Bill was on probation. He got three weeks in the workhouse and a two hundred-fifty dollar fine. He actually spent seventeen days in jail and they waived the fine, but he came away from it all pretty broken and with a police record to boot. The police record meant he couldn’t get a job so he had no money, no prospective income, nowhere to turn for help except his probation officer.
Those days, the probation officer determined how often you had to report. Bill reported the week after he was released from the workhouse since that was required. Bailey, his PO, made the next face-to-face for four weeks away and decided regular visits were to be monthly. Bill wasn’t exactly a flight risk or a danger. He was busted at an anti-war protest and still insisted he hadn’t done what they said he did. It reminded him of a character in a story who said they had the papers on him so he guessed he did what they said he did. Then he said he didn’t really remember and it didn’t matter anymore anyway.
That first monthly visit changed Bill’s life. He just didn’t know it at the time. That’s when he met Robert, the guy in workhouse blues who looked like he was going to cry. Bill offered him a cigarette, but he said he didn’t smoke. Bill told him he didn’t have any money otherwise he would have given it to him for his commissary. Robert asked him how he knew about the commissary. Bill told him he just got out a month ago.
Bailey was sympathetic to Bill’s plight. Bill wanted Bailey to help him get a job. Any kind of job, Bill told him. “I don’t care what the hell it is,” he said. “I can’t pay my rent.” Bailey said he’d do what he could.
Bill didn’t have much hope. He didn’t have much hope about getting a job or about Bailey helping him. He lay in bed at night remembering. The judge banged down the gavel and then he was clad in shackles on the bus to the workhouse. He had that sick feeling deep in the pit of his stomach. That feeling would never leave him again, never, although sometimes it would go on hiatus for different periods of time, some of them even longer periods.
“Policemen don’t lie,” the judge said. The judge’s name was Shul. They called him “hang ’em high Shul,” because he was the toughest, most conservative judge they had there in Columbus. The town itself was quite conservative once you were away from the university area. Bill had been walking downtown and a cop singled him out from about fifteen people who were crossing in the middle of the block and not in the crosswalk.
“Giving you a jaywalking ticket,” he said.
“What about all the others who were with me?”
“Shut up you goddamn hippie.”
Bill started to say something but the cop cut him off. “Say another word and I’ll run you in,” he said.
Bill didn’t go back downtown again until he was visiting his PO. By then, after the workhouse, you’d never have known he was a hippie.
A Note About the Fiction Outtakes:
The Fiction Outtakes are based upon my fiction. Very often they utilize characters which appear in different pieces of fiction written over the years. However, the events and incidents do not generally appear in the fiction. For the most part they are outtakes, pieces written and not included in the actual works or pieces written for fun. All of The Ghost Writer outtakes are not actual events depicted in the upcoming novel (tentatively to be released in February 2017) but the characters are actual characters from the novel. Similarly, Bill Wynn is a character from The Kitchen Stories (written over many years and also to be released in 2017). However, the actual experiences depicted in the outtakes do not necessarily appear in The Kitchen Stories.