Last Stand, Section Six, A Story From 30 Pieces of Silver

Two days went by and no one noticed Ray was gone. We were nine months into our sentence here. Ray has been dead almost five days. We’ve moved him to the furthest corner of the cell and wrapped him with a few blankets, but the smell is still awful. John seems to get sick from it. Seems like the flu.

Seven days after Ray died; Guard Rhodes came around with a laundry cart. He opened the cell, pushed it in and said:

“All right, five minutes, throw all laundry and linens in the cart. Strip to your skivvies.”

Mike and I dumped the cart, we put Ray at the bottom, piled everything back in and added our laundry.

When Rhodes came back, he yelled:

“John Wyatt, front and center push the cart and collect the rest of the laundry.”

I stepped forward and said:

“Sir, John’s nauseated, I’ll push it.”

“Not so fast Wyatt, you, Peterson, you take the cart.”

Halfway down the hall, Rhodes says:

“Damn, what’s that smell? What the fuck are you boys doing to your linen?”

Mike shrugged and pushed along.

After an hour Guard Rhodes walked Mike to the basement. There was a shoot for clothing, linen, and trash. Rhodes said:

“All right, separate the laundry, you got thirty minutes.”

Mike dumped everything pushed Ray into the trash shoot and sorted everything as fast as he could.

After twenty-five minutes he was done. Rhodes came back. Looked at the floor and then at Mike:

“I know what you did, boy.”

“I did?”

“Yeah, you find cigarettes or contraband in the laundry?”

“Nothing.”

“Empty your pockets.”

Mike was so busy focusing on Ray that he didn’t even search the linen. Sometimes you score a loose cigarette or a joint. Not this time.

“All right Peterson, let’s move it.”

Then Rhodes stopped:

“Hold on.”

He clicked a buzzer on the laundry shoot, then the linen shoot. Stopped, looked at his watch and walked over to the trash and clicked on the incinerator. Mike froze. Just like that Ray ceased to exist.

“All right. Quit standing around, back to your cell.”

Mike followed the red line back to the cell. Rhodes unlocked it, let Mike in and locked it again.

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30 Pieces of Silver

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Last Stand, Section Five, A Story From 30 Pieces of Silver

While in the infirmary Teddy got pneumonia and his wounds became infected. He was dying. I needed to get what information I could from him while he was around. I hit the floor rolling around, moaning and groaning. John yelled for the guard.

Guard Rhodes showed up:

“What the fuck is the problem, ladies?”

“It’s Frank, I think he’s dying.”

“All right, back away from the door, we’ll move him to medical.”

Once I got there, they put me in the bed next to Teddy. He was in and out of consciousness. I got scattered words:

“Big Construction. Pissed-off. Mr. Lowe. Prison. A year. Desert. Never going home.”

“Teddy, Mr. Lowe? This isn’t a third-rate mob movie.”

“No one knows his name.”

He coughed, some blood came out of his mouth and he flat-lined. Damn.

After three days they moved me back to my cell. Once I got inside, I knew something was wrong. Both Mike and John were standing there looking worried.

“Where’s Ray?”

“Um, there was a problem. I mean a fight. Fuck. Ray is dead.”

“Jesus Christ, John what the fuck do you mean Ray’s dead? Was it Rhodes?”

Mike pipes in:

“No, man. I can’t sleep in this place and two nights ago Ray got out of bed, I guess he thought I was asleep, and he pulled out a twelve-inch bed spring he had sharpened and went over to John’s bunk and held the spring to his neck and tried to rape him.”

“What?! Did he rape you, John?”

“No, Mike was on him as soon as he put that shank to my neck.”

“Mike, what did you do?”

“Frank, man, I don’t know. I freaked out. I jumped off my bunk landed on Ray and beat him until he stopped moving.”

“Shit, where is he?”

“Under that bunk, wrapped in the blanket.”

“How are we supposed to get rid of him?”

“We have no freaking idea.”

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30 Pieces of Silver

Last Stand, Section Four, A Story From 30 Pieces of Silver

When I wake up in the morning, I’m in a larger cell, something like a dayroom. Two bunk beds. I’m on top of one bunk, John is underneath. Mike and Ray are in the other bunk. Mike and I are the only ones awake.

The meds don’t seem to affect Mike the way they do the rest of us. In the rare moments he and I are alone, he recounts how we got here:

“The four of us went to dinner to celebrate getting the contract to build the casino in Temecula. Big Construction lost out. They came by the bar later that night and bought us drinks to show there were no hard feelings. Next thing I know, we’re here.”

“Fuck.”

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30 Pieces of Silver

Last Stand, Section Three, A Story From 30 Pieces of Silver

Rhodes knocks twice and three to four seconds later:

“Come in. Sit down, prisoner. Rhodes, you can wait outside, we should be fine here.”

Rhodes looks puzzled and walked out of the room. Once we are alone Warden Fallon pulls out a file and talks:

“Prisoner Wyatt, you have been given your sentence. You prisoners, John Wyatt, Mike Peterson and Ray Cochran have all been sentenced to twelve months in this maximum security prison.”

I wanted to speak, but my head was still cloudy. Trying to process what Teddy said against what I can remember. I’m not sure John, Mike, Ray and I did anything that would put us in prison. I muster the nerve to speak.

“Warden, if I may. What is our crime?”

Before I even close my mouth, the Warden yells:

“Guard Rhodes, please return Prisoner Wyatt to his cell.”

