“When I was small, I thought I was going to be a dancer, because I’d seen all those girls at the building my father used to own. I loved listening to the jazz band play for them and I was always amazed by them.” She was talking to other women at the lunch hall as she lit up a cigarette. “I looked up at my father and asked him ‘Daddy, when I get older can work here like them?’ and I always was told that if I should fight for my dreams.” She inhaled and slowly exhaled a plume of smoke. “I would make it anywhere. Never did I think it would end me up here.”
Victoria was a skinny, frail dancer who had never got in trouble in her life, up until this point. She was a dancer at her fathers building, but by now her father was dead and Victoria’s husband of three years owned it now. They always, took walks and always seemed to be smiling whenever together, but Victoria started to notice that her husband wasn’t as inclined to talk at night or be seen outside. Afraid it was her own fault, she tried to ask him what was wrong. He always said that nothing was wrong and everything was all right. She didn’t always believe him when he said that, but she wasn’t going to argue with him.
Working late after a show she told her husband she would walk home with Garrett, who lived in the same building and was a good friend to the both of them. With no objections, Victoria’s husband left and she stayed behind to get together for tomorrow’s performance, which was to be a huge break for her. She and Garrett had many laughs and, after everything was set for her and her partner’s act, she turned off the lights and the two of them headed out.
It was in the middle of winter, the temperature was a high of ten degrees, the wind was blowing, and the sky was spitting snow. It was cold to be in heels, tights, and a light jacket, but it’s all she had. Their apartment building was less than a block from the theatre so they weren’t outside for long. Garrett lived on the floor above them and so she was the first to enter the building. Parting ways, she dug around her handbag for her key, knowing very well her husband would be asleep at this point. Opening the door she noticed that the lights were on. “He left a light on how sweet,” she quietly whispered to herself. She set her keys on the side table, removed her jacket and tiptoed to the back room where the door was closed. Opening the door she entered the dark room where she grabbed her pajamas and left for the bathroom. Taking off her second face with soap and water, she brushed her teeth and hair before returning to the room. Entering the room once again she went and turned on the side table light. There lay next to her husband in bed was her dance partner. Being caught off guard, her husband woke up and tried to explain himself, but she wouldn’t have it. Storming out of the room she went over to her husbands study and grabbed the .9 mm handgun from the right hand drawer of his desk and walked backed into the room.
Her hands were shaking from rage and without a second thought, she fired off two shots, hitting both of her targets on the first try. Within a few minutes, it seemed, the police were in her place and she was in handcuffs. She was in shock by what she had done and couldn’t even speak to the police about it. Hauled out in the cold, snowy night she was taken to the Crook County Jail, a maximum security facility for women.
She was placed in a small room with other women. A few of them were smoking cigarettes, and had bad hygiene. The warden come in, a strong, beefy woman who didn’t give a crap about any one of their problems. She was there to watch them, not to listen to their pitiful stories. She was just over five feet, but she could scare anything that stepped into her path. She walked into the room, introduced herself as Madam Surrie, she told them where they were and then let them be brought to their lovely new homes for the next few months, if not years.
As one of the female officers escorted Victoria to her cell, she couldn’t help notice all the other women who were just smoking in the cells and hanging out in what looked like either their undergarments or the standard uniform grey jump suit and work boots, for the jail. Victoria clung onto the only things they gave her: a blanket, a change of clothing and a pillow. Finally, arriving at the cell she was pushed in the cell and the officer shut the iron barred doors.
Scared out of her wits, she spent the entire night in tears, praying to God to set her free, apologizing for what she has done. When morning approached she was released and escorted to the mess hall, where she was given minimal food rations of water, bread, and some sort of liquid corn. Unable to process anything, she doesn’t eat much of her food, only leaving it there on the metal, beat up tray. She noticed how the other women just eat it up and can stomach it. It made Victoria sick to her stomach. But it’s the same routine everyday.
Victoria was given a lawyer to defend her in her case, but she wasn’t hopeful for her outcome. She’s been there for a few months and has seen many women walk in and out of the building, some not returning. As she and her lawyer went over the case and testimony, she was directed to look innocent and say as little as possible. While in the visiting cell, Victoria noticed a familiar man talking to one of the woman in her wing. It was at that point she realized who it was. That was Frank Ricardo the man she had an affair with years ago at the beginning of her marriage when her late husband was always working and she spent the nights alone. She stiffened up. When he looked over at her, all he did was give her a slight double take and when he realized who it was, he winked and continued to pay attention to his wife, who was a woman Victoria was becoming good friends with.
After Victoria’s lawyer was gone, she sat there waiting for Frank to be done. When he was, he walked past her, but she caught him to talk with him.
“Does she know? Did you ever tell her about what we had done?” she whispered.
“Of course not babe, but if you talk with me anymore, she may get suspicious.”
With that he tipped his hat and walked away. That entire night she sat up feeling guilty for the affair because it meant that she had gotten away with it and her husband was shot to death for it. It wasn’t right and she felt bad for what she had done.
The trial didn’t take long. It was a double homicide and there were considerable amounts of evidence stacked up against her. She was sure to get the death penalty. But aside from that, she couldn’t get Frank out of her head. She felt so guilty that she had gotten away with an affair with this man. It was eating up inside her, but before anymore thoughts ran through her head she heard, “GUILTY!” She was to be hung several days later.
Wearing the nicest dress to look the part of an innocent woman, she was to be walked up to the platform she stopped at the cell of the woman whose husband she had slept with and all she said was simply, “Sorry,” and continued to talk. Outside the swinging rope glided back and forth in the cold winter wind. Tears started to leave her eyes and run down her cheeks, and every exhale brought white smoke out of her mouth and into the air. Walking those wooden stairs up she gazed up at the sky to pray to God to be with her, and with that the smallest ray of sun broke through and warmed her face and highlighted her wet cheeks, but as soon as it was there it was gone.
Her bottom lip and chin began to quiver and her knees went weak leaving her above the ground.