This short story is based on an actual case as told by the staff at Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park in Arizona
No Brain at All
Or how Marcus Polo paid for his crime
by Marlin Desault
It’s the bugs that’ll drive ya nuts. Them damn bedbugs, never could stand em, but it’s my own fault. I just never could stay away from some women. And that’s why they sent me here.
Bout two years ago, it was spring of 1881 as I recollect, I stood trial. The judge weren’t a bad fella. The jury was all decent folks too. They done right when they convicted me. They couldn’t a done otherwise after hearin poor Abby a’wailin and a’carryin on the way she did. “Look at me, just look at me,” she said, “all big in the belly, and nowhere to go an no man to look after me.”
I was the one that done it. Just couldn’t help myself. She was so purty and nice and smelled like jasmine, she did. At first she weren’t willin, but I wanted her real bad, so I said, “ ‘Abby,’ sez I, ‘I’ll marry ya right and proper. We’ll get hitched and maybe get a little place an settle down.’” That’s what I said, and I meant it too, but then along come Jody.
Jody, oh my, you shoulda seen her, sparklin dark eyes like no others I’d ever seen. Damn, those eyes got to me, and her hips, so round. She always wore her skirt wrapped tight around ’em. When I saw her I got all wound up and jumpy like a stallion after a mare. Got so damn excited I just forgot all about Abby. Amnesia, that’s what it was. I just plain got amnesia, or somethin. A doctor told me about it once. That was me, no brain a’tall.
“Guilty,” said the judge, “of seduction by promise of marriage,” That’s just what he said, then he give me five years for it, he did, an rightly so.
So now, it’s me and them damn bedbugs here in Yuma Prison.
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