Charles Erwin Jakobs looked no different than any other healthy forty-year old. He was in excellent physical condition because he exercised religiously. The thing that set him apart from others was the shackles and the blood red jumpsuit he wore. This was the color issued to death row inmates in Kentucky.
He had already faced two counts of first degree murder and had been quickly convicted. He never denied his guilt. He believed wholeheartedly that a man must accept the consequences of his actions no matter how harsh. If they planned on killing him then he would die and they wouldn’t get a “sorry” or “please no!” He was a man and he would act like it.
His argument for the murders he was already convicted of was precisely the same as the murder he was set to stand trial for later that morning. He adamantly argued that he had the right, both morally and ethically, to kill his wife, her lover, and the bastard son he had been conned into believing was his for the last ten years.
She had taken a vow, till death do us part and Jakobs had every intention of making her keep that vow. Her lover was a home wrecker and a thief; he was a thief for having Jakobs raising his kid. The kid was the most innocent, but he was just as guilty as the two adults and worse of all he was an abomination born out of wedlock. He was the result of a cruel deception and he was punished just the same.
It didn’t pain Jakobs to kill the boy he had called son for a full decade. He had always suspected that something was not right with the boy. The boy was weak, soft minded, and gave out half way through a hard day’s work. This in itself was enough to make Jakobs suspicious. He’d yell, “Ain’t no boy of mine a weakling and a sissy!” Then he would double his efforts at whipping the boy into shape.
One day he decided he was going to try yet again to teach the boy to drive. The last five attempts ended with the boy beaten down so thoroughly, that he lost even the strength to cry.
“Now boy, I was doin’ this at seven years old, now you’re going to learn to drive this here truck or I’m gonna tie you down and run over your worthless fucking head with it!” He bellowed at the cowering boy. “You understand me?” Just to make sure he had gotten his point across he slapped the boy’s ear open handed, which resulted in severe disorientation accompanied by a loud ringing sound.
The boy tried as hard as he could, but he just couldn’t get the hang of the old truck’s gear shift. It was a 1970 Chevy C10 with a manual transmission, with the shifter on the column. “Three on the tree,” His father had called it.
That day, something odd occurred to Jakobs. “Is this even my boy?” he asked the rusted out truck. Jakobs was old fashioned, but he was not stupid. He thought that every now and again all families got a weak one but even they can be beaten into shape. The more he thought, the more he became convinced that this boy could not possibly be the product of his loins.
That day, he drove into town and stormed into the local doctor’s office, “the doctor, who had delivered my prized idiot!” He would tell people. He had a fierceness that even men bigger than him would veer away from. The receptionist nearly feinted as he stormed in, slamming the door open so hard it sounded like a shotgun blast.
She gathered her composure as best she could and attempted to protest his unwanted entry. He was making for the rear of the office where the doctor was examining a patient. He silenced her with his glare and she wanted to cry. She thought for sure this man had gone mad and was going to pull out a gun at any moment.
Jakobs burst through the door to the examining room dragging his mentally broken protégé. The boy was not embarrassed; he did not notice or acknowledge that his father was acting in any way other than what was normal. He had no friends to judge by, just as his mother. He was taught that only adult men have friends and children are meant to be seen and not heard. Women just didn’t matter.
The boy knew one thing that his father didn’t; his mother did in fact have a friend. She would slip off during the day and visit with him in the woods while his father was working down the mountain. Yes, his mother had a friend. He had followed her and saw the two of them going at it like wild animals right on the ground. He watched with fascinated curiosity; he had never known his mom to act in such a way. She never spoke unless asked a direct question, but with this other man she spoke constantly without pause it seemed.
He dared not tell his father for fear that he would be beaten for neglecting his work in order to follow his mother. He kept that to himself and wondered if there would ever come a time when his father would not be around. He wanted to meet this other man, the one who made his mother come to life.
When Jakobs jerked open the examining room door he nearly flattened the elderly gentleman who was exiting. The doctor, seeing the anger in his eyes, quickly turned on the charm in an attempt to cool Jakobs’ temper.
“Mr. Jakobs, what can I do for you?” he asked as politely as he could.
Jakobs’ jerked the boy by the collar and shoved him out the door, slamming it behind him.
