Jasmine sat in the chair in the counselor’s office, pressing buttons on her cellphone. “He’s gettin’ executed today.”

“Really? I would have thought it was going to take a bit longer, you know, with all the stays and appeals,” Ms. Freeman said.

“Naww,” Jasmine said, unperturbed. “This is it. Six o’clock this evening.”

“That’s sad.”

“Yeah. I heard he wants a cheeseburger and fries for his last meal.”

“Okay.”

“And a bowl of butter pecan ice cream. He used to like that a lot.” Jasmine glanced at the counselor’s black shoes. They were small on her feet and clean. Every time Jasmine saw Ms. Freeman, she had on those same clean, dainty black shoes. Ms. Freeman sat a few feet away on the outside of her desk; her round, pleasant face oozed with empathy and curiosity.

“How do you feel about it?”

Jasmine shrugged her shoulders. “Nothin’, I guess.” Her fingers worked across the cellphone with slow purpose.

“Well, you have to feel something … he is your brother.” Ms. Freeman couldn’t discern if Jasmine was scrolling through Facebook on her phone or just looking for something to divert her consumed mind. She thought to ask her to put the phone away but decided otherwise.

“Mama said I had another brother that died when he was two days old. Mike gonna be buried next to him.”

“I see. Are you worried for his soul?”

“No more than I am for my own.”

“But you didn’t murder two people.”

“I could’ve stopped him.” Jasmine glanced at Ms. Freeman’s poised hands crossed on her lap. She looked away and stared at a picture of Ms. Freeman and a man. She wondered if Ms. Freeman was married but really didn’t care.

“You were just a child then. What could you have done? I’m sure you felt paralyzed when you saw him raging in the house.”

“I felt like, like the sky opened up and a big dog jumped out of it. Are you worried about your own soul, since you askin’?”

“I do but not like that. I haven’t killed anyone.” Ms. Freeman’s round, pleasant face was nearly pinched with smugness.

“Lucky you. You know, God kills and orders hits every day… He orderin’ them now to kill my brother.”

“No. Mike brought death on his own head. He didn’t have to kill his girlfriend and her lover. He could’ve let it go.”

“How do you know that? Maybe God told him to do it.”

“I know you don’t really believe that. God would never tell us to kill anyone.”

Jasmine’s fingers paused momentarily over her phone. She eyed Ms. Freeman with incredulity. “I guess it was the devil, then.” She returned her gaze to her phone. “Hmmph. My brother sent two bad dogs to heaven. They couldn’t’ve gotten there without him.”

 

Alifah Omar

Alifah Omar has been writing since a very young age. She has poetry and prose published in Z-composition, The Fable Online and will be featured in Plainsongs’s July 2019 edition.

 

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