I am a guard at a minimum security institution in a sleepy part of the state.
It’s called the Wintergreen Unit and it houses some of the state’s most daring offenders.
It’s a lonely job sometimes, especially when the warden is visiting other facilities.
My job is to keep the peace, feed on time and most importantly, prevent escapes.
Like most inmates with a lot of time on their hands, they spend all day studying…. me.
While feigning sleep, fake snores and all, they keep one eye always open. And ready.
With a ratio of six to one, I have to plan my moves carefully or all hell will break loose.
Their hearing is acute. They are always watching…. and waiting.
They know the difference between tin foil and saran wrap, yogurt or leftovers, car keys and silverware, slippers and sneakers and they can tell by your breathing patterns what your next move is.
They know when it’s time to eat, when to relieve themselves, when it’s yard time and when it’s time to allow them back in their sleeping quarters. Oh, I almost forgot, when it’s snack time.
Then there is always the threat of rival gangs. When someone is not gang affiliated it is mayhem. Jake is a bad dude across the way who is in maximum security with an electronic collar. He maintains his space with ferocity. He is in for eating his previous owner with fava beans and a bottle of chianti. He could easily wipe out my prison population.
Still they taunt him until he froths. God help us all if he gets loose.
Well, I better get back to work. Bruno, the ring leader, is making a lot of racket down stairs.
He’s railing at the indignity of his incarceration. He’s always imagining someone is encroaching on his kingdom. He’s the shot caller around here.
I have a few days to get the place back into shape before the warden’s return. The warden can tell immediately if things didn’t go according to the strict guidelines she has implemented.
Let’s just say she has a nose for trouble.