Bill had taken his usual seat in the paddy wagon. They were just marching the new inmates off the bus, a march Bill knew well. Bill and his work buddies watched the so-familiar routine not expecting to see anything they hadn’t seen before.
After exiting the bus, the new inmates, still in street clothes, were being lined up. The guards were just beginning the dance of intimidation and all seemed quite normal, quite usual until the same guard that had picked on Bill went off on one of the new arrivals. He was a big guy, much bigger than Bill, much bigger than the guard.
Everything was predictably unremarkable until Bill saw that big guy spit in the face of the guard.
“You see that?” the guard said to his friend.
“Sure did,” his friend said. “That’s assault on a police officer.”
“Sure is,” the guard said.
While they talked, the guard took out a handkerchief to wipe his face but another guard quietly walked behind the line. Bill saw him swing his nightstick one time and crack that big guy right on the back of his neck. The guy fell to his knees, completely stunned. That same guard reared back with the stick and cracked him again right across the back, and then again, two cracks to his rib cage.
No one on the paddy wagon said anything. Everyone watched intently. Everyone watched the guard who had been spit on kick that big guy in the face knocking him back and down, his legs still tucked under him since his knees were bent.
“Okay, big guy,” he said. “It’s gonna be a long stay for you.”
“F–k you,” the big guy said.
“Yeah, yeah,” the guard said. He walked beside the big guy and kicked his face once again. This kick knocked the big guy out.
The guard with the shotgun who oversaw everything stepped apart and said to everyone in the line “Move and you get shot. You think not, try me. No more words from me.”
The guard who had been spit on stepped over the man down and unzipped his fly. Bill could not exactly see this, but he did see the stream of urine flowing down from him over the face of the unconscious new arrival. He took his time and took a long, happy piss on the man’s face.
“Okay,” he said when he was finished peeing and had put himself back together. “Let’s march them off.”
Bill and his work detail buddies watched as the men in the line were led into the workhouse. The guard who had been spit on remained with the man down, and so did his partner. Only when no one else was in the courtyard/reception area but them, did the two guards go to work. The spit-on guard used carefully placed kicks, one after the next after the next. His partner used the tip of his nightstick, jab after jab. They beat the big guy about the ribs, the buttocks, the belly, the thighs and the souls of his feet. They beat him until they were tired of beating him, but more calculatedly, they beat him until they knew it was enough, until they knew they couldn’t get away with doing any further damage.
Finally, they pulled him by hooking their night sticks into his handcuff chain. They pulled him out of the way so the bus could move and let the paddy wagons out to head off to the work details.
“No one,” the guard on Bill’s paddy wagon said, “no one, saw anything. Anything,” he repeated. “Anything,” he said a third time with finality.