I arched my back and rested my shoulder blades against the concrete block wall. I pressed the back of my head against it and reflected on how horribly things had gone. I closed my eyes and said a silent prayer. Sadly, I felt nothing afterward. I was just as empty and cold inside as I had been before. I wondered why. I was truly alone, even God had forsaken me. The acrid stench of my drying urine filled my nostrils and I became embarrassingly aware of the odor. I stunk as bad as the situation I was in. I always thought it was a joke that something could scare the piss out of you, but I knew now that it really could happen. I'll never forget the panic I felt when I saw that train and heard its whistle.
Just as I had to find a new position to sit in for a moment's relief of my aching muscles, the female cop, who led Scotty to freedom, showed up. The amount of relief I felt in having my hands unshackled from the wall and being able to stand up was immense. I stretched in every direction.
"The bus to Juvey is ready," she said taking my elbow.
I froze in place. My feet simply would not move. I could not will them to take even one step. The terror of being locked up in Juvenile Hall had me all locked up. The look on my face and my inability to move with her must have clued Officer Jensen in as to how terrified I was.
I sucked my lips in between my teeth and fighting tears, nodded slowly yes. If I had use of my hands I would have been tugging at my eyebrows. I suppose it was fortunate that my hands were cuffed, or I probably would have plucked my eyebrows completely out, I was so nervous.
"I understand. It's pretty scary for first timers. But, if you don't want to do the time, you shouldn't do the crime."
"I didn't do any crime. Honest. Please help me; this is all a big mistake. The car was my grandpa's and is meant to be mine when I can drive. Legally, I mean. Driving without a license is the only thing I really did wrong. You have to believe me. The liquor is my dad's; the scratches and paint on my car is from those scumbags chasing us. I'm so worried about my friend, William. Can you please send a policeman over to check on him and his mom? I gave the address to the Sergeant."
"If we could corroborate any of your story, it would help, but we can't get in touch with your father. We don't even know if the name you gave us is your father. After listening to your friend talking to his parents and after listening to you, I have an inkling that you might actually be telling the truth, as bizarre as it sounds. But it's unfortunately not up to me. My job is to get you on the bus. Let me give you some advice, though, since I used to work at Juvey. Just keep your head down, keep to yourself and don't get involved in any of the gang issues. Don't talk unless talked to and don't be a smartass to anyone, guards or other boys. Do what you're told and the guards will try and help you. If you happen to see Officer Lewis, tell him Sandra says hi. That might be worth some extra points with him. Now, let's go."
"Wait! Call my mom."
"I thought you didn't know how to contact her?"
"I just didn't want you to. Until now, that is."
"Well, it's too late for that. Come on."
I drooped and followed Sandra to the bus. It was like an old fashioned school bus with the rounded corners on top and it was painted black and white. There were iron bars over all the windows. The police woman, Sandra, led me onto it and down the aisle to the middle. There were only two other boys on the bus, both Hispanic. She unhooked one cuff and let me bring my hands around front. It was wonderful getting relief to my shoulders. She hooked me into a metal bar in front of my seat. I gripped the bar with both hands and leaned back to stretch my shoulder muscles.
Sandra smiled weakly at me and said sincerely, "Good luck to you."
I watched her exit the bus then leaned down and rested my forehead against the seat in front of me accepting my inevitable fate. If I hadn't already heaved my guts out at William's place, I might have thrown up there on the bus. My stomach was in knots and I was shaking in spite of it being unnecessarily warm on the bus.
"Hey Weto? First-timer, chess?"
I rotated my head along the seatback and looked at the small boy who had spoken to me in his high pitched, pre-pubescent voice. He was grinning. "What?"
"Eez first time goeeng to Juvey, si?"
"Umm, yeah. How'd you know?"
He snickered. "Chu look like chit an' it smell like chu piss yourself."
I just rolled my head back and stared at the floor.
"So buey, whatchu do?"
"What?" I asked without looking this time.
"Whatchu goeeng to Juvey for, man?"
"I didn't do anything. It's all a big mistake."
He tittered loud and hard in his giggling girly voice. "Hey, Bull," he said addressing his companion that he was sharing a seat with, "Que es inocente!" The big kid next to him started to laugh along with the small kid. I scowled at them.
"Take it easy, Weto. We theenk eez funny chure een for same theeng as everyone eez. I deedn't do no-theeng neither, amigo. Hey, Bull? ?Hizo usted algo?"
The big, slow kid shook his head from side to side smiling. Then he looked back out the window without saying anything. They made a strange pair. The talkative kid was slight of build and honestly looked about eleven years old. I wasn't sure how old you had to be to go to Juvenile Hall, but I figured it was older than that. His hair was straight, jet black, and a bit greasy. The other boy's hair was curly and matted as though he'd slept on it without washing it. His face was pocked with acne and acne scars. I guessed he was about 17 years old and had the makings of a mustache. I was pretty sure he was well over six feet tall and very broad. I'm pretty damn strong, but I don't think I'd be picking any fights with him. I refocused my attention on the bus floor.
The little dude wouldn't leave me alone though. "Really, buey, whatchu een for?"
I decided I'd just tell him so he'd shut up. "Grand theft auto and transporting liquor illegally." His eyes widened.