“You can cut it with the niceties, doc. I am here on business.” He walked closer to the doctor, causing him to jump just a little.
The doctor was a plump older man, very friendly, and very well liked in this small town. Right now his cheeks had gone from their normally rosy hue to a more desperate white. He was frightened of this man; he had never felt the brunt of Jakobs’ stare but now that it was upon him, it was worse than he had ever thought possible. He was trembling and the sweat began to pour from him in torrents.
Jakobs, realizing the doctor’s fear, grinned. This grin unnerved the poor man further. “Listen doc, something occurred to me today and I need you to do a test on me and my boy.” He sneered as the “my boy” slipped off his tongue. The more Jakobs thought about it, the more he became convinced that he had no children.
“Well, what’s the matter?” stammered the terrified man. “Maybe I should examine you both. Are there symptoms you’re both having?”
“Oh no, doc, see that in itself is the problem. We don’t have the same symptoms. It appears we don’t have anything in common at all. That’s what the test is for.” answered Jakobs, with a menacing look.
“What test would you want me to do?” asked the doctor.
“I would like for you to do a DNA test. I want to know if that shit for brains is really my son.” He stared coldly into the older man’s eyes, silently daring him to argue. He already knew what the results would be but he had to have definitive proof.
“Yes, ok. I will order the kit and have it here in two weeks.” blurted the doctor. He continued “but the results may take four to six weeks to get back.”
“Listen to me, damnit!” He growled. “I ain’t waitin’ no fucking two months.” Jakobs was seconds from strangling the life out of the man.
Then a calming thought came over him. He mumbled aloud. “When I know, really know, I will find out what it’s like not to quit squeezing her throat at the last minute.”
Jakobs smiled a real smile and the doctor did not know what to say or do. He was fighting the urge to piss himself. “Doc, I will be here in two weeks to take the test. You better have it here and be ready.” He continued to smile as he walked out.
“One word of this to your mother and I will beat you for so long the leather of my belt will cry for mercy.” The boy shrank away upon hearing these words.
He took the boy back and they took the test. He was polite to the doctor and acted as if everything were fine. The doctor didn’t know what to make of it. He knew that if the test results were to prove that he was not the father, then someone was going to die. He was afraid to call the police fearing that he would become a target. In the back of his mind he knew that if his wife whored around on him, she would deserve whatever she got. He did nothing.
Jakobs spent the next few weeks beating his wife with more regularity than normal; this actually gave the boy a break of sorts. The boy could hear his mother as she was raped while being strangled, he could hear her gasp for air, hear the pain in her groans.
He would sit and wonder what would happen if one of those times, the air didn’t come. He loved his mother, but he didn’t think of her as a mother. She was merely a silent cell mate. Almost like an older sister in comparison to his father. She was only sixteen when he was born and his father had been thirty.
One day the boy was chopping wood, “Like a faggot” his father had told him, slapping him in the back of the head making him fall over a log.
“Let’s go,” the boy complied, he always did. Trying to avoid incurring the wrath which somehow always came, no matter how hard he tried.
They drove to the doctor’s office. He made the boy stay in the truck. He walked inside, politely nodding to the receptionist and to her surprise actually took a seat.
About five minutes later an elderly woman exited and the doctor beckoned for Jakobs to come back. Once inside, the doctor couldn’t conceal the grim look of foreboding on his face. He pulled a sealed manila envelope from a drawer.
“I have not opened this nor do I care to see the results of it. This is your private information, no one knows what is in here except for a lab tech in another state who tests hundreds of these weekly,” offered the doctor.
“Calm down, doc, I ain’t going to hold you accountable for what’s in here, unless you have something else to tell me.” Jakobs grinned with that old menacing glare that had so thoroughly frightened the doctor on his first visit.
“No sir, I sure don’t,” quickly blurted the doctor understanding what was being implied.
Jakobs opened the envelope and slowly pulled out the results. He scanned the sheet and quickly found what he had been searching for. NEGATIVE MATCH in harsh black letters jumped off the page at him.
He sat there a moment, silently thinking, when the doctor asked, “Everything alright, Mr. Jakobs?”
“Oh, yeah. Everything is perfect. Just what I expected. Thanks again.” Jakobs said as he strolled from the office.
