Last Night by D.I. Jolly
“Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for meeee.”
“I can’t believe you still sing that silly song. You’ve been doing that since the day you arrived here.”
Henry smiled at his friend.
“Yeah I know, but I’m leaving in the morning so now’s an even more perfect time to sing than usual.”
Walter looked up and frowned.
“Your enthusiasm continues to both annoy and inspire me. So, what do you want to do tonight?’
Henry’s face lit up, but Walter interrupted.
‘I swear to God, if you quote that insufferable cartoon at me again, you won’t make to the morning.”
There was a moment of silence as the two men stared at each other, but Henry’s smile didn’t waver.
“The same thing we do every night Pinky, try to take over the world!”
“I hate you.”
But Walter grinned and reached under his pillow for their deck of cards and started shuffling. As he dealt he looked at his long-time cellmate.
“So how are you feeling? About tomorrow I mean.”
“Excited, I’m finally going to be free, after all this time. Tomorrow I’ll be free. I can hardly believe it.”
Walter’s smile faded.
“Yeah, I’m not sure I can believe it either. I’m finally going to be able to get a good night’s sleep without you talking to me at all hours.”
“Oh don’t look so sad, I spoke to the warden, he’s promised to put someone far more annoying than me in here. You’ll miss me by the end of the day.”
The room took on a serious air as they looked at each other, but before Walter could speak Henry cut in.
“No no, none of that. We’re celebrating. Besides, at some point, you’ll join me and I’ll get to annoy you all over again.”
Walter let himself smile again.
“The sad part of that is I have no doubt in my mind about that. I think I’ll be destined to listen to you natter for all eternity.”
The two men continued to make jokes and play cards until lights out, and as usual, Henry continued chatting long after. Which didn’t just annoy Walter but many of the men around them, who normally were more than happy to voice their annoyance, but since it was the last time, no one said a thing.
In the morning Henry woke up earlier than usual and quietly slipped out of bed to pack up his few things, then just looked at his friend for a minute. They had spent the better part of five years together, every day and he loved him. He’d never really had friends before going to prison. He had been too socially awkward to ever really build a successful connection with anyone until Walter. He’d taught him how to play cards, he’d protected him from some of the more violent aspects of prison and he’d been his friend. As he stood there he allowed a few tears slip down his face, knowing he was really going to miss him but was also really happy that the day had finally arrived. When Walter did wake up, the two men didn’t manage to find words so just quietly played cards until the priest arrived to deliver the last rights and lead Henry off to the last chair he’d ever sit in, and as the button was pressed all of cell block D erupted in a chorus of, A pirates life for me.