"No chit? Chu banged a car? For a chop shop?"
"What? No. I just took my grandpa's car and I got in an accident and it's a big mess."
"Chu go-eeng to Juvey for banging chure Abuelo's ride? Why chure Abuelo not like you, dude?"
"My grandfather's dead."
"Chu popped chure own Abuelo and banged hees ride? Dude! Chu one badass weto!"
"Oh my God, NO! I didn't kill my grandpa, he was already dead. I just borrowed his car that was supposed to be mine someday anyway."
"Ohhh. I like the other story better, buey." He started to giggle and launched into a string of Spanglish causing Bull to laugh long and hard. His laugh was a very deep baritone.
"Fuck off." I stared back at the floor.
"Sorry, dude. Chu have to admeet, eez very funny what chu say. Chu pretty scared, si?"
I shook my head up and down.
"Eez pretty scary first time. I remember."
I looked back over at him and he had grown serious. "How many times have you been in?'
He gazed upward and said, "Mmmm, theeese time makes cinco, I theenk. Si, cinco."
"Wow. What are you in for this time?"
"Bull an' me, we gots tired of eating from Burger Keeng trash cans, chu know? We leefted some groceries. Eez okay, we needed to make a drop anyway."
"Your family wouldn't feed you or something?"
"Bull ees my only family, dude. We leeve on the streets together."
"Are you serious? Wow, that sucks."
"Si, eez how eet goes. Juvey's gonna be nice - a soft bed and hot food. La Pandillera not bothereeng us all the time."
"What's a panda yeara?"
"Eez the gang bangers, buey. Me an' Bull we don' hang weeth them. We are independent, chu know? Sometimes, for a little dinero, we do some jobs for them, but that's all."
"What did you mean you needed to make a drop? What's that?"
"Oh, no-theeng, man. Forget eet, okay?"
"So what happened to your families?"
"We don' gots families, dude. My mother, she died in the desert when the steenk-eeng coyotes left us without any water. Lucky to me, I was found before I died. I was sent back to Mexico, but I found the coyotes who left us, and they were freaked out that I leeved. When I told them if they did not help me get back to theese country, they would burn een hell. Jus' then, the clouds moved away from the sun, and the shadow of the cross on the cathedral suddenly appeared on the wall behind me. They nearly chit their pants, buey. So, they breeng me back."
"Wow. What about Bull?"
"He never knew heese real parents. He was always been een foster homes. One of hees foster Padres was very evil to heem and hurt heem bad. So, he run away and we meet up in Juvey, and now we family."
Just then the bus lurched as it entered the driveway to the facility. The driver stopped at the gate and waited until it slowly opened. I felt like I was being driven into the depths of Mordor. As we drove toward the facility, I turned to watch as the gate closed slowly behind us with its loops of razor wire on the top of it. The knot in my stomach tightened. I was officially in hell.
The bus traveled a short distance between tall fences and made an abrupt stop near a cinder block building. The yard area was very well lit, and I could tell the building was a dull brown color. A single guard in a beige uniform entered the bus and made his way toward us. He unhooked me from the steel bar and led me off the bus. He entered a code and we went into a small office. Another guard at the desk asked me my name and then handed the first guard a plastic ID bracelet that was secured around my wrist. It's like the ones you get at the amusement park. I didn't think this park was going to be very amusing though. The desk guy pushed a button and a steel door popped open. I was escorted through and down a dimly lit hallway.
At the end of the hallway, the guard entered a code and swiped a card where another door opened up. I was led into a shower area. The dressing area had no lockers, only wooden cubicles like shelves and low wooden benches. Another guard was there and pointed to one of the cubicles with a towel and orange clothing in it. "Strip naked … completely naked, and yes that means your underwear too. Put all your clothes, including your shoes, in the plastic bag and leave it on the floor. Don't touch anything else right now. My escort removed the handcuffs and I immediately rubbed my sore wrists, just like they do in the movies.
I did as I was told and got naked. I stuffed my smelly sweats into the bag and was actually happy to be rid of them. The shower room guard had me put on a pair of cheap, Kmart flip flops and then led me over to the shower area. It was tiled in pale green tile and there was a wall that rose up to about waist high dividing the dressing area from the showers. From the top of the dividing wall, a metal wire cage extended to the ceiling. In the center of the room, the wall was split with a metal cage door for entry into the shower area. The shower guard instructed me to go in and shower. "Use the green soap on your hair to kill any lice you might have. Use the blue stuff for your body. Don't be slow about it.
"Yes sir." He slammed the gate behind me and made sure it was locked and then my escort left. I turned the knob and stood aside until it warmed up. After a bit, the guard said, "It doesn't ever get hot. If it's warm, that's as good as it gets. Start showering." I slipped into the warm stream and somewhat relaxed for the first time all night. I scrubbed good with the blue soap, especially around my groin to wash away the urine smell. I was washing my hair with green lice killer when the escort guard brought the little kid in.
"Jefe, Lewis! How's eet hang-eenggg?"
The shower room guard shook his head slowly and asked, "Why are you back here, Pablo?"
"I meesed chu. I had to come veezeet my favorite Jefe."
