The workhouse was set up as a series of dorms. Each dorm housed forty-eight inmates. They were all constructed and setup exactly the same way. The front wall was prison bars with a door in the middle like any jailhouse or prison cell door. Along each side wall was a row of double bunks twelve deep. This left a nice pathway down the middle wide enough for two or three people. Just past the bunks was a half wall like in the showers with a divide in the middle for the entrance. Bill would learn on his first night that beyond that wall was where the bad stuff happened.
In that back section were three sinks on each side attached to the side walls, a small mirror over each sink. Along the back wall spaced out two on each side of the divide were four toilets with no backs. Forty-eight men, six sinks and four toilets, the sinks and toilets only separated from the bunks by a half wall: that was D dorm and every other dorm since they were all the same.
Only Bill was delivered to D dorm. Three guards delivered him. With Bill, they stood outside the dorm. One guard rapped on the bars with his stick. Then another guard shouted for the inmates to line up. This meant they all had to stand in the aisle in front of their bunks. After they were lined up, the guard who had shouted for the lineup took his keys off his belt and opened the door. The third guard held a shotgun.
“You know the drill,” he said. “Make a move, meet your maker.”
The other two guards, one of them the one who’d been razzing Bill about his stick, the other the one who seemed to be his friend, walked Bill inside.
“We got you a pretty young hippie boy,” Bill’s tormentor said. “We gonna get him all cleaned up at the barber then he’s all yours.”
They walked Bill down the middle, his tormentor next to him, his friend behind them. The guard with the shotgun watched them from the doorway. He stood at the ready. He could shoot then close the door within five seconds. He was prepared to do so. All the guards were.
Three beds were empty, two bottoms and a top. The two bottoms were toward the front. The top, which Bill chose, was toward the back on the right side as they walked that way.
“Leave your stuff on the bunk and let’s go,” Bill’s tormentor said.
Bill tossed his stuff up on the bunk. All there was was a sheet, a blanket, a pillow case, the towel which was still wet from when he dried himself after the shower and his underclothes. Bill kept his toothbrush in his pants pocket.
“Any of this stuff disappears, I’m tossing this place when I come back,” Bill’s tormentor said. “If I have to do that, I know I’m going to find contraband. You know I’m going to find contraband. When I find contraband, I’m taking the baddest of you mothers and putting it on you. Then I’m gonna make sure you do a two year stretch in the State pen. Anyone wanna try me, let something go missing.”
From somewhere not too far off, one of the inmates spoke out “F–k you,” so faint it could hardly be heard yet so clearly distinguishable it couldn’t be missed.
“You see it?” one guard asked the other.
“I got this,” Bill’s tormentor said. “Whoever said that, you got one chance to step forward. Otherwise I’m cracking someone with this here nightstick. You got to five.”
He counted out loud to five. When no one stepped forward, he walked five inmates toward the front looking each one in the eyes. The words had come from the other side, so he turned, walked three inmates on the other side back. That third one was young and big. Without any warning, the guard thumped him on the front of his thigh, a full swing. The blow dropped the inmate to his knees.
“You say something boy?” the guard said.
“Stand the f–k up, pussy,” the guard said.
The inmate struggled up and as soon as he was standing, the guard cracked him again, this time on the other thigh. He went down again.
“Pussy,” the guard said again. “Let’s visit the barber,” he said to Bill.
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.