a/n: i'm a little chicago obsessed right now. i've always been captivated by the other murderesses of the cook county jail. surely, there's more to them. personally, i can relate to liz because there's nothing worse than being bombarded with shit after a long day of work. bernie had it coming.
disclaimer: don't own.
[ hypersense ]
she's driving herself crazy.
Liz flicks her wrist and lights a match. She watches the flame greedily devour the thin, fragile wood until it kisses her fingertips and vanishes, starved to death with nothing left to ruin. She drops the heap of ashes left in her palm to the floor, and they slip through the open spaces of the iron-grid below.
She leans against metal bars. Another swipe of her hand conjures another blaze, this one in turn lighting the end of the cigarette she holds between her yellowing teeth. She drops the match stick to the floor and steps on it, ending its life. She takes a drag from her cigarette and throws what's left of her matchbox onto her grimy bed, riddled with scorch marks and soot.
In the neighboring cells, she can detect Velma flipping through a newspaper (probably admiring photos of herself, as per usual), Annie scratching at the wall of her confinement, Mona muttering softly, Roxie singing to herself. June and the Hungarian are silent - but she imagines that the former sleeps and the latter prays.
Around all of this - a faint pop. The smell of bubblegum and beer. It's been stuck in her head for months and months, like water after a hot shower or a catchy, annoying flapper song that won't leave her head. Stubborn, irritating.
It didn't matter what the habit was - nail-biting, foot-tapping, pen-chewing... It was always Bernie. It could be Mama rocking her chair back and forth in her office, listening to the radio - squeak, squeak, squeak - and suddenly, her face morphed into pudgy cheeks and five o'clock shadow, a useless lump on the couch listening to the White Sox game and chewing gum.
No - not chewing, she reminds herself. Popping.
She trudges over and collapses on to her mattress with a crash of bed springs.
Night is always the worst. During the day, she can busy herself with laundry or yard work or some sort of physical labor and fall into routine and block out the world. But at night, the plague of tics descends upon her and she's helpless. It's like they're destroying her from the inside out, threatening to tear her to shreds. And this was new - her intolerance. She used to think she could put up with a lot. But this new development, only aggravated by her hapless, hopeless late husband, only served to exacerbate the challenges of an already difficult life. It's as though they attach megaphones to the worst sounds in the world.
Pop. Pop. Pop.
"Shut up," she whispers, yanking the pillow off the bed and over her ears.
It's still ringing - water dropping, guards marching back and forth, flashlights clicking, Annie, Velma, Mona, Roxie, people, movement, shrieking, screaming, screeching, all of it. It wouldn't go away.
She throws her hair out of her eyes, sits up, and takes deep gulps of oxygen. It's certainly not getting any better.
Pop. Pop. Pop.
"Shut up!" she says, now audibly.
The guards come running.
"Go to sleep," they say, before flying away in their heavy, clunky, horrible boots.
If only it was that easy.
She lights another cigarette, took a long, trembling drag.
As she watches through a puff of smoke, the flame eat its way into nothingness, she wonders what would happen if she simply burned the whole world down. Would she hear anything with no people and people's irritating habits? Could she sit by herself and listen to nothing but the sizzle of the Earth around her? Peacefully?
Pop. Pop. Pop.
The match dies, and she thinks she could really use a shrink more than a goddamn lawyer.