Pablo needed no instructions, he had automatically stripped down and put his clothes in the bag. The guard opened the cage door and let him in to join me. Pablo took the nozzle right next to mine. The escort guard left again and the guard Pablo had called Jefe Lewis turned his attention to some paperwork on a clipboard. Pablo made no attempt to hide his blatant stares at my naked body. His eyes examined me from head to toe but mostly in the middle.
"Dude, Chu're reeped. Chu gots one hot body, man. An' check out them pelotas, man. They're beeg! Chu gonna be popu-larrr."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean once everyone sees chu, they gonna wanna fuck weeth chu, man."
"That's not funny. If anyone tries to fuck with me, I'll kick their ass."
Pablo got suddenly serious and turned off my water. He grabbed my arm and said, "Chu don' wanna start no fights, man. Chu get messed up bad or keeled. Serious, weto. No fighting. Just do what chu get told."
"Whatever." I turned my water back on. I checked out Pablo's undeveloped body. He had no visible body hair, a small dick and balls to match and honestly looked like he was eleven. He was skinny but not in a healthy way.
We showered in silence until Bull was escorted in. I stared in shocked surprise when I saw him. He was clearly at least 6'2" and possibly more. He was broad and muscular. I guessed that he wasn't fully Hispanic, many of his features were different. His dick looked small on him and I couldn't even see his balls they were so small, but he had a man's covering of hair. I suppose he was actually quite average in size, but because of his large stature, it all just appeared small. But none of that was what caused me to stare. He was covered all across his back, chest, butt and thighs with disfiguring scars. I tried not to stare but it was impossible not to. "What happened to him?" I whispered.
Pablo looked at me with a sadness in his eyes. "I tol'chu already, weto. One of his foster Padres deed eet to heem. Thass why we never stay in the foster homes, we run away and meet back up down by the canals, where we leeve."
I was finished showering and turned off my water. The shower guard entered the caged area and directed me to come to him. He had a small tray with him. "Face the cage."
"Widen your stance and bend over, gripping the cage near the wall to steady yourself."
His eyes widened and his lips pulled sharply downward. He gripped my shoulder and drilled his finger into my flesh just behind my collar bone. The pain was searing and I buckled. I reached for the cage to keep from falling to the floor in a heap. "Because I told you to, dammit, and you better learn to do whatever you're fucking told to do. Understand?"
He released the pressure point and kicked my feet apart. I heard the distinct snap of a rubber glove and felt his greased up finger force its way up into my rectum. He twisted it back and forth, up and down forcefully. "Nothing. Good." He pulled it out and ordered me to turn around and face him. I immediately complied. The other guard standing in the doorway of the cage scribbled notes on a clipboard. He tugged at my pubes and asked, "Did you wash these with the green lice soap?"
"Uhh, no sir, I only did my hair like you said." My voice sounded shaky and childlike. Pablo and Bull snickered in the background.
The shower guard sneered at me and said, "If this isn't hair, what do you call it?" He gave a sharp tug on my pubes causing me to cry out.
"Pubic h …"
"Exactly, dumbshit. Pubic HAIR! When I'm done with you, you'll need to go back and wash it with the green soap, like you were told to do. Wash under your arms as well, just in case you were too stupid to figure out that's also hair."
He then pawed through my pubic patch with his gloved hand and instructed me to raise both arms. He flitted through my pit hair and had me spin slowly around while he inspected my body. "Nothing visible to report. No signs of any marks or abuse. He took my dick in his gloved hand and skinned it back. He turned it back and forth in his fingers inspecting it. "No sores or other signs of STD's." He acted as though he was finished with me, and then he paused. "My God, boy, you've got one hell of a set of balls on you. Those are some real beauties. He lifted my dick up and away and with his bare hand, he fingered and fondled my balls for a bit, similar to how my father would examine me for cancerous lumps. Only, he wasn't looking for any lumps and instead had to pause to adjust a lump in his own trousers. I was shaking in nervous anticipation.
He smiled up at me and said, "Go use the green soap." I turned to comply and he slapped me on the ass.
"Yes sir." I rushed back to the shower and scrubbed vigorously, not to kill my non-existent lice, but to wash away the creepy feel of his lousy fingers on my balls. Pablo turned his water off without being told and walked over to where I had been. He automatically spread his legs and bent over.
"Are you packing, Pablo?"
"Si, me an' Bull both."
"Good. Move to the end by the wall under the window." Then the guard turned to me and said, "Good enough. Go get dressed." The guard with the clipboard motioned to follow him and I did so back to the cubicle shelves. He told me to get my clothes and towel and move to the corner. He instructed me to dry off facing the corner and to not look around or there would be serious consequences. I agreed and followed his direction. He left me. I started drying off and the knot in my stomach that the warm water of the shower had loosened a bit tightened back up. I was deadly curious what was going on. From the sound of the footsteps, I could tell the escort guard had walked down to the far side of the room where the rectum inspector had taken Pablo.
"OUCH!" Pablo cried out "Watch eet weeth those theeengs, Jefe. Chu gonna cut me up there."
"Sorry, it's just a pretty tight space to work in. I got it now," the guard said.
