DOING TIME • by April Grey

Waiting for things to go your way always seems to take longer than you would expect.

And that’s why I made it my policy never to wait. I’d go out and make things happen. Sure it backfires sometimes, but it’s better than sitting around twiddling your thumbs. “Be the Change,” like they say in that TV commercial.

Of course there are people too afraid to do anything but sit on it, and they always resent those of us who have the guts to grab Fate by the hair and French kiss her.

But that’s how I wound up in jail.

My pal Vinnie was one of those people with the patience of a saint, and that’s why he was chosen to take the rap for Kenny the Beak. And so to Sing Sing Vinnie meekly went. Connected guys like Vinnie usually got left alone. It was an easy job, just do your time and come out to a life on Easy Street.

But there was Vinnie’s lovely Adelaide, left all alone and expected to be a good little wife while Vinnie was gone. Now she’s a lady, so beautiful and refined you’d expect to see her in a Soho gallery or walking a fancy dog on Park Avenue. Eyes so dark a blue they look purple, and raven hair that smells like a spring day. I was supposed to be Vinnie’s pal and keep an eye on her while she waited for him to be sprung, but it happened, unplanned and unasked for, that for the first time in my life I fell for a woman, and fell hard.

She said it was too dangerous, that if we at least waited until he’d finished his time she’d be able to convince him to give her a divorce. If it got back to him that we were doing him dirt while he was in prison, he’d make sure that some of his friends on the outside would come after me.

As I said before, waiting isn’t my game.

We left New York and shacked up in a little house just outside of Vegas.  Instead of roses in the front yard there were palms and cacti, but we were happy there, pretending to be husband and wife.  With our fake names and ID’s, nobody should have been able to find us. Still one day the police showed up at our door. Catzerelli, a small time loan shark, was dead and I’d been fingered for his murder. There wasn’t a thing I could do about it; I’d been set up by pros. At least Adelaide got away before she could be dragged into it.

Normally, I’m as cool as they come, but when I think of Adelaide behind bars I break into a sweat. The idea that she was safe and far away kept me from losing my nerve through it all.

I was asleep, and dreaming of a surf n turf with a big baked potato and Junior’s Cheesecake, yeah, from Brooklyn, when the warden came in. He told me to get my stuff together because I was free to go. Someone sent evidence showing the real murderer was another loan shark, a competitor by the name of Louie Gottesman. When I picked up my stuff from prison storage, I found a note with “Have a good life scrawled on it. No signature, but I thought I smelled a whiff of her perfume on the paper. I tried to find her, but she was gone like our dreams.

By chance, I saw her a few months later, covered in diamonds and melting in the Vegas heat from the mink coat she was wearing. Adelaide draped on the arm of Chico Ramos, the retired boss of the San Carlos gang. I didn’t make eye contact — even something as small as that could get her throat cut by those scumbags.

Had she sprung me by going to a bigger fish in a bigger pond than what her jailbird husband’s gang swam in? Chico could have pulled a few strings and zap, I was a free man. I keep thinking that must be it. She’s guarded too closely for me to find out exactly what happened, but I checked around and found out Vinnie gave her a divorce, just like she wanted. I want to believe Adelaide only hooked up with Chico to save me; God knows it wasn’t his personal hygiene or his looks. She never was a gold-digger.

Then again, sometimes people change.

He’s gotta get tired of her eventually, and even if her hair isn’t as black as it used to be, or her figure not so great, I’ll be waiting for her. If she still loves me, there’s a diamond ring I keep in my pocket.

Yeah, I know it’s against my policy, but some things, some people, are worth the wait.

April Grey‘s urban fantasy novel, Chasing The Trickster, is published by Eternal Press. Her short stories have been published in such print anthologies as Demonmind’s Halloween 2010, The Best of Every Day Fiction Two, Northern Haunts, Ephemera and Terrible Beauty, Fearful Symmetry. Many of these stories can be found in her collection, The Fairy Cake Bake Shoppe, available through Amazon and Smashwords. She and her family live in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC in a building next to a bedeviled garden. Gremlins, sprites or pixies, something mischievous, lurks therein. Someday she’ll find out.

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