"I was hoping you'd come to visit, Annalise," he said, eyes
downcast. "It gets so lonely here."
She reached across the table to take his hand in hers. Tilting her
head to one side, she gave him an understanding nod. "I'm just sorry
it took so long for me to get up the courage to come see you, Rafe,"
she told him. Tears filled her eyes. "I was so ashamed."
He used his free hand to wipe away a tear as it slid down his ashen
face. "I know, baby, and I'm sorry."
"It's been so awful," she sobbed.
"For me, too, baby. I miss you most at night," he said. "That bunk
gets mighty cold and I get mighty hard just thinking about what I'm
"I ache for you, Rafe," she admitted. "I lay awake thinking of you
and everything we've lost."
He turned his eyes to the ceiling. "Why, oh why, did I pirate those
"You didn't know it was illegal, sweetheart," she defended him. "You
were just sharing with your friends."
He tore his hands from hers. "Yes, I did! I knew. I knew!" he said with a snarl, getting up to pace. He plowed a hand through his hair. "I
knew if I uploaded those Ellora's Cave books of yours to Demonoid and
BitJunkie I was running the risk of being found out. I knew it was
copyright infringement and worse--theft of intellectual property but
I just didn't care! I was in the groove, baby. In the groove! All the other e-pirates were scoffing at the authors and publishers, telling me how rich they are and how they wouldn't miss a few bucks here and there."
His wife hung her head. "We know that isn't true, now."
"Yeah, we know now but back then I was listening to the other e-pirates and their BS about how we had a right to take what didn't belong to us. I bought into that crap about how we didn't have to answer to anyone and that the only thing that mattered was what we wanted. The hell with the authors who struggled to write the book. The hell with the publishers. The hell with anyone other than me! I was having too much fun to care about anyone other than myself."
"Fun?" she gasped, eyes wide, lips parted in shock. "Fun, Rafe? There's nothing
fun about five years in prison and $250,000 in fines, Rafe. It
wasn't fun when the border patrol's cybercrimes division knocked down
our door and arrested you in front of Pastor Twiddle and his wife!
We lost our house to pay for the lawyer. I've had to take a job at
Wally's House of Waffles just to put bread on the table for me and
Little Rafe Jr." She buried her face in her hands. "It's terrible
having people stop on the street and point at us as we drive by in
that old junker you used as a fishing truck because they repossessed
our Lexus. Now that they've terminated our internet, I can't even
keep up with what's happening on YouTube!" Her shoulders
shook. "It's awful. It's just so awful!"
Rafe stopped pacing. He put his hands on his hips and hung his
head. "Yeah, I know. As tough as it's been on you, it's been equally
tough on me here at Pelican Bay. They put me on a no-electro tier."
Annalise gasped. "Oh, Rafe, you don't mean...?"
"Yes," he said, muscle working in his cheek. "No television or
radios. All we've got are print books to pass the time and no copy machine."