I couldn't stand it. I bent over to dry my legs and peered through my legs. Pablo stood up and appeared to be rubbing his ass. The rectum inspector held up a baggy and pulled two rolls of bills from it. He pocketed one roll and handed the other roll through the cage wire to the clipboard guard. He quickly shoved his roll into his own pocket. Then the guard with Pablo held up another baggy full of something white. He squeezed a bit of gel onto the baggy and greased it up good. Pablo bent back over.
"What pod are we go-eeng into?"
"Pod A, like always," the guard replied.
"Eez Renaldo in there?"
"Of course. He's always there. He isn't going anywhere until he's old enough to transfer to the big boy house. You know that."
"Si, I know. Do me a favor an' grease me up real good up there, okay Jefe?"
"Sure. Here take a couple of these too."
"Hey! What the fuck, man? Chu try-eeng to shove eet clear up to my throat? Chit, Jefe." Pablo waddled away and I quickly stood up and dried my back by dragging the towel back and forth across it. Pablo came and sat next to me and began drying off. I didn't dare speak to him. I watched in silence as he dried off his small, smooth torso. Up close, I could see that he had the beginnings of a few pubes sprouting over his slender, uncut dick. Otherwise, he was hairless. Pablo set two small foil packets onto the bench.
When Bull joined us, the guards instructed us to get dressed and then sit on the benches and wait for them. I pulled on the plain, white boxers. Well, they were mostly white. I forced myself not to think about what had caused the yellowed stains on the front of them. Next, I stepped into the stiff, orange jumpsuit and zipped it up. It had the words, "Youth Offender" scrawled across the back of it. I supposed some social worker was very proud of herself for dreaming up that psychologically less damaging term for a child prisoner. I still felt very much like a prisoner despite what they'd printed on my jumpsuit.
Bull had so much pubic hair, and even a trail of hair going up to his naval, that you couldn't even see his balls. His rather small dick just sort of peeked its head out of the thicket of jet black pubes. My heart ached for him as I inspected the many scars and I wondered what horrors he'd been subjected to. I didn't really want to know, but it upset me severely that he was forced to live on the streets, and I realized suddenly how ridiculous I was being for feeling sorry over my situation. Yeah, my mother was a jerk, and my father was gone a lot, but I had parents and a home to live in. They took care of me and did have some love for me. These two had nothing in this whole world except each other's friendship. I said a prayer for them. I asked God to watch over them and help them. My thoughts turned to William also, and his safety. I prayed for him too. This time, when I finished my prayer, the warm peace washed over me and I somehow knew God was watching over me after all. I realized that when I'd stopped only worrying about myself, I felt God's love for me.
When the guards had left, I asked Pablo, "What was in the baggy?"
He looked at me and then looked all around. "Eef I tell, chu can never say eet to nobody."
"Me an' Bull, when we need to score some dinero, we smuggle drugs into Juvey for the banda. We do leetle chit, like shopleefting so we don't have to stay een too long, chu know? Then child welfare steeks us een some foster home and we run away and meet up again. We gots enough money now that we can get Bull some fake ID and maybe he can get a real job."
" How come they don't send you back to Mexico?"
"The first time when I was caught, I was put een a home weeth a pequeno about my age. I got een their files and stole hees birth certeeficate and ran away. I just became heem. Now, I'm een the seestem and they all know me, so eez easy."
"Wow. So you're not really fourteen year old Pablo?"
"No weto, I'm Juan Carlos, but sometimes they call me Squeaky." He stuck out his hand as if we were just introduced. I smiled and shook it.
"I'm Kyle, but people call me Rock. So how old are you for real?"
"I don't know. I never had no birthday party or nothin'. Are you a reech keed?"
"No, not really. Why do you ask that?"
"Chu look reech an' chu talk like a reech keed."
"Well my dad's a doctor."
"Chu are reech then. So how come chu're reech daddy deedn't get heez lie-yar to get chu free?"
"The cops couldn't get a hold of him. Maybe he's in surgery or something and they won't bother him when he is."
"Chu having some chitty luck, dude. Eez chu really inocente?
I shook my head. "Yeah."
"Don' tell nobody, chu are reech. Don' talk too much een here, okay?"
The guards returned and escorted us down the hall, then outside, along the well lit paths to Pod A. We entered and were checked in by a guard at the desk. He looked at my wristband and then we were told to go in and find an empty bunk and go to sleep. I was so glad to finally be getting to sleep. I was exhausted. One by one, we entered through a steel door with a small reinforced window in it. It closed behind us and clanked shut before the door on the other side of the small standing area popped open.
We entered the dimly lit room and I slowly took it all in. There were rows of bunk beds along the back wall. There were four round tables with wooden chairs in front of them. On the far side wall was a toilet, a urinal and a wash sink, completely open to view. Pablo suggested we take bunks on the opposite side from the toilet so it didn't stink as bad when someone took a big 'chit.' I agreed and followed his experienced suggestion.
He selected the only empty double for himself and Bull took the lower bunk. I climbed in the lower bunk next to theirs and Pablo walked down the row toward the middle. He shook the arm of the sleeping Hispanic boy. The boy jerked awake and hurled himself at Pablo. I jumped up instinctively to go to his aid, but Bull just laid there on his bunk. Pablo's attacker rubbed his eyes and got off Pablo and pulled the little guy to his feet.
"Pablo! Eets you. Good to see you, my little muchacho. I miss your poco pajaro. Buey, are you packin'?"