That night was the strangest the boy ever knew. His father seemed down right nice. Of course, his idea of being nice was simply to not be screaming at or hitting anyone. Supper was silent; not even Jakobs spoke. He just sat there eating with a grin on his face the entire time.
Later that night the boy could hear his father starting with his mother as he usually did. This time was different. He actually heard them talking. He couldn’t quite make out what they were saying.
“We’ve been together eleven years now,” Jakobs pondered aloud to his young wife. “I am a bit older than you, ya know?”
She had never heard him speak of such things or in such a manner. Since day one, she knew she was nothing more than his property. She remained silent.
He continued, “When I die will you remarry?”
She couldn’t remember the time he had asked her anything other than a simple yes or no question. She was shocked to have been asked something so important and did not answer right away. She began to pray in the back of her mind that he was dying, cancer, emphysema, anything, she didn’t care. After a moment she answered, “No, I don’t think so.”
Her head was spinning, she felt as if she were lying on a raft in turbulent seas. She was sure that this was some insane dream gone awry. Her husband did not say such things or ask such questions. She almost longed for the rape to begin so they could get it over with, so she could escape to her real dreams.
When she began to think he was no longer going to talk, he asked, “You sure you wouldn’t want to marry the boy’s father?”
She tried to get up but his hands were on her throat before she even got her feet off the bed. She shook her head at him, horrified, knowing that her time on this earth was nearly finished. He strangled her till her eyes began to roll back in her head then he let go. He was well practiced at this from years of torturing her.
She gasped and choked and he even offered her a glass of water to help ease the pain. “Who is he, that’s all I want to know. Give me his name and this will all be over.” demanded Jakobs.
“It was a long time ago, it was a mistake,” she croaked with her bruised vocal chords.
Jakobs grabbed at her throat and she tried to ball herself up tight, to defend herself against him to no avail. He punched her in the side, making her attempt at oxygen even harder. She was on the verge of unconsciousness when he gently started rubbing her side where he had struck her. “I’m sorry, I was only trying to see if your throat was okay.” he lied.
“Jonathan Myers, he moved away several years ago.” she finally answered.
Jakobs smiled, for he knew this man and he also knew that he had moved, but not very far. He would be very easy to find and deal with.
“DO you have anything you want to say before we begin?”
When he looked her in the eyes, she knew that he really was going to kill her.
She fought and she fought like a woman possessed, but she could not free herself from his sadistic grasp. He raped her time and again in every deviant manner he could conceive.
“This is the last time,” he whispered in her ear, “and when I am done with you I am going to kill your son and then I am going to kill your lover.”
She was broken, there was no fight left.
The boy had lain and listened for hours, not understanding what was happening. He knew adults had sex, but he didn’t know the deviant nature and the suffering his mother endured. Not entirely.
He heard the gasping and groaning and as always he waited to hear her catch her breath. This was always the sign that it was over and he could sleep. He listened and he understood at the last second this was not the same. This time she did not regain her breath. The air escaped his mother’s corpse just as his father finished with his carnal and murderous desires.
He was crying and did not hear his father creep into the room where he lay. The light frightened him as it came on, but the sight of his father was far worse. He seemed alien to him.
“I see you heard,” as he sat down at the foot of the boy’s bed. “Your whore momma is dead, and good riddance.”
The boy was in shock and at a loss for what to do. He stared blankly at the side of his father’s sweat-soaked head.
“I found out today why you can’t ever get anything right. It ain’t your fault. You’re an abomination, ya see. Your mother was married to me and fucked some other man. She whored around like a damned prostitute and got pregnant with you. So you’re not my son. I am so glad about that. That is the one good thing to come from this, I suppose. I reckon there ain’t but one humane thing I can do for you, boy.” He rose from the foot of the bed, cracked his knuckles and went for the boy.
Jakobs left the house an hour later and drove on to find Johnny Myers. He lit candles all over the house so they would burn down and ignite papers and things he had placed at the bases of the holders. He needed a little time to get to his third victim in the next county.
Jakobs arrived at the local diner where everyone in the area stopped to get the paper and a cup of coffee in the morning. He waited. At five in the morning, Jonathan Myers entered the cafe. Jakobs saw him. He left his booth, and walked over to meet him at the counter.
