This happened in 1932, when the state penitentiary was still at Cold Mountain. And the electric chair was there, too, of course.
The inmates made jokes about the chair the way people always make jokes about things that frighten them but can't be gotten away from. They called it Old Sparky, or the Big Juicy. They made cracks about the Power bill, and how Warden Moores would cook his Thanksgiving dinner that fall, with his wife, Melinda, too sick to cook.
But for the ones who actually had to sit down in that chair, the humor went out of the situation in a hurry I presided over seventy-eight executions during my time at Cold...