The Witness


© Jeanne E Webster  All Rights Reserved

The Witness



“It’s been a long time.”


“You haven’t changed much.”

“You neither.”

Moments faltered as stammered thoughts riddle through bygone days; eyes clung awkwardly like a skittish handshake.

“Ya wanna sit down?”

“Sure. Have you been here long?”

“Naw, ‘bout a year.” Hands fidget across the table, waiting for the right moment.

“I, er… I received your letter.” Compassion rendering his unsettled spirit, he gently muttered, “I’m sorry, Joe.”

Suddenly breathing came easier; hearts shifted back into normal sinus rhythm. “Thanks, man. I didn’t know if you’d come.”

“You knew I would. That’s why you wrote to me.”

“Yeah, I knows.” His fingers, stuffed in his pockets, fidgeted open and closed, open and closed, open and closed.


“I knows I have done sumpthin’ really, really bad, Frank. An’ I got’s ta pay fer it.” Clearing his throat he continued. “But that’s not why I asked ya ta come.”

Looking up with tearful eyes, he leaned closer to Frank, “I been doing lots ‘a thinking and …”

“…and I needs ya for my witness.”

“Witness for what, Joe?”

“. . . for when I meet my maker.”

The stagnant air became electrified by the hush. It wasn’t what Frank had expected to hear.