In this star-spangled, god fearing country the orange-clad are granted a final meal before they’re offed.
But that’s only if they’re lucky enough to have their feet chained to metal in one of the fifty states that’s got a budget to spare. In 2011 Lawrence Russell Brewer, a charming little white supremacist with eyes that look as though they have never blinked, ruined it for the rest of the lot in Texas. His lips, raw from nervous biting, requested a 3500 calorie send off meal, but when it came down it he decided he’d only try to swallow his pride. The chicken fried steaks lathered in gravy, the triple-bacon cheeseburger, the cheese, beef, tomatoes, onion, pepper omelet, the bowl of fried okra with ketchup, the pound of barbecued meat, the fajitas, the meat-lover’s pizzas, the pint of Blue Bell, the ice cream, that peanut-butter fudge with the peanuts in it, some root beers, and a loaf of bread (white, naturally) were left to hang in sterilized air, as Brewer received his lethal injection. “As far as any regrets, no I have no regrets. No I’d do it all over again, to tell you the truth,” Brewer said. If he was speaking of the murders, or the omelet toppings order — of this we cannot be sure. Texas doesn’t feed them anymore.
Serial Killer Ted Bundy asked for a steak, medium rare; eggs, over easy; toast, covered in butter and jelly; hash browns, browned, and a milk, coffee, and juice trifecta to wash it down. A balanced combination of flavors, textures and temperatures, but that didn’t get eaten either. John Wayne Gacy’s appetite left Menard Correctional center quite satisfied. He requested and ate a variety of items, including a dozen fried shrimp — a quantity that was nearly a third of the amount of men he had murdered. The bomber Timothy McVeigh had two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream melting down his arm before he died, and Bruno Kaputmann settled on chicken, French fries, cherries, cake and a few greens to balance it all out.
Florida is Spanish for “flowery land.” It’s got towns mapped out by white picket fences, and a sun so strong the fences glow. When James was in the third grade, he almost drowned in the Atlantic Ocean. Gulls circled sand-seasoned potato chips and beach umbrellas held steadfast in damp sand. Watery peaks glided over his head, in a manner so beautifully, concerned adults took a few moments before they were concerned. Strips of dark hair melted into blue until screams muffled by scuba gear melted into the beach soundtrack. James’ mother, the precious Lucy Nielson with poinsettias in her windowsill and bunions on her toes, ran toward the boy with outstretched arms. She hugged him tightly, forcing a salty flood from his mouth.
James murdered Lila Henrickson on the 4th of July. They were always speaking of her beauty and fragility, which made James think of his mother. For his last meal, he was to have a cherry pie with an array of nuts, just as his mother made on holidays. The toxin would run through his veins, with cherry smeared on his lips. There’d be cherry on his lips and he’d be home again in a green, American yard. Grass itching at his ankles, spinning round and round. George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” is playing in the background, and spinning round and round is forcing flies into his ears. One, two, three, four spins. Round and round and a voice in the distance getting louder and softer as his ears spin with his head. Round and round, cherry sticky fingers extended out into warm air, toes gripping soil to keep legs upright. Wind catching hair, making it light, and itchy, and cool. Singin’ “I really want to be with you. Really want to see you Lord, but it takes so long my Lord.” And church bells in the distance because its Sunday and his Sunday best would be hanging on the clothes line, ready for cherry tarnished finger tips to slide them onto a pudgy little body. And spinning and spinning and “my sweet Lord” and cherry pie and cherry pie and cherry pie.