The small alarm clock rung. The clock's big red display showed it was six in the morning as it buzzed, a distinct sound that told anyone asleep to wake up. Manfred von Karma opened his eyes, and turned the alarm off, in a motion that was almost autonomous. "6 AM. Perfect, as always."
Manfred von Karma awoke once more in his 30 by 30 foot cell, where he was serving his life sentence for the cold-blooded murder of Gregory Edgeworth. Despite being in prison, Karma's cell was quite furnished and comfortable. He had a sink and mirror, and a closed off shower stall. The shower stall was a little cramped, but was much better in comparison to the group shower. The rest of the cell had several of his possessions from his estate, which he sold when he was given his life sentence. At the foot of the bed was his small library, containing many books old and new. This included "To Kill a Mockingbird," his favorite novel as a child, "Runaway Jury," many books by Michael Crichton, and a well-read, leather-bound Bible, which he read close to every night. Several of his other items included his prized cello, a record player with a small collection of vinyls, ranging from classical to smooth jazz. A carpet he bought when traveling to India lay in the middle of the floor, and hanging on his gray walls were several paintings, many of which he made himself. On his bedside table, there were only three things; his reading glasses, a digital alarm clock, and a picture of him and his wife, Angelica. He was in his tuxedo, smiling from ear to ear, with his beautiful wife, wearing a snow-white wedding dress and an even more radiant smile, with long, blue-silver hair, the as their daughter Franziska.
At six, Manfred started his daily morning ritual. He immediately disrobed and entered his small shower stall. After 20 minutes of washing his body and silver hair, he stepped out and dried off. Wrapping a towel around his waist he proceeded over to his sink and mirror. For 5 minutes, he brushed and flossed, practically mechanically. He then grabbed his old-fashioned shaving kit, and began shaving the tiny stubbles that grew the previous day. He would take ten minutes to carefully shave and reexamine his chin and sides. At 6:30, he expected guard to deliver his breakfast, and morning paper. The guard came at 6:32, opened the cell, and put the food and paper on the small table. Manfred, without breaking the lock on his reflection, said simply, "You're two minutes late."
The guard, a little shocked, replied, "I'm sorry, Mr. Von Karma. The…" but before he could finish his sentence, the silver-haired man said, "I don't want excuses. Just don't be late again." Manfred wiped the last of the soap off his face, and the guard stammered, "Ye-yessir." The guard stood static for a moment, and Karma noticed he hadn't moved. "Is there something you need to tell me?" he inquired, putting away his shaving kit.
The guard, regaining his composure, remembered what he was going to say. "Oh, yes, sir. You had requested that you would be updated on how well your daughter did in court." Manfred, in the middle of his sentence, was getting dressed, completely indifferent if the guard could see him. He buttoned up his prison garb, and turned to the guard, meeting him in the eyes for the first time. The guard was slightly shaken by Karma's cold and piercing eyes. "Well?" he asked with a hint of annoyance in his voice. The guard, who once again lost some of his composure said, "Oh, um… Franziska beat Gunther Hertz again." Manfred closed his eyes and crossed his arms. He was calculating in his head. That meant it was Franziska's 42nd victory against Gunther. Karma chuckled in satisfaction. "Thank you. You may leave now." Manfred stated plainly. The guard practically ran out of Manfred's cell. Despite the prison uniform, Manfred von Karma was still a man to be feared and respected.
The guard left his cell open, like they did with most of the inmates this time of morning. Manfred was in a special part of the prison. It was only those who showed exemplary behavior, or were guaranteed to never make trouble. The rules were slightly less strict, as the inmates never rioted or complained. They were allowed to live somewhat normally, allowing cells to hold personal affects, from books to furniture, even computers.
Manfred put on his shoes, and walked out of his cell with his morning paper. He wasn't much interested in his breakfast of scrambled eggs and buttered crumpets that morning. No, the former prosecutor just wanted to read his paper. After exiting his cell, he turned left, and down the concrete stairs. On the next level up, there was a rather large room, the rest and relaxation room, with several other inmates there. In the room, one could find many ways to occupy his time. A large television was against the opposite wall, where those watching would do a civilized vote to decide what to watch next. Several chessboards were set up in the room, as well as tables to sit and read a variety of books and assorted magazines.