"Si Renaldo, me an' Bull are bot' packeeng."
Renaldo walked to the next bunk and kicked the sleeping kid in the hip. He jerked up and took an immediately defensive position. Then he relaxed and said, "What the fuck, Renaldo. Why'd you do that? I was just dreaming about Maria, man. I was just about to fuck her and you woke me up. Shit."
"I don't geeve a sheet. Pablo and Bull's got deliveries. Get them for me."
"Ohhh, shit, I hate doing that. Why don't you do it yourself for a change."
"Because I don't do sheet like that. When you're done, you can sleep with Pablo for your reward and pretend he's your sweet Maria."
"Shit, really? Damn, I'm on it."
Pablo had already stripped down and bent over the edge of Renaldo's bed, reached back and spread his ass cheeks with his hands. Maria's boyfriend kneeled down behind Pablo and fished around for a bit and then said, "Nothing here."
"What the fuck? Pablo, are you messing with me?" Renaldo asked with a threatening tone.
"No Renaldo, eez up there. Jefe Lewis shoved eet too far een, I theenk."
"Hopefully, you sheet eet out in the morning. Go to bed now and send Bull over. You can bring your little puto ass over to my bed tomorrow night."
The boy who had been fishing up Pablo's asshole complained, "What about him sleeping with me? You said."
"Don't be a dumbsheet, Miguel. You could push it in deeper or maybe break the fucking bag, sheet for brains."
"But you said."
In an angry tone, Renaldo said, "I said after you got it out you could fuck him, but you didn't get it out, so you don't get to. Now shut the fuck up before I have to beat you down."
The boy cowered, even though he was bigger than Renaldo and could easily have taken him in a fight as far as I could tell.
Pablo climbed up into his bunk and Bull lumbered over for a successful extraction. Bull returned and climbed back in bed. Renaldo followed Maria's boyfriend over to the sink where the baggy was washed off and then handed to Renaldo to inspect the contents. Renaldo undid the trap on the sink and pulled some small tool out of it. Renaldo spoke condescendingly to the other kid in Spanish, "Volver a la cama y hacer puneta."
The other boy mumbled something and went back to bed in hopes of taking back up with Maria where he had left off. I heard him unzip and then begin the familiar pounding rhythm all boys recognize.
Renaldo crawled under his bed and removed a grating. A few minutes later, I heard him replace the grating and the tool was returned to the sink trap. I closed my eyes and dropped into an exhausted, and very welcome, slumber.
I slept deep and hard and was rattled awake by Bull and Pablo shaking my bunk. "Come on, chu gots to get up, buey."
I pried my eyes open and peered at my two compadres. "I feel awful. Can I just lay here?"
"No man, chu gots to go to breakfast on time or we all lose our yard time, buey. Chu don't want to be the one who makes us lose our yard time, man. Trust me."
I sighed heavily and sat up. My head hurt and my eyes were heavy as lead. I stood and stretched and lined up with the others. I was tired and grouchy. The door opened and three of us at a time filed into the small area, waiting for the second door to open. At last, it was my, Pablo, and Bull's turn and we stepped into the small space as the door behind us latched shut and the other one popped open with a clacking sound. We filed into the hallway where several guards were waiting and once everyone was out of the cell and lined up single file in the hallway, a guard walked by with a bar code reader and scanned our wrist badges to account for everyone. Then, we headed to the cafeteria. It looked very much like my grade school cafeteria, long tables with benches on both sides that fold up in the middle. We filed through the line and got our food.
It was soggy, cold, scrambled eggs with a greasy sausage patty on a buttermilk biscuit, a cup of fruit cocktail from a can in thick sugary syrup, and a carton of 2% milk. It was definitely not on my wrestling diet. I didn't care. I was so hungry, I ate it anyway but it did nothing to improve my mood.
Pablo shared news of the outside world with the others at our table while Bull ate in complete silence. Pablo slipped back and forth from Spanish to English. The tables were segregated for the most part. A few other white kids sat at the Hispanic table with me but there were no blacks. They kept entirely to themselves. I only sat there because Pablo invited me. Renaldo kept eyeing me.
After the lovely breakfast, we were allowed to go into the yard for an hour. I jogged around the perimeter and it felt good to do something physical. It took my mind off my troubles. It wasn't exactly easy to do in the Kmart flip-flops, but I didn't care. I wished I could do a triple J, but that was out of the question. I wondered how long it would take before I'd start having wet dreams again. I sure as hell wasn't going to be jacking off in front of everyone else. Just the idea of having to take a shit in public freaked me out. I hoped my dad would show up and rescue me long before I had the chance to find out about the wet dreams.
After exercise time, we were all scanned back into our room. Guys congregated into their own preset groups. Some read books that were on the shelf. Some watched the television that was on the wall, perpetually set to ESPN and housed in a thick, glass encasement. A few played cards at the table and a couple worked out doing pushups, sit-ups, pull-ups and the like. I just retreated to my bed and pulled the plastic pillow over my head. I quickly fell back asleep in spite of the light and noise, and my still present headache.
I'd just started dreaming about being at the Fall Formal with Scotty and William and our dates when I was rattled awake again by Bull. I pulled the pillow aside and asked in a very annoyed tone, "WHAT?"
