted to himself for another minute or so, then abruptly got up from the table, and made a few swift, tight, circles around the outer edge of the room, every now and then muttering "pornography...woman...outside...".

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