For the Road

Why do you even bother wiping shaving cream on your face? Do you think it matters? Think people will notice you’ve shorn off that one day’s worth of scruff? 

Maybe you think your face looks more innocent without hair? 

But you aren’t innocent, are you?

Why don’t you take that razor and shove it deep into that artery pumping blood to your brain.

No, you decide, that would be cheating and you aren’t a cheater. 


You made a decision, didn’t you?

No more short cuts. 

Plus the guards are watching and you probably won’t be allowed to die. They need you to have your day in court. 

The rasping retort of the blade sliding over the rough stubble bothers you. It reminds you of something. In the quiet cell, it seems loud.

Too loud. 

It’s starting to get under your nerves until it dawns on you why. 

It reminds you of your father and how he died busting his ass to provide for you and your mother. How he broke his back working day in and day out emptying garbage cans into a smelly truck just so you could wear Air Jordans and play pop warner football. 

All that ended when he died of a sudden stroke. 

How did your mom describe it? 

His Brain blew up. 

It sounded funnier coming from her drunk mouth though, the words drenched in whiskey and flavored with cigarette smoke. 

Your face shaved you start working on your neck and try hard to avoid getting shaving cream on the collar of your shirt. It’s the only shirt you have and it sure would suck if it grew crusty and you would have to sit in the courtroom all day with it scratching at your neck. You have a hard enough time paying attention to all the testimony and not drawing on every scrap of paper put in front of you as it is. 

Your lawyer says it makes you look bad, guilty, just waiting for the inevitable. 

The funny thing is that’s exactly what you are doing. Waiting for the jury to come back with a guilty verdict.  

The evidence is pretty straight forward. The bank caught you on camera. You had gunpowder residue on your hands when they pulled you out of that derelict house three days later. In your pocket was one single twenty-dollar bill soaked in your partner’s blood- unbelievably no one wanted to exchange for any coke. 

Ruined they said, take it somewhere else. 

Go fuck yourself crackhead. Take that shit to the dump. 

Crackhead, that’s what you were, nothing but a baser. 

Not anymore though. No crack in prison where your public defender has said a few times already you will probably be spending the rest of your life. 

You finish shaving and take a deep look at your face. It’s not a bad face you decide. And maybe you aren’t a bad guy either.    

You drop your gaze. 

No, you think, that’s complete bullshit.

You are a bad guy.  You have done bad things. 

You apply pressure to the blade end of the razor with your thumb. The cheap plastic cracks and the cold blade beneath bites into your flesh. 

Maybe just one more shortcut.

For the road.

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