OLD SPARKY • by Nick Allen

The wardens pull the leather buckles tight, tighter than’s really necessary, then pull ’em a bit tighter still. I’ve waited eight years for this day and it’s not come soon enough for me. The lawyers insisted on appeals I didn’t want, and even now there’ll be some idiot folks outside, banners in hand, shouting that I should be spared.

But even I’ve come to know that some men ain’t fit for living and this world’ll be a better place without the likes of me, after what I done to those girls. I didn’t make it quick for ’em and everyone knows it.

There’re three women on the front row watchin’. They’ve dead eyes after all these years, they don’t even look angry now, like they did back then, though one’s got a sort of smile but not a proper one.

I’m wonderin’ what it’ll be like when they throw the switch. Wardens tell me it’ll be like being smacked on the head with a lump hammer n’ being kicked in the gut by a mule while burning coals are heaped on me.

Those guys don’t like me.

I’ve seen ’em get friendly with other fellas on the row, but not me. I don’t blame them. Even I don’t like me after what I done.

But I’m not scared of the chair, lord how long can the hurtin’ last? A few minutes? Them ladies on the front row deserve a show, I don’t begrudge ’em that after how I tret their girls. They sure lasted longer than a few minutes, what with me and those knives; that ripsaw —

No, do your worst and pull that switch, dispose of the piece of garbage that I know I am.

Am I sounding brave? If I am you’ve got it all wrong. You see what is scaring the crap outta me is that when the switch pullin’ is done, and they’re hauling my charred ass to the back room, I’ll be in another place then.

And that’s when my hurtin’ will really begin.

Nick Allen is a 47-year-old mental health nurse from Manchester, England. He has been writing short stories for around 2 years.

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