“Aunt Carol!” Marty put all the sweet he had in his words. “How’s it been??” Static punched the line. He shoved the cord up into the phone in his hand, admired the printed *Y*O*U*R*F*A*C*E* inked on his knuckles, flexed.
“…Who is this? …Martin?”
Some air leaked before he shut his mouth. He didn’t want to be like that stupid case worker, always breathing out ‘stead of doin’ somethin’ about a guy. “Yeah! It’s me: Marty!”
Static again. He shoved the other end further in the wall.
He heard a pause. Maybe he’d given the old bird a heart attack. He hoped not; he didn’t know who else to call.
“Aunt Carol? You ali- you all right?”
“Ye -yes, Marti- Marty. I’m fine.” He thought she gulped. “You just caught me by surprise. I think it’s been …it’s been at least a year, Dear.”
“Sorry, Marty. How are you? How is …prison?”
He stuffed *U*R*C*E* in his mouth to stop a snort. ‘How’s prison?’ There was no way an old broad like Aunt Carol could handle ‘how’s prison.’ But he couldn’t hear her sayin’ anything, so he had to answer… “Uhh… prison’s …good.” He coughed. He looked around for what else to say and saw the clock. “That’s why I’m callin’ today. I only get ten minutes then it’s the next guy’s turn, an’ I already tried Sis -Aunt Rachel and a cousin…” Marty heard shoes down the hall, heavy ones. A boss.
“Oh-okay, Marti- Marty. I’m heading out to work anyway, once the aspirin kicks in. What do you need, Dear?”
Dear again… Shoes were gettin’ closer. And shadows. “I’m -I’m getting out soon, Aunt Carol.”
He heard that pause that wasn’t static.
Officer Wilson and Snakes came around the corner. Marty turned his back on them and leaned on the phone and the wall. “Listen: I need somewheres to go. -Just for a bit. I -I got nowhere else, Aunt Carol.”
“Mennet!” Officer Wilson sounded right behind him.
“Marty…” Aunt Carol didn’t sound happy.
“Listen, I gotta go-”
“Mennet! Time’s up!”
“…I don’t know, Marty…”
“Just think about it! Please!” he sputtered out, right before Wilson yanked the line from his grip and slammed it back on the wall.
Continue to “Going Postal, IX.”
©2020 Chelsea Owens