jailhouse-door-2Sue’s second visit was on Day Eleven. Same as the week before, she and Alex were waiting for him. Bill kissed her quickly but they skipped the hug so as not to have to engage the guards. He shook hands with Alex. They chatted, all of them more at ease this time since Sue knew from the phone calls that Bill was okay. Most striking about Bill, she would say later, was the weight he had lost. Eleven days with no food other than the Snowballs and soda made his already trim self look emaciated. Bill had not told her or Alex he was not eating. Alex told Bill he was having his lawyer petition the judge for an early release since the Jewish New Year was coming. They were all hoping that the judge would see fit to not make him spend one of the High Holy Days behind bars. Alex told him to keep his fingers crossed and to keep out of trouble.

That morning he had kept the same book from the library. He was slowly moving through it by reading a few pages and then falling asleep. It was great for the weekend days since it led him into naps that passed the time.

Sunday afternoon, Bill attended his second AA meeting. Different people led the meeting and spoke at the meeting, but the coffee and donuts were there and it was time out of the cell. On the way out Bill copped two extra donuts for eating later. He reasoned that they were left over anyway and he was in need so…He drank coffee and looked around and didn’t hear a word that was being said. Oh, his ears heard the words and his mind heard the words, but he didn’t process them. If anything, like at the first meeting a week ago, he stored the words and stockpiled the message.

Then it was back to work on Monday. Monday was Day Thirteen. Monday was just another day like any other work day and went by like any other work day. There was no early inmate arrival so no early morning guard show. They went off on time, same crew as Bill had started with. Bill drank chocolate milk for lunch and he had a soda that was given to him by the police at the range. He was also given a pack of cigarettes—that was just a gift, one each to each of the inmates.

Tuesday, Day Fourteen, brought a little surprise. When they got to the range, Bill was escorted inside the building where they actually put the bullets together, into the bullet factory. He was told that one of the inmates had been released, the slot had opened up and he was the one they assigned. He was told there was no choice involved, that this would be his next job.

For this job, he sat at a table on a production line. He was taught how to work the machine that pressed the tip of the bullet into its place. It was no big deal, really. The bullet parts were passed to  him and all he had to do was set them in place and carefully pull the handle of the machine so that the thing—he didn’t know what to call it—came down and pressed the parts together. Then he took the completed bullet and put it into the racks that were provided. Each bullet was inspected by a trained, police officer bullet maker before any bullet was used. Any item that did not pass muster was removed. These bullets were only used on the practice ranges. Bullets used anywhere by the police department on the job were all store bought and top quality.

This new job had its perks, as Bill would learn. It also had its negatives since Bill soon discovered a new set of blisters from the repetition on the handle of the machine. Maybe that was purposefully designed, he thought.