You will never change. I know that now. I mean, of all men, me and you combined, did you really not once envision this playing out as it has? Tough call, agreed, but the look on your face tells me more than you’re willing to admit, I think. S’okay, though: we’re almost to the end of it.
Twenty years is what I gave you Frank. Twenty years without me saying a word. You’d think a thing like that could buy a bloke anything he desired. That silence for freedom could be a pact any sane man could abide. Couldn’t be done though, could it, Frank? Whatever would a man of my skill set do with nothing but time on his hands? Isn’t that what you said that very first day? It was in your Caddy, no? You and your driver idling right outside the gate? For truth, I think this might have been the exact moment I knew we’d end up coming to heads. Not twenty years ago, not when we were the same. And don’t get me wrong, I understand this, how you see things. But I will not accept everything, Frank. Not after how much I have taken for the team. A man changes is what I have been trying to get through to you. Sometimes this is for good, Frank, sometimes for not so good. The man, he changes regardless. Doing so whether you approve of it or not. This is what I feel you fail to appreciate: that a man’s ways can be left behind. You would have none of it though, would you?
Nope. Not one goddamn ounce.
Which brings us to here, to today, with me awake and you in a chair. I say awake because you’ve done what you intended to do, Frank. You’ve ended up on the wrong side of the fence, sure, but when you go and poke the bear long enough this usually becomes the case. You were the first person I heard use this phrase, Frank. You know that? I say it to prove a point. Blink if I need to elaborate.
The portable wood-chipper stays in the past though, as I’ve said. It was the thing that got me put away—it will never become the thing which places me back. This is what I think you fail to understand as well: that I would even want to chance the possibility of going back! You had other plans, sure, as men like you usually do. Angers me, all of it, but all it really does is bring me back to what you wanted.
And that you’ll never change.
And let there be no doubt that this is because of you. My time spent inside changing the man I was into the man I became. In six short weeks you have destroyed all of this, Frank. What do you suppose something like that deserves? What would the old me do? Better yet, what would the old you have the old me do if I were still in your employ? Again, the wood-chipper remains dead, and just between us, I never really thought the machine suited me, not as it should. Always liked to see the look on the faces last a little bit longer that the time it took to send a body through. Surprised? Good. I’d have it no other way.
What I can also tell you is this: they teach trades on the inside. Crafts as well. You know what it is I learned inside, Frank? Learned to crochet is what I did. Knit one, purl two, and all that happy crappy. Brought peace of mind is what this did. Allowing me to grow as a human being and taking me away from all the shit I used to do.
Until now that is.
You understand what it is I’m saying here, Frank?
You understand why your children, your grandchildren, your girlfriend and wife are sitting here beside you? The tears are helping, sure, as well I bet regret, but what it comes down to is what you wanted just not who you wanted it done to.
I’m going to open them up, Frank. Just so you know. Then I’m going to stitch together what comes out. Done, it’s on to what I will refer to as patterns. What we in the crotchet business sometimes call blossoms. It will involve back posting, fastening off and an absolute favorite of mine, the invisible decrease. When it’s complete, Frank, when it is, this is when I’m going to tell you the last thing you’ll ever hear: you shouldn’t have poked the bear, Frank.
Better yet, you should have accepted I’d changed.