jailhouse-door-2Bill had planned to pop the brown bombers so he’d get the bathroom call at the range where he could sit comfortably in a private stall inside a private men’s bathroom. That surely was not happening. He waited as long as he could, hoping  his stomach would calm down, hoping he could wait until he got home to go now that he knew he was getting out. That was not happening either. Since he had no idea when he would be called or who was picking him up, he finally swallowed the laxative pills about eleven o’clock, when he could stand the pain no more.

Deep inside, he was happy the tough had been put in place. He was happy he didn’t have to make any more bullets. He was happy to return the book he hadn’t read even a quarter of. (He would see that book again some ten years later in a graduate course on Dickens and Carlyle, a course  examining the intricate relationship between fiction and non fiction.) He was happy all around except for his stomach and bowels which were killing him. Too many Snowballs, he thought. Too much garbage food and no real food at all. He hadn’t eaten a meal of any sort for seventeen days. He’d lost weight, but he wouldn’t know how much till he put on his civvies.

He smoked. He tried to read. He got up and paced. He followed the lunch call, marched to the mess hall even though there was just about no one there. He discovered that with almost everyone out on work details they served the same crappy sandwiches they delivered on site. No matter. He’d be home soon enough. He sat in silence amongst the sick inmates who couldn’t go to work and those inmates just dogging it. Several inmates, like himself, were just waiting to get out.

Back in his cell, he paced. He smoked. He waited. He stripped his bed and packed himself up. He rolled up his mattress so the bunk was the same as he’d found it. He paced some more. He smoked some more.

Then it happened. His stomach growled one loud explosion and he was gonna burst. His insides were like an erupting volcano. He ran to the john. At this moment he could care less where he was, who could see, what was going on around him. Only by the grace of God did he get his pants and underwear down.

Suddenly, he understood the nickname. Brown Bomber. A flood, seventeen days worth of brown muddy water poured out of him from the back. He’d taken the brown bombers and now he was a brown bomber. Wave after wave after wave of fluid shot out as if his butt hole were a fire hose. He flushed three separate times and was ready to flush a fourth when he heard the announcement.

“Wynn, Bill. Roll ’em up.”

“Goddammit,” Bill said aloud. “Jesus Christ.”

Wouldn’t you know it, he thought to himself. Ain’t that the way. He squeezed for all he was worth, wiped his butt haphazardly, washed his hands, grabbed his stuff and ran out of there.

After he’d surrendered the prison’s stuff and changed into his civvies, he dropped the workhouse uniform in the laundry bins and was led to the receiving desk which was also the release desk. He was given his keys, sixty cents and a comb, his only possessions. The same guard who had overseen his losing his hair walked him to the exit gate. The Dean of the University Honors College from which Bill had graduated was waiting for him. He drove Bill home, a forty-minute ride.

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