The Doctor said I should introduce myself.
"Tell them something about yourself you think they might wish to know," he said, "say anything that comes to mind."
Trust me. There is nothing you want to know about me.
I'm a stranger. Strangers are scary. Right? Be afraid.
Okay-I'll behave; this part won't scare you.
My mom named me Detrick, but called me "Deet."
I never really knew my Dad--except I did see him that one time. Just that one time.
Cops were taking him away. He showed up at the house unexpectedly.
There was a restraining order. I guess the neighbors recognized him.
From last time.
I heard her say his name.
"What the hell is Plez doin' here?"
I thought that was a weird name. Plez? I Still do. Weird.
Almost as weird as Deet.
She made me stay in the car--just wouldn't let me get out.
Wouldn't answer any of my questions either.
I didn't mind her. As usual.
I wanted to get a good look at that guy--my "Father".
Too late. Cops everywhere. Back in the car.
Took hours to calm her down. I didn't hang around.
Who needs that?
Want to know what really pisses me off? Calling me Deet.
Folks learn pretty fast. They'll only call me that once. I teach em' a lesson.
Now, nobody calls me Deet.
Well, maybe only just one time.
Nobody messes with me more than once.
They should just call me "Smiler."
I like to smile at Girls.
Now, there were girls around back when I was younger.
Always noticed them, I did.
All kinds of girls.
All it took was for them to hear they better not hang around me and they were ready to stick like glue.
Go figure. Girls love bad boys.
I had some girl's big brother jump me one evening-- on the way back from my visit to my Parole officer.
Probably a brick or something. Caught me on the back of the head.
Later, his sister apologized FOR him.
I thought that was pretty funny. It was his blood; not mine on the sidewalk.
I never learned to drive.
Wasn't interested. Didn't care. I know how to walk. I get by. Always have.
Besides, those girls drive.
Their dads give em' cars and they love giving me a ride.
Makes me smile.
Education? School of hard knocks. I got that diploma sure enough.
What can I say? Spent all my time in the Office or with the Nurse til they all gave up. Adults apologizing, explaining, blaming their own damn selves!
All making "sincere" excuses to me---well, I didn't laugh, but, I sure felt like it.
I'm not a criminal. I'm pretty high-moraled.
I don't like bad language. I don't cuss. Makes you sound stupid. I ain't stupid.
My first Doctor gave me tests for retardation. All my doctors--they always did.
Prolly always will.
These eggheads test and suddenly act so surprised--as they're telling you how smart you are and how you can be anything you want. It makes me smile just thinking how eager they are. For what?
They wanna make me like them?
No way. No way.
I've had bad influences. Awful things happen to little kids before they know the score. Enough said.
I guess I was 17 when the first incident happened.
You've seen the newspapers. Everybody did.
Here's all I'll say:
What's done is done. People get upset about nothin'. Let's just say I'd had enough.
The second incident didn't happen till I got released. You know--from custody.
Maybe a week afterward.
Mom kept at me and I told her I didn't wanna hear it.
I didn't want to live there with her but I wasn't given that choice.
"You have to get a job!"
It was all I heard until I stopped hearing it.
She stopped sayin' it, so, I stopped hearing it.
I made her stop.
Jail? Jail was interesting. Educational.
Jail? Different games and different rules.
You have to watch and learn. You catch on. If you don't--uh oh, too bad for you.
You see 'em watching you while you're watching them.
So, timing is pretty important. Nobody can watch you every last second.
They DO see you at the very last second. I do mean the very last.
It makes me smile just thinkin' about it.
I'm sure you're gonna ask about HER.
Okay. Chrissy was pretty special.
I think about her still.
She wrote me. Never missed. Only visited just that one time.
Never could figure that one out. Why make a special trip the day you decide never to see somebody again?
She sat quietly staring into my eyes when she told me.
"I can't see you again."
How does that make sense?
I gave her my blessings. I smiled. I bided my time on that one.
A full year after I was released.
Now she can never see me again. For real.
Nobody figured it was me.
I tried gettin' a job. Once.
