Sunday August 2nd, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the guard.

Had an enjoyable day off, featuring play time at the park with Max and Kat and her brother's family, as well as an anniversary dinner at the restaurant Rebecca is working at. She was our server and snagged us the best table on the patio, so that was pretty great. Plus Kat and I haven't gone out for dinner for just the two of us in... a very long time, actually.

Max had dinner at Kat's parents place and from the sounds of it had a blast with his cousin, as usual. And before his nap this afternoon he helped Kat and I make a batch of pickles using pickling cukes, dill, and garlic from our garden.

Back to work in the garden tomorrow morning.


It's not easy to become a prison guard. There's a lot of work involved, and I'm not just talking about the training. I mean, sure, it's a tough grind. But it's a hard job and they need to make sure that the men and women who wear this uniform are equally hard.

I've put in more work than any of my peers. I can guarantee you that. I'm not saying they haven't paid their dues, no sir. Not at all. It's just that I've had to put in extra time, sacrificed more, bled more to get here.

I've had to. It's no easy thing to get this job under a false name. The paperwork alone is daunting. Don't even get me started on the foul dregs of humanity I was forced into contact with. I've lost count of how much money it cost me.

The background checks for this job are no joke. I made sure Howard Davis - that's my new name - would come up clean. Now that was a lot of work, let me tell you. Above and beyond that, though, is a simpler matter: learning to respond to a name that is not your own as naturally as if you were born with it. Hesitations lead to suspicions. Too many suspicions lead to too many questions and that... well, that just needs to be nipped in the bud, as they say.

I've had to nip a few buds along the road to here.

But it's been worth it, without question. I have no regrets. I do not consider the last five years wasted time, not in the least. Because I've finally achieved my goal. Everything except me has been in place for years now. Finally I can step into my role and the show can begin at last.

For I have finally managed to get myself transferred to my brother's prison. His escape is only days away. Nobody, and I mean nobody, is going to stop us now.


Greg said...

Your anniversary dinner sounds very nice, and it was really fortunate that your server knew you and was able to get you the best table! I'm not sure how you get from that to today's prompt, but maybe we go to different kinds of restaurant :)
I'm guessing Max's job in the pickling was to push vegetables into jars!
I like how your piece starts out seeming like it's a discussion of the hardships of a particular job and then gradually reveals itself as something harder still, taking a job as a cover for something else, and then finally reveals it all in the final line. You peel back the layers of the onion neatly, and with a good pace. "I've had to nip a few buds along the road to here" is probably my favourite line. And the denouement is rather pleasing as well!

The guard
It's not easy to become a prison guard. There's a lot of work involved, and I'm not just talking about the training. I mean, sure, it's a tough grind. But it's a hard job and they need to make sure that the men and women who wear this uniform are equally hard.
I had to make this uniform myself, starting from harvesting the wool from the sheep, and then carding it into strands and then spinning it onto spindles; all that before you can even set up a loom and start weaving the fabric! Of course, I don't have any sheep-rights so I had to borrow the wool when Jo-Beth wasn't looking, and no-one left me a spinning wheel in their will so I had to threaten to kill Emmy-Lou's kitten if she didn't help me out. And the loom, don't get me started! I had to build the damn thing from scratch, and then they told me that I wasn't allowed to cut down the ancestor trees like that and took the loom as reparations! I had to blackmail Cecily into weaving my clothes in the end.
It's a good uniform though, even if it is a bit tight in places.
Then I had to build a prison because we never had one before. Sounds like it should be easy, right? Just maybe stick a gate in front of a cleft in the rocks and padlock it? Or maybe build a treehouse high enough up and take the ladder away after you send the prisoner up? Amateurs, that's what you all are. I built a three-storey prison with eighteen cells on each floor, a governor's office, a canteen, bathroom facilities for three (the overcrowding's built in!) and a lethal execution chamber. It was, in a way that only prison's can be, beautiful.
"You've got cells for fifty-four, right?" said Bobby, looking at it after I'd finished. I nodded, weary as a bedhopper at dawn. "But there's only sixteen of us living here, you know?"
"Plenty of room for everyone and their children," I said, my smile tired but wide.
But the thing with prisons and guards is, you have to have someone in there to be guarded and imprisoned. And the consensus was, after everything I'd done to get to this point, that I was the only one who could be realistically described as a criminal.
So they put me in here and ordered me to guard myself.

morganna said...

Up and
Round, a
Dam to slow the river.

Anonymous said...

Kieran was both my savior and nemesis.
He had been trained specifically for his duty. One look at his six foot, four inch frame, with his shoulders nearly as wide as an ox’s, it was no wonder he was selected as soon as he joined the brigade. He probably would have done the mandatory five years and then resigned his position, going off into the world to follow whatever dreams held a twenty-two year old giant could hold.
I sometimes wonder what those dreams could have possibly been. Did he miss them? Did he long to finish them when he was too old to be of any use to me?
My eminent birth was what kept him in the brigade, raising him to a position most new initiates could only dream of obtaining.
His frame, his ability to learn, his devotion. These three attributes stole from him his dreams but gained him the honor and status of a life time.
Even though his training made him strong, I have seen him shed a tear or two for me. Even though he could kill any person, I’ve seen him smile every now and then. I know Kieran would gladly give his life to protect me.
But Kieran also stops me from doing anything fun.

Marc said...

Greg - hah, no, he helped me wash and, to some extent, scrub them. It was nice to do it as a family.

Thanks for the kind words on mine, I was rather pleased with how it came together myself.

That is quite the convoluted tale. By the end I'd almost forgotten that you began from the exact same spot that I did! I think you did much more with that starter than I did though, so good work!

Morganna - I do so enjoy your minimalist acrostics. I particularly like your take on the prompt this time around.

Ivy - hah! I was not expecting that final line. I looked back up a couple times to reread your first line, wondering what and when the nemesis portion would appear. You caught me totally off guard with both :)