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(Warning – strong language.)

They tell me it’s tradition. There always used to be thirteen steps to the gallows, so these days there are thirteen steps to the chair.

Ain’t it fucking marvellous how society moves on?

Thirteen steps don’t sound so much, but it’s far enough. Far enough for a man to think on what he’s done, or ain’t done. Far enough for a man to realise he ain’t never gonna smell fresh cut grass again, ain’t never gonna see his baby again, ain’t never gonna drink, or eat, or smoke, or dance, or fuck, ever again. Far enough to realise that this is it.

You see it in their faces. Each step they take, they realise some more. Some hold up to it, stand tall despite it all, but I’ve seen grown men bawling like children. I’ve seen ’em dragged along there, fighting all the way like they was being dragged by demons into the fiery mouth of hell.

Maybe they were.

I’ve heard men praying as they take the steps. Did you know, the Lord’s Prayer has one line for each step? You get to say Amen as they strap you in. Ain’t that fucking marvellous?

I don’t plan on praying. I don’t plan on crying or fighting either. I’ve counted those thirteen steps a hundred times over in my head, and I’m ready for whatever they can make me realise.

The mercy seat is waiting, and I’m done with hesitating.

Let’s do it.

© Kari Fay