By Joshua Ryan
So, off the boat, and a few comments from fellow passengers — “Enjoying your vacation?” “How’s your day goin?” “Have a good time, losers!” Too bad — those guys had to stay in some hotel on Water Street, but I was going to prison! Then the ride through town and up the mountain — big deal; I’d been there! But coming to that fence again, the fence that separated prison property from everything else — that was major! When I was a little rich boy with a spotless record, they wouldn’t let me through the gate; now that I was a criminal being taken to his place of punishment, no problem — come on in! Welcome to the nation’s most exclusive country club!
So the gate opened and the van rolled in, and it seemed like right away — there it was! The big house, the end of the road, the concrete mama, the consequence of my crimes, the place where I’d be spending the rest of my life! I can’t pretend about this — when I first saw it, I thought, “What have I done?” I’d felt small when I was sitting on the deck, getting yucks from those college kids. How small did I feel when I saw this place with a wall that was 30 feet high! I’d wanted to go to prison … Did I want to go THERE?
Answer: Oh yeah.
Continue reading The Prison Writer – Chapter 19
By Joshua Ryan
He stopped the car in something that looked like a garage or an old bus depot. There was even a bus parked in there, and a whole line of guys climbin off of it. They were all dressed like me — I mean they were all wearing cuffs and shackles! Their clothes were all different, though. Some of them were wearing those cool jailhouse stripes that you always see online, and some of them were dressed in various styles of orange. About half of them were like me — normal clothes. I could see what was happening.
This bus had stopped at a few jails, and some of these were guys like me that had just reported for prison, like I was “supposed” to have done, but some of them had been sittin in jail already. Not enough money, I guess! But they were all going to prison. And so was I! It didn’t take long for me to take my place in line with them. Lieutenant Brannigan pulled me out of the back seat, and a friend of his came up, another gray-uniformed DOC goon, and I was swept away, into the tide of bodies comin off the bus. Too bad I didn’t get to know the Lieutenant better — I’d never had a hunk like that grabbing my crotch before.
Continue reading The Prison Writer – Chapter 18
By Joshua Ryan
I realize that writers need to predict the questions that their readers will ask, so I’ll answer the question that’s on your mind: Did I think about what would happen if I found out I wouldn’t actually get celled up with Steven? Or if I found out that I hated him or something?
So the answer is, yeah! I thought about it. It got more interesting during the months between my passing the first check to Donald and my appointment with the arresting officer. At first I hadn’t wanted to give it much thought. I was so fascinated by the idea of getting close to this man whose story I was putting myself into … It would be a tragedy if anything went wrong about him.
But gradually I was getting a feel for writing my own story. I don’t mean writing, like, on a keyboard. I mean, I’d got this idea about going to prison, and I’d written the whole script, and now it was getting produced, and it was exactly the kind of story I wanted to be in! And if Steven got cut out of the script somehow, I would still be in it. It was my own story.
Continue reading The Prison Writer – Chapter 17
By Joshua Ryan
The party happened at a really nice steak place (“top ranked,” my brother said), and Wyatt and his friends ate and drank, and you could tell that in five years they would all be totally fat. Not that I don’t like to eat steak and drink. Because I do. But anyway, they were going on and on with all this sports talk that is totally uninteresting to me, while I kept ordering drinks with my fake ID, which made me feel like the kind of person the Department of Corrections calls “an offender”! although everybody at Kingston does it, and they’re all on their way to boring jobs, and finally I heard something that sounded like an interesting story. Which was that Donald so and so, who was in their class at St. Swithin’s, had fallen on hard times. His dad had gotten in all kinds of complications and Donald had to leave his job, which was “nothing to brag about anyway,” and come back and live at home, and now he had this terrible job that was barely enough to pay the mortgage. It was some manager job with, “get this! The Department of Corrections!” They all laughed at their friend Donald.
Then Wyatt said, “Hey Collypus! Maybe that’s the job that you should train for!” I blushed and squirmed, and they wanted to know why. Wyatt said, “Because he spends his time taking pictures of convicts,” and I had to explain that OVER A YEAR BEFORE we’d been on the ferry to Maskawa, and I saw something interesting, etc. “Yeah?” one of them said. “Sure you don’t have a boyfriend in prison someplace?”
