Here in northern Arizona it was midmorning on a bright Friday in May, but my mood was anything but bright. I was glooming around my apartment when the phone rang, and my voice reflected my depressed mood when I answered, "Hello, Kristen Useless speaking."
"Hi, Kristen, this is Joan. Judging from your greeting you haven't found a job yet."
"No, not yet. I haven't been looking too hard because I really don't want to take a permanent job. I liked working at the truck stop, and they promised to recall me if business picks up or if one of the other mechanics quits."
"If you're interested, I have a temporary job for you. The pay's not very good, but you'll be doing my sister Jean a big favor."
"Jean's still going to law school, isn't she?"
"Yes, she's in her final year, and she really needs your help."
"How can I help her?"
I was very suspicious, because just about every time I get involved with Joan's family I get tied up a lot. Bondage is fun in the right circumstances, like when I'm having sex with a man, but with Joan the bondage can go on for days, and two hours is about my limit.
Thinking about sex depressed me further. I have a close relationship with Joan's brother Jim, and he'd been gone for weeks, attending an out-of-state training course. This was part of his job as a deputy sheriff, and being chosen for this course usually meant early promotion, but I really missed him.
Joan explained, "Jean has an important moot court starting Monday, and the person who was going to act the part of the defendant has the flu. If Joan can't find a substitute she could fail the course."
"I don't understand. I thought those moot courts were just paper exercises. Why does she need a real person as the defendant?"
"Jean's course is Criminal Procedure. Jean is acting as a defense attorney, and she's got to show that she can handle all parts of a case, starting with the arraignment and going on to the sentencing hearing. Part of the exercise is getting the information she needs from the defendant, so you would have to memorize a background story. It also means the defendant has to appear in court and maybe testify, so it has to be somebody who doesn't have to go to a job or classes. Finding a student now would be impossible anyway, because final exams are starting next Tuesday. The trial might take several days, and you could be required to take part in a follow-up session after the trial. Please say you'll do it; I don't know of anybody else to ask."
I thought about it. I did want to help Jim's sister, and it wasn't like I had anything else to do. If this was going to be at the law school then Joan wasn't involved and I should be safe from her passion for keeping me helpless. In spite of everything Joan and I were friends, and I had paid her back for some of her tricks. I took a deep breath and said, "OK, I'll do it."
"That's great! I'll tell Jean that she can stop worrying. I'll be by your apartment this afternoon and give you the script and the instructions."
Over the weekend I read the script; it wasn't very complicated. I was supposed to be an armed robber named Bonnie Parker (original name, huh?). Her accomplice, Clyde Barrow, was wounded and captured by the police after the robbery of an armored car, but Bonnie escaped with over $500,000, which she hid under her grandmother's trailer. The police arrested Bonnie because of her past association with Clyde, but there was no real evidence implicating her except for the armored car guards' vague description.
In real life I would expect a case this weak to be tossed out for lack of evidence before it went to trial, but the moot court would probably go through the entire trial just for the practice. The instructions didn't say much; I was to dress as if it were a real court appearance and report to Room 112 in the law school building at 10 a.m. Monday morning. Supposedly, Bonnie had been released on bail after her arrest because of the slim evidence, and the moot court would start with the arraignment.
It's almost impossible to park at the university without a permit, so Sunday I had called Joan and she agreed to give me a ride to the campus the next morning. Monday morning I was ready in plenty of time, but Joan was late and it was after ten when she finally arrived at my apartment.
"I'm sorry I'm late, Kristen. I don't have a class until eleven today, and I forgot all about giving you a ride."
"I don't expect that it will matter much. The moot court is probably as unpunctual as the real courts. I remember once when I had jury duty the judge was always at least an hour late."
For once the traffic wasn't too bad, so it was just before ten thirty when we got to the law school. I said, "I don't imagine the arraignment will last more than a couple of hours, so how about if I meet you in your office in the Psychology Building?" Joan's a graduate student and teaching assistant and on Monday her last class is over by 2 p.m.
"OK by me. I'll see you later." She drove away and I entered the law school building.
Room 112 was a small room that was longer than it was wide. It was divided into three parts; first by a desk with a middle-aged woman seated at it, and next by a waist-high wooden partition near the back of the room. Two young women were seated behind the partition and against the back wall. From what I could see of them they were dressed much like I was, so I guessed that they would also be defendants in the moot court proceedings. Two large men wearing khaki uniforms were standing next to the door.
I was wearing my one and only suit, made of navy blue wool, and a white silk blouse. I was also wearing shoes with two-inch heels and pantyhose; this rig made me glad that my usual working clothes were coveralls and safety shoes. What I missed most were the pockets; it was unnatural for me to carry a purse.
The woman behind the desk looked up from a pile of papers and said, "You must be Kristen. You're late."
"Sorry, my ride didn't show up on time. Am I too late?"
"You have to talk to your student attorney before the court starts, and we have to get the paperwork taken care of first. Was everything explained to you?"
"Yes, I'm supposed to take part in a trial and maybe the follow-up session."
"That's correct. Do you agree to stay until everything's over? Once you start you can't quit, because that would disrupt the program."
"Yes, I'll stay. How long do these trials usually last?"
"A trial normally takes a day or so. Your trial is the third in line, so it'll be a few days before it starts. If you don't have any more questions please sign the contract and the release." She produced a multi-page document and said, "Initial each page at the bottom and sign and date the last page, next to where it says 'notary'. I'll fill that in later."
I skimmed through the document, which was written in legalese. There was no way I could read all of it now, and I had only a vague idea of what it said, but I noticed one unusual item and asked, "Why is this contract with the university's Psychology Department?"
"They pay the participants because they're the only ones that have a budget to hire experimental subjects. Hurry up and sign, we're running late."
I signed the contract and gave it to her. "Now what?"
"Go with the bailiff to the interview room. Your student attorney will explain the details of the program and what's expected from you."
She gestured and one of the large men opened the door. I followed him out and he showed me into a small room across the hall. Jean was sitting at a table studying some papers. She exclaimed, "Kristen! I was starting to worry that you wouldn't show up. I really appreciate it that you agreed to help me with this trial, and Joan thanks you too."
"I'm glad I can help. The woman at the desk said that you would explain the details."
"Yes, but I'll have to be quick because I've got to get to court. I'm handling three cases at once, and it's a challenge. Briefly, my job is to get 'Bonnie' acquitted of the robbery charge. There isn't much evidence against her, so I can probably do it. If you're acquitted that's the end of your participation, but if you're convicted then you'll be transferred to the follow-up session, which is where Joan comes in."
When I heard this a feeling of impending doom swept over me. I asked, "What does Joan have to do with the moot court? She's in the Psychology Department."
"Didn't she explain? She's the graduate assistant for the incarceration study, and you'll be one of her prisoners if you're convicted. It was her idea to combine the moot court trial with the incarceration study because she felt it would be more realistic than just sending the subjects to prison directly."
I was frightened now, and my voice shook when I exclaimed, "I can't believe this! She never told me anything about being a prisoner! What is this incarceration study, anyway?"
"The Psychology Department is conducting an experiment to determine the best techniques for rehabilitating convicts. This project has a lot of outside support because the way prisons are operated now has produced such poor results. The idea is to discard the conventional penal techniques and conduct carefully controlled experiments to evaluate different methods. Some of these methods are new and radical, but others, such as corporal punishment, have been used in the past but discarded."
"They wanted to conduct the experiment at the state prison, but it was too difficult to set up controlled conditions and the prison authorities thought that some of the techniques they wanted to try were too harsh. As an alternative, they converted part of the university's old experimental farm into a prison camp and recruited mostly students to be the inmates. Since all of the participants in the incarceration study are volunteers who have consented to their imprisonment the civil rights restrictions won't apply, as they would if real convicts were involved. The experimental subjects are divided into several groups, and each group is treated differently. The control group will be in a 'country club' environment, and the others will experience more stringent conditions. Since you enjoy bondage, Joan has arranged for you to spend the entire three months on a chain gang."
I was in shock. I croaked out, "Three months? On a chain gang? As Joan's prisoner?"
"Yes, it'll end after three months, unless they get a new grant to extend the program."
I panicked. I jumped up and ran into the hall and turned towards the outside door. I managed to take two steps before khaki-clad giants appeared on each side of me and grabbed my arms, and I was stopped and bounced back like I had reached the bottom of a bungee jump. I stomped down on a foot with my high heel and heard a cry of pain, but I wasn't able to break free. My arms were pulled behind me and I felt handcuffs close around my wrists and heard a lot of clicks as they were tightened down.
I've never liked wearing police-type handcuffs, and the ones clamped on my wrists now were way outside my limits. They were hinged handcuffs, they were tight, and my palms were turned outwards. Jim handcuffed me like this once and in less than five minutes I was begging him to release me.
I totally lost control and started screaming, which went on for about ten seconds before a big hand was clamped over my mouth and nose. I couldn't breathe, and I was desperate by the time the hand was finally removed. I opened my mouth and gasped for air, but only got half a breath before a ball gag was jammed into my mouth and the strap tightened behind my head. The ball was so large that it completely filled my mouth and strained my jaw.
One of the gorillas held me by my arms while the other locked leg irons on my ankles, and then they dragged me back into Room 112. One of the men said to the woman at the desk, "You were right, Jesse. She did try to duck out."
"Yeah, she looked like a quitter. Put her on the bench."
One of the gorillas opened a gate in the partition and the other dragged me through it and shoved me down so I was sitting on a bench between the other two women. There was a chain bolted to the floor and he padlocked my leg iron chain to it. When I leaned forward to try to ease the strain on my arms he noticed that the right cuff was digging into my wrist, so he tightened the left one a notch and double-locked the cuffs on my wrists and ankles.
I was close to hysteria, but I worked hard to calm down and stop crying. The ball gag plugged my mouth completely, so if my nose clogged up I could suffocate before anyone noticed. After a while I was able to clear my nose by snuffling and snorting, and once there was no danger of immediate death I was able to take some notice of my surroundings.
The women on either side of me appeared to be coeds, and they were remarkably alike, even though one had brown hair and blue eyes and the other had black hair and brown eyes. Both of them were in chains, but their hands were cuffed in front. A chain connected the handcuffs to the leg irons, but because they were sitting on a low bench they were able to touch their faces, an ability I really envied. I knew that my face was a mess, with the tears, snot, and drool flowing together and dripping off my chin. I leaned farther forward, so the runoff formed a puddle on the floor instead of soaking my skirt.
