Monday, January 16, 1984

Rums-rums, rattle-rattle, lock-lock. “Officer, prison room …”, that’s as far as I get. The falsetto voice drops something. Decent as I am, I bend down to pick it up.

Hiss, clap, groan – a sharp pain in my neck. I drop to my knees and look up, perplexed. The fistula voice pulls back its rubber truncheon and scowls at me. The moral of the story – don’t ever move when you salute.

Then it’s off to work. A windowless workroom the size of a small classroom. A few tables and chairs. In the corners, lots of waist-high paper sacks filled with something. A few boxes on the tables. We’ll be locked in.

The boys explain to me what to do: take small pieces of Bakelite from the full sacks. Reach into a box and finger out small metal pins. Reach into the other boxes and grab a handful of tiniest screws, washers and nuts.

Place the pins between two pieces of Bakelite and screw them together. A mains plug is ready. The whole thing systematically please so that I have at least one empty bag full of hundreds of completed pieces by the end of the day.

In passing, I learn that the fistula voice is called “babyface” and is actually quite alright. The punch was just for fun. If they had known I would fall for it, they would have warned me. Next time, just stand still, rattle off the message and wait for instructions.

The day drags on. An hour of yard walk in between. Otherwise hours screwing of plugs, crude male jokes and careful scanning conversations. It’s going to be a damn long week. Only solitary confinement lasts longer. 𝓣𝓸 𝓑𝓮 𝓒𝓸𝓷𝓽𝓲𝓷𝓾𝓮𝓭

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