2010-07-15: Letters From Prison



Guest Starring:


Date: July 15, 2010


Forwarded letters finally find their way home.

"Letters From Prison"

Janet's Apartment

Janet (and Parker's) apartment isn't particularly large. It's more than sufficient for the two of them, yet with all of the flowers Jaden had sent and now all of the mail being forwarded by the hospital it's becoming over crowded. Never having considered herself particularly popular, it's a bit of a shocker. She sits in her wheelchair— that she still hasn't exactly grown accustomed to— as she sorts through them by postage date. Her yellow summer sundress falls to her knees (and is accompanied by a cream 3/4 sleeve unbuttoned cardigan)— her lap is full of unopened letters.

"It really is curious," she says to herself (yes, she talks even when no one else is there, don't act surprised, it is Janet). Biting her bottom lip, she uses a letter opener and extracts the one with the earliest postmark.

The letter, when extracted from its envelope seems to be written by a different hand than the one that addressed it. The letters are printed, rather than written in cursive, and in a rather minute block style. The ones on the outside of the envelope are in cursive, very neat, pretty and in a style that could almost be considered calligraphy.

Dear Miss That I Shot,

They wouldn't give me your name but they said I could write you a letter if they could read it. I guess they're scared that I'm going to hurt you or something. I'm not. I promise. I'm sorry that I shot you, I didn't mean it, it was an accident. I know that doesn't make it better but my brother said it's better than if I wasn't sorry.

I got a job in the kitchen here, I get paid two dollars an hour but I have to give one dollar to this other guy. My brother, Jo, he works in the library because he's pretty smart. He's got a lot of friends here, everyone seems to like him.

I just really wanted to let you know how sorry I am. I hope you get better soon.


Judah Restein.

Janet's jaw tenses and her mouth gapes at the words. Puzzled, she returns the letter to the envelope and glances at the rest of the letters on her lap. "Well that was unexpected— " she states before shuffling the letter back into its envelope. "Hmmmm," she plucks the next from the pile with two fingers. This time she admires that calligraphy-like writing on the front. Biting her lip she uses that letter opener to, once again, slice open the envelope, taking care not to cut her fingers.

Carefully, purposefully, she scans the next letter.

Dear Miss That I Shot,

I don't know if you got my first letter or not. My brother said that the suits probably threw it in the garbage, so I'm writing you another one just in case. So if you didn't get that letter, I said I'm sorry. I am, I'm really really sorry. If I was a doctor I would have made you better as soon as I shot you, but I'm not. I wear a hot dog suit on the beach to get customers for my boss. I think I got fired though, so I'll have to bring my costume back.

I have a new job though, I wash dishes in the kitchen here. I bet when I get out I'll be able to wash dishes in a real restaurant or something, I bet it doesn't get as hot in a restaurant as it does in a hot dog suit. They probably have air conditioning.

If I was a doctor, I wouldn't have shot you probably either. If I was a doctor I bet I wouldn't have been in the museum. I'm so sorry, if I could, I would make everything better.


Judah Restein.

"That's… huh…" Janet hates to admit it, but there's something rather endearing about her shooter. Her fingers tap on the side of this letter as she lets it fall to her lap again, the faintest smile edging her lips. There is little to say or do about it, but here it is, a letter from a man who doesn't appear to mean her any harm. "But Judah… I am a doctor and I was at the museum… but I guess it's not like I had a gun." Or intent to hurt anyone or anything, really.

Again, this letter is replaced into its envelope. Her eyebrows quirk upwards, considering the latest, and she bites her bottom lip absently. Something tugs at her that she can't really explain, something odd. A glance is given to the desk that sits to the side of the main sitting area before she shakes her head. Wouldn't be a good idea, would it?

Biting her bottom lip, Janet shakes her head one more time before retrieving the next letter. Heavily she sighs as it opens.

Dear Miss McCarty,

I finally found out your name! I felt sort of bad calling you Miss That I Shot, but I didn't know what else to call you. You have a really pretty name, Janet McCarty, it's like that lady on that soap opera. Except she's not Janet, I like your first name better it's a girl's name.

I hope you're feeling better, I wanted to write you every day but my brother said that would probably get me a strain or something. Restraining order, that's what he called it.

We have a lawyer now, he seems really nice. My brother doesn't like him though, I don't think, he keeps calling him a suit. Did I tell you? We have these orange suits here, we have jeans and blue shirts that we're supposed to wear too. I sort of like the orange suits better though, they dry a lot faster when I spill water from the dishwasher. I'm getting better every day, I hope you are too. I mean, I hope you're feeling better and not getting better at dishes, like me, except you probably can do dishes already. You seemed like a nice lady, until you started swearing but that was probably because I shot you.

I really hope you're starting to feel better.


Judah Restein.

