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One More Slice a'Cake by Nigel Roth

By the time he remembered, it was too late.

“I got it,” he cried “I remember!”

“You remember now do ya,” the guard replied, “now ya remember. You spent how many years not remembering, eh Charlie. How many years have you not been quite able to get to that memory.

“Geez, I remember more about being in my mama's womb than you remember about what you done that terrible fucking day.

“If I’d done what you done, Charlie, I’d remember, I’d damn-well remember. You know why I’d damn-well remember? Because it ain’t everyday you go out and do what you done.

“You remember now because it might help you. You, Charlie, not the people who you hurt with what you done, but you.

“Come on, Charlie, you remember now? What exactly do you now remember, at this eleventh hour? At this actual moment, when here you are, reada to go?”

“I remember,'' Charlie replied, in a stunted, quiet voice, like a child recalling where they left their teddy bear.

“You remember,” said the guard, “you fuckin’ remember.”

“Do you remember why you done it? Why you chose them people? Do you suddenly know why you chose them people to suffer the way they did? To go through hell and not come out the other side? To go through hell, knowin’ they’d never see their mama or papa, or kids, or granmas and granpas again?

“Do you remember who you done it to, Charlie? Can you recall their names, their faces? Can you recall what they said while they were with you? What they cried for? What they begged for? Can you smell ‘em?

“Can you fuck.

“You remember now because remembering will help you stay where you are, and not where you’re going.

“Remembering will stay this moment for a little longer, right? So you can gather your thoughts. Gather your lawyers and your attorneys, gather your apologizers. That's why you fucking remember now, Charlie, that’s why you fucking remember now.

“Well, I got news for you, Starkweather. Nobody cares that you remember now, because no-one would ever believe you anyway. Believe you remember why you done it, why you went out and done those things, you rebel without a cause, you rebel with a cause, you rebel, you.

“Charlie Starkweather remembers.

“Ha. Front page news I betya. There it’d be, right there on the front page of the dailies.

“‘Charlie Remembers.’

“Charlie remembers because Charlie wants one more slice a’ cake. One more sip a’ lemonade. One more chicken wing or spare rib or beef burger. That right, Charlieboy?

“I remember.”

“What’s that you say, boy, you what? Jacky can’t hear you.”

“I remember.”

“Louder, son, Jacky can’t hear you.”

“I remember.”

“One more time, boy, because the people you murdered wanna hear too. The families you killed wanna know too. The wives and husbands and girlfriends and lovers, they wanna fuckin’ hear too, Charlie.”

“I remember.”

“Ha. You remember nothin’. You’re a lousy liar and coward, a murderer and a coward. That’s what you are. Too late now, boy.

“Too late for everyone whose lives you ended.

“You remember. You remember shit.

“I do though, I know now, I remember why ...”

“Flick that switch, Tom, fry the bastard.”

photo by Rodolfo Clix


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