Seventeen minutes later the phone on the desk rang. I knew this because there was a clock on the wall and I was watching it. Jesse exchanged a few words with whomever had called, and then she and one of the men took Blue Eyes out of the room. Forty seven minutes later Jesse and the man returned alone, and eleven minutes after that they removed Brown Eyes.
If this pattern held I could be out of here in less than two hours, and I wasn't going to come back. I hated to let Jean down, but I didn't want any part of the moot court if I was going to be handcuffed like this, and I absolutely refused to take the slightest risk of spending three months on a chain gang and be subjected to Joan's inventive torments. I decided that once the arraignment was over I was going to take the bus back to my apartment, get in my car, and drive out of town. I'd phone Jean from L.A. or someplace and give her my apologies.
Jesse returned alone fifty three minutes later, and nine minutes after that she approached me. By this time I was in so much pain that I was crying again. My hands were numb, but my wrists were on fire and my arms and shoulders ached. I thought my jaw was ready to drop off, and that would have been acceptable if it meant it would stop hurting.
Jesse asked, "Are you sorry now that you tried to escape, Bonnie?"
Bonnie was sorry and Kristen was very, very sorry. I nodded frantically and blinked my tear-reddened eyes, mutely imploring her to remove the gag.
"I'll take the gag out, but don't you say anything, or it goes right back in. You can whisper in your lawyer's ear, and you can answer direct questions, but that's it. Understand?"
I nodded again. Yes, yes, I understand. Please, please take it out.
Jesse helped me to stand up, and then unbuckled the gag and pulled it out of my mouth. She wiped off my face with a paper towel while I worked my cramped jaw muscles until I was able to swallow instead of drool. She unlocked the handcuffs and I groaned as my arms fell limply to my sides. My hands were dark red, and the pain of returning circulation momentarily overwhelmed all of the other pains.
Jesse walked back to the desk. I rubbed the deep, red grooves on my wrists and moved my arms and jaw. All too soon she returned with a transport chain. She wrapped it around my waist, put a cuff through the keeper link, and locked the cuffs on my wrists. She squeezed them until they were snug but not tight, and double-locked them. My hands were held close against my belly, but this was a lot less painful than it could have been, and I was glad that I hadn't stomped on her foot.
Jesse unlocked the padlock fastening my leg irons to the floor and guided me out of Room 112 and down the hall to the courtroom. I had been there before, when I was the victim of another of Joan's pranks. A gray-haired man was seated behind the bench, and Jean and another woman were seated at separate tables near it. We went to Jean's table and Jesse helped me sit in a chair next to her.
Jean whispered in my ear, "Bad news, Bonnie. The police showed your picture to the guards and got them to say the robber could have been you. This will probably be enough to get the case sent to trial, but I'm sure I can discredit the witnesses then. I'm confident the prosecution doesn't have much chance of getting a conviction."
I had expected a trial; the purpose of a moot court is to give the fledgling lawyers trial experience, so it would be pointless to dismiss a case before then. I looked at the stack of notes Jean had prepared and felt guilty about running out on her, but I knew what Joan was capable of if she got her hands on me, and I wanted no part of it.
The judge banged his gavel and announced, "The next case is the State versus Bonnie Parker, charged with armed robbery."
Jean stood up and motioned for me to stand also. When we were standing the judge said, "Let the record show that the defendant and her counsel are present. How does the defendant plead?"
Jean answered, "Not guilty, Your Honor. I move that this charge be dismissed for lack of evidence."
The judge asked the other woman, "Can the State show cause why this motion should not be granted?"
"Yes, Your Honor." She handed a document to the judge. "These are sworn depositions from the armored car guards. The police showed them a photo lineup, and they picked out the defendant's picture as looking like the robber. There is also an affidavit from the police investigator testifying that the defendant is a known associate of Clyde Barrow, who was captured at the scene of the crime."
The judge asked, "Did Barrow identify the defendant as his accomplice?"
"No, Your Honor, he hasn't said anything at all."
Good ol' Clyde, a real stand-up guy.
The judge looked at the papers, and then said. "The motion is denied, and the defendant is ordered to stand trial." He looked at another paper, and said, "There are pleas in the other two cases awaiting trial, so I'm going to schedule this case for 10 a.m. next Wednesday. Is there anything else before we adjourn?"
The woman playing the prosecutor said, "I move that the defendant's bail be revoked and that she be held in custody until the trial."
The judge replied, "The presumption is that a defendant is entitled to bail. Why are you asking that it be revoked."
"Parker was late reporting for her arraignment this morning. She also attempted to escape from custody, and during this attempt she assaulted a bailiff. This act of violence shows that she would be a danger to the public if she is allowed to remain at large. Also, she doesn't have any ties to the community, and there is over a half-million dollars missing, so this makes her a flight risk."
Jean interrupted, "Objection, Your Honor. There is no evidence that my client has that money."
The judge replied, "The objection is sustained. However, the State's other points are valid, so I order that the defendant's bail be revoked and she be placed in custody."
He banged the gavel and said, "Moot Court is now adjourned; let's go to lunch. Both of you ladies presented your cases very well, and I look forward to the trial. I also want to thank our defendant for taking part in this learning experience."
The judge left the courtroom, followed by the prosecutor and Jean. I wanted Jesse to remove the chains, but she seemed to be waiting for something. Jean ducked back in and said, "I almost forgot, Aunt Jesse. My mom would like you to call her."
"OK, honey. See you later."
Jesse looked at her watch and then pulled a black nylon hood out of her pocket. "Hold still, Bonnie. I'm going to hood you so you won't try anything while we're walking to the cell block. It's in the basement of this building."
I was alarmed by the hood, but then I understood; Jean and Aunt Jesse were having a little joke on gullible Kristen. All that stuff Jean told me about the 'incarceration study' must have been part of the joke too. My bondage safeword is 'Jingle Bells', and I started to whistle it.
"Why are you whistling that song? It's May, not December."
"You know that's my safeword, Jesse. I've caught on to the joke, so you can let me go now."
"What joke? You agreed to take part in the moot court, and that includes being in jail. Having a client actually in jail puts a lot of realistic pressure on the attorney."
OK, so she wanted to carry the joke a little farther. I held still as she slipped the hood over my head and tightened the drawstring around my neck. There was a hole opposite my mouth so I could breathe, but I couldn't see anything. Jesse guided me out of the courtroom and along a corridor, then we turned left and went along a longer corridor. I could occasionally hear the footsteps of other people, but nobody said anything, and I wondered why they weren't surprised by the presence of a chained, hooded woman.
We stopped and I heard a door opening, and Jesse said, "We have two flights of stairs going down. Take it slowly, one step at a time."
As if I had been intending to run. Jesse steadied me with her arm around my waist, but even so I was afraid of falling and I slowly stumbled my way down the stairs, accompanied by the un-musical jingling of my chains. When we reached the bottom Jesse stepped away from me and I heard her unlock and open another door. We walked another ten paces or so and stopped. She pulled off the hood, and when my eyes adjusted I got an unpleasant surprise.
We were in a room that had bare concrete walls and a bare concrete floor, and I guessed its dimensions to be about twenty feet by fifty feet. Along one of the long walls was the 'cell block'; five ten-by-ten cells with walls and ceiling made of sections of chain-link fencing, like the temporary fence that you'd see around a construction site. The pipes along the edges of the fence that touched the concrete were fastened to it by metal straps and embedded bolts, and the other edges were bolted together. The four end cells contained beds and other furnishings, but the one in the center was empty, except for a folded blanket in one corner.
The cell block door opened and a woman wearing black jeans and a black tee shirt hurried inside. It was Joan! What was she doing here? I was afraid I knew the answer to that question.
Jesse said, "It's about time you got here, Joan."
"I'm sorry, Aunt Jesse. I had trouble finding a substitute to teach my afternoon class."
"I've got to go. You take care of Bonnie." Jesse hurried away.
Joan said, "Hello, Kristen."
"Hello, Joan. Why are you here?"
"Aunt Jesse has other things to do so I took this shift. Besides, when I heard you were a going to be a prisoner here I couldn't stay away." She licked her lips, and I had a mental picture of a cat watching a bird with a broken wing.
I accused, "You lied to me. You didn't say I would be in prison."
"I didn't lie. I told you about the follow-up session, I just omitted some of the details. And you aren't in prison yet; Jean is a good lawyer, and you may be acquitted."
I thought back over our conversation and realized that Joan hadn't told me any falsehoods, she just neglected to mention little things like the chain gang. I wasn't in an advantageous position, so I decided not to debate the point.
Joan smiled like a kitten in a creamery. I looked at her and knew that my life was going to become very interesting, in an unpleasant sort of way. Joan unlocked a tall metal cabinet standing against the room's other long wall and took out a collar made of nylon webbing, with a metal box a little smaller than a deck of cards riveted to it. She tightly wrapped the collar around my neck with the metal box at the back and closed a locking clamp.
Joan said, "This collar material is reinforced with fibers made of a super plastic that's very difficult to cut, so you won't be removing it unless you have the key to the clamp."
The outside 'walls' of the cells had doors made of steel bars built into them. Joan unlocked the door of the bare center cell, led me into it, and spread the blanket out on the floor.
She ordered, "Lay on your back on the blanket."
I didn't know what she was planning, but I did as she said, dropping to my knees and rolling onto my back. She reached in her pocket and took out what looked like a TV remote control. She pointed it at me and I felt an indescribable sensation, and then I was dazed and I couldn't control my arms or legs. This must have lasted for several minutes, and when I had recovered enough to lift my head Joan explained what had happened.
"That box on your collar contains a stun gun that I can trigger with this remote control. You're going to be required to do some things that you don't want to do, and this will avoid arguments. We used to have to call in our musclemen when force was needed, but this is much more convenient. If you see me pointing the remote at you get down fast, because you'll get hurt if you fall on the concrete."
I can be slow-witted at times, but even I could tell that this wasn't a joke. I shrieked, "You can't keep me here! This is unlawful imprisonment!"
