Whichever Way the Wind Blows

By R. Todd Fredrickson

Dearest Mother,

I hope this letter finds you well.

I know my current circumstances have weighed heavily on you and pops; in fact I am sure of it, and I understand that at this point apologizing any further has no more credibility than anything else I ever said to you most of my life.

I don’t know why but I have always felt that I was running away from something, a shadow; surely something dark. I suppose with that thought I was meant to be here and destined to die this way. When the preacher came here last night I told him about the shadow and he suggested that maybe I wasn’t running away from anything, but rather running towards something. I asked him what that might be and he said he didn’t have an answer; other than it’s bound to be Gods-Will, either way. The truth is I don’t really believe in that stuff; heaven and some kind of after-life. Just like I don’t believe anyone goes to hell because they were a bad seed. We aren’t any different than any other living creature, just road kill in the end.

Anyway, the preacher left me this pad and two pencils and said it would be the right thing to do to write to you and pops. I wasn’t going to because I figured you considered me dead already these last few years. The preacher said he’d be here tomorrow and walk with me to the chamber and take my letter then and make sure you get it and my personal belongings; not that I have much. My wallet and some drawings I did while in solitary. The gas chamber! Can you believe it? I heard it’s kind of like drowning, a bit of a panic to breathe and then off to sleep. I think the most difficult part will be the walk down the hall and then listening to the tablets drop into the pan. If there is a hell on earth it will be those final minutes!

One of the guards said that at 19, I was to be the youngest man ever put to death in the state of Nevada. Hell of a way to make a name for myself. I suppose it’s better than being known as a cold hearted murderer.

I didn’t mean to kill anyone, mother! When those law-men burst into the room the only thing I was thinking was someone was trying to take my money so I was just trying to scare them off. If you followed the court case then you know that already. One of them shot at me first so I gave it to him and then his partner. But I swear I didn’t know they was wearing a badge!

I just ordered my last meal; fried chicken with mashed potato and brown gravy and green beans, lemon custard pie to top it off. I asked for a beer also but the guard just stared at me and shook his head. They are all mad at me because of what I did to them law-men; I wouldn’t doubt they do something to my food, come to think of it.

I remember getting a talk’n to from Grandpa Larry right after I turned 15. He said I was full of piss and vinegar just like Uncle Bill was and destined for trouble. I know he was just trying to get my compass adjusted right but it was like he put a curse on me with that statement. From then on trouble seemed to haunt me no matter what I did. It was like I had no direction; tossed around here and there like a piece of trash going whichever way the wind blows.

I love you mother, pops too. Please forgive me, your son, David Blackwell. Aprill 22nd​​ 1949

About The Author

R. Todd Fredrickson is a northwest author living in Snohomish County, Washington. For more information follow him on twitter at: