I sat up straight on the hard bed. "Yes, I have."
The officer pulled out a stick of chewing gum. He removed the foil wrap from it and balled it up and threw it to the floor of my cell. "Well, what do you want for your last meal?"
"I'd like two chicken wings and a side of brown rice."
"Would you like anything else to go with that? A cold beer? A shot of Henessey? Some water?"
"No, just that. Chicken and rice. On a saucer."
The officer turned and left the cell, closing the cell door behind him. He ran his nightstick over the bars, as was his usual manner.
The sound irritated me, grated my nerves. He just wanted to let me know he was the one in control, a cop, and had the upper hand. .
I would've liked to have heard that sound the night my dear Mary was killed. A cop would've been much appreciated that night.
Mary had been out all night, gambling our money away, and I'd just got in from my night job, still smelling of factory dirt and grime.
We'd had an argument the week before, where I told her that no matter what she did, she'd better have my breakfast on the table when I'd come in from working all night.
And that she did. Never a fresh breakfrast, but always something left from last night's dinner.
That morning, breakfast was two fried chicken wings and rice.
And just as I sat down at the table, just as I lifted my fork to my mouth, the men in dark suits burst through the door, wanting the money Mary owed. Word was out that Mary had a big night and won big. Sweet Daddy wanted his money and he wanted it now.
I pulled my gun. They pulled theirs. Mary stood there, in the midst of it all.
Shooting broke out.
I shot my poor Mary, trying to defend her, trying to defend my woman. I killed her with a bullet from my own gun.
Now it was time to die.
But not before I ate my last meal, those two chicken wings and brown rice.
I would eat, and think of Mary.
And then I would die for Mary.
The woman I loved.
From Women of Color Writing Workshop, June 4, 2010. 10 minute writing prompt: "A death row inmate's last meal."