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Story – The Weekenders, Part 4

No sooner had Marie shut her eyes than she was woken up, by a guard loudly declaring that it was “time to get up,” in a tone both authoritative and routine. She had been asleep for hours, but it didn’t feel like that to her; it had been too short, and too uncomfortable for her to really feel that it had been a proper night’s sleep. She groggily lifted her head and then tried to lift her body. Her tiredness, and the restraints she was in, prevented her from doing this. After trying a few more times she realized that she needed to get leverage by swivelling round and putting her feet on the cell floor, so she did this, and at the second attempt had hauled her upper body upright. She dreaded to think what she looked like. She felt exhausted, and knew her hair was a mess. But with her hands cuffed behind her back, there was not much she could do about it. Having got herself upright, it took two tries to get off the bed.

She asked the guard if she could pee before being put back in the pod, and received an abrupt response: “Quickly. If you’re not done in two minutes, I’ll take you out of there. If you’re still pissing, I’ll put you on a disciplinary.” While pleased at being able to relieve herself before going back in the pod, she panicked at having to pee against the clock, with the guard watching, and seemingly so hostile. “I guess you’re not a morning person,” she thought to herself. Marie was able to finish on the toilet before the guard came to yank her out, but she was unable to properly wipe herself. For the first time, she was grateful that her pubic hair had been shaved, even if the area still smarted when touched by the sharp pangs of urine. She walked to the front of the cell, and the door was opened by the rude guard, who grabbed her arm, marched her to the pod, opened the door, and motioned her inside. As she stepped in, she mouthed “Hi” to the red-head in the neighboring pod, and she replied by waving to Marie with one of her cuffed hands.

Continue reading Story – The Weekenders, Part 4

Story – The Weekenders, Part 3

It took several seconds for Marie’s eyes to adjust to the relative darkness of the corridor, after being in the sterile brightness of the intake room. What confronted her was another line of women, like her all attached by their left ankles to a metal bar running low along the wall. At the end of the corridor was a shuttered door, and she could see this opening and shutting every 10-15 seconds. Gradually she shuffled forwards with the other women, and got close to the shutters more quickly than she had imagined she would. She soon realized that the shuttered door separated the corridor from an elevator, which only had room for one woman. The women about to enter the elevator had their wristband scanned, and were then almost pushed in by the guard, who clearly wanted them to move quicker.

Earlier in the evening, Marie would have been shocked at these women – at herself – being treated like items on a production line, but she was getting used to the mechanical process she was being pushed through. When she arrived at the front, her wristband was scanned, and shortly afterwards the shutter door opened. As she was being forced into the elevator, she saw that a bolt had shot out from the metal bar in the corridor to a metal bar in the elevator, making the transfer of her ankle cuff seamless. As soon as she was fully in the elevator, the bolt shot back, the shutters closed, and the container and its cargo shot up five levels.

Continue reading Story – The Weekenders, Part 3

Story – The Weekenders, Part 2

As the door to the ‘INMATE INTAKE’ room swung open, Marie was confronted with the overpowering smell of disinfectant. The room was like a clinic, the walls, floor, all surfaces white and wipe-clean. Like the reception area, there were cameras in all corners, facing all parts of the room. There were two members of staff, one man and one woman, both wearing face masks. The woman was just removing a pair of disposable latex gloves, pulling the left glove up from the wrist, wrapping it in the right-hand glove, which she swiftly turned inside out, then pressed the pedal on the trashcan and tossed the glove bundle inside. She then grabbed two new gloves, and quickly put them on.

The male guard, arms crossed, told Marie to walk into the middle of the cell and place her feet inside a square marked out on the floor and place her hands on her head. He then stepped over and scanned the barcode on her wristband, bringing up her details on a computer screen on a side wall. He then began to curtly instruct her. “OK ma’am, without removing your hands from your head, remove your shoes.” Using her other foot, she prized each heel off. The male guard then walked over, picked up the shoes, closely inspected them, and then placed them into a plastic zip-bag, which he sealed and placed into a box. “Now take your right hand, and unbutton your top starting from the top button and working your way to the bottom.”

Uneasily, she began to lower her right arm, but before her arm was below her shoulder, she uttered “excuse me, but should you be doing this, you know, as a guy?”. The response was quick and uncompromising. “Ma’am, I am not permitted to search you. I am permitted to be in the room, and to issue instructions. Unless you follow my instructions immediately and completely, you will have your clothes removed, and your disobedience will be put on file. Do I make myself clear.” Knowing that she had little choice, she meekly replied “Yes”, and continued lowering her right arm. She unbuttoned her shirt, eventually leaving it hanging open.

Continue reading Story – The Weekenders, Part 2

Story – The Weekenders, Part 1

Her face always went bright red when she was flustered, and as she sat trying to reason with the impassive bureaucrat in front of her, 31-year old Marie Capps was getting increasingly apprehensive. “But I was two days late. I had to wait until I got paid, that month I was short because the washing machine broke. I paid the insurance, it was fine!” She was sat in one of the offices of the city Civil Enforcement Department, the CED. She hadn’t heard of the CED until she received one of their enforcement letters through the mail, and it had taken her some time to find the buildings, which were located in a light industrial park on the edge of town.

She was charged with driving without insurance. She was aware that her conversation with the official was being recorded, but naively disregarded it. She thought that if she explained the circumstances, the official would let her off this once. But she didn’t know what the officials at the CED were like. The official’s continuing silence encouraged Marie to keep talking: “As soon as I got paid, I drove straight home and renewed my insurance.”

This went on for about 5 minutes, before the official decided to start talking. “Miss Capps, we are aware of the the facts of your case. Your insurance was expired for 2 days. You yourself admit this. You drove without insurance. Again, you admit this. It has all been recorded. You were informed on the letter we sent you that this was an official appointment, and that you were allowed to bring legal representation.”

Continue reading Story – The Weekenders, Part 1