No Match for Rage by Genevieve Friedman

It had been fourteen years since he’d first been locked up. His head had been shaved countless times, due to the incessant lice that thought of his hair as an amiable place to live, most of his teeth had fallen out, and the few hairs left on his head had lost all color. He barely recognized himself. Inmates there were ruthless, the guards no better, the food was inedible, daily fights broke out, sickness was rampant, and privacy was unattainable. This was prison.

He tried to repent for the way he had hit is wife; over and over again, her screams were no match for his rage. But she had cheated on him; didn’t that give him a right to do what he had done? With his release coming any day now he had begun to seriously think about what he would do with his life. He thought of his daughter. She was only three the last time he had seen her. He remembered the shiny silver pendant he had given to her the Christmas before he had been put behind bars. He fell asleep thinking, and the next day, he saw sunlight for the first time in decades. He spent the day talking to strangers to find out details of what had happened to his daughter. After putting together various rumors he heard, he figured out where she was.

That night he went out to a sketchy neighborhood not too far from the prison. He didn’t want to find her here, but he knew this is where she would be. He had to save her. He clenched his jaw and began to walk along the street, surveying the skimpy women, who put on their most seductive faces, trying to get a commission. Trying to survive. He searched for someone tall and blond, like his ex-wife. He finally stopped in front of a lanky woman, whose white eyes reflected the dull glow of the moon. She took his hand and dragged him into a house. In the hallway’s fluorescent lighting, her sunken in cheeks, emaciated body and the maze of dark circles lining her eyes made her look decades older than she was. But he knew it was her. Finally, they reached a bedroom. It smelled of old cigarettes and gin, with just a hint of cheap perfume. Before he could protest, she pushed him onto the bed and hitched up her skirt. Then he saw a glint of silver dangling from her neck. It was the pendant. She looked just like her mom. She was a whore, just like her mom. He jumped up and began to beat her. Her screams were no match for his rage.

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