Tim Green: Exact Revenge

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Tim Green Exact Revenge
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    Exact Revenge
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    Триллер / на английском языке
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    Английский
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Exact Revenge: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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A promising attorney and political candidate, Raymond White was on the fast track when his life was suddenly derailed. Unexpectedly framed and convicted of murder, he is sentenced to solitary confinement in a maximum-security prison. Alone with his inner rage, Raymond methodically plots his revenge against those who schemed to ruin his career and take away his life. Now, after spending 18 years behind bars, Raymond makes his escape – and is ready to finally put his plan into action.

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Tim Green


Exact Revenge

For Illyssa, because the brilliant light of your life warms even the deepest shadows of ours.


BOOK ONE. BETRAYAL

A bitter laugh burst from the count’s lips; as in a dream, he had just seen his father being taken to the grave, and Mercedes walking to the altar.

THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO


1

THERE WAS A TIME when people wished that they were me. The only boundaries I had were the limits of my imagination. Now my world is six feet wide, eight feet long, and eight and a half feet high. It’s less than you think. The only thing between the concrete floor and me is a narrow three-inch mattress. I don’t need blankets or sheets because it’s always warm. My shirt and pants were once gray. Now they are the color of oatmeal. They are no longer stiff with sweat and I can’t smell them even though the guards angle their faces away whenever they try to let me out.

My days are full. They last one hour. It is the hour that they give me light. There are pests to be hunted and killed. Cracks in the walls need to be filled with a mortar I compose from loose pebbles and sand. My body needs inspection. My nails need to be filed down against the block wall. An ingrown hair scraped clean. Small ways that bring some order to my life.

When my work is through, I allow myself to languish and think about the times when I was a boy. I like to tilt my face to the light and close my eyes. I can feel the heat of the sunlight then and hear the swish of waves lapping the stones and the trees whispering secrets. I can feel the planks of wood beneath my towel. I hang my arm over the edge of the dock and press just the tips of my fingers into the water’s pliant skin without breaking its surface.

I can smell the woodsmoke from the cobblestone fireplace in our small cabin and an occasional whiff of balsam. I can hear the bang of aluminum against the dock and my father asking me to go for a canoe ride. I say yes so as not to disappoint him even though I don’t want to leave my mother’s side. Her fingertips slide down the back of her page and her thumb snaps its edge as she turns to the next. I can hear the rattle and clang of the dinner bell.

Then my day ends.

I begin by allowing myself to vent, having somehow latched on to the notion that it’s good for me. I have screamed myself mute. I have cried myself dry. I have laughed until my stomach convulses in painful knots. I have jabbered insanely to myself, reasoning with, arguing, begging, scolding, and mocking God. Eventually, I grow tired and I am ready to behave. Then I’m like everyone else, struggling to stay busy enough with what I have so I won’t think about all the things I don’t.

I still take pride in the long hard muscles, taut beneath the bronze skin of my six-foot frame. I have more positions for push-ups than a sex manual has for copulation. Push-ups on my fingertips. Push-ups upside down. Push-ups with my feet braced halfway up the wall. There is a thin metal seam above the door casing. I have calluses on my fingertips that fit nicely into that groove. I do pull-ups four different ways. Frontward with a narrow grip. Frontward with a wide grip. Same thing backward.

I can do five thousand sit-ups. I can run in place. I can jump on one leg and jump on two. I can shuffle from side to side the length of my world six thousand times without stopping. I know eighteen katas from Okinawa and I can do them all, ten times in succession without stopping. Then I sleep.

When I wake up, it’s still night. Always. If I can, I go back to sleep. If I can’t, I exercise my mind to keep from thinking of her. The velvety handfuls of dark hair in a curtain over my bare chest. The smooth pencil-line scar on her hip.

I can multiply and divide seven-digit numbers in my head. I can integrate and differentiate formulas I make up at random. I can regurgitate the meaning behind every mnemonic device from Pieper’s New York State Bar Review.

I need to be strong.

Every sixty days, they come for me. Sixty days is as long as they can put someone into solitary confinement without giving him the opportunity to show that he is ready to behave. When they come for me, I will attack the first person I can get my hands on. I will do as much damage to him as I can because I know I’ll get it all back and then some whether I spit in someone’s face or tear out an eyeball.

At first, they try to beat it out of you. One at a time, the meanest guards get a chance to claim you from the hole. Then, when they realize that you are strong and that you will never stop, they begin to send the rookies. They will watch from behind the bars and laugh until they’ve had enough or until they get nervous. It takes six years to work through the digestive system of a maximum-security prison in New York. I am in my third different prison. After today, I believe they will send me to a fourth.

My life didn’t used to be like this. There was a time when I had everything.

2

THE MIND IS LIKE a screen in a water pipe. It collects the impurities of the past in random ways, a fragment of conversation, a snippet of color. A smell. I smelled like money that day in the cab when I passed through the tunnel into New Jersey to see Congressman Williamson at Valley Hospital. He smelled like death, old copper pennies, and bleached bedsheets.

I was the youngest partner at Parsons amp; Trout, with a suite at Donald Trump’s Plaza Hotel and on the verge of a multimillion-dollar deal that would save my firm. It was the height of the Reagan era. There was a war on drugs. Russia was still an evil nation, and there was no shame in wanting to be rich.

But Roger Williamson only wanted to talk about duck hunting. He talked about the first double he ever shot with those tubes coming out of his nose, coughing into the air, like somehow he was handing me a small wooden box filled with life’s secrets.

Then, I knew how to nod my head, respect my elders. But I didn’t listen. Only fragments remain.

Roger had come from Syracuse and attended Princeton like me, only about forty years earlier. He lettered in basketball. I lettered in soccer. After he graduated, he went to Albany to work for Nelson Rockefeller. I went to law school to try to be Nelson Rockefeller.

I remember looking at the lines in his face. Road maps for my own future. Yes, I saw them. I recognized them without a thought.

It took Roger thirty years of kissing other people’s asses before he was elected to Congress. At twenty-five, I hadn’t even patted an ass and people were talking about having me be his replacement. That must not have seemed fair to Roger. But that’s only if he was aware of it.

I was surprised that none of Roger’s family was there. Two men in three-piece suits were. They didn’t talk to me and I didn’t really care. Roger had other tubes besides the one coming out of his nose. There was one in his stomach and another down below, collecting his urine in a clear plastic bag that was hooked to the stainless steel rail of his bed. There was a heart monitor beeping pleasantly and clear liquid dripped from an IV bottle.

“You aren’t smiling,” Roger said. His voice was strained and it came from the far reaches of his throat. “Every day you have your health is a good day. You should smile.”

His skin had a blue cast to it and was sunken around the eye sockets and into the other depressions of his skull. His hair was wispy and gray. Only the very tips were still dark from dye. I thought I smelled the contents of the plastic bag and I cleared my throat.

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