Write On!

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

In Responses, Uncategorized on June 22, 2012 at 6:19 pm

by Jen Gregory

Judy Smith was an unofficial saint, so why was Judy Smith presently incarcerated? That was a good question; one Judy was asking herself as she came to on the dirty floor of the city jail. Her short curly white hair flopped lazy on her head, it’s spring and bounce wilted, her enormous grey eyes unfocused and dilated. Inside the little cell she found herself in she could smell bleached urine and bug spray. Quietly she started to raise herself off the ground, the grit of the concrete floors creeping up under her French manicure. She stood unsteady and dusted her hands off, instinctively reaching to fluff and fix her hair when she heard a voice near to her.

“Lady, who you trying to impress?” Wynona said with a snicker and a snort.

Judy startled and choked as she turned behind her and saw a small silhouette hunched over in the corner. She was so confused. Why was she here and where was she anyhow?

“Excuse me, but do you know where I am?” she asked the gruff voiced shadow.

The shadow burst into laughter that turned into coughing as it rose up and walked toward her.

“Oh that’s right, play the whole I’ve got no idea how I got here card. Brilliant, never been done. Hmph. Why couldn’t they at least put somebody interesting in here with me?” the shadow snorted and turned away.

“I don’t know what happened…” she muttered to the shadows disinterested back.

Out of habit or insanity she went back to fluffing her hair and then reached into her pocket for some lip gloss. She could feel several things crammed into her long skirt’s pocket. She pulled out a rumpled scrap of paper with an address on it.

624 Oak Terrace Lane

“Oak Terrace Lane? Why do I have this?” she thought to herself.

Suddenly Judy’s eyes focused in a little, her clarity coming back to her. That’s were Donna lives. I was supposed to pick up that woman Donna to take her to her drug test. She suddenly and vividly recalled the smell of smoke and heavy perfume being sucked into her Buick as Donna opened the door with a brisk, “Hey sweet lady!” and leaned in and kissed her cheek.

Judy fumbled her polished nails into her pocket and pulled out her lip gloss, the same shellacked rose color she had brushed on like lacquer for three years. The same exact tube she had been putting on in her rearview mirror as she waited for Donna to come out of the testing facility. Maybe she should have gone in with her.

After she applied some new gloss, much to her new roommate’s disgust, she reached in and pulled out a business card that she could scarcely see in the dim light available. She wondered what time of day it was.

Wynona just scoffed and started tapping the metal doorway to either annoy Judy or the staff, most likely both.

Speaking of staff, was there anyone around who could help her?

The business card had a man’s name on it, Harold Winchester. A lovely man if you were into street thugs posing as insurance agents. Why did she have his card in her pocket? It dawned on her. She had picked it up off the counter when she had gone into the drug testing facility to use the restroom. Would her bladder control problems ever cease to cause her grief?

Next to the business card was a small piece of hard candy. That, she distinctly remembered, had been next to the business cards. She pulled it out and looked at its shiny plastic wrapper. She recalled the fluorescently lit waiting room. No Donna in sight, several women in scrubs who looked rather unhappy crisscrossed the room with little plastic cups, going in and out of doors gruffly calling names and handing the said cups to their clients. The little receptionist had been sweet. She let Judy go to the employee restroom in the back and then when Judy asked her “how she was” in that way that got everyone talking to her, the receptionist told her. Thirty minutes later Judy was walking out to her car, the hard candy from the little glass bowl still hot in her hand. She had put it in her pocket along with the card that she had taken from her new friend Addy, who swore Harold was the guy to call for just about anything insurance related. She had prayed with Addy that if she was meant to be with her fiance God would change his heart and make him leave his new girlfriend. They had also prayed that if that was not God’s will that Addy would move on and use this new freedom to grow closer to the Lord.

Back in the smelly jail cell much of the earlier part of the day was coming back to Judy. Bit by bit she remembered seeing Donna who had been outside smoking and talking to a scruffy faced gentleman. Judy had waved at her and then headed towards her car about ten yards down the concrete sidewalk. It had been bright, sticky hot and sort of still in that way summer can be when everything and everyone is too tired to be bothered.

She reached into her jean pocket and pulled out the last thing from her pocket, a five dollar bill.

Everything rushed back to her in that minute. Oh merciful heavens above, she was a convict!

Donna and her gentleman friend had walked up to the car. They had assertively told her that she should get in and he, whom Donna so politely introduced as Justin as they stole her car, got in the driver’s seat. Justin had driven about twenty minutes in a fairly relaxed fashion and Donna had lit one cigarette after the other talking away, seemingly oblivious to Judy’s predicament.

Judy had asked her, “Did you even take a drug test?”

“I don’t do drugs sweetie. You ought to do your research on your charity projects, lady. I’m on work release for armed robbery. Never touched a drug though.”

“Oh,” Judy had said calmly, “that certainly sheds light on things.”

The guy who was driving her car pulled up to a bank. He turned around and looked at Judy. His beady, sweaty black eyes hard and shifty.

“Look lady we need you. You go into the bank and hand them this five dollar bill. That’s all you have to do, hand it to the banker and tell her you need quarters. We will handle the rest.”

“I’ll do no such thing!” Judy had retorted, scared but firm.

“You will or you’ll die old woman. Doesn’t matter to me much.” He turned back to the front to give her time to consider.

She snatched the five dollars and opened the car door. She walked into the bank looking behind her, Justin sweetly smiled at her, motioning for her to keep going. As she opened the thick glass door cool air blew her bangs back and swept up under her collar. She asked for the manager and told him she needed to speak with him. A young man came out named Robert and escorted her to a desk where she calmly said these words, “I don’t want to alarm you but you are about to be robbed.”

Just then a masked Justin and Donna had run into the bank shouting, guns waiving. She couldn’t remember much past the manager’s horrified and dumfounded look. She must have blacked out then and been apprehended as an accomplice. She casually wondered if anyone had been hurt, had Donna and Justin been caught? She supposed it would all come to light soon enough.

Just then someone came in the door and said, “Mrs. Smith, there is a Pastor Dennis Hodge here to see you. Follow me.”

“Oh mercy,” she sighed as she waved goodbye to her roommate, “pastor’s not going to believe this one!”


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