2 Truths and a Lie.
You remember what that is, right? I made 3 statements in that post. Two of them are true and the other one is a lie.
Well, I thought it was finally time to admit one of my “truths”.
I am friends with a murderer.
Let’s back up a bit.
About 15 years ago, I used to play this “play by mail” game. The details aren’t important, but all you need to know is that there was this game that thousands of people were playing at the same time. Once a week, you would send this company a list of orders you wanted your team to enact, and once they had everyone’s orders, a computer would process them all, and send you the results. Sexy, right?
Anyway, I used to enjoy it. It was a wargame, and I found pleasure each week in receiving my results in the mail (this was pretty much pre-internet) and seeing how my army of orcs and knights were laying waste to the other player’s cities.
Sometimes, I would form alliances with other players. When that happened, we would exchange email addresses so we could form strategies together.
One week, I agreed to ally with this particular player, and instead of sending me an email, I was surprised to find that he sent me a 3 page, hand-typed (by a typewriter!) letter. When I replied to him, I told him next time, just email me because communicating thru computer was so much easier.
But the next month, I once again got a type-written letter from him.
After a few months of this, I finally just asked him why he didn’t want to exchange emails, and I was shocked when he admitted to me that he was in prison and was only allowed to type letters.
That really threw me. His letters were always so eloquent and well-written. I had always pegged him for an eccentric scholar, not a criminal. After thinking about it for a bit, the only conclusion I could come to was that he must have been incarcerated for one thing…. Drugs. Somehow, he must have got caught with some pot or something, and was doing a few months in the pokey. It was the only thing that made sense to me.
After a few more months of correspondence, I finally got the nerve to write to him and ask him what he did to wind up in the slammer, and when he was getting out.
He wrote back to me quickly, and said that he would tell me, but he had to do it in a separate letter, since it was a long story.
THAT certainly got my suspicions up.
One month later, I received another letter by him. His opening sentence floored me.
“I have been in prison since 1978.”
And if the BEGINNING of his tale knocked me on my ass, I really hadn’t read ANYTHING yet.
His story was a long one, going on for many pages, but here’s the 10 cent version:
In 1972, he was living in Florida and at the age of 17, got married right out of high school. He joined the Navy but his wife had a problem with him being away for months on end, and they would fight about it often. They also both were alcoholics, so that undoubtedly made the fights worse.
He said one night when he was home on leave their fight got particularly nasty. She threatened to tell his C.O. about his drinking in order to get him dishonorably discharged. He said that between his rage, that he always had a problem with, and the drinking, he finally snapped and did ‘something’ to his wife.
He spared me the details, except to strongly imply that an axe was involved.
He said that after the incident, he was so horrified by what he had done, that he tried to cover his crime by setting his house on fire. Everything inside, including his wife, was burned to a cinder.
And apparently he DID get away with it. I guess the folks at C.S.I. in 1972 weren’t QUITE what they are nowadays.
He said he went back to the navy, and tried to live his life. But as the months turned to years, the guilt of what he had done kept gnawing at him. He began to see a priest for regular counseling, and, with his help, walked into a Florida police station in the summer of 1978 and turned himself in.
He’s been in jail ever since. The last time he wrote to me, he hoped that he would be granted a parole in 2008, 30 years after he first entered jail.
Needless to say, I was fucking FLOORED. I really didn’t know how to handle it. It felt kind of shitty to ask him to stop writing me after I ASKED him to tell me what he was in jail for, but of course it’s ALSO kind of shitty to murder your wife. Call me a rebel but I’m gonna publically take a stand on that.
So, I continued my correspondence with him, but admittedly I didn’t share too much about myself with him after that, pretty much sticking to only talking about the game.
And every year, up until a few years back anyway, he would send me a Christmas card, sent from the prison, wishing me and my family a wonderful and joyous holiday. I’m still not too sure how I feel about that.
Anyway, that’s my first truth.
One interesting side note: During the course of the game, I learned that one of the people that we were at war with in the game, was ALSO in inmate at the same prison as my ‘friend’. My buddy wrote me a few times asking me if we could back off attacking this other guy for a while, because he had been giving my friend dirty looks in the cafeteria and he was concerned about there being some bad blood.
THAT was ALL I needed to hear. The last thing I wanted was for this dude to get shanked in the fucking shower one day because I had sent my dragons to attack this guy’s castle.
So, let that be a lesson to you all. Never tell people your mailing address until you’ve first asked them if they’ve ever had a full cavity search.