In order to keep the creativity from stagnating during the long editing process, I have decided to try participating in Friday Flash. Below is a bit of Andrew’s perspective on his incarceration. A bit of a side dish to the first novel in “The Black Guard Chronicles”.
It’s remarkable the amount of perspective being falsely accused of murder will give a man. A month ago, I was distressed by matka making cabbage for dinner. Today, well, I’m trying to prove my innocence in an open-shut case. Going out on the town smelling like cabbage suddenly doesn’t seem so bad.
I have admit. I know it looks bad. I mean, I know he was trying to woo my girl, and I can’t say how or why he was wearing my jacket, but I didn’t do it. There are people who can say I wasn’t there. Maybe they are biased witnesses, but they are witnesses.
I can still picture almost every second of that night. Dervila had just done her hair. It smelled faintly of tea when she did that. I don’t know if it was on purpose. Girls don’t wash their hair with tea, do they? Still, I love the smell on her. She took my hand across the table and told me plainly and sincerely everything that had happened with that stupid boy. I might have been a little angry, but mostly I just thought about how her hands were that “I don’t have to work” kind of soft. I haven’t courted too many girls with hands like that. Seamstress hands, textile factory hands, have tiny callouses from needle pricks and thread running over fingers. Maid hands dry out from oversoaping. Dervila’s hands felt like she regularly soaked them in cream. Must be nice having a powerful father.
That was it. The matter was over and done with before it began. We cleared it up. We went back to the house where my family stays. My cousin made some line about Dervila being the kind of girl who stays out all night. She went home. It was probably because for all her effort to pretend otherwise, the fact that I’m poor disgusts her. Dosia could never offend her with a line like that. But then, I went to sleep. I didn’t leave the building again the whole night. A ton of people live there. They can tell you. They have mentioned it, but no one seems to care.
Everyone whispers as they walk past. “Bottle Alley Boys.” Like it’s something fearful. I don’t even know what that means.
Well, perhaps I do. You can’t live in my neighborhood and not hear about the gangs to some extent. It’s always whispered, like a low hum running through the buildings. Still, it would make me look awful guilty to not pretend, at least.
But what would a guy like me want with the Bottle Alley Boys? I’m saving my money. I’m keeping a few cents from every dollar and I’m going to get out of this squalid city. Not sure where I’m going yet, but I hear some good things about Montana: less crowded, more trees. I could take Dervila, if she wanted to go. Her hands would lose that softness, but I think she’d mind it less than me. She always wants to seem tougher.
Of course, now they’re telling me that I killed a man I’ve never even met, so I’m probably not going to Montana.