Not gonna try that again!
I saw the sign and walked in and told the guy who owned the shop I'd work just for Pizzas and he cocked his head at me. Like a pup in a window.
He just shrugged and tossed me an apron. I lasted 3 days.
So did he.
Pizza was good.
It's been awhile. That funny feeling comes and goes.
It used to come and not go.
When I do what I gotta do--I feel better.
It goes. Awhile.
Thanks to the Doc--it goes.
You can learn to do almost anything if you set your mind to it.
My parole hearing is coming up in a week.
Doc says not to lie to them this time.
"It doesn't work if you lie."
He explained why but my mind wanders.
It's starting to wander around in my head now as I'm telling you about myself.
I can sometimes see clouds outside my window.
At night I never see a star and only barely catch a thin glow from wherever the moon gets off to.
I smell the stale, cheap roll-your-own tobacco and the loud clack of dominos on the metal table in the Day Room.
Inmates in cages all around. I'm not like them. I'm the one who's different.
They all look the same in their one-size-fits-all jumpsuits. Stupid men with stupid faces. Not like me at all.
Wanna hear something crazy?
They call me, "The Monster". What's that all about?
I got a letter from Chrissy's mom yesterday. Can you believe that?
After all these years, she asks ME if I know what happened?
How'd she think that would go down?
Asking stupid questions gets you nothin' from me.
Promise me something nice and I might tell you somethin' you'd like to hear.
Other than that--don't waste my time accusing me.
Not that I don't have plenty to slop out on her plate--but she'd choke on it.
Am I done with this yet?
I've got a little bit of white paper left to write on.
The Doctor said write until I ran out of paper.
He's going to keep this in my file and never show it to anybody. It's his promise. He's been great to me so I'll give him that. He's a do-gooder. You know the type.
This Doc is my friend and doesn't make me sick like most of 'em do.
He is shrewd, smart--maybe a genius. I see myself in him.
Let's see...what else?
That inmate with the Kingston accent was punching guys again yesterday.
Him and his stupid game.
None of 'em seem to figure out how bad it's gonna be when they play his game.
He's scary lookin' and I guess they are worried about offending him.
So they play out of fear.
He walks up an shows 'em his rock-sized bicep.
Get's real close and makes them fidget with his eyes and fists.
"Hit me first. We trade licks."
Why go along with that, I'd like to know?
I heard he was a boxing champ back home in Jamaica.
Who'd trade licks with a boxing champ?
Idiots, that's who.
He makes tears run down their cheeks, too.
I could sit and watch for hours. He's pulled that on everybody in here.
Well--that's not exactly true. Not me, though. He won't even look at me.
Maybe he knows. It wouldn't work out with me like it did with the others.
Even jungle beasts know who's on top. Right?
Pastor Paul will be here this evening. Prison ministry. Same scam every place I've been. These guys all sing the same tune.
With Parole Hearing coming up he'll make his move on me.
Yeah. I see it coming.
I know what to do and say.
I need him sittin' next to me.
He'll make an effort--as he says--if I make an effort.
Oh, I always make an effort. I'll promise and he'll believe me.
I might help him get where he wants to go real fast.
Let's see...not much space left...
I hurt my hands in machine shop. Both of them.
Don't worry--that should help me at the parole board hearing.
Sympathy is like face cards in poker.
This time, I hold the winning cards.
I've got 3 of a kind: Pastor, hurt hands and a smile...that's all I really need.
Doc has advised me well.
"People only look at you once and then never see you again. It all happens in that one moment."
First impressions, he means.
Until now--I never cared about first impressions. Only thing I cared for was last impressions.
Tomorrow will be different. I'm gonna play 'em like a fiddle.
Doc said it was "counter-intuitive" to tell the truth to a parole board. They expect me to lie.
No--not this time.
This writing assignment is my practice run layin' it all out. In poker, it's called
Out of space.
This has been fun.
I'm clear-minded and sharp. I'll tell everything like I just told you.
Then, I'll start sobbing and say, "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry."
So long Mister Monster, welcome home Smiler!