#1 Blaine/Joseph Jernigan

| November 1, 2011 | 0 Comments

Joseph Jernigan is a bald, tattooed, slightly overweight and surprisingly literate Texas felon on death row for the armed robbery and subsequent murder of a 75-year-old man. Once jailed, he is dogged by visions of a person who calls himself Blaine. Blaine repeatedly offers Jernigan freedom and immortality in exchange for his soul.

This character (Joseph) is based on a real person, who, after being given his lethal injection, had his body donated to science. After he died, his body was frozen and then sliced thinly so it could be scanned, piece by piece into a digital imaging system. Today they call him “The Visible Man” and many doctors use the 3D images of his body as a ‘perfect’ example of male anatomy. Jernigan was missing his appendix and one of his testicles. You can’t make this crap up: http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi1125.htm

By the end of Jernigan’s story, Blaine fulfills his end of the bargain by immortalizing Jernigan forever in a digital form, and influencing the scientists to release (limited) personal information about who he was. During his 12 years in prison, Jernigan learned the error of his ways and he accepts death as a punishment for his wrongs.

I could have listed these two characters separately, but since one couldn’t exist without the other (and since I definitely can’t draw Jernigan) I decided to list them together.

Here’s a little vignette about the first meeting of Joseph and his Faustian friend:

Blaine’s Game

Two big guys are dragging me by my pits across concrete. Their arms are meat hooks, bulging with muscle and fat and living sinews. My sinews are dead. I am nothing but dead meat. Already slaughtered, but still waiting to be butchered, and conscious enough to feel it. Just barely.

The big guys drop me hard in a square room with blank gray walls. The searing pain in my knees is a precious reminder of the last long drag I’ll have in a while, on a cigarette or otherwise. They take the restraints off of my wrists and ankles. I am off the hook. The literal one at least. Really, I won’t be off the hook for another forty-five years to life. This is the freezer, where they provide storage for the cold, and keep them cold.

“Goodbye, meat,” I say to the pair of bulging hulks. Their bulging hooks swing away.

They slam the door without saying a word, bolting it, leaving me in solitary confinement, so I won’t disturb the other popsicles. Some people can be so impolite. Nothing but darkness and a greasy green toilet to keep me company now.

Got a light?              

I must’ve hit my head sometime recently.

You know, if there were no such thing as fire, no one would ever smoke.

I must’ve hit my head hard.

Leaning casually against the door of my cell…

“Who are you?” I ask.

Your name’s Jernigan isn’t it? I was kidding about you having a light. You’re all dark.

A man, I think it’s a man, in a black pinstripe suit, with a white ascot around his neck and dark gloves on his hands… and a purple-black hole where his face should be. He rubs his thumb and the tip of his index finger together in front of the cigarette dangling from—were there lips? A small flame appears there in his fingers and lights the cigarette. He lifts his fedora from his head and I can see the tip of the purple-black pantyhose he has stretched over his face.

My name’s Blaine. Obliged to meet you.

Maybe I shoulda plead insanity.

Nonsense, you’re perfectly sane.

When someone appears outta nowhere and starts talking to your inner monologue, all sure signs point somewhere south of sanity.

Such poetry.

He takes a long drag on his cigarette straight through the pantyhose and exhales, the smoke sifting through the material and pouring out from all around the edges of his head. If this guy has one swatch of skin anywhere on his body I might never know. Suddenly, I don’t want that cigarette as much as I should.

They say the insane don’t know they’re insane.

“Yeah, well I just think I’m insane so where does that leave me?”

Enlightened. Or… not.

I put my head in my hands. I’m beginning to think I’d rather have a conversation with the toilet. It’s hard to tell what a guy’s feeling when his face is covered in lady’s hosiery.

Listen, Jernigan, I’m not here to ruin your perfectly lovely day.

His sarcasm was enough to make me want to kill him. First I lose my freedom, then I lose my mind. My day couldn’t possibly get worse.

As a matter of fact, I’m here to improve your situation. You just tell me what you want, and it’s yours.

“I wasn’t born in the last five minutes. No figment of my imagination is getting me anything worthwhile.”

Try me.

A momentary silence seems like an eternity when a man with no eyes is staring you down. Okay, Blaine, I’ll play along. How about this: I don’t want to die.

Immortality. I can do that.

And I want out of here.


He wheezes out some more smoke, and then flicks the butt of his cigarette onto the floor, where it turns to ash.

            But you’ve gotta do something for me.

Here comes the catch.

Let’s be traditional. Why don’t you give me… your soul.

He says it like it’s not important. Like he takes souls every day. Don’t I need a soul?

He bends over laughing this laugh that makes me sick. I feel like I’ll never laugh again.

            You can still use it. It’ll just be mine.

“Are you the Devil?”


I think he’s smiling. Through the tiny window in the solid steel cell door I can see the outside― whatever lights were left on start to flicker and die out.

When you don’t have a hope left in this world, does it matter?


Category: 2011, Fantasy, Horror

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