"Showers and then lunch. It's our day for the showers," Pablo explained.
"We don't get one every day?"
"No, weto. Two een the week." I sighed and lumbered to my feet. I needed to piss, but I desperately didn't want to do it in front of everyone. I worried about doing it in the shower too. If it wasn't cool to do it there, I didn't want to get guys pissed off at me, so to speak.
"Pablo, is it okay if I piss in the showers or is that bad to do?"
"Eez okay. People do worse chit een there." He chuckled.
I followed the crowd out the doors, down the hallways and into the shower area. I stripped with the others and set my stuff in a cubicle shelf. Each cubicle had a towel in it already. I entered the shower cage with the others and the door was latched shut.
"Remember ladies, green is for the hair," a guard called out. The four guards sat on a bench and shot the shit while we showered. No one got under a shower until Renaldo chose the one he wanted. Then the rest filled up quickly. There were not enough shower heads for all of us and some of us had to share. I assumed that since I was new, I'd have to share. I expected Bull and Pablo to share one, but Pablo immediately joined Renaldo. Bull was alone in his, so I stepped in with him. No one seemed to pay his scars any attention at all. They all did, however, spend a lot of time blatantly staring at my body, including Renaldo.
I looked over and was surprised to see Renaldo and Pablo washing each other's bodies and hair. Both of them had full on boners and were not shy at all about it. As far as I could see, all the others sharing heads were being extremely careful not to touch or rub against each other. We all alternated in and out of the spray as needed, to rinse off. Most of the Hispanics and blacks and even many of the white kids had tattoos. Renaldo was covered in them and had "Mara" across his shoulder blades.
Renaldo pulled Pablo's hand off his five inch, skinny, brown boner and walked over to me. He nodded at Bull to leave and Bull went to join Pablo. I stood frozen just outside the shower spray. "Hey, you gots a nice body, Blanco. Usted es una mamey." Guys next to us laughed. "Why you built so good?"
"I work out a lot. I'm on the wrestling team."
"Ohhhh. Renaldo wants to wrestle weeth you tonight. Come over to my bed, and we make a little chaca chaca." He smiled alluringly.
"No thanks. I'm not interested." I hoped he would drop it.
"It was not a question, amigo. It was an order. In here, you do what Renaldo say." I didn't answer, thinking it was best to follow Pablo's advice and not talk too much. Then, he asked me "Why you got such beeg huevos?"
I shrugged. "Just do." I thought about asking why he had such tiny ones, but I caught myself.
Just then a shrill whistle blew and we all shut off the water and lined up to exit the cage. We were allowed out in groups of five. It was awkward standing there with everyone wet and naked. Renaldo's stares and persistent boner didn't help matters. He held his right hand out toward me in a loose fist and flipped me the bird with his left. Then he slipped the middle finger into his fist between his thumb and curled ring finger and performed a simulated fucking motion. I looked away and swallowed hard. I'm certain I had no color left in my face.
We dried off, dressed, and then marched straight off to lunch. I stood in line for my bologna and stale cheese sandwich, 2% milk and another cup of fruit cocktail. I assumed they were trying to get rid of it because it had a bit of a fermented zing to it and was probably old. I choked down the dry sandwich with the milk. I was about to start on my fruit cup when Renaldo walked over to us. I had been stressing over what he'd done and said in the showers and the idea that I might have to lose my virgin penetration to this slimy asshole sickened me.
While I was eating, I'd daydreamed about Scotty and wondered what he was doing. I wondered if he was helping with the dance decorations and if William and Brenda were there as well. I was pretty sure I was the main topic of gossip already. I allowed myself a short memory, between bologna bites, of Scotty gently taking me to that special, magical, erotic place as he expressed his love through an intimate, bonding connection of his body deeply into mine. I boned up over the daydream, but it was shattered by Renaldo's voice.
"Hey Pablo, who's your new girlfriend, amigo? We didn't get introduced proper like in the showers."
Pablo shrugged "Nuevo chico blanco? Su nombre es Kyle."
"Buenos Dias, Kyle. I'm Renaldo. I want your fruit. Hand it over to me." I looked up at him and could see I was being tested. The problem was that I had never studied for this kind of test and didn't know the right answer. I never attended the school of street smarts and the only brush with trouble I'd ever had before was the fight over William's penis pictures. My choices were to ignore him, or I could just give it up and appear weak or possibly show I accepted him as the leader, or finally be outright defiant and draw a line in the sand. I was bigger and definitely stronger, after all. Maybe if I could show some balls, he'd respect it, and I could avoid getting pressured into fucking with him later.
"Sorry, I was planning on eating it, so fuck off." Pablo glared at me in horror, shaking his head.
"Well, change your plans, I want it. You theenk you got beeg balls, Blanco Boy? We'll see how beeg they are Senor Piss-pants."
I have to admit that caught me completely off guard. Somehow, he'd been informed that I'd pissed my pants before I arrived and now he was assuming I was weak and cowardly because of it. I wondered if Pablo had ratted me out about that or if he had spies amongst the guards. I struggled with the right thing to do. I took a bite of tangy pineapple and a chunk of fermenting pear and while staring straight ahead, completely ignored him.