Before I knew it, I was back following the red line. If anything, I’ve heard today is true, it’s this:

1. We were drugged and brought to this prison.

2. We may or may not be in a legit prison in the middle of the desert.

3. We are here for an unknown reason. If there is a crime, it’s a secret.

Another thing that is messing with my head is Ray. On the outside, he was homophobic. Whenever we’d watch a movie together, in the background at a bar, Ray would say something like:

“Fuck, I ain’t ever going to prison. I’d kill myself before getting
raped.”

Then, the first opportunity he rapes Teddy. This is fucked up.

The red line ends at my cell. I’m still in Solitary Confinement.

Once in my cell Guard Rhodes hands me my pill.

“Open your mouth. Lift your tongue.”

My head fogs up again.

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30 Pieces of Silver

Last Stand, Section Two, A Story From 30 Pieces of Silver

After the being moved from our cell and separated into separate solitary cells, the guard forgot to feed us lunch. So, we didn’t eat at the usual twelve-noon time. I believe it was closer to three, possibly later.

The strangest thing about solitary confinement is the prison seems to have forgotten all about our noon lunch and pills

After noon, I got flashbacks. More like snippets of things. Little images. Like an understanding that, yes, John was my brother. And Ray is homophobic. Conversations with him telling us his fear of prison and fear of being raped. My memories of Mike are just that he’s my best friend. Not much more that I can put my finger on. I’m wondering if the afternoon pills are to keep my mind blank. I want to know if John, Mike, and Ray are getting their memories back.

After two weeks in solitary confinement, I received word that Warden Fallon wanted to see me. I turned around, put my wrists up to the slot in the door and guard Rhodes cuffed me.

I follow the red line on the ground. After walking for ten minutes, towards Warden Fallon’s office Rhodes stops me. Takes a call on his walkie-talkie. He stops me, tells me to wait there and not move. I stay. I was staring at the floor when I hear a rasp:

“Frank.”

I look over and notice I was standing in front of the infirmary. I heard the rasp again.

“Come here.”

I look around and notice it was Teddy. His throat is bandaged. He has an IV in his arm and he is motioning.

I’m not sure the point in talking to him, though I am disgusted by what Ray did to him.

“What do you want Teddy?”

“You guys are fucked.”

“Really, Teddy? You’re wrapped up like the fuckin’ Mummy and you’re going to call out threats?”

“No, you guys pissed somebody off. They brought you here, injected shit in your neck and left you to die in the desert.”

“Wyatt, no talking to patients! Move your ass!”

I do not understand what the fuck Teddy is talking about. I will guess he’s hopped-up on some meds and a little pissed about the rape.

Injections and the desert.

Rhodes shoved me to move along the red line until we got to Warden Fallon’s office.

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30 Pieces of Silver

Last Stand, Section One, A Story From 30 Pieces of Silver

Like all good prison stories, it’s best to start at the beginning. But that’s the problem: I don’t remember where the beginning is. About a week ago, my friends, brother and I woke up in a cell in this prison. Now you may say to yourself:

“Frank, every fucking guy in prison either can’t remember why he’s there or is innocent.”

I’m Frank and I’m not bullshitting. John, Mike, Ray and I woke up in a prison cell and our belongings are gone, we’re in the typical prison uniforms. You know, like hospital scrubs.

Anyway, this is the first day they have let us out of our cell. We ate in the cafeteria with other inmates and then we were moved to a day room to watch a baseball game. It’s the first time since arriving here that we’ve seen other people. Once we walked into the dayroom, it seemed like the plan was that we never walk out.

Once Ray stepped foot into the room, someone hit him over the head with a broomstick. It cracked in half. Ray dropped to the ground; Mike, John and I were swinging. John picked up the two halves of the broomstick and used them as a pair of daggers.

John stabbed two guys, Mike was punching anything that moved, and I downed a few people with a folding chair. Now, Ray, Ray was another matter. He was bleeding from his head. Seconds after they knocked him down, he stabbed this guy named Teddy with a pencil. Teddy dropped to the ground. What happened next changed everything. Ray dragged Teddy to the back of the room. None of us took notice as we were all in the middle of a riot.

Between swinging the chair at anything that came near me, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. Ray got caught up in the surrounding insanity. I shook my head to clear it and then looked back over; Ray was raping Teddy while sticking the pencil in his neck.

I dropped the chair, fell to my knees and threw-up. The prison lockdown sirens blared, and the guards came through the door with shields and tear gas.

They hit me with a baton until I lay down. Once down I was handcuffed with zip-ties.

They dragged me, John, Mike, and Ray to solitary confinement.

I’m not sure how long we’ve been in prison. A week, two weeks, I’m not sure. I’ve never been in a shared yard outside. It wasn’t until the day of the riot that any of us had been let out of our cell. So, we hadn’t been to a cafeteria or a day room. Once we were let out, it seemed as if they scheduled us to die.

Every afternoon when the guard, Rhodes, would wheel the lunch cart around, he would give each of us our lunch tray and a large white pill that we had to take in front of him. A little thimble of a plastic cup with the pill inside and a glass of water to wash it down. Then Rhodes would say:

“Open your mouth. Lift your tongue. Next.”

Rhodes would repeat this three more times and move on.

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30 Pieces of Silver

30 Pieces of Silver Signing

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30 Pieces of Silver

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30 Pieces of Silver