Locked up with the Badboy.

I take a seat on the floor in front of him, "What?"

He combs a hand through his dark hair and sighs, "This is a maximum security prison, the people here have killed babies, shot up schools , killed multiple partners and run crime rings and you, are saying that I'm mean? "


8. Sh-wer


Apparently the person that gets Ben the books also managed to sneak a pack of cards inside because he spends most of the day shuffling them and passing an occasional comment on how the programs I watch are shitty and belong in the fifties. I just inform him that he’s jealous because he wants to be like me and have nothing else to do all day.

“You know how to play poker?” he asks some time after our dinner.

Rubbing my neck that’s only a little sweaty from jogging up and down and around and around our cell, I walk over to him, “Sure.” Even through I have absolutely no idea I have absolutely no clue how to play. “Is it Texas hold em?” I add remembering a line from some indie film I’ve watched.

“Sure, we can play that, but no betting on the first round.” Ben sits on his bunk, I’m on a stool. Efficiently he riffles through the cards twice and flicks them so they fall like a waterfall from his right hand into his left, “Show-off,” I say.

He begins to dish the cards out, “Well you gotta know how to shuffle properly when you’re in a gang.”

“Wait, you were in a gang?” Now that is interesting…

“Yeah,” He shrugs like it’s nothing, but the way his eyes dart speaks to me.

“It’s just that you don’t seem it, you’re too…” I pause, try to think of the right word… “You’re too refined.”

“Uh-ha? Because I read books I’m not allowed to be in a gang.”

“I’m not saying that, it’s just… Hey where is your tattoo?” I ask innocently, hoping that it’s on his shoulder or his chest or somewhere hot.

“My gang didn’t have a Tattoo.” He says totally shattering my daydream.

“No tattoo!” More loudly than I mean to, “What are they called?”


“Oh Vo?” I repeat, tying to match his twist of tongue.

“Yep.” He deals out the cards, giving the pack a quick riffle before placing it down. His hands are a little shaky now.

“I’ve never heard of them?” I pick up my hand expecting him to have cheated with his mad ‘gang skills’ and surprise surprise all my cards are threes.

“That’s because they’re more sophisticated, they let other gangs take the street cred and act all tough while they make the money.” He turns a ace of hearts over and turns around to grab something.

Almost instantly I reach across the table and steal a card from the pile, dropping my three to the floor. “So you were in a crime syndicate?”

He looks at his hands and bites his cheek annoyed, “Yeah I guess…” Ben turns two more cards over and ace and a three.

“Nice.” I place the hand down, it has a six in it now, which I believe decreases my chances of losing by about .05%

Not perturbed Ben places his hand on the table, together with the Ace it makes a line of hearts which I take to mean that he’s won.

“Give me all ya money.” Ben drawls with his hands in pistol position and a cowboy yawn stretched across his face.

“Never!!”  I sweep the cards into my hand and jumping backwards use the only card skill I have; I throw the card, in the second before it leaves my hand I give my wrist a flick. It sails toward the bunk and catches Ben on the ear.

He looks shocked, then pleased, “You don’t know who yer messing with Missy.” His oldtimer accent is so on point he manages to hit me with return fire.

“Dis town ain’t big enough for the two of us,” I laugh as I make a break from the door. His cards follow me, I dodge and ninja star a few back at the bunk. As I try to make  a break for the bunk he closes me down, this time using his arms instead of cards.

We both end up on the ground, me in a bear hug, him trying to contain the fury of the wild west. “I got you all day partner,” he says as I finish my struggling.

I look up, having the perfect view of his face and eyes. I can feel his arms wrapped around my


We look at each other, and rather awkwardly stand up, “Wow,” he whistles making me laugh-


Ben rolls his eyes, and pulls the fingers to our television as I scurry to the back of our cell. As he sticks out his tongue and then throws a book at the door I begin to wonder if he has a problem with authority.

“Ben, come on!” I whisper as faces appear in our door, “You’re going to get in trouble.”

He doesn’t listen, instead picks up the mattress of his bed and with his back to me begins to urinate, seconds later and while he still has his… little man out security tackles him which is unfortunate because Ben’s face lands in the mattress he just peed on.

Guard Simpson appears in front of me, “New Cell,” She says by way of greeting.

“Hi Guard Simpson.” I say, peering around her to get a view of Ben. Who’s yelling and thrashing and being manipulated my two I just realise female guards. His back is to me but I can see them bend him backwards, handcuff his bare arms behind his back and tuck his man-

Mt Simpson moves in front of me, and this time has a grip on my arm, “New Cell,” she repeats and without waiting for a response drags me beside her.

Mt – Guard Simpson pulls me halfway down the coorridoor before I find my own feet and try to keep pace beside her. None of the armed guards accompany us, they must all be occupied with Ben who I now consider bat-shit crazy and totally Bi-polar. We walk for quite a while through the steel and cell jungle before we reach a large room with double door entry.

“New Cell,” Guards Simpson says gesturing inward, she still has one paw on my shoulder in case I try to run away or something. One of the doors are open so I peer inside, it’s a large room, at least twice, maybe three times as large as the one I share with Ben. Five soft sheeted beds occupy the area.

I feel one of Mt Simpson’s hands on my back, with ease she pushes me into the cell where I almost fall forwards and narrowly avoid giving my face carpet burn, once again the door slams shut beside me.

“Attitude!” I say as I pick myself up. I think about having a tantrum and trying to kick the door down or  smash a bed but I give up on the idea mostly because I don’t want to act like Benny who I’m definitely going to have a word to because peeing on his bed really isn’t going to help us…

I notice a door on the other side of the room, it’s painted white so probably blended in with the wall before. Just about skipping I open it and to my sheer delight discover a walled off toilet and a walled off shower, both with their own doors and everything. I now understand how people feel when they find gold or buried treasure.

Placing a towel on the heated towel rail and giggling at the sheer luxury of everything I get in the shower and heat the water up really hot. Because it’s a fine shower head and the jail actually have decent pressure here the water comes out in tiny tiny droplets. Even as they settle on my skin I feel myself relax, this is what life’s about. I tell myself, this is what life’s about.

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