The Man with the Bugs
They thought he was insane. They put him on suicide watch. He wasn’t crazy. He couldn’t help it if he hated germs and bugs, they were all over him. Always crawling over his flesh and scuttling through his hair. If the warden would give him a bottle of bleach spray he’d be fine.
Jerry paced his 6 by 8 foot cell while scratching madly at his receding hairline. Solitary confinement was the worse, but at least here he wasn’t catching the other prisoner’s bugs. At the same time, if they’d thrown him in a regular cell he’d have outdoor privileges. He’d be able to bake and fry the stupid invaders off him with the sun. The corrections officers swore they bleached his cell and cot before slamming the door behind him. He still saw the little monsters on everything; especially on the inside of his eyelids.
Damn his cell phone provider for giving away his information to the police, though they weren’t investigating him. It was their fault he got busted. The fucking police should have had to get a warrant to go through his “daily activities” and “texts” on his cell phone. All because his number was listed on that damned tower! A person can’t make a call now-a-days without their information getting tagged and kept for investigative purposes! And the excuse the investigators gave him for going through his records was “suspicious texts.”
“Just in case,” the phone company said. “We have to keep a record of every number that bounced off the tower.”
Yeah, right! Never mind the phone company “accidently” gave out his information. His name was similar to the other guy they were looking into.
“Hah, what a load of crap! I’ll sue them after I get out of this mess. It’s against my civil rights!” He seethed under his breath.
How could liking younger boys be a bad thing? It wasn’t his fault they were attracted to him. He still looked damn good at 58. He sucked in his beer gut and ran a hand over his balding head. In hindsight, becoming too friendly with those “boys”, he cleared his throat; “young adults” was why he had this obnoxious bug problem. Yes, he was sure he contracted the shity little insects from the boys.
“My skin isn’t sagging,” he spoke out loud, his jowls giggled. “And I don’t have any wrinkles. Prison has certainly given me a few though.” He cringed at the idea.
He felt a bug crawl up his inner arm, under the skin, and pinched his flesh. God he wished he had a knife to dig it out with. It was a big sucker too. He watched it slide out of his grip and disappear into the muscle. Another one lost in his body because he was stuck in this hell hole. The damn bug was going to eat its way down into his organs. He gagged at the thought and shook his head fiercely.
“Now, of course, they’re going to have my son testify against me, along with all of the others. Little pricks! They were the ones that wanted me! They were the ones that hit on me! I only gave them what they wanted,” he agitatedly blurted.
He clawed at his arm, over old scars and newly scabbed scratch and knife marks. Disgustingly he watched his blood run down his fingernails onto his fingers.
“Guards! Guards! I’m bleeding again! The bugs are burrowing under my skin!” He swatted and scraped at the organisms that were digging their way to their new home under the river of red now seeping down his hand.
He waited. 30 minutes passed before a guard opened the cell door.
“Off to the infirmary with you. We’ll bandage you up and bring you back.”
“It’s about damned time,” he ground out. “Too many parasites have already entered my body while I was waiting for you. The doc needs to give me a bleach bath too. I keep telling him but he won’t do it!” He was close to hysterics now.
“Don’t worry. We’ll take care of you.”
Jerry’s eyes sprang open. A scream froze on his lips. He lay on his cot unable to move. At first he wondered if the nightmares had paralyzed him this time. Every night at least one of the “boys” would come visit him in his dreams. Tonight all 20+ of them had visited, all wanting his individual attention at the same time. He cleared the memories from his mind and attempted to move again without any success. The last thing he remembered was screaming at the doctor for a bleach bath. He tugged on his arms, tried to pull them up to scratch his neck, they wouldn’t budge. It was pitch black in the room. Lights out, it was still night. He shuttered.
“Okay, I will just have to deal with this until morning,” he whispered.
Jerry closed his eyes and counted to 100, 200 and 300. He screamed. Deep breaths he told himself. He wasn’t going to freak out.
He flopped around on the bed trying to scratch his bug ridden skin. His feet hit the floor. He stood up and made a futile attempted to stretch his arms, nothing. They put him in a strait jacket, the thought hit him full force.
“They put me in a fucking straight jacket!” He bellowed into the darkness.
The bugs skittered under the jacket, up his arms, over his chest, down his legs. He wigged out. He ran forcefully into the wall trying to knock them off. They crept over his back. He spun and slammed his back into the wall. They dug under the soles of his feet. He stomped at the floor. He had to get them off!
His brain went into full overload. The creepy crawlies were all over him. He couldn’t think. He couldn’t scratch them off. They were in his mouth, under his eyelids, crawling over his skull. A long loud piercing cry barreled out of his chest as he hurled himself head first into the cement blocks of the prison cell.
“We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you breaking local news from the Hill Shire Penitentiary. Marisa can you hear me?”
Marisa nodded to the camera.
“This is Marisa Montoya broadcasting live from Hill Shire Penitentiary. I’m standing in front of the locked gate of the prison where the Warden has just made a statement from his office regarding Jerry Fitzgerald. According to the Warden’s report Jerry Fitzgerald was found dead in his cell this morning. Additionally, the Warden reported he is not sure what happened after lights out last night. Apparently the camera watching Jerry Fitzgerald’s cell malfunctioned. The tapes are completely blank, leading us to wonder what exactly happened. The authorities have not clarified if Jerry’s death was suicide or murder. An investigation is underway as we speak.”
Marissa inhaled sharply. “Jerry Fitzgerald was in the middle of a trail for the sexual assault of more than 20 underage boys that we know of. His accusers were due to take the stand nextweek. ”
She tapped the metal bars impatiently.
“We are waiting for the Warden to open the gates and answer some questions in person on the death of Jerry Fitzgerald. We will keep you updated as further details arise…”