A Week in Chains – Part 6

By asiancuffs

Part 6 – Free like a bird/a night in the detention cell

The sleep was good even though I was in seated hands above head shackle position. We were released early in the morning (again couldn’t tell the exact time, I guessed it was around 5:30 – 6:00). After our final washing at the stream, we returned to the foyer for our debriefing by the warden. He told us that we have done a good job and the standards of the walking paths were acceptable for beginners. There will be a wagon to pick us up shortly and we will meet at the roadside. Meanwhile we could pack our stuffs (do we have anything to pack?). They will take off our shackles that we have been wearing for days when we got back to the city. We were dismissed and some of us start heading to the roadside while the guards packed their stuffs.

After we all assembled at the roadside, our wagon still hasn’t arrived yet. There were quite a lot of vehicles passing by and most of them slowed down to take a look of this chain gang. After the wagon arrived, we all squeezed into it with 2 guards sitting with us. Our journey again took about 2 hours. The guards were very nice now as we have finished our program and chatted with us. They told us that we were treated quite different from the real inmates. For real inmates, they only welded ankle shackles on them. Our full set of shackles were only put on us upon our request. The ankle shackles could weld on the inmates permanently as they can change their pants even with them on. This immediately bought up some discussions between us wondering how we could take off our pants with our ankles shackled. We couldn’t figure it out and they told us they could show us when we got back to the station. If they put this kind of full shackles on inmates, then the inmates couldn’t change their clothes and will smell like us now. Then I realized that the guards were having their faces turned away from us facing the small windows to breathe. They told us that we really smell like shit. Well, I could understand that, just try to imagine, after rolling in dirt and sweating in the same T-shirt for 4 days, you can imagine how smelly we were now. Just couldn’t wait to take a shower.

The wagon arrived back to the station and we tumbled down. After wearing the restraints for 4 days, we all get used to them now and we were able to jump up and down without any trouble. We attracted attention of other officers walking by and they all smiled to us. I know they must be wondering why there were such stupid guys paying them and want them to treat us like inmates. We were led into a storage room and the chief welcomed us by shaking our hands. He asked us if we like our restraints or not and we told him we all love it. Then he told the guards to remove our neck collar and the lead chains and 2 guards were ready to break our shackles. The guys started to line up for their release while Chuck and I having a chat with the chief about the arrangements this time. Chuck bought up some improvements and he is going to stay one more day in the restraints and locked up in the detention cell to experience if it is feasible to add this element to the future role play. He asked the other members if they like to do it or not. Daniel and William have a flight to make back home and they could not. Eric and Vincent would like to but however they rather have a shower and get changed right away. Since my planning was quite flexible, I decided to stay with Chuck for one more night. Then we watched them breaking their shackles. The guards hammered it for a few times and the welding parts were broken. The chief examined the melted bolt and concluded that they must heat the bolt more thoroughly next time because without the proper heating, the welds were to ‘crispy’ and easy to break. After their shackles were all removed, we all went down to the shower room. We have been bathing for our last few days without soap and shampoo, we think we can use a whole bottle for shower. The 4 guys were all naked and enjoyed their shower. They all have a T-shirt sun tan mark on their body and their wrists. Chuck and I also went under the shower, the 4 guys helped us to bath as we were still wearing our shackles. I could feel layers of dirt were rubbed off my body. Since I couldn’t take off my T-shirt and pants, they used some soap to ‘wash’ them for me. After rinsing for at least 20 minutes, we were all done with the shower. They use the hair blow dryer to blow dry our T-shirts and pants. We put our boots on again and we felt 20 pounds lighter after the shower.

The chief and all the guards joined us for lunch in the canteen. Some officers came to us and say hello and I think all of them know our role play. I saw the free guys were not too get used to without the heavy restraints because when they lifted or picked up something, they used too much force. We have an open discussion about our play during lunch and everybody enjoyed it especially when Eric talked about his escape.

We returned to the big room on the first floor of the station where the police bought our personal belongings for our identification. The four guys identified their stuffs and get ready to go to the airport. We say goodbye and gave each other a hug. It was hard to hug others if you were wearing wrists restraints with a 2 feet connecting chains. We waved goodbye to them from the window as they were taken away by the police car to the airport but the only difference is there were no handcuffs, leg irons or shackles this time. Chuck and I had a discussion with the chief and warden about the overall operation of the play. The guys just left will have a comment report sent to Chuck afterwards. As we were the first time to do it, Chuck is going to stayed in his shackles for an extra night to see if this element should be added or not.