Renaldo grabbed Pablo by the hair and jerked his head towards me. "Tell your new blanco joto friend to geeve me heez fruit."
Pablo plead with me, "Geeve heem eet!! Tell heem you are sorry. Please, weto, tell heem."
"Let go of him, you fucking jerk, or I'll kick your ass." Pablo's eyes widened in horror and he frantically shook his head left and right.
I heard the thud before I felt the pain. My head was slammed into the table, spilling the fruit cup and creating a pounding explosion in my already sore head. In a reactionary burst, I spun on the bench, swinging both feet over it and wrapped my right leg behind both Renaldo's knees. I stood up on my left leg as I grabbed a fistful of his orange jumpsuit around the chest area and shoved him backward over my leg. He went sprawling helplessly onto the floor as I dropped on him and easily placed him in a cradle in full control of him. He swung at me comically with his left hand, completely unable to harm me. I suddenly came to my senses and realized no one was cheering, laughing or even gasping. Everyone was just staring on in shocked, disbelieving horror.
Then it all went black. I woke up in the infirmary with my head bandaged. My headache had grown from rock size to boulder proportions. I was nauseous and disoriented. Once I got my bearings on where I was at, I closed my eyes to shut out the offending light. I tried to roll over but I was shackled to my bed by my ankles. I just fell back onto my back and groaned. I spent the full day and ensuing night in the infirmary and I had to honestly say, I was glad to be there. Lying there on my back all day gave me time to sort out my thoughts. It also kept me away from Renaldo with his eager little boner and seriously bad attitude. "Dear God, get me out of here," I pleaded.
Sunday morning I was fed some weak broth. I'd actually gotten a decent night's sleep in spite of the painful head. The pill they gave me knocked me out solid. If I'd dreamed, I didn't remember it and I could tell I hadn't had a wet one. I found the urinal bottle and slipped it between my legs. I flopped my dick into the opening and let go a powerful, dark, yellow stream. The bottle warmed to my touch as it filled with my piss. I shook a bit and then capped the bottle and hung it on my bed railing. Hopefully, my dad would show up today and rescue me straight from the infirmary.
A couple hours later, a male nurse brought me my designer jumpsuit and clean boxers and told me to dress. I was unshackled. "Why?" I asked.
"Because I said so," he answered - the usual answer. I complied and sat up on the edge of my bed when I was done. A guard showed up and directed me to follow him. I slipped on my cheap brown flip-flops and followed.
"Where we going?" I asked. I didn't think there was any chance they would take me back to Pod A after what happened. I assumed, however, I was headed for a different pod. I didn't really care where as long as Renaldo wasn't there. In spite of the pain, the whole fight thing worked out for me. It at least got me away from Renaldo. I worried about poor Pablo and hoped he wasn't suffering because of what I'd done.
"You have a visitor." I couldn't have been happier if he'd told me I'd won $10 million in the Lottery. I suddenly felt like I was walking on air. I couldn't feel the ground beneath my feet. I was led into a room and directed to a glass partitioned cubicle where I sat down. My father's worried face was on the other side. I snatched up the telephone receiver and waited while he picked his up. I immediately broke down into tears.
"Oh Dad, thank God you came for me. It's a nightmare in here."
"What happened to you?"
I touched the bandage and winced. "I got involved in a fight with the gang leader in here. Thank God, you've shown up, I've been afraid of getting beaten up or even killed. This has just been a gigantic, horrible nightmare. Scotty and I went to check on William after the party at our house and there were these…"
Dad held up his hand. "Stop. I know all that. I've talked with the police and with Scotty. I also spoke with William and his mother." I was so relieved to know that William was okay. My dad continued, "I know about the party, the car, my liquor, all of it. You make some really bad decisions sometimes, Kyle. I know you mean well, but you have to get control of your impulses to save the weak. I already was warned that you would look bad when you came to the window because you got in a fight in here trying to stand up for a smaller boy. It's noble and all, but Kyle, not at your own expense. You've got to stop this madness.
I cradled my forehead in my left palm and said softly, "I know. You're right."
"Look, I don't have a lot of time so listen up. My attorney is certain he can get you released but not until tomorrow afternoon when he can get a meeting with one of the Juvenile Division D.A.'s and a Juvenile Court Judge. Keep out of trouble until then, all right. Don't talk to anyone, don't look at anyone, just behave for once in your life. Understand me?"
I couldn't speak. I just nodded in agreement.
"All right. I'm not very happy with you right now, but I still love you. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Th…th…thanks." I wiped my eyes on my sleeve and struggled for composure. "I lo… love you too." He hung up and stood. I pressed my hand to the glass and he matched it from his side. I hung up and the guard led me away. I watched over my shoulder all the way out the door. I sniffled and rubbed at my eyes as I walked with the guard toward the pods. When we turned onto the path to Pod A, I froze.
"Wait. This is Pod A." The guard checked my wrist band.
"Yeah. That's your pod. Come on."
"NOOOO! You can't take me back in there. Renaldo will k-k-kill me."
"We won't let that happen. We monitor the rooms. Come on."
The guard removed a spray can from his belt. "Don't make me use this."
"Please listen, just please, please listen. I did a stupid thing and got in a fight with Renaldo at lunch. I embarrassed him and I can't go back in there with him. He will hurt me and he said he wants to fuck me tonight in his bed. Please. Please! Can you let me talk to Officer Lewis?"
