Hired Killer

To prove god wouldn’t have permitted me to commit the crime that carried a death sentence. I couldn’t say where I had been when it happened. The woman I spent that time with would make God content. Married as a trophy to another man, I vowed when it all began, that I’d never tell she slept with me while he was away. Death before dishonor was tattooed in my brain and on my arm. A constant reminder that I was obliged to do no harm.

Twenty years in a four by eight space waiting to be murdered by the state for a crime I didn’t commit. Though the time had come for my life to end, the one I protected never came to save me from the state assassin paid to do the job no doctor would.

Nightmares often came of me being trapped in a cell and then strapped to a table while eyes that never smiled, but filled with hate, as though I was unwanted freight, watched as that state sponsored murderer stabbed my arm with needles full of Sodium Thiopental, Pancuronium, and Bromide Potassium Chloride.

If I were lucky I’d inhale in despair, become unconscious and wouldn’t be aware of the sting traveling through my veins, setting my nerves on fire, burning me with industrial pain. If I stayed awake after I was injected, I’d be paralyzed and wouldn’t be able to move my mouth nor breathe, and only a tear would show how much I endured while waiting for my heart to stop its habitual beat.

This procedure is deemed too inhumane for animal use, because it’s better to hang them in a noose, but for condemned criminals in thirty-five states it’s okay. The chemicals are in such demand that all states have to wait in line to get the drugs needed to kill. It’s hard for me to accept as true that people discount this state-inflicted pain, only because a person, once convicted of a crime becomes something less than a man, not worthy of belonging to the human race, nor deserving to be treated better than a dog. Not worthy of being protected from pain that is against the law to inflict on any animal, but a criminal is considered lower than that.

Even though I could save myself from such a horrible fate by telling the truth, I’d keep my vow to remain silent. Labeled by society as a murderer and a criminal deserving death, I knew I was better than those paid by the state to take my life.

As they strapped me onto the execution table, I held my arm high so all could read what my tattoo said, and I didn’t tell the warden that the night the crime I was convicted of committing, I was with his wife.