Joan was as calm as I was upset. She replied, "No it's not. Legally, it's like you're an actress who is tied up or imprisoned for a movie role. When you signed the contract and agreed to be the defendant in the moot court you specifically authorized us to use confinement, restraint, and corporal punishment. We can do things to you that the sheriff can't do to convicts in his jail. The only restriction is that we can't deliberately inflict permanent scars or damage. We also have to supply your basic needs, such as water and air, and let you sleep some. The wimpy lawyers made us put that in the contract."
I fought to keep some semblance of control. I took a deep breath and said, "So I'm going to have to stay in here until the trial on Wednesday?"
"Yep. And if you're convicted you'll be part of the incarceration study for as long as that lasts."
While I was pondering the implications of that statement I looked around. All of the commotion had attracted the occupants of the adjacent cells, and Blue Eyes was watching me from one cell and Brown Eyes was watching me from the other. They didn't say anything and they didn't make eye contact with Joan.
The clothes they had been wearing for the arraignment were gone, and now they were wearing orange dresses. These dresses were actually more like sacks or tubes of cloth, extending up from just above the knee to the armpits and held up by shoulder straps that buttoned in the front. The women obviously weren't wearing bras, and I didn't see any panty lines. They also had stun collars on their necks, and wore bracelets and anklets made of the same material as the collar, with a long chain locked to the right anklet. Their feet were bare.
While I was looking at the other prisoners Joan had made a trip to the cabinet and returned with a six-foot chain. She padlocked one end to a D-ring on my collar and the other end to an eyebolt set into the floor near the center of the cell. Once I was secured she removed the handcuffs and the leg irons. She let me rub my wrists for a few minutes and then locked bracelets and anklets on me. They were about two inches wide, snug but not tight, and had a sturdy D-ring.
Joan explained, "Handcuffs can cause nerve damage if they're left on too long, but you could be suspended by these webbing cuffs. It would hurt, but you probably wouldn't be damaged."
Thanks, Joan; that makes me feel much better.
Joan commanded, "Take off your clothes and give them to me."
I didn't want to strip in front of everybody, but I didn't doubt that Joan would stun me if I refused, so I took off my jacket and handed it to her, and she hung it neatly inside a plastic garment bag. My skirt and blouse followed, and they were also carefully placed in the bag. I took a deep breath, and then stripped off my shoes, slip, pantyhose, bra, and finally my panties, and gave everything to Joan. I felt very exposed, vulnerable, and embarrassed standing naked with three people staring at me.
Joan packed everything into the garment bag and hung it on the wall. Then she said, "Turn around and put your hands behind your back."
I obeyed, and she fastened my wrists together with a padlock through the D-rings. Once I was secured she took the chain off of my neck and locked it onto my right anklet. She commented, "This cell is far from escape-proof, so we use the ankle chain to keep you from wandering around."
She took the garment bag and left the cell, locking the door behind her. I cried, "Wait a minute! Don't I get an orange dress? Are you going to leave me naked in this bare cell, and with my hands locked behind my back?"
"Yes. The Psychology Department classified you as a Recalcitrant, so you don't get any privileges, such as clothes or a bed. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you the rules. When you're in your cell during the day you've got to stand up. Until lights-out you can't sit, kneel, lay down, or touch the blanket except during rest periods. By contract, you get a twenty minute rest period every four hours; there's a buzzer that goes off to let you know when it starts and finishes."
"There isn't a toilet in here and I have to pee. What do I do?"
Joan pointed to a small grating near the center of the cell and said, "You can squat over that drain. Somebody will bring a bucket around once a day so you can dump." She held up the garment bag and said, "You'll get these clothes back for your court appearance. Jean has your purse; she said she'd take care of your apartment."
Joan left the cell block and I heard the outside door slam and the click of a lock. Once she was gone Blue Eyes said, "Hi. I'm Lizzie Borden and that's Moll Flanders in the other cell. What's your moot name?"
"Bonnie Parker." Who chose these names?
"You've got a nice body, and I see you're a natural blonde."
"Thanks." Did she start all of her conversations that way? Of course, most of the people she met for the first time probably weren't naked.
"Are you a student? I haven't seen you on campus."
"I'm an unemployed diesel mechanic. Say, all of this 'incarceration study' stuff is just a joke, isn't it?" I held my breath while I waited for her to agree and laugh at my gullibility.
"I wish; I'll be spending the summer at the prison camp. The only bright spot is that I'll be in the control group. A friend of mine took part in the study's test phase last summer and she was on the chain gang. They worked her so hard that she lost almost thirty pounds in eight weeks, and she wasn't all that heavy when she started."
That wasn't good news. I wondered why anyone who knew what was happening would get involved in this so I asked, "If you knew that, why did you volunteer to be a moot court defendant?"
"I was caught cheating on an exam, and moot court was the lesser evil."
"I don't understand. What could they do, expel you?"
"That and send me to a real prison. After that big cheating scandal in Phoenix a few years ago a law was passed that defines cheating at a state university as fraud. I could have gotten a felony conviction and three years imprisonment, so when the Dean offered to drop the charges if I volunteered for the moot court I was glad to do it. He also said I'll get a parole from the incarceration study so I can attend classes when school starts again in the fall."
Moll interjected, "The same thing happened to me, except that I bought a term paper over the Internet and it turned out my instructor wrote it." She continued, "Lizzie, do you want to exchange videos?"
"Sure. I watched 'Shawshank Redemption', so I'll trade it for 'The Green Mile." Let's remember to ask Joan the next time she's here. There's nothing worth watching on cable tonight."
I asked, "Why do you get all that when I don't even have a bed?"
Lizzie replied, "I've been here ever since I 'volunteered' two weeks ago. For the first few days I was classified as a Recalcitrant, and I got the same harsh treatment you're getting. Then I confessed to the moot court charge, got reclassified as a Repentant, and moved to this furnished cell. My confession guaranteed that I'd go into the incarceration study, but my lawyer told me that the evidence was so strong I'd be convicted anyway, so I didn't have anything to lose."
"I thought that a conviction was always a certainty." Jean said I would probably get off, but I couldn't really believe that.
"Not true. The Psychology Department wants as many prisoners as they can get, but the Law School insists on a fair trial. The Psychology Department controls this jail, so they'll try to make you confess if they can."
This setup was designed by an expert. It was going to be much harder to resist confessing if I had to endure this bare cell while I could see the comforts provided to the other prisoners.
There was some more idle chatter, but eventually Lizzie and Moll drifted back to whatever they were doing before I arrived. I wanted them to talk to me, because without any distractions I felt every discomfort. My arms ached, my feet were cold, and all of this standing was giving me a backache. I lusted for the blanket, because the air was too cool to make my nudity comfortable.
Some time later Joan returned. She was carrying an orange dress, and after she entered my cell and unlocked my wrists she tossed it to me and said, "Put this on. The detectives want to talk to you."
"Students from the Police Science Department. Everyone wants to get in on the act."
The dress had 'Prisoner' stenciled on the front and back in big black letters. I pulled it over my head and found that it was loose around the waist, but other than that it wasn't too bad a fit. Joan padlocked my wrists together behind my back. She took the chain attached to the ring in the floor off my ankle and connected my ankles with a short chain. She pulled the hood over my head and tightened the drawstring around my neck.
Joan held my arm and guided me out the door to the cell block and along a corridor. The chain on my ankles was so short that I had to scurry to keep up with her; luckily, we didn't go very far before she opened another door and pushed me through the doorway.
A male voice asked, "Is this Bonnie Parker?"
Joan answered, "Yeah. Page me when you're finished with her."
The door closed and my hood was removed. I was in a small room with a man and a woman. They were both wearing suits, but they looked like undergraduates. The man pushed me into a metal chair in the center of the room. It felt really good to sit down, but I was afraid the good feeling wasn't going to last.
He growled, "I'm Detective Sergeant Marlow and she's Detective Drew. You're going to tell us where you put the money, Bonnie."
Staying in character, I said, "I don't have the money."
Marlow slapped my face and said, "Wrong answer, bitch. Where's the money?"
I repeated, "I don't have the money", and he slapped the other side of my face. The blows weren't very hard, but they stung, and it was humiliating to be slapped around by this kid.
Marlow grabbed the D-ring on my collar with his left hand and pulled back his right fist. He snarled, "One more time, bitch. Tell me where the money is or you'll be missing some teeth."
He looked like he would enjoy hurting me and I was very frightened. I couldn't speak; all I could do was close my eyes and shake my head as I waited for the blow.
Drew interrupted, "Don't hit her, Phil! Go outside and cool off."
The fingers were pried off of my collar and I opened my eyes in time to see Drew push Marlow out the door. She turned to me and used a tissue to mop up the tears streaming down my face.
She put her arm around my shoulders and said in a soft voice, "I'm sorry, Bonnie. Finding the money is very important to him, and he has trouble controlling his temper. I'll do what I can to protect you, but he is in charge of this case. Please, tell me where to find the money. I don't want to see you hurt any more."
She played the good cop so nicely that I didn't laugh in her face. Instead, I replied, "Thank you, Detective. I can see that you're a nice person, and I'd tell you if I could, but I don't know where the money is."
I was watching her face while I said this, and a kaleidoscope of emotions crossed it, ending with anger. She stalked to the door, opened it, and said, "Your turn with the bitch, Phil."
"I told you that routine wouldn't work, Nancy. Wait out here while we do it my way."
Marlow pulled me to my feet and then pushed me down into the chair with my arms over the back. He took out handcuffs and closed one cuff through the padlock fastening my wrists together and pulled down on my arms until he could fasten the other cuff to a chair rung. I grunted as the top of the chair dug into my armpits. There was a leather strap attached to the chair seat and he buckled it around my hips. During all of this activity the chair hadn't moved; it was bolted to the floor.
Marlow unbuttoned my shoulder straps and peeled down the top of my dress, and my bare breasts appeared in all their B-cup glory. He gently massaged them, and when the nipples were erect he took one in each hand and pinched, hard.
I yelped, and he threatened, "That's just a start, bitch. Tell me where you hid the money." He produced a length of clear plastic tubing, about a half-inch in diameter.
I shook my head and begged, "Please don't hurt me. I don't have the money."
