Vernell from BASEMENT

23 Sep

Vernell 1

Smitty stood at the top of the basement stairs, clutching the doorframe. He leaned into the darkness and yelled, “I ain’t coming down. I ain’t coming down. I ain’t coming down!”
A rough voice said, “You better get your ass down here. You call this food? Boiled potatoes, macaroni and milk? I’ll have me a lawyer down here you don’t get me some real food.”
“That’s all I have in the kitchen.”
“You heard of stores? Get your ass to the store and get me some food.”
“I don’t have any money.”
“Then come down here and get some from me. I’ll be damned if I got to eat your soggy-assed food. And turn on a motherfucking light. I want a light on twenty-four hours a day.”
“You’re awful demanding for a convict.”
“You got that right. I’m a convict. Don’t you forget it.”
Smitty flicked the light switch and timidly descended the stairs. Vernell Thomas, a young black man puffy around the eyes, stood holding onto the bars of his unit. Vernell was doing time for his third DUI in five months.
“Old man,” Vernell began, “In the Well, money talks. I got no problem with the system. Everybody’s got to get by. And I understand you temporarily being out of food, and that it won’t happen again. I understand.”
“Understand what?”
Vernell pointed at the plate of macaroni and potatoes. “Understand that you ain’t going to feed me shit like this.”

From my novel BASEMENT, available on Amazon

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