by David Layman
He took, but what did he get back?
My name is George Beggs
My name is George Beggs, and I am doing life without parole. I got sent up for a bank robbery in Longview Washington about five years ago, two tellers and a police officer lost their lives. The money was never recovered and believe me, they tired. They are still trying.
All I got now is my wife Angela and hope.
Angela visited me every Saturday at 9:00 AM. You could have set your watch by Angela. I always looked forward to her letters during the week as well as her Saturday visit. Until the first Saturday in July, things were just like that week after week. Things got a little rough on her now that I am doing time. But the first Saturday in July, she missed a visit. I was concerned sure, but not overly so. It could have been lots of things; Car trouble, maybe Angela was sick, anything. But the next Saturday she missed again. Finally, on the next visiting day there she was.
"Where you been baby, I was worried." I said.
"Mamma was sick real bad George; I went to stay with her for a while."
"I didn't hear about that. How is she?"
"Not good, I may have to go back if she gets bad again. It would help if we had money for a better doctor," She said. "George could you help me with the money?"
"They don't pay much at the prison factory baby. I barely got enough for soap here."
"You know what I mean George, the money."
"I aint got no money, never did. It's just like I told the Judge. I am innocent, and I can't give back what I aint got. You got that, Angela? There is no money!"
I sure as hell wasn't going to give my money away so she could live it up with some new man. I robbed and killed for that cash, and I would take it to my grave before I gave it away. Angela was a good-looking kid, but I wasn't giving up anything - Not now.
I noticed Angela couldn't look at me and she was red in the face and her skin was moist. I really had doubts about her mother being sick. It was just the kind of story that those other broads told their men before they disappeared forever. I seen it happen before. First, she starts missing a few visits after months or even years of being a regular. Then the letters stop coming as often and after that another kicked in the gut looking guy walking around. That wasn't going to happen to me. Not me. I keep what is mine, and Angela is my wife and will stay that way.
On our next visiting day, she never showed.
I met Jonesy, an older trustee with a shaved head on the way back from checking out of the visiting room.
Jonesy said. "She didn't come again, huh? That's to bad, well you can't expect them to sick around forever, can you?"
"I don't know what you're talking about, Jonesy. Her mother's sick is all."
"That wasn't her mother I saw her laughing with down at the 5th Ave Bar in Marion the other day."
I grabbed the collar around his skinny neck and showed the old fool up against the wall and got my face so close to his I could smell the sweat in his nasty ragged beard and said, "You better explain yourself or get ready to bleed bitch!"
"Hey George! I am your friend man! I am just trying to tell you what I know pal. That Angela is doing you wrong, real bad wrong."
"She aint like that! She knows what is mine stays mine. You got me?" I said releasing his shirt. "What are you talking about anyway?"
He stood up straight and smoothed the from of his khaki-colored surplus Army shirt.
Jonesy said, "You know I drive the garbage truck into Marion every weekday. Well on one of those trips last week, I saw your wife Angela in the 5th Ave Bar with a good-looking dude in a real nice grey suit. They were having a real good time by the looks of it too. Kind of in the back of the bar. All cozy and private, if you know what I mean."
I was stunned as I walked away. How could this be? I have seen this sort of thing before. But it always happens to the other guy. How could she cross me like that. I am George Beggs. Nobody has the guts to take what is mine. Who is this guy? How can I get rid of the punk? Questions... and no answers.
I thought about it all week. Another Saturday came and went. No Angela. Her letters started to arrive less and less. She told that same old lie about her mother being sick, but the letters were mailed from Carterville, a town only 15 miles away from here. She lived in Metropolis and that was 50 miles away in the other direction. What to do?
On the next visiting day Angela came, first thing I said was,
"Where you been baby? I missed you."
"I was taking care of mamma; she is bad off this time. I think that I found a lawyer to take your case. He says that he can get you out in a few months."
"All he needs is the money, is that it Angela?"
"Yeah George, if I had some cash, I could get you out of here. We could be together and mamma would get better. All you gotta to George is tell me where the money is."
"No dice baby, I got no money remember. I'm supposed to be innocent. How could an innocent man have the money? Want me to change my story at this late date?"
The little snake just wanted the money like all the rest. "So, it has come down to this," I thought. I bet the guy in the suit wouldn't have anything to do with her begging for the money. I am sure that he wouldn't mind a half million dollars and my wife. MY WIFE! I'll play it cool and see about this guy.
Later that day I met Jonesy.
I said waving at him out on the East recreation yard.
"What's up George?"
"Who's the guy in the suit? You know him?"
"Sure do. I know his name and where he lives. What's it worth to you George?"
"You're getting out on parole in two months. How would you like a little 100 thousand going away present?"
"I would like it just fine George. Why so generous?"
"Cause Jonesy your going to have to work for it. I got a little business with the punk in the suit I want to take care of real personal like, you know? So, what's his name anyway?"
"His name is John Green, but what do you mean real personal like?"
"Just what I said... something personal. I got to go see this John Green."
We sat down, and I put to Jonesy my plan about how we would switch. I would drive the truck into Marion, take care of my business and return. It had to be a rainy day and that Larry Le'mon had to be working the back gate that day. He was the only guard to lazy to look in the truck cab coming and going. Jonesy didn't like the idea much and thought he could do my business for me. All I had to do was tell him where the money was.
Two weeks later Jonesy said that since I was was going to kill this John Green guy and didn't want to get a lethal dose of something for my trouble, he would do it for the 100 thousand like we said. He trusted me to come back because being in prison was the perfect alibi. I couldn't have killed anybody, I was in prison, ask the Warden!
Angela missed that week's visit, but it was ok, I knew that soon she would have no reason to miss any more.
