The warden came, personally, and brought my meal. I asked him had he heard anything more. He shook his head no. “My sister, you mean?” She said weeks ago she would not come, but I thought she’d change her mind.
“No word,” he responded plainly.
“How about the family. Any of the Empson’s?”
“You really want them there, don’t you?”
“They have that right. They deserve to see it.”
“They do have that right. They know. They chose not to come.”
“So who’s it all going to be, then?”
The warden ticked them off on his fingers. “Me. Few other prison staff. The physician. Minister. District Attorney. Your counsel. A few members of the media.”
“How many people do you want to watch you die?”
“Lots. I want a crowd.”
“Even a crowd that hates you? To curse you? To relish the second the surgeon nods?”
“Yes. Especially that kind of crowd. I want a crowd with emotion. So this matters. These people that are gonna be here – the doctor and lawyers – makes it feel like the case is over and putting me down is like putting the last box of evidence onto a shelf somewhere. Tidying up.”
“You’re not a box of evidence. Trust me, the Empson’s hate you.” He added a little chuckle. He was telling the truth, but I couldn’t help but think that the Empson’s knew just exactly how I’d feel, and my sister knew just exactly how I’d feel. They all knew.