“Swing low sweet chariot”
“Shut up, shut the hell up!”
“Coming for to carry me home…”
“Shut up! Warden make him stop”
“All right Bill, that’s enough.”
Yes sir just another day here on Death Row. This happens every night, old Wild Bill singing “Swing Low” to poor old Carl. My name is Ray; I’ve been sitting on Death Row for ages. I’ve seen a lot of guys come and go. Take poor old Carl over there for example; he is scheduled for eight tomorrow morning. Seems he got good and drunk one night, he came home and beat his son to death for spilling his milk.
Yes sir, these here walls echo the stories of the men who stayed here. The most interesting of these cells is the one currently occupied by Wild Bill Chessmen. That cell is known as the Devil’s Waiting Room. It has housed some of the worst men to ever to sit on Death Row.
Well, we have time before old Carl fries. So sit back and I’ll tell you a bit about Wild Bill there. They say that he’s done it all, from jaywalking to murder. When he was a kid growing up in Alabama, he got into some pretty nasty fights. That didn’t change much as he got older. I hear he got into many a bar fight. Once he slammed a guy so hard into a wall he cracked his head open. He was arrested so many times that he was on a first-name basis with every cop in the great state of Alabama.
He dropped out of high school when he was seventeen years old. Two years later he was arrested for killing a young girl, he got off. He celebrated by robbing a bank and killing two guards. This time the charges stuck, he was given a life sentence. That didn’t mean much to Billy. He and another inmate killed a female guard. During the trial for this offense, he escaped. The cops couldn’t find him; it was as if he vanished into thin air.
A year later Bill and two other fellows, Frank and John Wesson, walked into a diner and shot everyone in sight. When the manager asked them to just take the money, they blew away the cash register with a double barreled shot gun. They took a waitress hostage and got out of there like a bat out of hell. They were halfway to the Mexican border before the cops caught up with them. While the Wesson brothers were trying to get it on with waitress in the back seat, she kicked Bill in the head. He lost control of the car and hit a pole. Wild Bill had no intention of going quietly, took ten cops to pin him down.
During his trial, evidence came to light that connected him to four bank robberies, six murders, and at least sixteen counts of assault. This time there was no problem getting him the chair. So there he sits in the Devil’s Waiting Room awaiting his appointment with Satan.
Well it looks like it’s time for Carl to fry.
“Oh Jesus no, please no!”
“Relax, Carl your about to see your son again.”
“Shut the hell up!”
Well, the doors have shut; soon the lights will start flickering. Yep, there they go like clockwork. It will be Wild Bills turn soon. I guess by now you’re wondering what I did to get here. Well, we got some time, so I’ll tell you. I’m from Alabama just like Billy over there. I started out as a farmer. I had a wife and two boys: Alex age eleven and Nathan aged sixteen. My troubles started when our bank failed; we lost most of our savings. I decided to move our family to Florida. We did the best we could with what we had. I held down two jobs- one at a garage and a another as a waiter. Then one day we got a call from the cops. Nathan was arrested for dealing drugs. My wife, Helen, fell to her knees crying.
We paid the bail and brought him home. That night Helen and I got into a fight. She blamed me for Nathan because I brought them to such a hellish place. I slapped her in the face and she fell to the ground her nose bleeding. I went out and had a few drinks. I came home to find Nathan gone and Helen packing, she was leaving. I went insane and beat her to death.
So there I was on Death Row. I wasn’t about to die like a criminal. One night I smashed my mirror and slit my wrist with a piece of glass. Since that day my poor soul has been trapped in this damn cell with no hope of escape. So I just sit here and watch people like Carl and Wild Bill being sent to their death.
Speaking of which, it’s about time for Billy to fry.
“Come and get me you pigs!”
“Well I’ve never seen a man so ready to die. I was looking forward to watching you beg like all the others.”
“Sorry to disappoint you warden, I guess you’re not scary enough. My victims all begged I can promise you that. What’s that? You’re going to cuff me are you serious?”
“Rules of the house, Billy, rules of the house.”
Yes just another day on Death Row, there goes Billy. Soon the lights will flicker all I can do is watch, that’s all I’ll ever get to do…