However, Manfred had no desire to watch television or play chess. He simply wanted to read his paper. Sitting at a lone table, the other men barely registered his existence, all fine and good in von Karma's mind. He started to read the front page, leaning back slightly in his chair. There was absolutely nothing that morning that could possibly deter Manfred from enjoying his daily read of he San Francisco Chronicle.
"Oh, good morning Manny, my good man! I see someone else wants to catch the worm!"
Damon Gant, former chief of police and also serving a life term for the murder of Neil Marshall. Also, the one person Manfred even remotely knew in the prison. Damon Gant had worked with Manfred before, but Manfred never really cared for Damon's overly eccentric and happy attitude. Damon, in matching prison garbs, still had his ridiculous hairstyle and goatee and stupid purple glasses that served no discernable purpose whatsoever. Manfred lowered his paper to reaffirm what he already knew; Damon was standing next to his table, laughing and clapping in his ridiculous fashion from his own stupid joke.
"Good morning, Gant." Manfred reluctantly replied. "Come to bother me again?" Damon smiled, and replied, "Well, someone woke up on the wrong side of the prison cot this morning." Karma, pretending to find an article on local pet groomers more interesting then the man hovering over him, told Gant through the paper, "I'm not in the mood today, Gant." Gant lost his smile, and looked at Manfred for a brief, yet awkward pause. Suddenly, he smiled again and said, "Well, may I at least have the funnies? I have a feeling you have no use for them." Gant was right. Manfred never particularly cared for the daily comic antics of characters in impossibly stupid situations. He was going to throw them out anyway, so he figure giving them to Gant could buy him a few minutes of silence.
Karma practically ripped the comics from the paper, and handed them to Gant, as if he was holding a very hot potato or a particularly slimy cucumber, which he used to punctuate his word. "Here." Damon gladly took them, and happily replied, "Thank you, Manny." Manny. Von Karma really hated that pet name. But, Karma knew Gant, and nothing he could do would change Damon's ridiculous inclination to name everyone with pet names. Damon sat down, and began reading through the daily comics.
Manfred was in the middle of an article about a local police drug bust, when Damon suddenly exclaimed, "Oh! That Beetle Bailey! The Sergeant beat him up AGAIN!" He was laughing and clapping while he was practically yelling this to Manfred. The other inmates turned briefly to see where the noise came from, before returning to their business. Despite his better judgment, Manfred rolled his eyes and said, "Doesn't Beetle get beat up by the Sergeant in every strip?" Gant laughed heartily again, saying "Oh, but it's always so funny HOW Beetle winds up being beaten up! And the swearing. Not real swearing, mind you, just some random punctuation marks and ampersands. Someone has to think of the children, you know." Manfred rolled his eyes again, and pondered how on earth anyone would be amused by that stupid comic strip. He returned to his article once more. Damon stared at Manfred for a short while, and came up with an idea.
"Oh, Manny! Do you know what you need?" Manfred lowered his paper, and glowered at Gant. Sarcastically, von Karma asked, "What do I need, Gant?" Damon brightened up, and said, "You need to go swimming!" which he punctuated with a clap and ridiculous smile. Karma fully put down his paper, and fully turned to Damon. "Look, we have this conversation just about every day. You ask me if I want to go swimming, and every day, I say no. I don't like swimming that much. I'd much rather get my exercise on my own with a treadmill. Now Gant, why on God's green earth would I say anything else, one this particular morning, where you have done nothing more then annoy me?"
Gant stared back into Manfred's eyes. He seemed to be the only one impervious to his vicious stare. Gant smiled and simply remarked, "Why not? Would swimming really kill you?" Manfred thought about this. He too thought of an idea. He leaned into Gant, which he did the same, and whispered, "Will you not bother me for the rest of day if I swam with you for one hour?" Damon smiled and whispered back, "Yes. Whatever you want." Manfred sat back up, and crossed his arms in deep thought. Karma finally pushed out through his teeth, "Fine. But only for ONE hour." Gant clapped and said, "Excellent! I'll see you downstairs in the pool area in 15 minutes." With that, Gant got up, and headed back to his cell to get a pair of trunks for the two of them. When he left, Manfred planted his face into his rough leather hands, and thought about what he just agreed to do.