“Jonathan Myers?” he asked innocently.
“Yeah, that’s me.” He recognized this man but wasn’t sure from where. “I’m sorry, I forgot your name.”
Jakobs pulled a sheet of folded paper from his pocket and handed it to him. Jonathan began to unfold it, thinking this was a weird encounter at such an hour. Others had gained interest in this exchange and were watching.
Just as Jonathan was getting the paper unfolded, Jakobs said, “You should never forget the face of the guy whose wife you’re fucking.” He said it so calmly that several people watching almost thought it was a joke done in poor taste.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about and what is this you gave me?” replied Jonathan, visibly irritated.
“That is the result from the DNA test I had done on my son. He is not mine. So unless she was fucking more people than just me and you, he is your son.” He paused, and then added cryptically, “Was anyway.”
Jonathan was hit hard by this information. He knew precisely who he was talking about but he was going to play dumb. Being shown the evidence was a big blow and what had he said? “Was?”
“What do you mean was,” demanded Jonathan.
“Well I fucked the female to death, and then I strangled the bastard son until he quick kicking. And by now the entire place is probably nothing more than ashes.” He grinned and looked around at all the eager nosey faces, then added, “That’s what the fuck I mean by was!”
Just then, with twelve sets of eyes glued to him, Jakobs produced a 12″ bowie knife seemingly by magic and stuck it all the way to the hilt under Jonathans chin. He grabbed at it, only aware for half a second, and then fell dead.
Jakobs unceremoniously strolled out of the diner and casually walked to his truck. No one tried to stop him. A few watched out the window to see what he was driving but that was as far as they went. He was picked up thirty minutes later, driving aimlessly and with no destination. He was just relaxing; thrilled at the thought that he had not created an idiot.
As he sat waiting to be transported to his trial he began to think of his father. “Pop,” as Jakobs had called his father, was the hardest man he had ever known. He was grateful for this. His father had taught him well.
Jakobs’ father believed that if you spared the rod in your household, that your wife and children would be spoiled. He applied this belief generously to both of them.
“Boy you have to be tough!” his father would bellow.
“I ain’t gonna stop beating you with this belt until it stops making you cry!”
Eventually after countless beatings he did stop crying. The beatings had continued just as often as before; some days there were even more.
One day for no apparent reason his father stormed in and kicked Jakobs hard in the butt, causing him to fall head long into the wood stove. He gashed his head from the impact and burnt his hand pushing away protecting his face.
Jakobs silently unbuckled his belt as he rose from the floor with his back turned to his father. He heard his father do the same. He heard the old man swing his belt and he allowed the blow to hit where his father intended. In that second Jakobs decided he would never be beaten again.
As he heard his father swing his belt again, Jakobs side stepped and in one fluid motion he yanked his belt free from his pants and swung hard at his father’s head.
They each stood staring one another down. Jakobs saw blood begin to bead across the steadily growing whelp on his father’s face. Jakobs remembered clearly, there was no fear left in him. He was ready to die at that moment. No matter what happened, this was going to be the last time he was going to be hit.
His father was the first to move, he snaked his belt back through the loops that housed it when it was not being used as an instrument of torture.
“Well son, you’re a man now. My job is done.” his father said calmly.
Jakobs just stood there a moment and he to, returned his belt to his pants. He was stunned by his father’s words.
“This is a cruel world son; people will take from you whatever they can. You have to always be on your guard and when you have a son remember how I taught you.” The old man reached in his pocket and produced two ancient looking one hundred dollar bills and handed them to Jakobs. “I put this in my pocket the day you were born, just as my father did for me and his father for him. Take it, it is yours. Eat some supper, pack your things and get out. There ain’t no more I can teach ya son.”
There had been no emotion in his father’s voice but the pride in his eyes was unmistakable. This memory of his father brought a grin to Jakobs’ face.
That was that, he left that night and never saw his father or mother again. Just as he was walking out the door he recalled seeing his mother with tears in her eyes. He didn’t need to cry, he was a man. She was nothing to him after all, just a beast of burden. She was no different than the mules his father kept. He just walked out the door with not a single look back, not even a good bye.
