By Joshua Ryan
Chapter 16: Customer Satisfaction Remains High
Next morning, I wake up, my browns are hangin there on the bunk post, just waitin for me to get into em, and everybody’s runnin around in their shorts, doin stuff, and light’s comin in through the bars, and now I’m gettin ready for the first full day of my life as a slappie! And I’m excited again.
The latrine was lots easier this time. Smelled worse, but no problem about squattin down, and the shit came outta me so fast that the other dudes were callin me “Speed Ho” and some other obnoxious things that meant they were definitely gettin to like me. Way down the line, I saw the dude that was talkin to me that night, and he was lookin at me with sort of a smile on his face—I guess it was a smile, but whatever, he was tellin me to remember what he’d told me. One of the slaps even came over to me and showed me how to use those clunky little shavers that are attached to the wall. Hate those things!
So from then on, it got better, and it got better fast, cuz I found out I’d had a really good idea about keeping in some kind of shape after my high school sports, and all the jacks and the crunches and so on that you get in Training were fine with me. I was doin great, and I was gettin a lot of attention in my little brown y-fronts! Which is more than I got in high school, or that college gym. Anyway, that first day, after supposedly bustin us down with the exercise thing, they put us on a truck—which was a BIG kick! I’d never been on a truck before, nobody I knew ever had one, that’s for sure—and they took us out to some field where we were supposed to hoe the weeds or some bullshit, and they fuckin chained us together! I knew I’d probably be workin in a group or a crew or a gang or something, but this was MUCH hotter than I’d imagined. I’d always done everything by myself, almost, except for family stuff, and how hot could that be, lol! And of course I’d been on those sports teams, so that was doin stuff together. But the problem was, after the game or the practice or whatever, everybody went home. They just left. Maybe some of them hung out together, but they didn’t hang with me. I think I mentioned that. Anyway, when you’re a gay guy, even if everybody likes you, you’re not gettin a lotta those Essential Social Contacts. But these dudes in the Coop were actually fastened to me! Fastened by the leg! Nobody could leave! From problem to solution in one easy step.
And actually, the ones that were next to me on the chain were pretty good about showing me what to do—I guess because they didn’t want a load of dirt in their boots from me bein new to the whole thing. So I was definitely starting to feel more “accepted,” and when the time came when everybody was told to take down their shorts and have a piss, I had no trouble doin that, despite a few comments bein made about my size. Which is pretty big, by the way! But that doesn’t stop people making jokes.
So, long story short, by the third day or so I was workin better, shittin better, and gettin treated a lot better. The food didn’t get any better! But it was beginning to seem more like my food that I’d have to keep eating, instead of this horrible accident that shouldn’t have occurred. One reason I think the other dudes stopped hazing me is because a few of them really wanted to hook up with me, and not just on the chain! Not all of them, and yeah, not most of them! But a few were sorta gettin close when they didn’t need to, and I was even feeling like maybe I should watch out and not go to the latrine alone and so forth, because you know what you hear about dudes in prison. That was around the time when Boss Churchill took the night chain off my leg, which didn’t last that long, actually. But anyway, the boss pulled a couple of em over and had a little “talk” with them, and after that they didn’t seem so interested anymore. And I should mention that the boss wasn’t interested either; I was just a little ant as far as he was concerned, and he always had some slap to get in his rack when he wanted one.
I should tell you, though, that actually I could defend myself if I needed to, at least I could try, but why put yourself in the position, right? So I never hung out in the latrine at night, like some of them did. Besides, I couldn’t see havin my dick sucked next to the shitholes, dude. If it was out in the fields, maybe I would have! It might be a kick to ball some dude in front of all the other dudes! But they wouldn’t let me—damn! So yeah, I was definitely gettin, like, “overstimulated” by my “environment”!
But now I should talk about this dude on the rack next to me, the one I mentioned. His name was Frank, so they called him Franco. We started hangin out on our racks after we got back from chow, just talkin about stuff, and he was a pretty interesting guy. He was like 35, 36—pretty old, but he was still sorta hot. Not too tall but strong and wiry, you know. He said he couldn’t tell me where he was from, because his mother was American and his father was French, which you could tell when you looked at him, and they’d moved around a lot, I guess because they were rich and that’s what they did. Then he’d moved around a lot too, or, like he said, “traveled,” because he never settled down. It seemed like he’d had a lot of businesses, and from the way he mentioned “an old family friend” and “a school chum” and “their country house in Oxfordshire,” I got the idea that there was a lot of money involved. “Yeah,” he said, looking like . . . what’s that word . . . rueful–he looked rueful–“yeah, you oughta see me in a tuxedo.” Then he looked down at his slappie suit, and I guess I knew what he was thinking. “Actually, that’s what I was wearing the night I got in trouble, in the casino over on Aruna. A very posh place, Aruna, before you get arrested.”
That’s all he said about why he was serving a life sentence in the SLP, and I don’t want you to think that he told me all that stuff at the same time, like he wanted to impress me. But he did like me, and I liked him. More than just liked! I didn’t mind him being so much older. I was comparing him to my dad, and you know where that could lead you. You didn’t need Dr. Freud on that one! But there was something about him being older, and, like, not complaining about being chained up with a lot of, face it, bogus stupid kids like me . . . I liked him a lot, whether he reminded me of the way my dad should have been or not. He was solid. He was just a solid guy.
So one night after lights out, I was feelin lonely—so what’s new?—and I saw him in his rack over there, and I just moved over beside him and whispered “wanta fuck, man?” And yeah, I was one tired slappie the next morning. It was good, and we did it two or three times more. It was different from, like Patrick and Dobie—lots different—but if you asked me which I’d rather have, at that point, I’d have said Franco. No question.
But believe it or not, time was movin fast. In only a week or so I’d be ready for the auction block! And Franco had already been in the Coop for a while when I checked in. I guess because he was older, they couldn’t sell him right away. Then one day I’d been trucked to the fields with everybody and I looked around . . . . And where was Franco? “Yeh Franco,” the boss said, “they takin him to thee Room this mornin.” Meaning the Show Room. Where they auction you off. “Oh, OK,” I said. But you know how I felt. And he never came back. He used to say, “Maybe somebody will buy me and make me his butler.” Hope so! But when you’re a slappie, that’s part of the deal. You’re not the one that’s choosing anymore.
Everybody knew that, but it didn’t stop the slappies from freakin out about who would buy them and what it would be like and on and on, and it was gettin to me too. So I lay down on my rack and I had a talk with myself about why I was there in the first place, which was that I didn’t want to be worrying about my life and what was gonna happen to me, and just when I was gettin used to my life in brown and lovin it, was I gonna start gettin all worked up about my Career Trajectory? It was funny, when you thought about it. Also, why were these dudes so worried about, like, maybe somebody would want them to have sex or work real hard or whatever? Maybe that would be a good thing! Just as likely. But anyway, the point of bein a slap is that you don’t try to plan this stuff. Or any stuff.
To be continued …