He swung the tubing and it hit my left breast, where it created a red line and incredible pain. I screamed as loudly as I could. Marlow got this funny smile on his face and hit me again. I rewarded him with another scream and he struck harder. I screamed again and he went into a frenzy, hitting both my breasts with forehand and backhand blows. I screamed continuously, and I lost touch with everything around me except for the blazing fire on my chest. I would have gladly told him where the money was even if it meant being on the chain gang forever, but he never paused long enough to let me talk.
Finally the blows stopped, and the pain receded enough to let me see Drew forcing Marlow away from me.
She shouted, "Stop! You'll kill her!"
Marlow tried to shove her out of the way, but she held on and said, "Get control of yourself! If you kill her you'll go to jail; you're not a real cop."
She examined my breasts, which were covered with red lines that shaded to purple on one end. She accused, "Phil, you told me that a beating with a hose didn't leave any marks, but look at her! You also told me it would only sting a little, but she sure screamed like it hurt a lot."
"Well, I couldn't know what would happen. It's your fault for not letting me try it on you first like I wanted to."
"Don't blame me, you're the one who beat her. Get her out of the chair while I page Joan."
Marlow removed the handcuffs and tried to help me stand up, but I remained slumped in the chair. I moaned and cried, and did everything I could to make him believe that I was more seriously injured than I was, although I hurt so much I didn't have to do much pretending. When he pulled on the top of my dress I screamed, and he jumped back.
Drew said, "You're hurting her! Get back! I'll fix her dress."
She gently pulled up the top of my dress and buttoned the shoulder straps, and then helped me stand up. Joan opened the door and asked, "You finished in here?"
Drew answered, "Yes, you can take her back to her cell."
"Why's she crying like that?"
Marlow answered, "She's very sensitive, and I shouted at her. Get her out of here."
Joan led me back to my cell. When she removed the padlock holding my wrists together my arms fell to my sides and I gasped as the dress rubbed my breasts.
Joan ordered, "Take off the dress."
I unbuttoned the shoulder straps and eased the top down over my ravaged breasts and let the dress fall to the floor. Joan saw the welts and exclaimed, "Who did that? Was it that prick Marlow?"
I nodded, and she said, "It's a bit early, but you can start your rest period now. I'll be right back."
Joan removed the chain connecting my ankles and reattached the chain from the eyebolt to my right ankle. She picked up the dress and hurried out of the cell block, locking all the doors behind her. I got the blanket and wrapped it around me, and then sat with my back against the concrete wall. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine this was all a bad dream.
A few minutes later Joan returned with Jesse, who carried a digital camera. Jesse entered my cell and commanded, "Open the blanket. I want to get a picture of your breasts."
I did as she ordered and she took a photograph. I asked, "What's that for? The Psychology Department website?"
"No, that's going into Marlow's file. This should get him expelled and blacklisted so he'll never be able to get a job as a cop."
"You mean he departed from the approved lesson plan?"
"Big time. No police chief in his right mind would want somebody that unstable on his force, and part of the Psychology Department's job is to weed out the psychos. Did Drew hit you too?"
"No, and she stopped Marlow. Is she going to get in trouble?"
"It depends on whether or not she reports the beating." Jesse left the cell block with the camera.
Joan got a bottle from the cabinet and rubbed lotion on my breasts. She asked, "Does that feel better?"
It did, for several reasons. I nodded, and Joan said, "I'd like to do more, but I have to go now."
She left my cell and stopped by Lizzie's cell door and gave her a padlock. She said, "When the rest period is over lock Bonnie's hands behind her back."
All too soon a buzzer sounded and Lizzie said, "The rest period is over, Bonnie. Move over here next to my cell."
"I don't want to."
"Do you want to spend the next four hours hanging upside down? Jesse did that to me when I stretched a rest period, and I know you won't like it."
It didn't sound like fun to me either, so I got up and went to the fencing that separated our cells.
"Turn around a put your hands against the fence so I can get this lock through the rings on the cuffs."
I could feel her fumbling with the D-rings, and then there was a click. She said, "Oops."
I asked, "What's oops?"
"I'm sorry, Bonnie, but I accidentally locked your wrists to the fence."
So she had, as I found out when I tried to turn around, with no success. I was prepared to spend the next four hours leaning against the fence, but it wasn't too long before the door to the cell block opened and Joan entered.
She said, "My, my, Kristen. You do manage to get into some interesting predicaments, don't you?"
"It's not my fault. Can you get me away from this fence?"
"Of course. I realize it would be very dull for you to just stand there, and a waste when there are so many more interesting things to do."
I shivered when I heard this, and not just because I was cold. I shivered again when Joan entered my cell and I saw she was carrying a coil of white cotton rope. She unlocked the padlock and I enjoyed the moment of freedom, brief as I expected it would be.
Joan said, "These bracelets are useful, but they are so sterile and impersonal compared to the more intimate effect of rope. Rope also lets one be much more creative." She thought a moment and then said, "Turn around and put your left hand behind you."
I didn't bother to protest. I turned around and put my left hand behind my back.
Joan tied the rope to the D-ring on the left bracelet and pushed up on my arm. She took the rope over my right shoulder, across my chest and under my left arm, and then over my left shoulder back across my chest. She pulled the rope as tight as she could and then took the end under my right arm and tied it to the D-ring.
"There we are. That's not too tight, is it?"
"What if I said yes, it is too tight?" I knew the answer to that question. Joan knew I knew, and she just smiled.
Joan turned me so I was facing her and tied another piece of rope to my right bracelet. She put the rope between my legs and said, "Bend over." She helped me by pushing down on my neck with her right hand while she pulled on the rope with her left hand. When my forearm was buried in my crotch she brought the rope up through the crack in my butt and tied it to my left bracelet. But she wasn't through yet; she wrapped several turns of rope around my waist and right arm and tied them tight.
Joan said, "Since you've been such a good girl I'm going to let you sit down." She spread the blanket on the floor near the back wall and helped me sit on it.
"Now put your left foot on your right knee." Joan doubled a piece of rope and looped the center around the D-ring on my left ankle. She wrapped the ends around my knee several times and tied them together, and then tied them again to the rope around my waist.
She tucked the end of the blanket around my shoulders and said, "That's cozy, isn't it? I'll see you at the next break."
I was not comfortable. I had to sit on my right thigh or else crush my right hand, and the hammerlock on my left arm hurt a lot. I twisted and struggled and got enough slack so I could unbend until only my wrist was buried in my crotch, but the blanket slipped off of my shoulders and I was cold again. I hurt so much that I wasn't aroused at all, even though my arm pressed on my nether region. All I could do was close my eyes and try to think happy thoughts.
Some time later Joan appeared pushing a cart. She said, "Dinner time!" and delivered covered trays to Lizzie and Moll. She pushed a plastic bowl under the door of my cell. I hoped she would untie me now, but it didn't happen, and I had to wait until the buzzer sounded a long time later.
I had to wait some more until Joan finally returned and untied me. All I could do was lay down and moan. Joan said, "Stop clowning around, Kristen. If you don't eat before the end of your break I'll take the food back."
I had missed lunch and I didn't want to miss this meal, so I forced my aching body over to the bowl, which was half-full of a grayish-brown paste. I asked Joan, "What is this stuff?"
"I don't know. We got it from one of the dorms. They guaranteed that it was fit for human consumption."
The paste was cold and bland, but I was hungry enough to eat it. The buzzer went off just as I finished, and Joan said, "Now we get to try something else. I saw an interesting picture on a Japanese website, and I want to try to duplicate it."
She had a big hank of jute rope, so I guessed what was coming. She said, "Put your forearms together, with your hands on the opposite elbow."
I thought about refusing, but I was so stiff and sore that she could easily handle me, even without the stun collar. I turned around and put my forearms together, and Joan tied them in place. Next she wrapped two bands of rope around my arms and torso, one above my breasts and one below. She cinched the bands around my arms, and I couldn't move them at all.
I prayed that this was all she was going to do, but Joan stayed in character. She went over to the wall and used a key to turn a switch mounted in an electrical box; there was a humming noise and a cable descended from the ceiling. She stopped it when the end was about six feet above the floor and moved me under it. Then she tied a length of rope around my waist and pulled it tight, with the knot in my navel. She ran the end of the rope between my legs, carefully placing it between my labia, and forced it under the bands of rope around my torso before she tied it to the loop at the end of the cable.
I begged, "This is torture, Joan. Please don't tie me like this."
"You know I don't like complaints. Now I'm forced to punish you." She tied a rope around my left leg just above the knee and ordered, "Lift your leg."
I resisted until she went to the cable control box and retracted the cable. When the crotch rope started cutting into me I quickly pulled my knee up. Joan tied its rope to the end of the cable, and mercifully lowered the cable so the crotch rope had a little slack. It still hurt, and I started to cry, as much for the pain I knew was coming as for the pain that was already here. Joan kissed my cheek and left the cell block.
The next four hours were hell. I hurt all over, and I longed to pass out, but I knew that if I did the crotch rope would cut me in two. When Joan finally released me I just collapsed, twitching like I'd been stunned. She said, "I'm sorry, Kristen. Maybe that bondage was too strenuous; I don't know how long the model on the website was in that position. To make up for it I'll let you rest for the remainder of the evening."
All I could do for quite a while was whimper. Eventually I was able to crawl to the blanket and wrap it around me.
I didn't have a very restful night; it apparently takes a lot of practice to be able to sleep on a concrete floor, and even with the blanket I wasn't very warm. My breasts didn't hurt much unless I touched them, but they were still so tender that if I bumped them while I slept it woke me up. I was awake long before Jesse brought the morning meal.
She slid a tray under Lizzie's door, and few minutes later Lizzie exclaimed, "What is this? I asked for my eggs to be over easy and they're cooked hard!"
When she said that I was looking at my own breakfast, which was a small bowl of some kind of mush; my sympathetic response was muted. The mush wasn't actually foul, but it was cold, bland, and nearly tasteless. This didn't stop me from eating it, however. It was better than the swill I got for dinner last night, and I figured I'd need all of the nourishment I could get, in case I somehow ended up on the chain gang.
Jesse asked, "Finished eating, Bonnie?"
"I hope not, but I did eat all of the unidentifiable grain product that was in the bowl."