Jakobs was pulled from his thoughts by the clank of a steel door further down the hall. They were on the way to get him. He woke at four that morning and ate breakfast. At five they moved him to a cell near the rear of the prison where there was a contained area for loading and unloading prisoners. It was now six and they were moving him again. Jakobs thought everyone working at the prison was thieves who couldn’t stand to work a real job, so they sucked off the teat of the taxpayers.
He also thought they were all idiots, his trial didn’t start until ten that morning, but they have him getting up at four. He wondered if it were some sort of conspiracy put in place to make sure offenders weren’t clear headed when they faced the judge. He was sure that was the reason.
He wasn’t surprised when they took him out into the cold air of the loading bay a full two hours before his transport was scheduled to leave. The guard, “the biggest asshole in the prison, and that’s including the fags!” Jakobs had informed him after he shoved Jakobs hard into the back of an unmarked police cruiser. His shackles were too tight and he was horribly uncomfortable. He supposed this was intentional. The guard had cranked the car and turned the heat on high. Within 20 minutes Jakobs was sitting in a makeshift sauna. His jumpsuit was sticking to him, sweat issued from every pore.
“Well asshole have all the fun ya want at my expense. It ain’t bothering me none.” Jakobs said out loud to the stifling air of the cruiser.
The radio was on he noticed. The volume was down real low but he was sure if he concentrated and relaxed he could hear it. He would distract himself listening to the music until he could get accustomed to the heat.
His plan worked after a while the heat wasn’t such a bother. He felt it intensify as the sun came out and lit up the black top around the cruiser. It was still tolerable. He found he could easily make out the songs. He only had a problem understanding when the disk jockey was speaking.
Once he could have sworn he heard the disk jockey say something about an outbreak. He just assumed it was a movie promotion or something of that sort. He just waited for more music. He noticed that the station had more talking than music now so he just tuned it out and dozed. He was looking forward to getting on the road and getting this trial behind him. He was guilty he had killed Jonathan Myers. He was going to make sure that the judge, the Myers family, God, and everyone else knew that if he had the chance he would kill him all over again. Scum like that just doesn’t deserve to live.
He was not a religious man, but a contract is a contract. That man had destroyed the contract Jakobs held with his wife. He knew in the old days there wouldn’t have been any questions, as it should be.
It was seven forty when he looked at the cruiser’s clock. He closed his eyes and waited to hear the door open which meant it was time. He dozed off again and when he woke he had a strange feeling. It seemed much later, the sun had moved to far. The clock read nine thirty.
“What the hell?” He shook his head in disbelief. “Where is the asshole who is supposed to be taking me?” he yelled out. No one heard him.
It had grown considerably hotter than it had been when he fell asleep. His jumpsuit was completely drenched. Even his trick for dealing with the heat was little help to him.
“If we ain’t going, take me back to my fucking cell!” Jakobs was furious.
He tried to ignore the clock which seemed to only mock him. The more he looked the slower it seemed to count the minutes. “Some asshole is getting fired over this stupid shit!” he cursed.
By eleven he was really getting worried. He couldn’t understand where everyone had gone. The prison he was in housed thousands of inmates and there were people coming in and out all hours of the day and night.
He knew from previous court appearances that a majority of the employees entered through the gate only forty feet from where he sat cooking.
By noon he was nearly delirious, he had been in this heat for six hours. It had been hot in the beginning, but the temperature had risen as the sun had climbed higher in the sky. Now he found it harder to breathe, but he knew it would get worse as the afternoon progressed. All the while the car continued to blast heat into his claustrophobic confines.
There was no relief; all he could do was wait. He knew the human body is sixty-five percent water and he didn’t know how much more he could sweat out before he succumbed to heat stroke. He had already begun cramping. The spasms would begin in his legs and work their way up causing him to convulse. At this moment he would have welcomed ten beatings for a minute outside of this furnace.
He thought of the foolish idea he had that morning not to drink his juice or coffee and the choice to skip the cereal with milk knowing that they would make you sit for hours without using a restroom, just to be assholes. He would kill for a drink of anything.
He passed out after a series of spasms in his legs. While he was asleep the weather had changed, clouds covered the sky easing the temperature only slightly. Any decrease was a blessing. It had begun snowing around three and the wind began to gust, cooling the interior of the car considerably.
