I Don’t Want to Go.

It was one hour before sun-up on the 2nd day of the 2nd month.

Somewhere a ways off, a radio played a Frank Sinatra song. The Warden was about to order one of the guards to cut the sound. After considering the trouble involved in tracking down the source of the music, the Warden decided not to bother.

The Chief Guard opened the door and preceded the Warden and the Chaplain into the cell.

An extravagant dinner, by any standards, but particularly by those of Trenton State Prison, was on a tray. A small miserable man sat on a plank that was attached to the concrete wall by diagonals of heavy chain at either end. He clutched a metal coffee mug.

The warden hated this part of the job, “Joe, it’s time to go.”

The prisoner stared into the coffee, “I don’t want to go.”

The chaplain took a step forward and placed his hand on Joe’s shoulder, “Joe, when it’s our time, none of us wants to go…”

Coffee erupting in plumes, steel mug clanging to the floor, Joe leaped up past them all, climbing and then grabbing the bars right at the top of the low ceiling.

“I don’t want to go! I don’t want to go! I DON’T WANT TO GO!”

The Chief Guard tried to pry loose the prisoner’s grip. Unable to do so, the Chief Guard, ushered the Warden and the Chaplain from the cell.

Joe’s shrieks and cries echoed throughout the prison, now drowning out, now crooning along with Frank Sinatra, “I DONT WANT TO GO! I DON’T WANT TO GO! AYEEEEE!!!”

Some guards wake up every morning hoping that something just like this would happen. Nightsticks held out in front of them, eyes blazing and with sinister smiles, they marched down the corridor connecting the cells. The few prisoners who had managed to sleep through Joe’s screams were quickly made awake by the sound of the heavy marching boots.

Joe was still suspended clutching the bars. He was still screaming, “I DONT WANT TO GO! I DON’T WANT TO GO!” The prisoner seemed oblivious to the laughing guards.

One of the guards swung his nightstick overhead in a wide arc and brought it crashing down on one of Joe’s wrists, breaking the bone. Simultaneously, one of the other guards used a nightstick to jab the prisoner in the back, just over the kidneys.

Joe fell sobbing to the floor, “I don’t want to go….”

For the edification of the general prison population, the guards dragged Joe through the entire institution.

“Ready to go Joe?”

Now barely whimpering, “I don’t want to go…”


As the guards delivered Joe to the place of execution, the Chaplain praying, never looked up from the Bible. The Warden fought back nausea.

Joe was just barely conscious as they strapped him into the electric chair.

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About Anthony Olszewski

Anthony Olszewski has written on a wide variety of topics: cage birds, tropical fish, popular culture, the poetry of Amiri Baraka and a chapter on genetics for a veterinary text book, as a small sample. He worked as an editor at a magazine produced by TFH, the world's largest publisher of pet books. Anthony Olszewski is the author of a booklet on Hudson County history, Hudson County Facts, and a book of short stories, Second Thief, Best Thief, that are sold on Amazon. Anthony Olszewski established PETCRAFT.com in 1996. A pioneer on the Web, the Site continues to provide unique information on a range of companion animals, focusing on birds and fish. As a community service, he operates Jersey City Free Books. Anthony Olszewski was born in Jersey City, NJ (Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital, 1956) and is a member of Mensa.
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