Lost in his thoughts and having accepted the blister-to-callus process, the afternoon seemed to speed by. Before he knew it, he was back in the paddy wagon with his work mates and they were on their way back to the workhouse.
It was shower day, clean clothes day. Another new experience. No one bothered him. He had his own shower head and his own soap. He made sure not to drop it, that old bit from the movies, but even if he did, it wouldn’t have mattered.
The showers were very heavily guarded. Guards with night sticks and shotguns, not to mention sidearms and pepper spray, stood along the entire row of shower heads. Bill didn’t count, but it was about a dozen men at a time and they were given sufficient time to wash and then lounge in the hot water. Bill had no idea how many shower stations they had throughout the workhouse. In his whole time there, he would not find out. He would not see anything more than his cell, the walk to the cafeteria, the commissary, the entrance/exit and of course the barber, which he would only see that one time.
He felt great all washed and in clean clothes. He even felt perky, and maybe a touch uplifted in his spirits. Back in his cell, he hopped up on his bunk and rested. There wasn’t much time until dinner line-up and dinner, which was no surprise. More SOS, whatever it really was, more stale bread, more chocolate milk. He passed on the food, drank the milk. The milk served to fill his shrunken stomach. He was not hungry. He did not have to go to the bathroom, he had cigarettes. Life was good.
Not only was it shower day, but it was Friday and he had survived his first three days, actual time slightly less than three and a half days since arrival. He had seen the dog and pony show for the new arrivals two times and he knew now that much of what the guards did was nothing more than a show they maintained for keeping control. The guards were heavily armed, not all of them at any given time, but nothing happened without it being overseen by a heavily armed guard. So while the guard delivering the brown bombers in the morning might not have anything more than pepper spray, a night stick and a sidearm, someone was watching with a shotgun and a military rifle. Generally, guards in the perches—they were actually booths—held a shotgun and had the military rifle in a rack. No guard entered a dorm with a sidearm unless accompanied by one or two more guards with shotguns. All this despite the fact that the inmates in the workhouse, for the most part, were in for wife-beating, drunk driving and similar low-level misdemeanors. Bill’s being there for assault and battery on a police officer was unusual and made him unique. Why the tough hadn’t bothered him.
Being Friday, tomorrow was visiting day. Bill hoped Sue would be there to see him, but he hadn’t been able to speak to her yet since he didn’t have any money on account. If she came and she left him money, he could make phone calls and get to the commissary.
Being Friday, it was also being-locked-up-for-the-next-two-days day. Bill did not relish being locked up for two days. Blisters and all, he preferred work, even if he was helping the police make the bullets they used on the practice ranges.