Ask Tod Anything: Part II

Greetings again, and welcome to the Roost. I still have a lot of great questions to get to, so that is what this post will be dedicated to doing. (I plan on leaving no question unanswered! If someone has the time to ask, then I certainly must have the time to answer. Time is the one thing I have an abundance of here in my oubliette.)

7.) If you had seventy-two hours of freedom and a modest but reasonable budget, what would you want to do besides seeing your family (assuming you have one). Assume everything you do has to be legal, and can’t be grievously injurious/harmful to yourself and/or others. What would you want to eat, do, see, etc.? (I say “besides spending time with your family for the sake of making the answer more interesting than just “spend time with my family the whole time, the end.”) 

Well, you have taken the fun out of that one! I cannot pay a visit to the lead detective who tampered with witnesses in my case or the judge who used me as a stepping stone in his re-election campaign… Okay, besides those things, then…

First, let me say that Anna has very graciously offered to hang out with me in this hypothetical scenario and I would very much enjoy getting to meet her in person. I am, however, not sure how much she would enjoy at least some aspects of what I would want to do. On the outside, I was a pretty simple person and got enjoyment out of simple things. Ald although I can think of a lot of exciting and wonderful things to do… I have thought a lot about what I miss the most in this cage, and it always seems to be the things I kind of took for granted on the outside. You said no family so that is out. But I am afraid it still may not be interesting for most…

It would start with food. We don’t get much, or very good food at all in this hole. So I would love to meet Anna and her significant other over a meal (dinner perhaps) where the possibilities are endless, but I think I would settle on a porterhouse steak (rare), a baked potato (a big one with sour cream on it), any kind of fresh vegetable (peas with real butter on them would be good), and for dessert… an apple! (We get no fruit here at all.) Or perhaps a pear. And then to top it off, a little bit (would not want to get drunk; I only have seventy-two hours!) of single-malt scotch. I used to drink Glenlivet but any will do. And Anna and I could talk and laugh and enjoy a relaxing meal. Then, (and this is the part I am not sure Anna would enjoy!) there would be a motorcycle involved! I used to build and ride old Harley-Davidsons so ideally it would be one of those. (I know I am on a limited budget here so perhaps I could rent one.) But it would be any motorcycle really. And I would love to find a two-lane mountain highway that twists through an evergreen forest. (I lived in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado before all this.) and enjoy the green, and the smell, and the sunshine.

At some point I would like to find a dirt road off the highway and drive back into the forest…perhaps find a glade with a stream running through it and park the bike and get off and touch the grass and the flowers and trees. (There is no green here…none at all. Just dirt and small rocks and I can’t touch those either.) Then I would like to find a little pool in the water and go swimming. (I have not been submerged in water in a very long time.) Then I would lay in the sun to dry and listen to the birds and wind blow through the trees and likely get a sunburn. (I am pretty pale now. I don’t get much sun.)

At some point I would like to go to a park in a city or town and sit down on a bench or perhaps in the grass under a tree and close my eyes and listen to children laugh and play. Maybe I’d like to throw a tennis ball for a dog. (I had larger ones. I had a labrador retriever named Bubba that I loved dearly…she had died long before all of this happened to me.) Perhaps hear an old gas powered lawn mower and smell fresh cut grass…

I know, this is all so boring, and likely not at all what you were expecting… but in this place I am literally surrounded by people all the time (most of whom I dislike) and there is almost constant noise.  Heavy metal doors slamming, people talking and shouting, the insane ones screaming…and I will spare you the descriptions of the smells… just seventy-two hours of no anger, no violence, just peace and quiet would be worth almost any price to me. It is, for me, the things I never really thought about that I end up closing my eyes and remembering. Sitting on a couch with someone I love with someone I love all curled up by a fire in the wintertime and listen to her tell me all about her day, or just listening to the fire and feeling her pressed close to me. (The only “contact” I have in this place is to be chained by an animal by gloved hands to be removed from my cage.)

So I guess my seventy-two hours would be pretty boring… oh! I would have to sleep in a real bed, too! With soft sheets and a blanket to cover me! Yup, boring. But on the upside, I would likely have change left over from that “modest budget”.