"You've finished. Now it's time to get to work." Jesse entered my cell and hooked my ankles together with a short chain and released me from the chain that fastened me to the floor. She said, "Potty detail first."
I shuffled out of the cell and waited while she got the camping toilet out of Moll's cell. She directed, "Take this into the bathroom over in that corner and dump it. Then come back here and get the other one."
There was a toilet and a sink inside a small room partitioned-off in a corner and I shuffled to it. I tried hard to keep from sloshing sewage, because I had a good idea who would have to clean it up. I was lucky with both potties, and as a reward Jesse let me use the toilet and wash at the sink. I was pathetically grateful, which told me how much I had been conditioned after only a day as a prisoner.
Before Jesse left the cell block she padlocked my wrists together in front and shortened the chain on my ankles so I could still stand, but not walk. I spent the rest of the morning on clean-up detail, most of the time scrubbing the floor. It was hard on my knees, but it was better than standing up in my cell with nothing to do, or tied in some grotesque position by Joan. I managed to stretch out the cleaning and other chores until lunchtime; it was glorious not to be in the wire cage of my cell, even if I couldn't move around very well.
All good things come to an end, and after a 'lunch' of more unidentifiable grain product I was back in the cell, standing around with my hands locked behind my back. When the next rest period finally arrived I waited impatiently for Jesse to appear and release my hands, and when she did I wrapped up in the blanket and sat down with my back against the wall. I was very tired, and in spite of all the discomforts I fell asleep.
I had strange, jumbled dreams, which merged into somebody shaking me. I woke up, and Jesse said, "You've stretched your break by almost half an hour. Stand up and put your hands behind your back." She locked my wrists together.
I remembered what Lizzie told me and begged, "Please, I didn't mean to. I just fell asleep."
"Too bad. Motive doesn't matter, we go by actions." She led me into the center of the cell and forced me to sit. Then she went over to the wall and used her key to operate the winch. There was a humming noise and the cable descended from the ceiling. Jesse locked my ankle cuffs to a ring at the end of the cable and turned the switch the other way. The cable retracted, and my feet went with it until I was suspended with my head about a foot above the floor. Lizzie was right; I didn't like hanging upside down.
I had no way of telling the time, but I was still dangling when Joan appeared with dinner. I was very uncomfortable now, with real pain in my ankles, and I was feeling kind of dizzy. I begged, "Please let me down. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to stretch the break."
"I expect you're sorry now, but you stay as you are until the four hours are up. There's a timer on the winch that will lower you then."
I was suspended for another hour or so, and then the humming started and the cable lowered my feet to the floor. Well, not quite to the floor; when it stopped they were still about a foot in the air, and there was no way I could free my ankles. I couldn't even reach them, much less open the padlock that fastened them to the cable. I kept expecting Joan to appear and release me, but she never did. I twisted around on the end of the cable like a hooked fish, but there was no position that was comfortable, and it didn't take long before I was crying. Lizzie and Moll looked at me without saying anything and then went back to their televisions and used their headphones to muffle my piteous cries. The lights dimmed, indicating that it was night, and I gave up any hope of release.
By morning I was a wreck. I hadn't slept at all because of the pain in whatever part of me touched the floor, I was hungry and thirsty, and I was sitting in a pool of urine. I was so chilled that I couldn't stop shivering, and hypothermia was right around the corner. The only reason I wasn't screaming was that my throat was sore from the previous night's screams.
Jesse finally arrived with the morning food, and she somehow guessed that something was wrong; maybe it was my groaning. She exclaimed, "Bonnie! Were you like that all night? Wasn't Joan around yesterday evening to release you? That girl has been incredibly slack lately, and I'm getting tired of it."
I managed to hold in the sarcastic remarks and groaned a bit louder. This wasn't hard, because I hurt all over and my normal high spirits were somewhat down at the moment. Jesse unlocked the cable from my ankles and helped me to sit up. I croaked, "Please, can I have some water?"
Jesse help me stand and I staggered to the front of the cell. The water was in a bottle attached to the outside of the wire, with a plastic straw into the cell, much like the arrangement in a hamster cage. I eagerly sucked up some water; it soothed my raw throat.
Jesse said, "You have to get cleaned up for your trial." She wrinkled her nose. "You smell bad."
Yeah, sitting in a pool of piss will do that, Jesse.
She got an orange dress and put me into it and pulled a hood over my head. We left the cell block and climbed the stairs to the ground floor, and then climbed more stairs and walked along a corridor. Eventually she removed the hood and I found myself in a small locker room that had an attached shower.
Jesse stripped me and chained me by my collar to a grab-bar inside the shower stall. Then she removed the webbing cuffs on my wrists, and I screamed as my arms fell to my sides. While she waited for me to stop making a fuss she removed the anklets.
Jesse said, "You'll be OK once you move your arms a bit. Can you turn on the water?"
I gritted my teeth and opened the valves. The prospect of getting hot water on my chilled body was enough incentive to ignore the pain in my shoulders and arms, and once the water was flowing I reveled in the warmth. Someone had left a cake of soap, and I used it to get clean at last. It seem like it was only moments before Jesse returned and told me to shut off the water. She handed me a towel and I dried off; my hair was still damp, but there wasn't anything I could do about that without a dryer. I didn't want to say anything to Jesse, because shaving my head would likely be her solution.
Jesse handed me the garment bag containing my clothes and told me to get dressed. It was cool in the shower with the water off so I hurried into my clothes. The bra was uncomfortable against my bruised breasts, but I put it on anyway. I had been naked for only two days, but already it felt strange to be wearing clothes. When I was dressed Jesse was ready with the chains. She wrapped the transport chain tightly around my waist and cuffed my wrists in front; again the handcuffs were snug, but they didn't cut into my wrists. Jesse added leg irons and removed the stun collar. She collected all of the excess restraints and put them into a gym bag. Then we went for a walk.
Our destination was the infamous Room 112. Jesse sat me on the bench against the back wall and padlocked my leg irons to the floor chain. I was so hungry my stomach hurt, so I asked, "Please, can I have something to eat? I haven't had any food since yesterday."
"I'm busy right now, maybe later. And no talking, unless you want to be gagged."
I did not want to be gagged, so I shut up. It was just after 8:30, so I had time for a nap. I leaned my head against the wall and closed my eyes, and I was instantly asleep.
It was just after a quarter to ten when Jesse shook me awake. She released me from the floor chain and helped me to stand up. Jesse had changed her clothes and was now wearing a bailiff's khaki uniform. She said, "Come on, it's time for your trial."
I responded with a brilliant, "Huh?" and shuffled along as Jesse led me on the familiar route to the courtroom. Jean and the prosecutor were sitting at the same tables as before, but this time Jesse removed the handcuffs before she let me sit down. She crawled under the table and used a padlock to shorten the chain between my ankles.
Jesse opened a door behind the bench and said something, and then walked in front of the bench and said, "All rise, the moot court is now in session."
The same gray-haired man that was at the arraignment entered the room and sat behind the bench. He said, "This case is the State versus Bonnie Parker. Is the prosecution ready? Is the defense ready?"
Jean and the prosecutor said yes, and everyone sat down. Jean made some motion and there was a lot of talking. I didn't pay any attention; most of what they said was legal jargon, and anyway I was so tired I could barely keep from falling out of my chair. I was actually asleep when the prosecutor called her first witness, one of the guards of the armored car that been robbed.
Jean nudged me, and I woke up with a jolt when a large man with a noticeable limp entered the witness box. I recognized him, even though he wasn't wearing a khaki uniform, and I whispered to Jean, "What's going on? That's one of the bailiffs."
"Yes, this is like a low-budget theatrical production where some of the actors have to take several parts. Don't worry, I saw his script and he'll say both of the robbers were masked and he can't identify anyone."
The prosecutor asked some routine questions and then she asked the 'guard', "Can you identify the person who robbed you?"
He pointed at me and said, "Yes, that's her sitting at that table." He gave me a malicious smile. Jean gasped, and the prosecutor looked surprised.
She recovered quickly and asked, "Are you sure? You said in your deposition that both of the robbers were wearing ski masks."
"Well, yeah, but the woman robber took off her mask for a few minutes and I saw her face. It's her, all right."
"No further questions. Your witness."
Jean launched a vigorous cross-examination, but he stuck to his story. The next witness was the other guard, and he told the same tale. I knew I was doomed.
These were the only witnesses, and after some more legal wrangling both attorneys-to-be made closing statements. Jean did a good job, considering that she had to make it up as she went along, but her case had obviously been dealt a massive setback. There was some more legal gibberish and then the judge declared a recess to consider the evidence.
We waited in silence for the judge. Finally, he returned to the courtroom, and everyone stood until he was in place on the bench. Jean and I remained standing as he delivered his verdict:
"This was a difficult case, with the only real evidence being the eyewitness testimony of the guards. Although there were inconsistencies between their testimony during the trial and their pre-trial depositions, I have chosen to accept their trial testimony. Therefore I find the defendant guilty as charged."
Ever since the guard's testimony I had expected this, but it was still a shock, and I gasped. Jean clasped my hand
The judge continued, "Usually there is a sentencing hearing, but the defendant's previous felony record and the 'three-strikes' statute make that irrelevant in this case; only one sentence is allowed by the statute. Accordingly, the defendant is sentenced to imprisonment for life, and she is remanded to the Corrections Department."
Jean rallied, and said, "I request that the defendant be granted bail pending appeal."
"Request denied. The defendant has been convicted of a crime of violence, and she has every incentive to flee. She is to be taken into custody immediately. This court is adjourned." He stood and removed the black robe. "Now, speaking as an instructor, I would like to thank everyone who assisted us with this moot court, especially the defendant."
Jesse moved up and fastened my hands behind my back using those hinged cuffs that I hated. She grabbed my arm, but Jean stopped her before she could drag me away.
Jean said, "I'm really sorry, Kristen. I was sure that Bonnie would be acquitted, and I don't know why the guards changed their testimony." She put an arm over my shoulder and continued, "Since you're going to be part of the incarceration study, you won't want to keep paying rent on your apartment. If you like I'll move your stuff into storage, and if you'll give me your power of attorney I'll take care of any bills you haven't paid yet."
That's when it really hit me. I was going to be imprisoned, and my life was no longer my own. I broke down and cried, my sobs loud in the courtroom. Jean hugged me and I put my head on her shoulder as I wept uncontrollably.
