Felipe Lugo made a bad mistake, and now he's starting two years of prison time to pay for it. He says goodbye to a girlfriend and faces life inside with men. Men tougher than he is maybe. Men with their own idea of how Felipe should be. And now he has to make a choice: to be a wolf or a shepherd?
This story appears in the author's print collection, Rough Cut.
Once inside three more security gates, Felipe looked around the prison yard. Everything looked gray, washed out, dirty. Crappy netless basketball hoops leaned at both ends of the court, scruffy benches on the sidelines attested to years of use and abuse. The court itself was a faded pink with its foul lines barely visible.
The ball game slowed as the parade of fresh meat walked by, chains clanking in the hot afternoon sun.
A lanky redhead with blotchy skin hooked the basketball over his hip and hooted, “Oooh, baby baby! Virgins.” Men swarmed to the chain link fence between them. A chorus of lewd comments and gestures followed the chained men. It looked absurdly like the wave at a sporting event but beneath it was cruelty and dominance, not the froth of entertainment.
A couple of the new guys flinched as one of the ball players clambered onto the chain link fence to scream at them. “Come here, honey, suck my cock!”
“Chickie, chickie, chickie.”
“Gonna plug your ass, babycakes, plug you hard!”
The prison guards stood still, arms crossed, eyes dark.
Felipe kept his face impassive, not making eye contact, wide shoulders rigid beneath his orange jumpsuit. A trickle of sweat eased down his neck into the itchy stiff cotton.
Two years. Twenty four months, 104 weeks 730 days. The numbers throbbed in his head like a sore tooth.
Something was off but Felipe couldn’t pin it down. The yard, the guards in their tan uniforms, their wide-brimmed hats to protect their faces from the sun. The gleam of the rifles in the towers at all four corners. It wasn’t until he was led into a cell on the third floor and the door banged shut behind him so hard he bit his tongue that he figured it out.
Marion was an old prison, built in the 20s, concrete block construction with an inner yard, classic prison format. Everything was beat-up, worn and tired looking. Except ...
The twelve-foot-tall chain link fence with its ugly, curling razor wire at the top was brand new.