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A Correspondence This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Unknown
   Norma-JeanMagnum
12 Chipmunk Circle
Rabbitville, CA12354



Billy-Ray Magnum
San Quentin Prison
4535Clinton Road
San Quentin, CA 12345



DearBilly-Ray,

It sure is nice that you sent those letters last month. Ourboys and I read them over a few times and then we threw them in the garbage. Theysure was nice though. I figured that I could answer a few of your questionsbefore I heads off to work. Oh yeah, didn't I tell you? I got a new job as awaitress in town. They can't pay me much be-cause all the summer folks have left,but they give me bus fare and let me deep fry anything I want, so sure assunshine I couldn't pass it up.

No, I'm not dating anyone new. With thetackle-shop closed and the truck stop shutting down there's just not a place tofind a good man anymore. So I still loves you. I'll be true to you until you bustyourself out, you hear?

The boys don't know what they want for Christmas.I was thinking that little Billy-Ray could use a new hunting knife and Jaspercould use a mattress. They really don't expect nothing from you, so don't gotrying to smuggle out a present for them. Just remember that they're only ten sodon't go sending no dirty pictures like you did for their birthdays.

Andabout the boys, they're doing real fine. Jasper just started getting his firstset of upper lip hair and its growing in nice. I tell him he looks like hisdaddy. And Billy-Ray has muscles like a horse. He just goes around lifting upstuff like couches and beds for fun. Pretty soon he'll be lifting up the doublewide. Just last week I caught him picking up the Chevette and I had to take theswitch to him. I felt bad be-cause I took it to him hard, so I made some fish piefor supper and all.

Speaking of fish pie, I'll mail some up to you with mynext correspondence. I'll have Jasper pull some sunfish and minnows out of thepond and cook in some stewing armadillo. It'll be grand.

Write back anddon't go trying to sneak the boys some presents, they are spoiled enough as it iswith their new overalls.

Love always,

Norma-JeanMagnum

***

Dear Norma-Jean,

I got to use the computers aspart of my recreation time so I'd be promising myself that I'd write you and theboys. I'm doing good and I have only 12 years until the parole board looks at mycase and lets me out. So by that time the boys will be 30 and I'll be 42 andyou'll be round 60 I reckon, at least that's what I scratched up on mywall.

I know you told me not to go through no trouble to send the boys agift for their Krissmess, but I seen it right to send them those carton ofcigarettes and those magazine clippins of Jesus. Speaking of the dear lord, Godrest his soul, I got his picture tattooed on my shoulder. Except I'm not surewhat he's supposed to look like cuz the Bible ain't no picture book. So I got apicture of Hank in C-Block cuz he's mighty religious and all.

I'm glad youdon't got a boyfriend, cuz I'm lookin' forward to birthin' more babies when I getout now, you hear? You could say I'm restless. But I appreciated those picturesyou sent of yourself baked in that fish pie. That was mighty sneaky of you. Anddamned if that fish pie wasn't sweet as a plum in June. Damned if it wasn't.

So I gots this new roomie named Club. He gots his name from beating uphobos and such in San Diego. He's a real nice fella, real fast when it comes tofighting and all. He damned near al-most gouged out this fella named Chains' eyewith a toothbrush that he chiseled real nice with that fake tooth he's got. It'smade of gold or something silver like that. He says he stole it from some pawnshop, put it in himself.

I'm enclosing another present for the boys andall. It's a soap carving of Jesus the good Lord himself. Club was saying howJesus was too good to be carved with a fingernail, so he pulled out his tooth ofgold and carved it real nice. Looks just like Jesus, you know, the one I gottattooed on my shoulder.

Well, I got to go shower up and then go to sleep.Thanks for the fish pie again, it was real sweet. Real sweet. Reallysweet.

Bye,

Billy-Ray Magnum

***

DearBilly-Ray

They boys were real excited when they opened your presentbecause they can imagine what you had to do to get a box of smokes in jail. Theycan ima-gine. I can imagine. We all just sat around and imagined for a while.Then we smoked them real nice.

There was a big confusion about the soapcarving of Jesus. Jasper thought it was some fancy prison chocolate so he doneate most of it by the time we read your letter. Damn near made him die. ButBilly-Ray just picked him up and carried him to the hospital, as Billy-Ray isknown to be picking things up lately. I made that boy a special fish pie forsupper, just because of his being a hero and all.

I got Jasper thatmattress for Christ-mas. He ain't sleep so well since he was a baby in my tummy.Babies sleep, don't they? Oh, hell, what does it matter, of course they do. I wasfeeling moved by your finding Jesus and all, so I got the boys tattooed as well.We dunno what Jesus looks like either, but we figured he had a beard. So we donegot a picture of Grandpa put on Jasper and Billy-Ray's arm and put a beard on himand he looks just like the Bible would say he looked like.

And in yourlast letter you gots all the ages mixed up. Twelve plus ten is 22 so the boyswill be 22 when you get out. And I'll be 36. And you'll be 38. I can't be madthough about your arithmetic because I ain't no better myself. I just asked thegas pumping man because he's really clever. Paid him a dime to do the scratchwork.

Don't go trying to bust yourself out early because if you get shotthen it won't be good.

Keep Living,

Norma-Jean Magnum




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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