Ethan had howled himself hoarse. In the first thirty minutes of his imprisonment he had exhausted his entire repertoire of obscenities, with the choicer examples being used repeatedly like staccato blasts from an automatic weapon. That bitch whore Eleanor was going to die, she could count on that, and when she drew her last noxious breath, Ethan would be there pissing the paint off of her skanky face!
The furious teen had used his lighter to explore his cell. The walls, floor, and ceiling appeared to be solid steel. Ethan could see a tiny crack where the back doors came together in an extremely tight fit, and the opposite wall, which stood only about four feet from the doors, had a matching fissure that indicated that it probably opened to the remainder of the trailer. A small vent in the ceiling was providing a stream of fresh air. Ethan stood beneath the vent and reflected stoically that at least they weren’t going to kill him – yet. And then he wailed again, a scream intended to shatter the bolts on the gates of hell.
Ethan had beaten and kicked the steel walls of the cell until pain and fatigue numbed his rage. He collapsed into a pile on the floor and cried. He cried from frustration, he cried from fear, but most of all he cried from the realization that he had been outsmarted by her, that in one sudden and unexpected pounce she had won whatever game it was that they had been playing for all of these years. Stalemate to checkmate in less time than it would take to roll a doobie. Shit, he thought, she even got that! Oh, the bitch would die, all right! It would be a wonderfully slow death with snakes, and fire, and open wounds packed with the stinking feces of rabid, wormy dogs!
Ethan emptied his pockets. If he had a dime he might be able to wedge it into the crack between the door panels and then…and then what? He didn’t have a dime, anyway. His net worth right at the moment consisted of two nickels, four quarters, a sinus tablet, a couple of sticky, lint-covered mints, one twenty dollar bill, two condoms, a cigarette lighter that was nearly empty, and two cigarettes.
The realization of his imminent tobacco crisis seemed to drain away the captive’s spirit. Ethan peeled off his shirt, rolled it into a makeshift pillow, and lit the first cigarette. He stretched out on his back and watched the glowing orange tip reflect itself on the walls and ceiling of his steel tomb, a fiery sprite dancing across a dark and lonely landscape, a meandering muse being drawn into the metallic void. Ethan cried again, and then he slept.
* * *
The jolting of the truck as it started to move woke Ethan from a dreamless sleep. He was still in total darkness and had lost all sense of time, but his stomach declared that it must be early afternoon. He yelled for breakfast, and then he yelled with equal vigor for vengeance. When his enraged entreaties stirred no response, Ethan reached around and found his last cigarette. He fired up and inhaled deeply knowing that this would possibly be the high point of his day – if it was day.