While there were the faint makings of a smile earlier, Janet manages an all out grin at this letter. She stifles a giggle at one particular line, drawing her hand over her mouth to suppress it, like Judah might be insulted if he knew she was laughing when he's not even here. Her eyebrows furrow involuntarily as she refolds the letter and places it back into its envelope. "Like a child…" she whispers quietly, placing it back with the others. This isn't what Janet had expected or bargained for. Biting her bottom lip again she pulls the next letter from her lap and slices it open, if she's honest with herself, she's actually enjoying the mail. Even though the initial thought of getting mail from her shooter had been uncomfortable, it's turning into one of those exercises where more than anything she wants to know what Judah has to say.

Dear Miss McCarty,

I hope you're getting my letters, I know you probably won't write me back but I just really want you to know how sorry I am. My sister came to visit me and my brother yesterday, she was crying and stuff. I'm worried about her a lot. She said that she's scared for us, but I'm fine. I have a friend in the kitchen now and Josiah's still got lots of friends. He was sort of worried about being here at first but he made friends pretty quick, they don't like suits either.

I like suits, I have one that I got for the museum party, but I only got to wear it once, I think it looked really nice. But yeah, Josiah kept saying that someone might give him a makeover but he's got this friend named Rock now that he says keeps him safe. I didn't know it was dangerous in a library, but I'm glad he's not worried anymore.

I hope you're feeling better, maybe if you feel better you can write to me and tell me if you got my letters.


Judah Restein.

Biting her bottom lip, Janet sighs as she raises a hand to her chest. The last letter has rendered her silenced. Closing her eyes, she envisions that night at the museum when she'd been shot, but these letters don't paint the picture of a killer, they paint something entirely different; the picture of a boy, a young man who had no idea what he was doing or what he'd gotten himself into. The hand is slowly lowered from the chest and placed on the her lap before reaching for the last letter. Slowly she opens it and removes it from its envelope.

Dear Miss Janet McCarty,

I'm still hoping you're getting my letters. You haven't wrote back so I'm not sure if you have or if you just don't want to write me. I hope you're not in the hospital still, it's been a while though, did I hurt you really bad? I can help pay for the bills because of my job I'm getting enough money in jail to get the stuff I need, plus Becky keeps bringing us stuff too.

Josiah keeps asking for cigarettes and chocolate bars. He doesn't smoke so I think he might be trying to give everyone the cancer so he can get away. I don't like that plan very much, our grandma died of the cancer and that's where we got the painting. Jo was going to go to college but he had to quit because we didn't have enough money.

You probably don't want to hear the sad stuff though, if you're in the hospital, you should hear happy news. There's a talent show happening at the jail, Jo is in this band with his buddy Rock. I'm going to read a poem that I wrote. If I win, I'll send it to you too.

Anyway, I hope you get this letter because I'm sending $10 for the hospital. It's not that much but you can tell them that I'll give them half my paycheck every time I get it.

I really hope you're feeling better.


Judah Restein.

The last letter is replaced into the envelope as Janet sniffs a little. She twitches as she glances at the desk again. The ten dollar bill is taken with her with a small shake of her head. Quietly she rolls her wheelchair to the desk, pulls a piece of paper and a pen from a drawer and begins.

Dear Judah,

I only just received your letters. Thank you for writing so much, I really do appreciate it. And I'm sorry to hear about your sister; it must be really hard on her to have you both in prison. I hope your trial comes quickly and things can be smoothed over to give her some semblance of peace.

Janet pauses, looking up from the letter as she places the pen on the writing desk for a moment. Thoughtfully she stares out the nearby window at the beautiful day outside that she hasn't brought herself to enjoy. Life without her legs hasn't exactly been easy, but then, things could be worse, right?

Again she returns pen to paper…

I'm out of the hospital now, in a wheelchair, but such is life. I appreciate your apologies and accept them, knowing full-well one day soon-ish I will walk again. I know I will. I don't need the money though, I have a very generous benefactor taking care of me. Send it to Becky instead, I'm sure she'd appreciate it and it could bring a smile to her face.

How was your talent show? I'm sure you did well. Do they let you have visitors at the prison? Maybe I should come see you so we can talk in person and you can see that I'm okay— I really am. :)

In one of your letters you mentioned that if you were a doctor you wouldn't have been at the museum. I am a doctor and I was at the museum so there you go. Things happen in life, but I'm convinced life is only 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we react to it. React well, my friend, I'm aiming to do the same.

Take care of yourself Judah.


Miss that Was Shot

Dr. Janet McCarty

The letter is then folded in thirds and placed into an envelope of her own. Biting her bottom lip she rolls over to the pink corded telephone where she keeps her business cards. Quickly she glances through each in turn until she comes to a particular one. Biting her bottom lip, she dials a number, and manages a smile as a voice buzzes on the other end, "Is this the law office of a Mr. Julian Fennell? I'd like to speak to him about one of his clients, Judah Restein. I was the gal that was shot, Janet, Janet McCarty… That's right… I want to know if there's anything I can do… please get him to call me as soon as he's available… right, you have my contact info… Thank-you~" She hangs up the phone and then licks the envelope closed and scribbles the address on the front in her doctor handwriting.

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