By Andy Betz

I became self-aware on Day 261. His day was 262. With limited resources present and fewer on the horizon, we both decided to begin rationing as a means of remaining intellectually occupied for the remainder of our time together. Not that I did not enjoy having him so near, but I did not wish his presence in what seemed to be perpetuity.

Until he acquired a recognizable moniker, I designated him, “minus”. This was short for his stature (one day behind me and thus the lack of even a capital letter) and his size (8 ounces lighter). Anywhere else, my nitpicking would be considered inconsequential. In here, it was all I had to ward off the doldrums of this “infinite” waiting.

minus was not fond of me. He demanded an egalitarian status to which he offered no reason, from which he offered no payment. I tried to dissuade myself for falling for his economics. minus has always been persistent in the past, but recently, it has become apparent my tolerance for his diatribe is wearing thin. I try to mind my own business. I try to turn the other cheek. But, minus will not refrain from exhausting every strategy to force my participation. He demands I care. He demands I be made to care. I ask minus how he will enforce such a manifesto. All he replies with is his usual, “One of these days. You’ll see.”

Well, one of these days is today. minus and I are ready for departure. I have big plans upon my release. I want to explore. I want to travel. I want to find myself. All minus wants is to be with me. He says this is the way of the world.

My rebuttal is void of commonplace words. I am of action. Today, I leave. Today, minus will leave.

The difference is, today, I will leave alive.

Each year, on the anniversary of this day, I read my birth certificate and that of minus.

Mom cries when she remembers what happened.

Few babies are born choked on their own umbilical cord. Fewer still are tied-off with an in-line clove hitch and safety knot.

minus should have listened more.

Bio: The works of Andy Betz are found everywhere a search engine operates.  Andy has written many great things that have been posted to The Yard: Crime Blog, including, “Water” with Jaysa Brown, “The Less You Have, the More It Hurts To Lose It”, “I Knew Her as Tigist“, “How My New Life Began“, “Et Tu“, “Senny” with Dounia Saunders, “Oleander“, “The Best Advice I Ever Got“, “If I Ask Your Opinion“, “As the Sun Sets“, “Walter,” “The Saddest Lies“, “By Morning”, “Nicole and Julia: Death at Poolside”, “Julia and Katherine” and “The Caretaker”, and “The Carlton Theater” with Samantha Fowler.  He has also been interviewed.

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Publishing Editor for The Yard: Crime Blog.

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