The 'judge' said, "That's a very realistic performance. I could almost believe that the defendant is really going to go to prison."
Eventually I stopped crying. Jean dried my tears and kissed my cheek. Jesse removed the padlock holding my ankles together and guided me back to Room 112. I was very depressed.
When we got back to Room 112 Jesse locked the stun collar on my neck and locked it to a long chain fastened to the floor. Then she took off the handcuffs and leg irons. She said, "OK Bonnie, I've got to visit the prison farm anyway, so I'm going to take you with me. Strip and put on this orange dress."
I took off the suit, blouse, slip, and panty hose. I begged, "Please, can I keep my underwear?"
"Nope. Strip to your skin."
I thought of resisting but decided it would do me no good. I stripped naked and quickly put on the orange dress. Jesse tossed me a pair of cheap tennis shoes and I put them on too. I expected Jesse to put the handcuffs and leg irons back on, but she surprised me. She had a big ball of polyester twine and was cutting off six-foot lengths. She ordered, "Turn around and cross your wrists behind your back."
"What's with the twine? Why don't you use the handcuffs?"
"Because hardware that goes to the Farm is sometimes slow to return, and I'm going to need all I've got when the student prisoners start arriving here once finals are over. Now shut up and do as I told you."
She picked up the stun remote, and I spun around and put my hands behind my back. Jesse wrapped twine around my wrists in the classic diagonal pattern, tying lots of knots, and finished with a cinch that tightened everything down. She wasn't brutal, but I could already feel the thin twine cutting into my skin. I hoped the 'Farm' was close by, because this bondage was going to hurt.
Jesse hobbled me with a doubled piece of twine and pulled the hood over my head. She held my arm and guided me out of the building and quite a ways along a sidewalk. I could hear people talking and traffic noise and I was glad that my face was covered by the hood. Finally we stopped and a van door was slid open; Jesse pushed down on my head and steadied me until I got a foot inside the van. She helped me to sit on the floor with my back against the side of the van and tied my hobble to some floor fitting. She closed the van door and we drove off.
I had been anxious before, and the drive to the mysterious Farm did nothing to calm my nerves. It seemed that were on the road for a long time, but I had no way to tell how long it really was. We spent a lot of time in the city traffic, and then more time driving along country roads. The van stopped and Jesse got out; then we moved a short distance and the pattern was repeated, so I guessed we went through a locked gate. I hoped that this meant we were close to our destination, because I was really getting claustrophobia from the hood and a full-scale panic attack wasn't far away.
I was immensely relieved when the van stopped and Jesse shut off the engine. She got me out of the van and removed the hood, and I blinked in the sunlight. Once my eyes adjusted I found that we were standing in front of a large barn. A young woman emerged from a small door and walked toward us. She had a slim body, tan skin, and long black hair. She was wearing black jeans and a black tee shirt.
She had a worried look. She said, "Hello, Professor. Who's this?"
"This is Bonnie Parker, Tien. She's your first prisoner; she was convicted today of armed robbery and sentenced to life imprisonment."
"But we weren't expecting any prisoners until next week! I'm here alone, and there isn't any place to secure a prisoner."
I piped up, "Well, I guess that means you'll have to let me go. How about untying me now? This twine is cutting my wrists."
Jesse was not amused, and demonstrated her poor sense of humor by stuffing a ball gag into my mouth and buckling the strap very tight. She said to Tien, "Let's go inside and you can show me what you've got." She gave me a shove and we all went inside the barn.
Jesse pointed to some stalls and asked, "How about over there?"
Tien replied, "Those stall doors and partitions are only five feet tall. That isn't high enough to keep her inside."
"It is if you keep her hands tied behind her back." I whimpered, but they ignored me. Jesse continued, "You're going to need some stuff. Let's put her in a stall for now and I'll do some shopping at Ace Hardware. Here's her paperwork."
Tien took my arm and led me over to a stall; she unbolted the door and pushed me inside. The floor was covered with a thick layer of straw, and I was glad that I couldn't detect any trace of the former occupants.
Jesse warned, "Be careful around her. She really doesn't want to be here, and she will escape if you give her a chance. Since you're here alone I better leave the stun collar on her, but I'll need it back later." She gave the remote to Tien.
Tien asked, "What does this do?" She pointed the remote at me and pushed the button, and I fell down, twitching. The straw helped to cushion my fall, but it was still a thump, and I was lucky I fell on my back instead of on my face. I started wheezing, and Jesse was concerned enough to take out the ball gag.
Tien exclaimed, "Wow! That's very effective."
"Yeah, but she can get hurt if you zap her while she's standing up. I'd give her time to get down before pushing the button."
"OK. Say, while you're at the hardware store can you get some eighth-inch cotton rope? That's what I like to use when I tie up girls."
Jesse nodded and left the barn, and Tien turned to me with a look of excitement in her eyes that made me nervous. I struggled to my knees and said, as humbly as I could, "Please, Ma'am, I need to pee." It really grated to be so subservient to a girl at least ten years younger than me, but I was totally at her mercy and I didn't want to give her an excuse to hurt me. I just hoped she would need an excuse.
She giggled and said, "You can call me Tien. Just a minute, I'll get a bucket."
She left the stall, closing and bolting the door behind her. In a few minutes she returned and helped me squat over a plastic bucket; not wearing panties simplified this part of my life. I thanked her and then, greatly daring, I asked, "Could I have some food? I haven't eaten anything since yesterday."
Tien said, "I don't have anything right now; maybe later, after the professor gets back." She put a tight-fitting lid on the bucket.
"Why do you keep calling Jesse 'professor'?"
"Didn't you know? She's the head of the Psychology Department. I'm one of her students; she recruited all of the guards from the students in her classes."
That explained a lot. I was sure that Jesse carefully evaluated prospective guards to get just the personality types she wanted, and I was also sure the people she picked were really going to enjoy their work.
Tien said, "I'm going to leave you now; I want to make your ID tag and the machine is really old and cranky. Don't try to leave the stall."
"What's this ID tag, that you need a machine to make it?"
"It's a stainless steel tag, like an army dog tag. Your name and prison number are punched into it. The machine was part of the old farm equipment; it was used to make ear tags for livestock." Tien left the stall, closing and bolting the door.
I was still very tired and I wanted to sleep, but the pain in my wrists was too bad to ignore. I sat in the straw in sort of a stupor until Jesse returned. She gave Tien a piece of chain about five feet long. There was a ring fastened to the back wall of the stall, and Tien looped the chain through it; the links were long enough to let her feed the chain through its end link. Jesse padlocked the chain to my collar and gave the key to Tien.
Jesse instructed, "Keep the key out of her reach unless she is secured. If you keep it in your pocket she might be tempted to jump you."
Tien nodded and stepped out of the stall while Jesse cut the twine off my wrists and ankles. I moaned with relief and rubbed the deep welts left by the thin twine.
Jesse said to Tien, "I've got to leave. Give her the initial test before the rest of the intake processing." Tien nodded and accompanied her out of the barn. The stall door was open, but I couldn't reach it.
Soon Tien returned with a clipboard, a handful of number 2 pencils, and a thick stack of paper. She said, "This is a psychological evaluation. The whole point of the incarceration project is to see how the prisoners change with various treatments, and these evaluations are used to measure the results. Don't try to fake your answers; you'll see that a lot of the questions are repeated in different words, and we check to see if the answers are consistent. You'll be very sorry if they're not. Keep in mind that there are only three offenses here that are always punished by flogging, and one of them is falsifying a psychological evaluation."
"Flogging? You can't be serious!"
"Yes we are; why do you think it was authorized by the contract you signed? The point is that falsifying an evaluation is very bad for you. You will take them frequently and they will be compared to your previous evaluations, so unless you have a photographic memory be honest."
"OK, you've made your point. I have no reason to fake the evaluation anyway." But flogging? I still didn't believe it.
Tien left the stall and I started on the test, which featured the same psychobabble that is on all of these tests. I sat on the straw and answered the questions, carefully filling in the little circles with my pencil. When I finished I stretched out on the straw and slept.
Some time later Tien woke me up. She had a a two-liter plastic bottle filled with water in one hand and a hank of thin rope in the other. She said, "It's time for the rest of the intake processing. Do you need any water?" I shook my head, no.
She put down the bottle and said, "I'm going to tie you up. Please cooperate; I'm sure you know what will happen if you don't."
Yeah, stun city. I stood up, turn my back, and crossed my wrists. She moved my hands so they were palm-to-palm and swiftly tied them with an ease that showed she'd had lots of practice. When she finished my wrists were firmly fastened, with no knots in reach. She repeated the process with my elbows; she didn't try to make them touch, but when she finished I couldn't use my arms. Finally, Tien hobbled my ankles. Once I was helpless she got the padlock key from where she had left it outside the stall and freed me from the chain.
We walked to the other end of the barn and Tien made me lay face-down on a bench, with my head extending off the end. She padlocked my collar to an eyebolt, and used rope to tie down my waist and knees. I knew what this meant; she was going to do something I wouldn't like. My voice shook when I asked, "What are you going to do to me?"
"I'm going to attach your ID tag. I see that you have pierced ears; that will save a step." She showed me the tag and some stainless steel wire, and then wheeled up a resistance welder. She said, "This won't hurt much if you hold still." She threaded a piece of wire through my left earlobe and then through a hole in the tag. She clamped the ends of the wire together with the welder's jaws and activated it, and I had a permanent earring.
Tien showed me a piece of red plastic and said, "This goes on your other ear to show that you're part of the group that will receive the harshest treatment." She threaded wire through my right earlobe, welded it, and I had two permanent earrings.
When Tien didn't say anything or free me from the bench I started to worry. I asked, "What happens now?"
"I've got to do something I don't agree with, but it's Policy so I haven't any choice. I've got to shave your head."
"What! You can't mean that!" I thrashed around, going precisely nowhere. I have never been vain about my hair; in fact, I usually just had it hacked off when it got long enough to bother me, but this humiliation was too much.
"I think it's barbaric, but the psych professors think it's important enough to make it part of the policy document. I'm not going to shave you bald, just give you a buzz cut." Tien picked up barber's clippers and buzzed them over my head. My hair rained down on the floor, followed by some tears.