They fixed the neck collar and the leading chains to me again as it was easier to walk with the leading chain lifting my ankle shackle. 2 officers led me down to the men’s detention cells area. It have 4 cells, 2 on each side facing each other was about 100 square feet in size equipped with a flushing toilet, a sink basin and 4 concrete bench style beds. Some blankets and pillows were on the floor in the corner. There was no window and a florescent tube was the only light source. 2 electric fans were installed on the ceiling and running with a annoying noise from the motor. The cells were empty and no suspect was held. The whole cell area was quiet only with the noise of my clanking chains when I walked around my cell meaninglessly. Chuck was still upstairs with the chiefs and that isolation filled me again after a while. I called the cell guards and no response was given. Then I took all the blankets and pillows and arranged them on the concrete bed so that it looked like a comfortable bed in a five star hotel.

I heard the familiar sound of clanking chains and I knew Chuck arrived the cell. He was locked into the cell next to me and I could not see him at all. The officer left the cell area and we were alone again. I talked to him and he told me that he was in full restraints like before. We didn’t chat much as we fell asleep very soon. I don’t know how much time have elapsed when an officer came in and told us that they need to put some detained suspects into the cell. They tried to separate them for detention and ask if we dared to share a cell with them. The suspects were young teenagers arrested because of a street fight and they were not dangerous criminals. They have to be detained for the night and the police will decide if they want to press charges on them. We think we were OK to handle these young guys even though we were in restraints.

After a while, police officers bought them down with their hands cuffed behind. There were 5 guys in total, 2 of them locked together in a cell while the remaining 3 was locked in 3 separate cells with the following arrangement:

Cell A: Chuck + 1 suspect

Cell B: Howard + 1 suspect

On the other side facing us were:

Cell C: Facing Chuck with 1 suspect locked alone

Cell D: Facing me with 2 suspects (they looked like they were friends)

Their handcuffs were removed after they were placed secured inside the cell and my cellmate was shocked when he saw me in this set of heavy restraints. He looked at me and asked me something in local language that I don’t understand. I looked at him with a cool sight and answered him in just 2 words: “Speak English”. He repeated his request of sharing a set of blanket and pillow from me. Then he yelled to the other inmates in local language again. Before I take any more action, I heard Chuck next door saying to all that only English is allowed and if he found anyone talking in a language he don’t understand, they better watched out. This really works for these young boys as they were scared of our heavy restraints and they don’t know our background. Usually prisoners put in this kind of heavy restraints were high risk and dangerous. I felt funny and I want to play a role of murderer, bank robber, drug dealer or even rapist.

I granted the request of my cellmate. He approached me and thanked me politely. He then make his own bed and lay down turning his face away from me. I think he is afraid of me. The room became quiet again with only the guys in cell D have some light whispering conversation between them. Then Chuck suddenly asked them why they were arrested and I realized that I should have some echo to him. Then I stand up and move towards my cellmate’s bed and asked the same question. He sat on his bed and moved away from me as far as possible and he looked scared. The answer came from Cell C, he told us that they have some arguments and started a fight. They got arrested because some private properties were damaged during the fight and they refused to stop even when the police arrived and ordered them to stop. There was some struggling with the police and they thought the police was going to charge them with resisting arrest. Then they asked us why we were in restraints even when we were securely placed inside a cell because they know usually when suspects were inside a cell, their handcuffs and other form of restraints should be removed. Chuck told them that our shackles were permanently welded and stayed in our hands and ankles forever because we were serious and high risk inmates. I told my cellmate to examine my shackles and asked if he could find any keyholes or padlocks. He asked me how long I have been wearing them and I told him that for 2 months already. They asked us about our past and related questions and again we have a chance to give them crazy answers. Chuck robbed a bank and got 15 years while I was a drug dealer and got 20 years. We have served 3 years in the jail already and we are now doing our 6 months labor. During these 6 months, we will be going around the country to do some social work such as constructions. During this period of time, we will be restrained permanently by shackles until we get back to our jail. This is our turn to help the people in the suburb of this city. There was more conversation about related subjects and the officers had 2 patrol in our cell during this period of time.

The officers gave us metal plates and spoon with some rice and meat for dinner. After we finished dinner, an officer came to Cell C and told the suspect inside to turn around and get close to the bars so that his hand could be cuffed from outside. He was then bought him away. My cellmate told me that he was going for questioning. When he returned, another boy was taken away in handcuffs. After they all finished, they told me is about 22:00. I felt sleepy and went to a deep sleep on my comfortable bed for the night.


NOTE FROM METAL: This is a true story that City of Life posted, in multiple parts, to the Yahoo groups back in the 1990s, about a real-life chain gang experience. Here on the Metalbond site, in the hopes of locating the author, I had posted Parts 1, 2, 3 and 5 several years back — but I was missing part 4 (and had been looking for it all this time). Recently, City of Life contacted me with the missing Part 4 — plus two additional chapters that I did not know existed. It is now posted here in its entirely, with permission of the author, who writes, “That was a wonderful hard labour experience for me some 20 years ago. At that time, I was still young and adventurous, wonder if I dare to do that now.”


To be continued tomorrow

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