Monday, January 19, 2009

Hard Time

I loved candy. Now I hate it. Candyland is no place for a man. I never had a sweet tooth, really, but when I got there it was like a beautiful dream. Everyone was so friendly, so open. Then it happened like it always do. They turned on me: why are your hands and face so sticky? I don’t know, I said. They give me a lawyer. I tell him I was drunk, I was hungry, I don’t know. He says: we’re pleading insanity. But we don't because I ate my lawyer.

The screws in the prison are little blue M&M’s. They like to see the filling get licked out of something, if you know what I mean. They are not the worst. The worst is the hard candy, the penny candy, candy so tough and so bad they keep it locked up behind bars. They got little mints here meaner than broken glass, real jaw breakers, lollipops that'll take your whole head off, lemonheads that'll cut your tounge in two, tootsie roll pops with nothing but pure meaness inside. If they really hate you, they make something called a “smore.” When I close my eyes I can still smell it. I can hear the screaming.

At my parole hearing, I speak from my heart, because I know it’s wrong. My mother always told me. My dentist. It’s bad to eat candy. You should eat candy only occasionally, like at Halloween, maybe a few candy corn. The candy corn chaplain shakes his head. I sense I am losing them. Or just a single piece, once a year, like a candy cane at Christmas. The candystripe on the panel blanches. A little one, I interject, just a baby candy cane. She starts crying.

They ask me if I’d do it again. I say, emphatically, no. I never want to see another piece of candy in my whole god dammed life. Even if my mother gave me a piece of candy I wouldn’t eat it. I’d throw it on the fucking ground and stomp it to bits. I’d let the ants eat it. I’d feed it to the fucking ants. This I have said aloud. The only one not looking at me is my new lawyer.

Now the only one who talks to me is the chaplain. I don’t like candy corn and deep down he knows this. His baby Jesus looks like a Cadbury crème egg.

I tell him I wished to God I never came here. I don’t belong here. If I never came here, everything would have been fine. The chaplain says nothing. He suggests that we pray together and think of Jesus. And I do. I think of the crunchy crown of thorns and the rough wounds dribbling raspberry filling. I think of him naked as white chocolate, offering himself, bidding me to drink of his blood and eat of his flesh.

And I knew that Jesus knew me. He put me here among them for a reason. So I would be tempted.

But he did not make us to suffer. He made the world sweet.