Tien took me back to my stall and chained me to the wall. I had been depressed before, but I was really down now. I slumped to my knees and leaned against the wall, still tied up. I wanted my hands back, but I knew that asking to be untied would do more harm than good.
Tien said, "I'm going to get you some food and some other stuff you'll need. I won't be long." She kissed me on the forehead and left, taking the psych test with her. I just knelt in the straw and quietly cried.
I was still crying when Tien returned. She said, "I owe you an apology. I re-read the policy document, and shaving your head wasn't required. It's only to be used as a punishment, not as a routine part of the intake processing."
Somehow this did make me feel better. I hadn't been deliberately humiliated; I was just the victim of an accident, like I got too close to a campfire and my hair got burned off. I said, "I'm just glad that branding isn't one of the punishments; a mistake about that would have been a lot worse."
"What makes you think branding isn't one of the punishments?" Tien enjoyed the shocked look on my face, and then laughed. "It's not, I was just teasing." She sat down in front of me and presented the bowl she was carrying. "Here's some food. I made it myself."
She held out a spoonful and I opened my mouth. It was some kind of stew, and it tasted good. I ate everything in the bowl and could have eaten more, but I knew dinner was over when Tien untied me. Remembering my manners as a sub, I said, "Thank you for the food; it was very good. And thank you for untying me."
"You're welcome." Tien left with the bowl and returned in a few minutes with a large cardboard box. She said, "Here's some other things you'll need." She unloaded two blankets, a plastic basin, soap, a towel, a toothbrush, and a comb. She picked up the comb. "I guess you won't need this. I'll bring you some water later so you can wash."
I didn't notice when she brought the water, because as soon as I was untied I wrapped myself in the blankets and fell asleep.
Tien woke me the next morning before dawn. She said, "The Policy requires the Red Group to work from dawn to sunset, so you have to get up. Use the bucket now if you have to."
I squatted over the bucket and then washed my face and hands. I asked, "Do I get any food?"
"I'll bring you some later. Turn around and put your hands behind your back."
I crossed by wrists, and in about a minute Tien had them firmly tied. She got the key from outside the stall and unchained me, then snapped a leash on my collar and led me outside. On the way out of the barn she picked up a hoe, gloves, and a straw hat, which she put on my head. She said, "You'll be outside all day, and this will keep your scalp from getting sunburned."
We walked over to the fence that surrounded the high-security part of the prison camp. It was chain link, eight feet tall, and with three strands of barbed wire on top. We stopped near a chunk of concrete that looked like it was a piece of an old curb. Rebar protruded from one end, and a chain had been welded to it.
Tien locked my collar to the chain and untied my hands. She gave me the gloves and the hoe and said, "When the rest of the prisoners arrive we'll organize the chain gang and you'll be closely supervised, but for now I'm going to have you work on your own. See all the weeds along the fence? I want you to hoe them out. When you've cleared everything that you can reach drag the concrete to a new location. You don't have to kill yourself, but don't stop working, either. I'll let you know when it's break time, and that's the only time you can stop hoeing. Any questions?"
It didn't seem to be too complicated even for me to understand, so I shook my head. Tien told me to start working, and she went back into the barn. I put on the gloves and started chopping weeds. The chain was about fifteen feet long, so I could clear thirty feet of fence before I had to move the concrete. This required me to grab the chain with both hands and walk slowly backward as the concrete reluctantly slid along the ground. I obviously wasn't going to escape if I had to drag it with me.
I got into a rhythm and shut off my brain. In a couple of hours Tien appeared with a gallon of water in a plastic jug and a couple of granola bars. I half-way expected her to tie my hands so she could feed me, but she didn't. After I ate, she rubbed some sun block on my exposed skin. She made quite a production of it, and I wondered if she had any romantic notions. I'd never been interested in girls, but I wasn't going to refuse the advances of somebody who controlled my life, either.
As I worked my thoughts drifted to the idea of escape. The prospects didn't look good; I was always chained or tied, this fence would be tough to climb over, and I was way out in the sticks. I didn't know exactly where I was, but I could see Humphries Peak, the tallest of the San Francisco Mountains, so I knew which way it was to town. Of course, even if I could get to town I wouldn't have any clothes, money, or identification, and my closest friends were part of the group I was trying to escape from. I considered what would happen if I went to the police for help; they would call the university to confirm my fantastic story, and I would be characterized as delusional. The police might even deliver me back to the Psychology Department. I forgot about escape and kept hoeing.
The idea of escape returned when I came to a place where a small gully ran under the fence. It wasn't very deep, but I figured I might be able to use it to slip under the wire, assuming I could get this far. I spent some time using the hoe to soften up the ground as much as I could, and smoothed it over to conceal what I had done.
This time of year the day is about sixteen hours long, and I felt every minute of it. By sundown my back hurt, my arms hurt, and in spite of the gloves I was developing blisters on my hands. I was very glad to see Tien again. She walked up to me, and then ran back about twenty feet and put a key on the ground. By the time she returned I had already turned and crossed my wrists behind my back. She did her usual expert job of tying my hands, and then she got the key and unchained me. She snapped the leash on my collar and we walked back towards the barn.
Tien asked, "How do you feel, Bonnie?"
"Tired and sore."
"Good, that's the way you're supposed to feel. You're getting into shape before the real work starts on the chain gang, so you'll have an easier time than the other prisoners."
Somehow this didn't cheer me all that much.
Just as we entered the barn we met two young women. One was wearing the black jeans and black tee shirt of a guard. She had a slim body, very pale skin, and long blonde hair. The other woman was wearing a prisoner's orange dress. She was about my size, with olive skin and dark, curly hair. Her hands were tied behind her back, and a choke chain around her neck was held by the blonde guard.
Tien said, "Hello, Inga. I see that Winnie has her ear tags. Did she finish the psych test?"
"Yes, she's all checked in. Who's this?"
"This is Bonnie; I'll show you her file later. I want to put her in her stall and feed her now."
"Could you feed Winnie, too?"
"OK. Leave her hands tied."
Tien took me into my stall and locked the chain on my neck, and Inga put Winnie in the adjacent stall. I waited with my eyes closed until Tien returned with more stew. After she fed me and untied my hands I washed as much of my body as I could and brushed my teeth. I ran my hands across the stubble on my head and was glad that I didn't have a mirror.
I was ready to sleep, but a voice from the next stall called to me: "Hi, my moot name is Winnie Judd. What's yours?"
"Bonnie Parker, but my real name is Kristen. Please call me that." So I don't forget it.
"OK, Kristen. My real name is Maria, but please call me Winnie; it helps me to get into the scene. This is really exciting, isn't it?"
Huh? Where did this kid come from? "How did you get picked for the chain gang, Winnie?"
"I volunteered, of course. When I heard in my psych class that students were needed for the incarceration study I signed up as soon as I could. This has always been a fantasy of mine, but I am kind of disappointed; I expected concrete cells with steel bars, not a stall in a barn. The chain around my neck is OK, but don't they have any handcuffs?"
"I think they'll get some later. I'm kind of tired, so I'd like to sleep now. Good night." I was glad Winnie was enjoying this. I wondered how long she would continue to like it.
Next morning it was a repeat of the previous day. Tien chained me to the concrete chunk and I picked up the hoe and started chopping. The day's routine changed when Tien appeared a few hours later. She was pulling a wagon; a genuine Radio Flyer. I had one when I was a little girl, and this was the same type, only much bigger and with pneumatic tires instead of the solid rubber ones I remembered.
Tien produced a leather strap and fastened it around my hips, just below my navel. It was about two inches wide and made of worn, heavy leather, like it had been part of an old harness. There wasn't any buckle; holes had been punched in the ends and laced with rope. Tien threaded ropes through other holes in the strap and tied my hands at my sides. She hiked up my dress and tied a crotch rope from the front to the back and tightened up everything. Finally, she fastened the wagon handle to the back of the belt.
Once I was harnessed Tien fed me a couple of granola bars and gave me a drink of water. She retrieved the key and unlocked the chain from my collar and replaced it with the leash, and when she turned and walked away I trotted behind her.
We went around the barn and out the front gate, which was standing open, and about a quarter-mile down the road. Here a dirt path led back into a stand of pine trees, and at the end of this path was a pile of wood; small trees that had been cut into firewood.
Inga and Winnie were also there, and Winnie was hitched to a wagon just like mine, except that her's was already filled with wood. Instead of a leash Winnie had a choke chain around her neck. She was also gagged with a stick.
Tien asked, "Why did you gag her, Inga?"
"Every pony needs a bit. Here's one for yours, too."
Inga held a stick up to my mouth. I saw the look in her eyes and didn't even think of refusing it. She jammed the stick in my mouth and tied it in place with thin rope; I could taste the dirt on it.
Inga yanked on the choke chain and Winnie followed her down the path. Tien put on gloves and loaded wood into my wagon, and when it was full she picked up the leash and started walking. I leaned into the belt to get the wagon moving and followed her. The path was level and the ground was dry, so it wasn't all that hard to pull the wagon, especially when we got onto the road.
We met Inga and Winnie on their way back for another load; now Inga was riding in the wagon. Tien led me around to the back of the barn and unloaded the wood, and then she got into the wagon and I pulled her back to the woodpile in the woods. After we had made several trips we reached the back of the barn just as Inga finished unloading her wagon.
Inga helped Tien unload my wagon and then she said the words that I had been dreading; "I bet my pony is faster than your pony."
Tien replied, "You want to race? I don't know that we should."
"It won't hurt them; it will actually do them good and help them get in shape."
Tien still looked doubtful, but she agreed and Winnie and I were led around to the front of the barn. Inga removed the choke chain and got in the wagon. She said, "We'll race from here to where the path meets the road, OK?"
Tien nodded and unclipped the leash. She got in the wagon and said, "I'm ready."
Inga shouted, "Go!" and Winnie started running. I started running too, but she was already ahead of me and the lead increased as we ran down the road; when Winnie crossed the finish line she was at least fifty feet ahead of me. We both stopped, panting. I found it was much more difficult to run pulling a wagon than it was to just run.
We were given a few minutes to recover and then Tien and Inga led us back to the woodpile and loaded the wagons. When that load was dumped we walked back to the front of the barn.
Inga said, "Let's race again."
