Jailhouse Rock

The sharp broken scar on his face betrayed the soul of an artist.

Indeed, it has been several sentences when he last heard that called him. He hadn’t been that popular, his name had been appearing only in small campus papers and circulated journals, but that crowd that did know him packed the little bars he went to to rest their chins on the stage and listen to him play.

But that was a crime ago, and now he goes by different names now. The cell block never heard of him and he is known by two things: (1) his number, and (2) his offence. His nights are no longer booked by gigs, but by the cries of various men entering him. Gone also are the red carpet and the adoring fans, replaced by the jeers of inmates banging their fists on the bars when he passes by.

He has a tatoo now and he’s bald. He has learned to pass drugs through windows, beat up the newcomers, and play a different instrument, an instrument of fear and dread. Where he spits, no one dares walk.

But when lights go out and finally out and the last person to drip has cleaned up and started to snore, he lays on his side, his fingers rhythmically beating to the flicker of the lightbulb, the tap of the guards’s boots, and the gentle breathing of the man beside him.

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This is the 100 Songs Project, a 100-day writing challenge based on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs. Every day, I write a short poem, prose piece, or play based on, reacting to, rejecting, accepting, or doing something related to one of the songs in the top 100 list.

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