A Good Man is Hard to Trust / by Academy Monthly

       The old fragile woman reached out in the efforts to grab his hands. Their eyes met, mirroring their individual fears back to each other.

       The Misfit placed his glasses back on the bridge of his nose and shouted, “No, what are you talking about?” The grandmother anxiously replied “I already told you, you're one of my own children!” He took another step back as his thoughts began to pile up in his head, like a dropped grenade in abandoned rubble, ready to explode.

       His mind flashed back to the empty cement cage where he had spent his days. He counted the marks on the walls, wondering if they had once held people’s hands as they attempted to claw their way out. The darkness surrounded him when he finally closed his eyes at night. The night had almost swallowed him whole, but the shrieking noises leaking from the other cages, never allowed him to fully find peace. He continuously battled back and forth with the other animal’s cries for help. Waking up to the relentless banging on the metal bars.

       “Look who’s twisted family sent the even more twisted a letter. Will you let me know what Mommy said to his little boy?” echoed from the officer's mouth as he dropped a letter at The Misfit’s feet.

       Viciously ripping the envelope open like a child on Christmas morning, The Misfit discovered a sheet of lined paper. His hands ran over the lines, curiously trying to distinguish the drops over the words that blurred the pen, until he quickly recognized the stains of tears that he was all too comfortable with.

       The letter began with “I know you will not know who I am, or why I am trying to help you. You might even question my true intentions, but I hope you can trust me, like you trust yourself. You know, me and you, we’re not that different. We both feel lost and unaccepted, but the difference is that I’m writing this waiting for my chicken to cook for dinner, while you on the other hand probably have a shift in the penitentiary kitchen later tonight. You are stuck somewhere you do not belong, and I want to get you out.”

       While stumbling through the pages of the letter, a map fell out containing the old blueprints of the state penitentiary with the words “Come to this. Tomorrow at 2:26 , during yard time. You will crawl in the pipes until you see two men waiting for you where the pipes open to up the river -Insider” branded over the layout of the sewage tanks. He ran his finger over the two words “The Insider” which first seemed meaningless, but somehow they provided the perfect amount of trust and comfort allowing The Misfit to trust The Insider.

       As the folded, lined and stained sheet of paper pressed against his chest in his front pocket ruffled in the wind, the grandmother quaked back and forth on her knees, in front of him continuing to beg. The words “Please. Please. You know, me and you, we’re not that different,” jumped out of her mouth, seemed to stand still. The grandmother's eyes shifted down to follow her heart as it dropped what seemed like stories underground.

       “It’s you. Isn’t it. It’s you. You’re the Insider!” yelled The Misfit.

       Her eyes couldn’t shield the truth anymore, they couldn’t protect her any longer. She stood up and reached her hand out to The Misfit. He raised his gun to meet her eyes, but his fingers slipped off the trigger when a cat,  hidden in the dark of night, pounced at his legs. Falling to the ground in agony, The Misfit watched as the grandmother’s family walked out of the woods, one after another. It then became apparent to The Misfit that Hiram and Bobby Lee were behind the grandmother the whole time. Wrapped around her finger, the two boys smirked in the back. The cat jumped into his caretaker's arms, as the grandmother ran her appreciative fingers calmly through his fur.

       “Why are you doing this to me? Why break me out of jail, to only turn against me?” Hiram and Bobby Lee then handed the grandmother the gun.

       “Don’t you see, sweetie? You killed your father! You think you're so innocent and undeserving of your pain. My son rots in his grave now because of you. Can’t you see ?I’m your grandmother, and I don't feel your sorrow, your emptiness, I only feel betrayed, and now you will too.”

       The grandmother's words danced in the air. They twirled off her tongue, cartwheeled around each of the children, to only fall, break, and crumble on top of The Misfits skull. The news hit him hard, as he began to weep.

       “When my dad laid on the kitchen floor with the nine stab wounds I had just inflicted, scattered throughout his body, he told me he was sorry for neglecting and making me feel unwanted. He knew all along I was a misfit, and his death enabled me to become something no one could ignore. I’m your grandson, you can’t do this to me. Forgive me for my sins. Please, I will spend all my hours longing to atone, just give me another chance.”

       The grandmother smiled as she raised her hand, and released the trigger. The bullet burst into his damaged skull. The darkness finally suffocated The Misfit, strangling his pain, and releasing his sorrow.

       “He was a talker, wasn't he?” Bobby Lee said walking over the dead corpse. “He would of been a good man," The Insider said, "if there had been somebody there to shoot him every minute of his life."