Blood, Sweat (Matt) and Tears

A few gun shots and it was over. Richard Matt was dead. Two days later, David Sweat was in custody. The end of a mystery that captured the country’s attention after an elaborate escape that left politicians and the police shaking their heads.

For three weeks, we were captivated by the prison break. What was it about Sweat and Matt that so intrigued? The romance of it all. A brilliant escape. A charming and disarming Matt with a surprising penchant for the palette. Flirting with guards. Skirting the rules. The Post-Its. The perfect crime.

“Hear anything?” the manager of the local wine shop would ask during my weekly visit. We agreed most people didn’t want the pair to get caught.

On Friday, as news of Matt’s death unfolded, I paused. I felt a twinge of loss.

Then, on Sunday, when my phone pinged with a push from the Times about Sweat, I sighed. It’s over.

Again, I felt a twinge. Not grief. Hardly. I don’t know them. They’re killers. They caused much pain and suffering. They cost us a lot of money and diverted critical resources. Quiet upstate communities — neighbors minding their business — were looking over their collective shoulder.

But it wasn’t about the men, the murderers. They became symbols of something else. Adventure. Intrigue. They fought the law.

In the end, the law won. But for three weeks, they evaded us. Dined on peanut butter and grape gin.

Many thought they’d made it to Canada, or Mexico. Sipping tequila with their toes in the sand and their heads in the clouds. It was not to be.

An ignominious end for two enigmatic men.