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FICTION
I'd Do Anything
Kara Pogos

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As I drive through the darkness towards the Merryville Women’s Correctional Facility, my Meatloaf cassette tape is frequently overpowered by the roaring of the wind and the heavy thrum of the engine. I can see nothing but the road endlessly unwinding in my headlights, framed by tree silhouettes on each side. Tonight, if everything goes according to plan, I’ll have Angie back. If it doesn’t, I’ll lose everything. 

A memory floats into my mind. Dad and I were waiting in the corner of the church hall for Mum to get bored of socialising so we could go home. I was hopeful when she gestured towards Dad, believing that Mum and the woman she was chatting to were about to go their separate ways.

But no. Mum brought the woman over to us. They were followed by a bored looking preteenager, about my age, her black hair held back neatly with a yellow headband. “Barry, Mitchel, this is Linda,” Mum announced. “And,” (indicating the girl) “this is Angie.”

 “You sang beautifully,” Dad told Angie. 

“Thanks. I mucked up the third verse, but it looks like maybe no one noticed?” 

“I didn’t notice. You were very professional.”

“Well I want to be in a girl group someday, like The Supremes. 

“Mitchel loves the Supremes, don’t you Mitchel?”

“Not really,” I denied. Dad was ruining my image. I was tempted to add that I preferred rock and roll, but I wasn’t as self-destructive as this goody two-shoes, who clearly wanted to go home, but earnestly engaged in the inane conversation. 

The road curves sharply, unexpectedly. The record-like screech of my tyres as I swerve to stay on the road takes me back to my childhood again. 

Mum was knocking on my bedroom door. “The Lees are here. Won’t you come out and say hi?” Damnit. There go my plans to spend the afternoon with my new comic books.

Angie was dressed neatly, with yellow dandelions fanning out from behind her ears. I wasn’t sure what to say, so kept quiet while she chatted with the grownups until Mum suggested I show Angie my record collection. 

I expected Angie to comment on my Supremes record, but her attention was on Aftermath by the Rolling Stones. “I have this at home,” she declared, eyes lit up. I conceded to myself that she might not be such a goody two-shoes after all. 

The tree silhouettes give way to an even darkness at the edge of the road. I’m taken back to the Summer after I finished school. It was a warm, clear night. Angie smiled shyly as she swam towards me from the middle of the tar black lake, wet black hair clinging to her cheeks and forehead. I was fully exposed as I made my way towards her through the narrow leaves and clusters of wattle floating on the surface in the shallows. 

Everything about it felt daring. In my wildest dreams, I never imagined that one night I might help her break out of prison.

*

The inmates and guards of the Merryville Women’s Correctional Facility erupt into cheers and applause as I begin with my earliest hit. I wait for silence before making the announcement that I’ll need someone to help me with the next song. There’s a resurgence of shouting, as a mass of orange clad arms shoots up. But only one member of the crowd has a chance. I take Angie’s hand. She’s already performing, making shocked faces at her friends as I lead her towards the stage for a duet. 

This is my chance. I place my blazer over her shoulders. At the end of the song, I let her wear it back to her seat. When all eyes have returned to me, no one notices her take eight metal rods, a roll of duct tape, and some wire cutters (all smuggled into the prison inside a specially made electric guitar) from the pockets and hide them in various parts of her tracksuit. 

The final step is to convince the warden that there’s been a change of plans and that I won’t be staying the night in the guards’ residence. She looks at me with concern written in her creased forehead and firmly closed mouth. “It’s such a long way to drive at night. You must be tired after that performance.” But when I insist, she unlocks the gate. 

*

I’m waiting in my car around the corner from the Merryville Women’s Correctional Facility, out of sight. My stomach feels unsettled, like a ship on a storm-tossed sea, as the light creeps into the sky in the East. In the walkway to the exercise yard, the least scrupulously guarded area of the prison, Angie was meant to make her move half an hour ago. With each tick of the minute hand, my dread grows heavier. Don’t lose hope. Being late doesn’t mean she’s been caught. A cold wave of horror descends on me. She might have fallen off the roof.

*

Angie frowned as I open the unmarked letter. “Mandy again?”

From the familiar cursive, I knew the answer without needing to read the words that would proclaim our impending eternal union.

“Yeah,” I sighed, throwing the letter down on the kitchen bench. 

“I think we should tell the police.”

I took two beers from the fridge and handed one to Angie. “Let’s not dwell on it right now,” I suggested, making my way upstairs to the rooftop garden.

The street below was quiet. In the light from the street lamps, I thought I could make out the shadowy figure of a person beside a tree on the nature strip a few houses down the street. But when I looked more intently, the figure disappeared and there was only a tree.

*

Officer Mike Russell handed me back the bundle of letters. “Has she threatened you?”

“Not explicitly,” explained Angie. “But her behaviour is making us feel really uncomfortable.”

Officer Mike nodded understandingly. “It’s not unusual for fans to get a bit carried away. There’s not a lot I can do about it right now. Keep collecting letters, and keep a record of any phone calls or sightings.”

*

The doorbell rang, waking me from the peaceful escape that sleep brings. I fumbled for the lamp switch. The digital alarm clock on my beside table read 6:03 a.m.

There was a woman standing on the porch. From the gun she pointed in my face, I could guess who she was. I slowly raised my hands.

“Close the door, and take a step forward. Oh Mitchel. You look so scared. So beautiful, but so scared. Don’t be scared. What’s a moment of pain for an eternity of pleasure?”

“Please don’t shoot.”

“Why? So you can go on ignoring me?”

“I won’t.” Better to be conciliatory now and renege on my promise later, when the police will be able to protect me.

“In heaven we’ll have time to get to know each other. Well, I feel like I already know you. But you can get to know me and see that I’m really a very nice person.”

“I… I know you’re a very nice person.”

For a moment her face softened, before her features clenched in pain. “Is that why you told me to fuck off and leave you alone?”

There was a deafening bang. 

Mandy lay lifeless on the porch with blood spreading from her head and clumps of dirt, violet pansies and pieces of terracotta flower pot all over and around her body. I looked up to see Angie taking in the view from the rooftop, her eyes wide with horror at what she’d just done. 

*

While I’m trying to calm my breathing, a figure emerges in my field of view, sprinting down the road leading from the prison.  

We tear away from the Merryville Women’s Correctional Facility, my foot pinning the accelerator to the floor. Angie is breathless beside me, smelling of sweat. As I hurriedly recount my experience of the breakout, she kisses her fingers and presses them to my cheek. “I love you, Mitchel.”

In my rear view mirror the sun is spreading orange rays above an empty country highway. But suddenly Meatloaf’s passionate vocals are overpowered by the frantic wailing of sirens. Slowing down just enough to avoid plunging into the lake, I swerve onto the grass at the side of the road and turn off the headlights.

 The police car speeds past us. 

I’ll need a new identity, of course. But with Angie by my side, I know I’ve made the right choice. 


Kara Pogos is a teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Originally from Melbourne, she has taught in Santiago and is currently working in Montevideo. Her recent writing achievements include receiving an Honourable Mention in the 84th Annual Writers Digest Writing Competition, and having one of her poems on DeviantArt set to a melody by a professional composer.