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Written for the 2004 OZ Magi holiday fiction exchange. Many thanks to Actizera for deadline-busting beta!
So maybe it turns out that Lady Luck was really just some sweet tranny
bitch that owed him a favor, Jason Cramer thought, listening to the clank
and roll of the gate shutting behind him. Because suddenly he was standing
outside the walls of Oswald State Correctional Facility. He had nothing,
save the clothes on his back and seventy-five dollars of release money
for the bus in his pocket, but he was O-U-T out. No joke, no
shit. His pretty little ass was free as a fucking bird, thanks to that
crazy zealot Kareem Said's screw-the-system truth and justice crusade.
Cramer still couldn't quite wrap his brain around the way it had all
come together over the past few weeks. Weird enough when that Mrs. Lazarus
lady had come forward with the news that his jury had been bullied into
a guilty verdict by that faggot-hating redneck guy, Jacobs -- that was
like a lightning bolt out of the clear blue sky. But when Cramer had gone
to Said with the news, asked him for representation, it had been half
done as a joke. He sure as hell hadn't actually expected Mr. High Holy
Man to take him up on it -- not given Said's feelings about cocksuckers
in general (and murdering cocksuckers in particular). But amazingly enough,
Said had taken the case. Not only that, he pursued it hard and argued
it well, winning a new trial. It had all felt almost too good to be true.
Cramer had tried hard not to get his hopes up. After all, a new trial
would still have to dredge up all that shit about Tommy again.
Tommy. Cramer really had loved him once, or close enough to it, anyway.
Cheating bastard. If Tommy's lying, cheating, bastard mouth really wanted
to be across town at that asshole Alan's place so badly? Well...
But damn, Tommy's head had bled a lot. They always say head wounds bleed
more than you'd expect, but holy shit, it just kept bleeding.
The polyethylene bag Cramer wrapped the fucking thing in was supposed
to be waterproof, but the blood had seeped right through, soaking the
box and dripping incriminatingly onto the scale at the Airborne Express
And right then, in that moment, Cramer had realized just what a horrible
mistake he'd made. It was all over, his life ruined. If only he'd sprung
the extra few dollars to ship FedEx, at least their packing materials
might have done the job right. It was what he got for not thinking. Crime
of passion, and all that. La-di-da.
It should have put Cramer down for good.
The new trial should have -- would have -- ended with the same
verdict as the old. Life, without the possibility of parole. Except then
freaking Robert Stransky of all people had shown up, wheezing out his
near-deathbed confession of evidence tampering back during the original
investigation -- how he'd gotten his buddy in the forensics lab to lay
Cramer's fingerprints onto a random kitchen knife Stransky had pulled
from a drawer and smeared with Tommy's blood. And it all kind of made
sense then, because Cramer had always thought he'd done a better
job of cleaning things up afterwards -- although he'd sure been dumb enough
about shipping Tommy's head, so who really knew anymore?
And even though Said had bailed on him then (aw, poor Brother Minister,
getting hit with a shot of conscience), that was like, whatever.
Too little too late on the recusal -- because even that half-wit legal
aid attorney he'd had to scare up at the last minute was able to add up
Mrs. Lazarus' testimony about the jury tampering with the fucking lead
homicide investigator's admission of evidence fabrication and get Cramer
It was almost too perfect to believe, almost surreal. Boom, boom, boom,
one piece falling into place after another, and suddenly, instead of feeling
resigned to a lifetime of gray walls, gray food, and drudgery, Cramer
was grabbing the first bus back to Adamsville to start living
Oh, hell yeah. He was gonna make up for that lost two years in a motherfucking
That night: Adamsville. Home. Quick visit to some old friends for a shower,
new clothes, a haircut. A loan. And it wasn't until he was really dressed
again, looking sharp, feeling good, that it all sank in completely. He'd
done it. Gotten away with it. Gotten clean away. In the eyes of the law,
he might be guilty as sin, but they couldn't touch him now. No matter
what. He started to laugh.
More than two years since he'd been to a club. To this club. He'd almost
forgotten what it felt like, what music felt like, pulsing under
his skin. The freedom was almost unbearable, intoxicating, like too much
oxygen in the air. Sensory overload. He was on the verge of turning around
and leaving when... Hello, sweet thing. There at the end of the
bar, waiting, almost like he was expecting Cramer's arrival. And why wouldn't
he be? Cramer was leading a charmed life now, apparently. Things like
Cramer made his way back through the club. He stopped about halfway down
the bar, not wanting to look too eager. It was a good vantage point for
watching, for being watched. All part of the fun.
The guy was built a little bit like Anthony, Cramer thought, tilting
his head to get a better look. Poor Anthony, stuck there back in Oz with
nobody to look after him now. Anthony was a peach, it was nice while it
lasted, but there wasn't anything Cramer could do about that now. And
anyway, Anthony gave head like a champ -- he'd find another boyfriend
in Oz quickly enough.
Meanwhile: eyes. Now. Yes. Eye contact, eyefuck. Oh,
pretty, pretty. He was built a little like Anthony, yeah. But his neck
was long and smooth, more like... Tommy's.
Cramer leaned in to yell his beer order to the harried bartender. He
slapped down his money, picked up the frosted bottle, and took a long
drink. It took a moment for the cold beer to turn to warmth, seeping through
his veins. Ah, but that was better. It was all coming back to him now:
the pulse of the music, the pulse of his dick. The mojo. He took another
look at his intended and flashed a smile before moving in for the kill.
God, it was good to be home.
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