Left Behind (V)

3 02 2008

$600 per month
6.00 am to 10.00pm

Kenny stared at the sign for a long time. Behind the shiny glasses of McDonalds, letters painted in yellow, gave him a way to start out once again. He had no social security number, no IRS, “no nothing”, as Mr. Stevens said, but McJobs are like that, often “no nothing” does equally well. Kenny realised his battle has started.

“So Mr. Richards, keep in mind, that I have got a business to run”, said Stevens
“Oh yes sir..absolutely, I will try my best to deliver”
“You better be good Mr.Richards, I am already running low on numbers”
“You will not be disappointed, Mr. Stevens”




“Grandpa, there is a letter for you”, yelled Samantha from her porch,
After a moment too long, Jonny arrived on the door.

“Jonny Montana?”, asked the young delivery boy, 18 hardly.
“Yeah it is”
“A letter from some Kenny Richards, sign here please”, handing over the pain to the old man.

“Old Bastard!”, muttered Montana excitedly. He took the knife and cut the envelope.

Dtd: 7th Jan 2008

Hello, Montana

Seasons greetings and a Happy New Year. How is life keeping you? And how is the young lady, Samantha. Tell her, she is beautiful and she will grow upto be a charming lady. And yeah, Montana… keep the log fire burning, it keeps you warm against the Northampton winds at this time of the year.

Hey, Jonny, thanks for that day, for comforting me in your home. In Ohio now. Today I received my first paycheque in as many years. I am working in the local McDonalds . Feels good you know. And yeah, before I forget, I have sent some money for you, keep them. The next time I am ‘broke’ I know where to look for.

Montana with his old hands pressed the edges of the torn envelope close and the mouth widened. Montana peered inside and found two hundred fifty dollars inside.

“Schmuck!”, he cursed. He read on

You know, its hilarous at times how the fellas at work handle the goofups I make. Once, a customer asked me for a Latte, I couldnt serve it fast enough. You know it was hilarious to see him, thumping and fuming. And crazy me, you know for a moment I got so startled, that the latte mug slipped. Poor guy, left cursing at us. [Thats another story, that Mr. Stevens was too upset.] But sometimes guys, whoops cant call them guys, gotto call them customers, Mr. Stevens insists. Yeah the customers are too harsh. There is this young girl, you know, 22 around ,works along with us. A guy came upto her, one day and asked for a burger. She just missed on serving sauce… and man! the noise that young punk created. Jenny almost was on tears. I walked upto her and told its okay, he is a punk. Jonny boy, you know it feels great to console somebody. Four decades of prison, numbs things you know. But I guess you should do it too. It feels good.

Lunch time is almost over. We get a long break of around 15 minutes. Really long, given that I dont eat much. They just allow us some pasta for lunch. But believe me, it finishes long time before our lunch breaks. And so we chit chat for some time. Thats the best time of my day. I like hearing to Jenny and May talking their heart out about trivial things. And there is a guy here, Chris. Poor fella, likes Jenny but she doesnt even give him a shit. Yeah, gotto run, boy…

Your friend,


Jonny felt helpless, in ways he couldn’t fathom. Kenny was just 6 years younger to him, yet had to work harder to keep himself going. A swift tug of luck here, a pull there and life becomes awry, he thought.

And to Jonny it was evident that McD store had the workers of Ohio mines as its loyal customers. People perennially in hurry, people rushing along to catch up with life. People to whom trampling on others didn’t look bad. And Kenny was fighting with his slow hands and weak vision. For the first time in as many years, Jonny felt an ocean of grief grip him.

Kenny as the days passed, got more and more distressed with the inhumanity of world around. And he seeked refuge in those letters which Johnny sent and loved talking about their old days, in his own. Anything as long as it didn’t talk about the present day.

Hey, Montana, Date: 15th Jan 2008

Received your letter just now, Yeah it does feel great to talk to old friends. And sort of it doesn’t seem all that great. You see, what I mean? All these years, down living in the death row, contemplating about when am I gonna go back, when can I start all over again, and all you get is this. Seems hilarious at times. Its sort of a joke gone awry. Each day, I prayed for freedom and at the end I am confused sort of,whether its all that fine with me.

Anyway, you remember, Dawson? He used to read a lot in his days. Loved his books… You know Montana, once he told me- “Kenny, when you set a bird free from its cage, you know what it does? It turns back” I couldnt understand why those birds do it. Now I can understand it. I am thinking a lot these days. But it feels awful. Cant say how awful it feels, boy.

Ohio these days seems to be a different place altogether. I never saw places like these before. And in ways, it tells me, how small I am in this universe. In jail, the story is different. The toughnuts even had that something when talking to me.

I just feel at times, how inadequate I am for these times. Only if I could stop this gnawing pain inside me.


Jonny often at times talked to Samantha about things like these, yet it was more of a catharsis act he was performing. Samantha understood Kenny’s pain and Montana’s helplessness, yet she herself could do even less. She reasoned with Montana, that this last battle, Kenny has to fight alone.

The letter often carried a sense of foreboding and almost always felt something heavy whenever Jonny received them. Jon often wondered if he poured his sorrows into his letters. Yes it did carry his longing for a humanity which slowed a bit and cared a little more, but he often sent his memories of the gone days along with his letters.

Kenny knew it too, and he felt he could understand what is going to happen next. But one lingering doubt in his heart stopped it from being a strong belief. He just bid his time.







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