Pick Your Prison
on 11/21/2003 (3)
Johnny Falco banged a cup on the bars of his cell. Johnny was ecstatic: he was getting out today. A guard walked by and raked his nightstick across the bars like a picket fence.
"Gonna miss you, Johnny. The boys were placing bets that you'd screw up and do more time."
"Sure, sure, screw, I'll do more time with your sister when I get outta here."
The guard chuckled and sauntered off.
400 miles away, Paul Silko picked up his white dress shirts, 5 in all, for another work week. He had a sales meeting at 8:00 A.M., and a new hire starting at 10:00. The District manager had been riding him all week to sell more extended service plans. Silko pulled in line at a McDonalds for the usual breakfast sandwich and coffee. He rubbed his forehead heavily, the words echoing over and over in his head.
"Sell more extended service plans, they're pure profit, like sellin' air."
1200 miles to the south, Anna Osbourne got the kids ready for school. A single mother, Anna had her hands full to overflowing with 2 kids.
"Everyone tells me to enjoy them when they're young. They grow up so fast."
Donning a Wal-Mart smock, she tossed a load of dirty laundry into a hamper with one hand, and packed 2 lunch bags with the other.
"I hate to say this, but they do NOT grow up too fast, especially when you're alone."
Across the Atlantic, Mohammed Akbar was waiting for his ration of water and cracked wheat in queue at a Coalition distribution point in Baghdad. He had not eaten for 48 hours.
The American soldier doling out the wheat had not eaten for 48 hours either, and had narrowly escaped a roadside bombing attempt the night before. His name was David Bell. He had joined the Army Reserve for college money mainly, for patriotic duty to a somewhat lesser extent, and as he liked to phrase it: "just out of sheer, fucking boredom."
The men eyed each other warily. Oddly, they found a tiny measure of common ground in each others eyes. They both looked very, very, tired.
Johnny Falco was free to go. He picked up his only suit of clothes, an envelope containing his earthly possessions and 20.00 dollars left by his ex-wife. In a defiant cocky stride, Falco muscled up to the guards one last time, and headed for the door. One guard spoke up:
"Hey, Johnny, where you gonna go?"
The cockiness faded from Falco's posture. He slowed and stopped. He was silent. He looked back toward his cell and back to the blue sky beyond.go.p/tds/go.php?si
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