What do you think, Anna? Want to hang out for the whole seventy-two hours?

8.) What was the last election you voted in and for whom did you vote? 

This is an easy and short one. I honestly can’t remember the year. [Anna’s note: I’m guessing it was probably 1992.] I have a problem with keeping track of linear time, which has gotten way worse since I got here. But it was for a guy named Ross Perot for President.

Speaking of voting…what were you people thinking?! Wow!

9.) What historical events have occurred while you’ve been on death row that you wish you’d have been able to witness?

I would not go as far as to use the term “misanthropic,” but I did live way up in the Colorado Rockies, back in a canyon with public land butting up to my proerty lines on three sides, so I was not real keen on crowds…so the most significant events that I would have wished to be in the vicinity of would be the births of my grandchildren. Pretty historic in my book.

10.) The same person asked: What technology has been invented since you’ve been on death row that you are curious about or would be interested to try out?

All technology has been invented while I’ve been locked up. Or at least it seems like it. I had a cell phone when I was out in the world…most of you may not know what I am talking about, but some geezers might. It was made by Motorola and it was “affectionately” referred to as “The Brick” because it was the size and approximate weight of one of those smaller red bricks of the kind used in house construction. It was the smallest and most reliable phone that one could own. (And it dropped calls all the time, not because it didn’t work properly but because there were not that many cell phone towers and there were “dead zones” between them when you were out of range.) The internet itself did exist…but it was in its infancy so I would like to see that.

I also hear a lot about “flat screen television sets” but have never seen one. (My television broke quite a long time ago and I can’t afford to replace it, so I have not seen TV at all in a fair piece.) But from my perspective of living in a cage…I am only allowed to possess ten soft cover books, no more. So I would wish to have one of those “e-readers”, I think they are called, the electronic devices you can download books onto. (And I would have to be able to download books onto it, of course.) to have access to a large supply of books. I don’t think I could even begin to describe my feelings about such a thing. My home (before here) was filled with books (real ones) and reading has always been a very large part of my life.. To have access to the philosophy and poetry and history and fiction again… I better stop; I could go on for pages about this subject alone. I would also like to have access to music. (I have a Walkman-type cassette player– yes, cassette player— of which the cassette player part is broken so I only have the radio left.)

The radio market in Southern Arizona is very limited, so no jazz, no classical, but I do get to hear some metal music on a syndicated shoe called “Into the Pit” that comes on for a couple of hours on Sunday night. But unless I want to listen to country-western, old rock and roll, or an inordinate amount of rap and hip-hop stations for some reason, I am screwed. So an MP3 player (and the ability to load music onto it) would be wonderful. But e-readers and MP3 players are not allowed here. So I guess that is the technology I would like to experience.

11.) If you could choose how you wanted to be executed (hanging, firing squad, gas, electric chair, lethal injection) which would you choose and why? 

What, no guillotine? I think that one would be interesting. It is posited that one may be able to still perceive for a short time afterward. Intriguing, that one.

But you seem to be sticking to the forms of execution used now in the United States. Dead is dead and how you get there does not really matter. In Arizona, lethal injection is used.

I have maintained for years that I would like to forego the two or three drug “protocol” that is now used, and just have them pump potassium chloride (the final part of the “protocol”: the caustic cocktail that actually kills you) through my veins– the only stipulation being that the execution must be televised on broadcast TV so that the public could witness what their tax dollars pay for, on top of the millions it takes to actually get someone to the execution chamber. I figure I can put up with anything for ten or fifteen minutes, and I doubt I will be screaming for that long before I die.

But since that will never happen (not gonna show the public the truth), I guess I would choose firing squad if I could. Seems to be more honor in it, a “live by the sword, die by the sword” kind of thing.

Just F.Y.I.: the other two drugs of the “protocol” are a paralytic and an anesthetic, so all screaming is internalized and people don’t have to watch that.

And on that happy note, I will stop, so as to give Anna’s poor fingers a rest. (Again, my friend, I appreciate this opportunity so very much. Thank you deeply from the core of my being.)

As for the rest of you.. more answers coming! Great questions! Thank you!



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