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The Triumph of Voice/ 2

July 1, 2011

………Jenő Horváth sat on his plank with his back straight and his hands on his knees. His stomach was jittery with the lack of food and his eyes drooped in the unbearable heat of his cell. Twice he fell asleep, his head curling down onto his chest, and a guard kicked the door until he resumed his erect posture. He guessed he had been sitting like this for two hours—his time was almost up.

………When at last the guard knocked twice on the door Jenő leapt to his feet and put his nose and his toes against the wall for inspections. He heard the peep-hole cover fall back into place and he knew he was free to lie down. His smile was like a very sleepy child’s as he limped to his plank and lay down gingerly. Then he tapped out a quick, quiet rhythm on the stone wall to his right.

            There?

            A moment of silence, and then a faint knock from the other side,

            Here.

            How was your day?

            As good as yesterday. How was yours?

            As good as tomorrow will be.

            No plans for suicide, then?

            Jenő smiled at the usual jokes. You know I don’t have the means. No. Not tomorrow.

………A long moment of silence, and then,

            Do me a favor?

            Anything.

            Put your forehead to the wall. Do it now before the guard returns.

            Jenő pressed his forehead against the cool masonry. He waited a while, and then said,

………I’m here.

            Good. Now, tell me a story.

 

            The Triumph of Voice

© Trent R. Leinenbach, Ashen Apples, 2011

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