by Creed Cascade

They sentenced me to 88 years in this shit hole of a penal system. I really can't blame anyone but myself for my fucked up life. I mean I killed and people tried to kill me. You do what you have to do. Once some do-gooder priest straight out of the seminary asked me if I could, what I change about my life. I thought Father Mukada was a pussy, but this one made the Oz padre look like a hardcore biker. The image of Father Mukada in leather pants made me shiver with disgust at the time, but at least it distracted me from throttling the prick sitting across from me. Christopher Keller was supposed to be playing play nice. I never answered that's pricks question because I wouldn't change a goddamn thing! If I had changed one little thing, I might not have met the two great loves of my life.

My first and greatest love has always been Tobias Beecher... my Toby. He defied everyone, including me. That's one of the reasons I loved him. He was a stubborn bastard and never gave up on anything he loved. He loved his family and for some godforsaken reason he decided long ago that I was part of that family. I still remember every word of that brief phone call from Cedar Junction when I begged him stay away. But he didn't listen. He never listened. He wrote me every week and told me he loved me. Besides his declarations of love, it was his meticulous descriptions of everything happening in his life that kept me connected to him heart and soul. I never wrote him back, but to this very day I still have those letters.

It was inevitable that he was eventually paroled. The letters never stopped. One day I got the surprise of my life when a guard told me I had a visitor. It was my Toby. The very day his probation was up and he was allowed to leave the state, he drove up to visit me. I was so fucking shocked I told him in the same sentence that I loved him and that I never wanted to see him again. I left the visiting room in my usual huff, determined to remember that my Toby was now free of me. I forgot to include Toby into the equation. From then on, he showed up for every visiting day and kept sending me letters. You guessed it... I eventually caved in. I tried to fight back and lasted a whole two weeks before I gave into that blonde temptation. I always had a weakness for blondes. I pleaded with him to go on with his life, but he said I was part of that life. Bastard said we were too fucked up for anyone else.

Toby was my constant and eventually two little Beechers joined him during some of his visits. My Toby had moved to Massachusetts and he teased that bringing his kids saved on babysitting costs. Truth was I loved to see my Toby with his kids and anyway, it's not like they weren't used to it. Holly was an old pro at the prison visiting game by the time she turned ten years old. They called me Uncle Chris and somehow my cell, not a pod here, ended up plastered with pictures and drawings.

That's how I met the second great love of my life... Holly Beecher. My first memory of her is of a blonde little waif with haunted blue eyes. For some reason she took to me right off. I think she saw something in me that she could identify with. Poor little thing had seen her brother killed before her very eyes, not to mention finding her dead mother. I sure as hell had a fucked up childhood too and for some reason we clicked. I started to get letters every week from Holly when she was twelve. Toby said she could tell me things she would tell no one else. Twisted therapy, but whatever works eh?

My Toby is in heaven now and I know that someday I will find him again. By myself I would tarnish the pearly gates merely by looking at them, but not even God would have the balls to separate us for eternity. It may mean my burning for an undetermined amount of time in purgatory, but I would suffer anything to be with him again. Even if Toby was in hell, I would happily dive into the lake of fire to join him. Ain't love grand?

He died five years ago of a heart attack while cutting the grass of his suburban bungalow. I was glad he lived to see the outside of Oz. I would have found a way to die years ago if Holly didn't need me so much. The warden even let me go to funeral, even if it was in shackles. My Toby had been coming to see me for well over fifteen years now and I was after all a model prisoner. Holly never cried, not now or ever, but she clung to me like her father used to. Harry was stoic and everything his father was before he came to Oz. But Harry had never really fit into our troubled little family, he was too normal. Now that Toby was gone, that left Holly and me to fight the darkness.

My Holly grew into a beautiful, solemn and silent young woman. She had flaxen hair like her father and a scarred soul like both of her role models. She never stopped writing or visiting, even after her father died. If she had, I think I wouldn't have made it. The day her father was released she swore that she would never leave his side. She kept her promise and lived with him until the day he died. I remember Toby saying the only other person she really ever talked besides him was me. She never attended university like her brother Harry who graduated Harvard law with honours. Holly hated the law and referred to cops as pigs or hacks. Toby used to nag that I never should have taught her that. She's a good girl who wants to fix everything, even me. She does charity work and still manages to eat thanks to her Dad's trust fund. Toby always wanted his kids to be happy.

So now it's been about thirty years since I first met my Toby. I finally made parole. Me of all people! Surprised the hell out of me, too. Holly says it has something to do with my good behaviour and some insane new law they passed to reduce overcrowding. Like I give a shit why, all I care is that I am finally free. I wished that my Toby could have been here. I would have loved to make love to him on a real bed for once without a hundred eyes staring. It's my memories of his touches that sustain me. Sometimes I wake up from a nightmare and swear I can feel his touch. Then, I look into another set of blue eyes and realize it's not him. He's gone.

You really don't think that I'd turn into a celibate old goat did you you? Wouldn't happen, I love sex too much! In those prison walls, I never touched another soul that way since I last kissed my Toby. But I still craved it everyday. There was never another man after my Toby and there never will be.

But I did get married for the fifth and final time. I now have a pretty, young wife. She's almost thirty years younger than me and gives me a run for my money. The new wife even talked me into having a kid at my age. I just can't say no to her. I don't think that Toby would be mad. After all, his family is my new family, Mrs. Holly Beecher-Keller and our son, Tobias Christopher. Like I said before, I have a weakness for blondes and a Beecher never takes no for an answer when they really want something.

In the end, we scarred souls need each other on earth and forever after.