Finally, the day came. It was raining and Larry Le'mon was on the rear gate. I went to the kitchen to ask about getting on a low salt diet but Earl Powell, the cook foreman, told me I would have to see the doctor and get an order to be put on a new diet. That was ok, I didn't care what the guy had to say. I just wanted to get out onto the back dock in the rear of the kitchen where they loaded the garbage truck. Nobody but Jonesy really noticed me stepping out the door and down the steps to the road the truck was sitting on.
I walked slowly, like inmates do everywhere, out of the small enclosed dock area. I stood near the perimeter wall and smoked a cigarette and watched the guys loading the truck with all kinds of trash, boxes and other stuff. The guards looked all through the stuff to make sure nobody was hiding in it, and finally Jonesy pulled the truck away from the dock.
One guard walked in front of the truck and one behind. When Jonesy turned right at the bend in the road and headed for the main gate there was a spot on the driver's side that was not visible for a short time. The only Guard who could see me then was the guy walking about 20 yards in front of the truck. I ran and jumped on the running board. Jonesy slid out the window and I hopped in. He left the rain suit, and I handed him my hat. The whole thing took about 5 seconds, and for once in my life, nothing went wrong. I was in the truck and it had not missed a beat. Nobody was any the wiser.
My heart raced when I neared the rear gate. I was sweating bullets as I watched all three guards talking right in front of the truck. The lazy Larry Le'mon gave me a quick look and opened the gate and out I drove. I was free! I was so excited and happy that I just about wet myself! Now to do that punk Green.
I drove down the prison road and out the front gate without a second look from anybody. I took the map that Jonesy had given me and drove strait down little grassy road, over the freeway, turned left at the shack that was a local bar called Helen's and right to the center in Marion that took the prison's garbage.
When I got there, I handed by yellow ticket to the guy at the front gate along with the keys to the truck all without saying a word. The trashman said,
"You going to git some java?"
"Yeah" I said, then quickly turned and left the same gate I had just entered.
I had to move fast now. I jogged on the prison exercise yard for hours at a time. This was nothing but a short stretch of the legs for me.
I ran the two miles to the blue and white trim house at 1101 West DeYoung Street. It was just like Jones described. One story, with an attached garage on the right. I went around back and found the back door unlocked! These country hicks didn't even lock their doors. Arrogant fools didn't thing anything could happen to them. Well John old boy, your about to get what you deserve.
I searched the house quickly and quietly. Nobody at home. Where is he? I just have minutes to spare before I got to get back to the truck. "If I miss this chance, I will never have another."
"Damn you God, I deserve this! I want this man's life for messing with my woman!" I whispered with all the hate and rage in my soul.
Just when I had about given up hope, I heard a noise. I was discovered. I had to run for it now or get caught? No wait. I smiled at the sound now. I know what it was. The garage door opener. Somebody was home. John ol-boy was home to stay. He just didn't know it yet.
I went into the kitchen and waited just on the other side of the door that led into the garage. I was coiled like a cat. All my muscles were poised to strike, to kill. Finally, I could hear no more noise coming out of the garage. I yanked the door open and ran headlong into the slightly built man in an expensive grey suit. My forehead smashed into his nose and the blood erupted like a geyser. I pounced on his chest and got my hands around his skinny neck.
"Are you John Green?" I hissed.
"Yes, who are you and what do you want?"
"My name is George Beggs and I am going to show you what happens to guys who mess with my woman."
"You're George Beggs!" He said and the look of complete surprise on his face made me want to laugh.
I did laugh. I couldn't help myself. The whole time I squeezed his neck I laughed. His skinny, weak, lawyer body was no match for my 12 hour a day work outs. I crushed his throat with my powerful hands till his face turned dark and his eyes bugged out. He looked even more surprised, if that was possible. After a few minutes the sweat came off me like the blood from his nose. He stopped twitching and I noticed a yellow puddle had formed around his belt line on the floor. He was dead. I had killed the punk who had dared to mess with me.
Now I had to finish the job. I didn't want to live the rest of my life in prison but I didn't want to be executed for murder either. So, I ran back to the where I left the truck. It was empty now. Both the truck and I was thoroughly wet; the truck with rain and I with sweat. The truck was empty of garbage and I was empty of my rage. It had left the garbage behind and I had left John Green behind. Somebody would soon bury both of them.
The trip back was uneventful. The stupid guard Larry Le'mon paid me no mind when I came back. After all, the dullard thought. "Who breaks into prison?" Idiot.
I made the switch with Jonesy and it all worked! I had gotten away with the perfect murder! No consequences for me at all. Hah! That's just what Green deserved.
Next day I met Jonesy and he said
"It worked perfect George. I done my part now where did you leave the money?"
"What money?" I replied "I told you before Jonesy I am innocent. I never had any money."
"Punk! For that I ought to turn you in." His rage barely contained.
"Go ahead Jonesy, I'm sure the Warden won't mind you helping me kill a guy. I bet they will give you early parole for that." I just stared at him and started laughing. The same way I laughed when I choked the life out of John Green. I had outsmarted him and he knew it. I had out smarted them all! I was on top of the world.
Saturday came and sure enough just like I knew she would Angela was waiting for me in the visiting room.
"Baby you look like you been crying. What's wrong? I said. Knowing full well it was her dead boyfriend and their plans for my money was just as dead. I had out smarted them all!
"I am not sure how to tell you this... there was a terrible thing that happened." She wailed.
"Sure, baby sure." I said trying not to laugh but look serious and concerned.
"I met a guy named John Green. He was a lawyer. He really believed in your case and thought he could get you out. He thought you were innocent and said he found a way to get you out on bond during your appeal. He really believed in us baby. So much so he decided to do the case for free, just to get you out. But somebody killed him and now it looks like you will never be free."