Continue reading The Prison Writer – Chapter 16
By Joshua Ryan
I know I’m coming into this story pretty late. I also know that if it was a story by Steven Meres, the plot would be set up so it was all about the hero. If you liked him, you’d be disappointed if anybody else barged in. If you didn’t like him, I guess you’d be happy if somebody showed up to grab your attention and twist it for a while. Whatever … this is where I come into the plot.
I am Carl Owen Abbott III. Despite that, I’ve always been known as Colly. I was the “college kid” on the boat that day. I put that in quotes because I was 19 already. Meaning fun’s over, right? Time to decide what you’re gonna do for the rest of your life. Not sure how seriously I took that, but…
Naturally I was in college. Everybody goes to college, and my grandfather’s name was carved on the lecture hall at Kingston. The same hall where I scrolled gay porn during lectures. Laughing out loud here! I was a pretty good student, but I knew that even if I weren’t I’d get a decent legacy grade and a more than decent legacy job. If I wanted one. If I just wanted to hang out and read for the rest of my life, that would be fine too. Better, in fact. My brother had been running the company since our parents died, and he didn’t need to be bothered with Collylocks, as he called me. Yeah, nice blond hair. But the point is, I’d never been punished for anything, and maybe that had something to do with what was gonna happen.
Continue reading The Prison Writer – Chapter 15
By Joshua Ryan
A month later, on a dead Sunday afternoon, I was lying in the cell when I was told that I had a visitor. The idea was incomprehensible. No one had written; no one had come. Why would they come? And why would I want them to come? For what? To view an exhibit of the once promising author who was now a convict? To laugh at me in my bald head and my convict suit, and go back and pity me online? Basically, the only visitors willing to come that far were the ones smuggling some “business” in or out for some convict, and that wasn’t me.
But now I was being taken to the Visiting Room. It’s a place in that Victorian castle that juts out from the front of the Pen, and it looks like it hasn’t changed since the 1890s. There’s a high ceiling, marble floors, big windows, and a large collection of cast iron bars. In the center there’s a long, wide table, and in the center of that is an ironwork grille running up to the ceiling. Visitors and prisoners sit on separate sides and enter from separate doors. Visitors sit on chairs with arms; prisoners sit on little wooden stools. On that Sunday the room was unusually full. Ten or twelve people on each side. I mean, ten or twelve visitors on one side, and ten or twelve convicts on the other. During the time I’d been at Maskawa, I’d never heard a convict being called a person.
Continue reading The Prison Writer – Chapter 14
By Joshua Ryan
No one wants to read a complete account of my daily life. I’ll hit a few of the high points on the tour.
Food: Early morning, noon, late afternoon — you go to the Chow Hall, which is that huge concrete thing on the Yard that looks like a feature of some winter Olympics. You sit on a steel stool attached to a long steel table, squeezed into your seat together with miles of other men with numbers on their backs. The food is substantial: mes compliments au chef. It’s also cheap, greasy, and ugly. First time I went to the chow hall, Finn showed me how to line up and get my grub. I sat with him at a table and he told the other convicts, “Here’s my new bunkie, Ven.” “Ven” for “Steven.” All right, I was Ven.
Continue reading The Prison Writer – Chapter 13
By Joshua Ryan
I was dressed now in full prison garb, and I had nothing to do but watch the other convicts putting on their new identity — pulling their shorts over their butts, jamming their legs into their pants, lacing their feet into their boots, shouldering their coats onto their backs. The last one to start was a pretty little guy, 19 or 20. Maybe I should say that he probably used to be a pretty little guy, before they shipped him to prison. There was still enough of his prettiness to make me follow the lines of his plump little butt and his pert little dick as he stuffed them into his stiff prison pants. His dick was hard, going into his trousers. I thought I might be getting hard myself. I even remembered why I was there — to get my head and my dick in proper order and write that great and wonderful book about prison. How would I describe that guy? What words would I use…?
A door slammed; a muscular voice bellowed through the room.
“All right! Form up for the fish parade!”
So much for the convict bosses — an officer had appeared. He was a 40-year-old with a Marine Corps face. The tag on his crisp gray shirt said SGT GIDEON.
Continue reading The Prison Writer – Chapter 12