He remained unconscious for nearly four hours. He was awoken by the slamming of a large steel door. He snapped his head looking to see who had made the noise. It was the guard who had placed him in the car ten hours earlier.
Jakobs began slamming his shoulder into the door of the cruiser, yelling as loud as his parched throat would allow. “Hey you fucking asshole! I am dying in here, let me the fuck out!”
The guard heard him and took a few steps towards the cruiser; Jakobs could feel the cool air that would greet him when this asshole opened the door and realized they had majorly screwed up.
The guard came within ten feet of the car and stopped. “Open the fucking door you stupid son of a bitch!” Jakobs demanded.
The guard grinned and it was then Jakobs noticed something wasn’t right about the man. He appeared withered, and for a second Jakobs began to think it wasn’t the guard who had put him in this pressure cooker after all. After closer inspection Jakobs was a bit shaken to realize it was.
“Rot you fucking murderer!” The guard yelled at Jakobs and then stumbled a few steps backwards. His face was sickly white and his eyes had faded somehow. Jakobs could see there was something all down the front of his shirt.
“Jesus, what the hell is wrong with you man?” Jakobs yelled through the glass. The man didn’t answer he just started back on his original path. He stumbled every few steps, seemingly oblivious to Jakobs pleas to be set free.
Jakobs knew he wouldn’t make it through another day like this in this car. He wasn’t sure how much gas was in the tank. He knew if it ran out then he would be at the mercy of the cold. Cold wasn’t something he could even imagine at that moment.
He yelled and beat on the door with whatever part of him would reach it and still the guard stumbled on. Jakobs was actually scared, not like when he was a boy, this was something he was unfamiliar with. His mortality had never been in such jeopardy.
The guard punched in a security code and went through a gate that led to the employee parking lot. Jakobs watched as the man struggled up the slight incline. “How could they do this, and just what in the fuck is going on?” He demanded from no one.
He watched the guard, with every step his struggle intensified just to stay on his feet. When he was nearly out of sight the guard doubled over and began to vomit furiously. He was holding a low railing which paralleled the incline that led out of the prison loading bay.
Jakobs realized then that the strange stain on the man’s uniform was the same as he was purging. It had an odd color to it, almost green. It made Jakobs feel nauseas watching, but he kept his eyes on the man.
After ten minutes of alternately vomiting and dry heaving the man righted himself. He took two steps then lost consciousness. He fell backwards with no attempt to catch himself and when his head hit the asphalt Jakobs could hear the thud, even at almost a hundred yards.
Jakobs knew that if someone didn’t come along this man was a goner. “This dumbass may have gotten me help after all.” He exclaimed excitedly. “Come on you assholes, I know you’re in there watching the cameras, one of your own just fucked himself up! Come out and help him!” He waited anxiously. No one came.
He was still cramping, but the spasms had subsided considerably and the outside temperature had made the cruiser more tolerable than it had been in almost ten hours.
Jakobs sat and watched as the crimson tide flowed from the man’s skull through the fresh snow. “You rot you fucking asshole!” Jakobs smirked.
Jakobs ran a thousand scenarios through his head attempting to figure out what was going on here. Each idea was less likely than the one before it. For a moment he had convinced himself that they were just playing some crazy joke and getting their kicks out of watching him suffer.
The two best scenarios he could come up with he didn’t think were probable much less possible. “It can’t be a riot, there are no sirens. Besides in a riot this place would be crawling with police and swat teams.” He thought a moment.
“An outbreak, Isn’t that what the DJ said this morning on the radio?” he asked himself. “Now you’re just being stupid. It must be a riot, that guard was probably sick from pepper spray.” Then he came back to his earlier conclusion, “no sirens.”
He got into the most comfortable position his chains would afford and strained to hear the radio. He heard shouting and hysterical chatter. He had to listen a while before he realized it was multiple people. There was one constant voice; this belonged to the disk jockey. The other voices he was hearing were listeners calling in giving their own information per the DJ’s request.
He listened raptly for hours; he could understand almost every word. He was amazed at what he heard and was quietly relieved. “Cooking in this car all day probably saved your life old buddy.” he told himself.
With a rapturous grin on his face Jakobs fell asleep. Despite the cramped car, the heat, his aching muscles, and his shackles he had the best night’s sleep of his life.