“Forget it, Bill,” Susan said, “I’ve consulted with attorney after attorney and they’ve all said the same thing. Just play ball, take the treatment, and you’ll be released. The Reformed Department of Corrections will provide you with a job and assistance once when you’re released. And when you’re deemed fully rehabilitated, your criminal record will be expunged. It’s not like it once was.”
This was the first visit Susan paid to Bill in some months. The guards stood back while the two shared a table in the prison cafeteria. “That’s not the point,” Bill replied, “I’m being treated as a common criminal, which I’m not. What are they saying about me on the outside?”
Susan said nothing.
“That bad, huh?” Bill chuckled, “What happened to the world, Susan? Are we not allowed to be human anymore? This is everything we fought against!”
“We lost, Bill,” Susan said, “Sure it has taken time getting used to that. But I survived the rehabilitation process and things aren’t so bad on the outside. Some people know who I am and the things I’ve done, but everyone trusts the process. It’s like it doesn’t matter. I’m fully reintegrated.”
“You sold out, in other words.”
“Don’t be stupid, Bill.”
After a moment of awkward silence, Bill reached across the table and placed his hand on top of hers. “Did we ever fuck?” he asked.
Susan gave out a throaty laugh. “We got drunk and fooled around once or twice,” she said.
“Why didn’t we ever get together?”
“It would have never worked.”
“I know,” Bill lamented, “you were always too smart for me.”
“You were always preoccupied.”
“Now I’m gonna spend the rest of my life here. My loss.”
Susan stared into his eyes for a few moments while she clasped his hand. Finally, she stood up and straightened herself out. “I handed the package you requested off to the guards,” she said, “Goodbye, Bill.”
Bill exhaled. “So long, Susan.”
He watched her walk out through the gates and out of his life. Then the guards escorted him back to the cell.
Minutes later, Junior, the senior day shift guard, walked up to Bill’s door. “Good news Bill,” Junior said as he handed him Susan’s package, “I don’t know what you want with all this leather, but it cleared security. Because you’re not on suicide watch, it was approved by Dr. Effington. Of course, it can’t leave this cell. You will be checked each time.”
“Understood, Junior. Thank you.”
TO BE CONTINUED…