"He knows. Please let me talk to Officer Lewis." The guard checked his watch and pulled me gratefully away from Pod A and back to the showers. A group was just leaving the showers and I followed my guard in after the last freshly scrubbed youth offender left. Officer Lewis looked curiously at me when I entered.
"This pog wants to talk to you. He has a problem with Renaldo. You want to talk to him?" Officer Lewis nodded. "Should I cuff him?"
Officer Lewis pondered it for a minute and then said, "Yeah, maybe so." I was cuffed with both hands behind my back and set on a wooden bench in front of the locker shelves. The escort said he'd wait in the next room and left us alone.
"What do you want?" the suspicious guard asked me.
"I got in a fight yesterday at lunch with Renaldo. It was stupid. I just reacted. That other guard was going to put me back in Pod A. I need you to get me moved to a different pod. I don't belong here. It was all a mistake. When my dad's lawyer can talk to the judge tomorrow, I'll be getting out of here. He told me so just now. If I go back into Pod A, I may not live until tomorrow. Please help me. You gotta help me."
"Why did you ask to see me? What makes you think I can do anything?" My heart sank. Maybe he didn't have any power to move me.
"This woman at the police station, Officer Jensen, she said if I needed help to seek you out. She said to tell you Sandra says hi and that she believes in my story about being innocent and all. She said you would try to help me."
He sneered. "That's hilarious. She's a poor judge of character. Just because we slept together doesn't mean I owe her anything. So forget that crap about my bleeding heart and tell me some reason I should give a rat's ass about some rich, innocent, youth offender." He spoke the word 'innocent' in a higher pitch and full of disdain.
"Because it's the right thing to do and because I really am innocent."
"Well that's not a very good reason. I guess you can go now." He started to stand up and I gasped.
"Wait. I can pay you!" He sat back down. "How much? I can get it from my dad, he's a doctor. Please, just tell me how much."
"Do you have any idea who you're messing with? Renaldo is the boss in here for the MS-13 gang. They are badass mother fuckers with no respect for life. If you want me to help you, something like that should be worth a couple grand, at least. But, once you're free, why would you bother paying up?" I gulped at the amount.
"I'll give you my name and address. You can come find me. I promise I'll pay you."
"If you tell your old man you need money to pay off a bribe, he'll stool me out and I'll lose my job and maybe go to jail myself."
"I won't tell. I promise. I'll steal the money if I have to or sell stuff without him knowing. If he asks, I'll tell him I have a drug habit." I was getting desperate.
"How would you get me the money? I couldn't risk meeting up with you."
"Just email me and tell me where to send it. Or I could find Pablo and send it back in up inside his butthole…" Officer Lewis' face twitched and he flushed. He tried to play it off and then realized it was pointless to pretend. I knew, and he knew exactly what I knew.
"Look, I don't care about that. I don't give a crap if you take money to look the other way on your rectum inspections. I just want to get out of here alive and pretend this whole damn mess never happened. If you don't help me, I might feel a sudden sense of civic duty to share what I saw, though. I also know where the smuggled shit is stashed by Renaldo."
"If that was a threat, it would be a very bad idea to follow through on it. That could get a lot of people, including you, very badly hurt and probably killed. If you want out of Pod A, I want two grand within two weeks of you getting out. I'll have a messenger find you for payment. Agreed?"
"Agreed. Oh God yes, thank you."
The other guard appeared when Officer Lewis knocked, and he took the cuffs off of me. I followed him to Pod B and was so relieved to be there. I went straight to a vacant bunk and curled up. I didn't speak to anyone until dinner time arrived. I wasn't hungry enough to eat the piece of cardboard mystery meat or burned carrots and I only ate my applesauce. I gave the rest of my meal to the anonymous kid next to me.
I was happy to be back in Pod B and my bunk after dinner. I didn't interact with anyone. No one attempted to interact with me. I heard a few whispers behind my back about being the one who tangled with Renaldo. I couldn't believe my good luck in escaping Renaldo. Finally, things were turning around. I slipped my fingers together and closed my eyes and gave a prayer of thanks. I didn't get the warm feeling, but I felt better anyway.
I was surprised to hear my name being called on the intercom, instructing me to come to the door. The door popped open as I approached and I stepped into the vestibule.
I suddenly realized that my dad must have been able to get me out earlier than expected and I jumped for joy. "Open, open, open, open," I said, dancing back and forth from leg to leg. At last the outer door popped open with the familiar clank and I sprung out. The guard who'd escorted me to Pod B from the showers earlier was there.
I was scanned out and led outside. "Is my dad here? Am I going home?"
The guard looked at me puzzled and snorted. "No. You're going to the shower cage to help scrub it down as punishment for fighting at lunch the other day." My good mood faded. Still, I didn't mind doing that so much. It would probably be better than just laying around on my bunk all evening, just not as good as going home.
When the door opened to the shower room, the guard gave me a small shove through it and it slammed immediately behind me. My jaw dropped and I sucked in a rasping gasp in indescribable horror as I saw Renaldo, Bull, and four other large, tattooed bangers inside the room with no guards present. "Oh shit!" I muttered, "I'm dead."