Tien replied, "It's not fair. You've got a young filly and I've got this old mare. I don't have a chance."
Hey, I'm not that old, I just live hard.
"You've just got to give her the proper motivation. Switch wagons with me and I'll show you."
Tien got into Winnie's wagon. Inga moved next to me and pulled up my dress and tucked it in the belt so my hips were bare. She said to Tien, "We need more distance. Do you remember that big tree just this side of the highway? Let's race to there. And I want to borrow the leash."
Inga got in the wagon and shouted, "Go!" At the same time she snapped the leash across my right hip. I screamed through the gag and lunged forward. Winnie started too and we ran down the road neck and neck. Inga lashed me again and I pulled slightly ahead, but Winnie was close behind and every time she got near us Inga whipped me until I was in front again. By the time we passed the path I wanted to collapse, but every time I faltered Inga responded with a flurry of forehand and backhand blows. The whipping hurt more than the running, so I forced myself to keep moving.
Finally we reached the tree and I could stop. I fell to my knees and fought to breathe around the gag. Winnie was right behind me; she was breathing hard, but she wasn't close to collapsing. Her hips and thighs weren't covered with red welts, either.
Tien said, "That's enough racing for today. Take Winnie and move the rest of the firewood; I'll be along with Bonnie once she recovers." Inga replaced the choke chain on Winnie's neck and led her away.
Tien took out the bit, and it was some time before she could help me to my feet. We slowly walked back to the barn and she led me to my stall and locked the chain to my neck; then she unhitched me and put away the wagon somewhere. I lay face-down on the straw and tried to ignore the flames burning on my hips and legs.
Tien returned with some lotion and rubbed it on the welts, paying particular attention to the places on my belly and the inside of my thighs where the end of the leash had struck. She asked, "Does that feel better, Bonnie?"
It did feel better; the lotion was very soothing. I nodded and said, "It does help. Thank you."
Tien paused and started to say something, but then she abruptly left the stall. I was relieved, but kind of disappointed, too.
I was allowed to rest for a while, but was still some hours before sunset so Tien took me back outside and I became reacquainted with my old friend the hoe. I managed to simulate chopping, even though it hurt to move, and the rest of the day passed in a haze of pain. Tien recovered my body at last, and after she fed me she rubbed some more lotion on my welts and gave me a couple of pills. Blessed oblivion claimed me.
The next morning I got a pleasant surprise. Instead of the routine I had already come to hate Tien delivered a substantial breakfast on a tray, and she let me feed myself. She returned later with pencils and another psych evaluation.
Tien said, "Today is a rest day, the one day each week that you don't have to do hard labor. All you have to do is take the evaluation, and the rest of the day is free time. Later we'll have organized activities, but they're not ready yet."
"This is wonderful, but why are you so generous?"
"It's all part of the Policy. If we provide a day off it acts as a contrast so the workdays seem harder. It also creates a privilege that can be taken away as a punishment. There are practical uses as well, such as providing time for the evaluations and a chance for injuries to heal."
"Why isn't Sunday the day of rest?"
"We don't want to blur the line between church and state."
Whatever the motives I welcomed the time off. I completed the evaluation and then lay on the straw and tried to avoid aggravating my welts. I was so stiff that I couldn't do much else. I drifted off to sleep.
I was awakened by Tien, who said, "You have a visitor, Bonnie."
Jean's face indicated surprise and upset when she entered the stall and saw me chained like an animal, but her voice was calm. "Hello, Kristen. I've got that power of attorney ready for you to sign. Tien can sign as a witness." She handed me a clipboard and a pen and I signed and then Tien signed.
Jean waited until Tien had left the stall and then whispered, "I've got some bad news, Kristen. The Psychology Department received another grant so the incarceration study will be funded for two more years, and Aunt Jesse told me that they plan to keep using you as an experimental subject. I'm very sorry that I got you into this; I didn't have any idea that you would be imprisoned for so long."
I was stunned. I had hoped that at worst I would be released when the fall semester classes started, but it sounded like I was going to be kept in my own private hell for years to come. I pleaded, "Please, can't you help me get out of here?"
"I'd like to, but I don't dare. If I interfered in a university project I could be expelled, and they could also sue me for damages. I will press your appeal in the moot court, but it will be months before anything comes of it."
Jean let that sink in for a while and then changed the subject. "I got a good offer for your car and I'll sell it for you; you don't want it to sit rusting on the street while you're in here. I also got your stuff moved out of your apartment and into storage. The landlord was very nice about it and refunded your entire deposit."
I started to cry. Bit by bit Kristen was disappearing from the world and Bonnie the prisoner was taking her place. Jean patted my shoulder and left the stall; for some reason she seemed to be embarrassed. I brooded for a while, and gradually my depression turned into rage at what was happening to me. I screamed and pulled as hard as I could on the chain that held me prisoner.
I felt the chain give a little bit! It was attached to a ring that was welded to a square plate, and the plate was fastened to the stable wall by four lag bolts. I looked at it closely, and I could see that the bolts had rusted until most of the threads were corroded away. I moved up to the wall and wrapped the chain around my hips, put my feet on the wall, and pushed with all the strength in my legs. The ring came out of the wall!
I heard Inga bringing Winnie back to her stall, so I shoved the ring back in place and luckily it stayed there. I got my euphoria under control and tried to plan my next steps. The obstacles to a successful escape were as large as ever, and even if I could get out of the stall it would be only the first step.
I tried for quite a while to devise a clever plan that would guarantee my escape, but the best I could come up with was 'get out of here and run for it'. I did realize that I would have a better chance if I waited until after dark, so I fought down my impatience and tried to pass the time with sleep.
I had no way to tell the time, but I estimated it was close to midnight when I started the great escape. I had been able to sleep, which was a good thing because I would probably be up all night. I pulled the ring out of the wall and peeked over the stall door. The barn was dimly illuminated by a single light bulb, but it was enough for me to see Inga coming towards me to make a bed check. She was wearing pajamas and a robe and was carrying a flashlight. I had guessed that Tien lived on the premises, sleeping in the old tack room, but Inga was a surprise.
I ducked down and hoped that she hadn't seen me. I scurried to put the ring back in the wall and wrap myself in the blankets, and I was stretched out on the straw and snoring gently when the flashlight beam hit my face. Inga checked on Winnie, and I waited a while longer until I heard the tack room door close. Now was the time. Liberty or Death! Well, maybe not death.
I tossed my equipment over the stall door and climbed after it. I had decided to take my hat, the water bottle, and a blanket. I tiptoed to the barn door. It was locked, of course. What to do? I climbed into the hayloft, and as I remembered the loading door was open. I tossed out my equipment, then I lowered myself as far as my arms would reach and dropped. I didn't break or sprain anything, so I was ready for the next step. I went to the gully under the fence and used my faithful friend the hoe to scrape away the dirt. It was tight, but I squeezed under the fence and I was free!
I wrapped myself in the blanket and wrapped the chain around me as a belt, put on the hat, and headed for the highway with a song in my heart and a smile on my lips.
Many weary miles later I had sore feet, but I knew where I was and it was good. I had reached an intersection I recognized, and I had a destination at last. A few miles down the road was the home of my old boss, the truck stop service manager. I had been to his house a half-dozen times, both when Mack and his wife Alice had hosted company parties and on my own. Mack had always been like an uncle to me, very helpful and friendly, and he was truly sorry when he was forced to lay me off from my job.
By the time I reached Mack's house the sun had been up for maybe an hour. I took a deep breath and knocked on the door, and when Mack opened it I said, "Hi, Mack. Remember me?"
"Kristen! What are you doing here so early, and why are you wearing that strange outfit?"
"It's a long story. Can I come in? Some people are looking for me, and I'd like to get out of sight."
Mack stepped aside and said, "Sure, come on in. Who's looking for you, the police?"
"No, I'm not that kind of fugitive." I opened the blanket and Mack raised his eyebrows when he saw the chain and collar on my neck and the 'Prisoner' written across my chest. "Can we sit down? I'm kind of tired and it will take a while to explain all this."
Mack took me into the kitchen where Alice was preparing breakfast. She had much the same reaction as Mack, but she put some more eggs in the pan, and I told them my story and ate at the same time.
When I had finished talking Mack said, "That is one strange story, and if it had happened to anyone else I might not have believed it, but you seem to attract weird kinds of trouble. What are you going to do now?"
"I've got to get out of town. The Psychology Department will want me back, and they won't quit until they get me. I don't have a car or an apartment, but there should be enough money in my bank account to finance my escape. The only problem is that I don't have any ID, so getting it out of the bank will be hard. What can I do?"
"I can loan you some money, but it will be hard to travel without any ID. You need to get a replacement driver's license. But first we've got to get that collar off your neck. Let's go out to my shop."
Mack had a well-equipped workshop, and after some effort he drilled out the clamp lock and took the collar off my neck. It was a great relief to know that now I couldn't be stunned at the whim of some girl. Mack also used wire cutters to remove my ear tags.
Mack had to go to work, but Alice took over. She gave me a bag of clothing and said, "These are some old clothes that our daughter left here, so take anything you need. Then I'll show you where you can sleep." No words could have been more welcome.
Everything seemed strange to me, since now I lived something that resembled a normal life. The next morning Mack gave me a ride to the DMV on his way to work, and after the usual hours-long wait they issued me a new driver's license. This was a temporary paper copy, and they told me to expect the picture ID version in the mail in a week or so. I used Mack's address.
I took a bus to the truck stop and waited around until Mack's lunchtime. It was fun to see the old gang, but I took a lot of teasing about my appearance. I was wearing an old dress and I had a scarf covering my shaved head, so I looked a lot like a Balkan refugee. Mack drove me back to his house and I spent the rest of the day helping Alice.
The days that I spent with Mack and Alice were great. I had been living on my own for some time, and it was good to be part of a family again. I helped Alice with the housework and did home-repair jobs that Mack had been putting off.
Every day when the Postal Service truck stopped at the mailbox I ran out to sort the mail and see if my new driver's license had arrived yet. One day I was busy with this when I heard an engine and looked up to see a van with the university seal on the door stop next to me. The sliding door was open and I recognized Gimpy the bailiff. I turned and ran for the house, but I had only gone a few steps when there was a sound like an airgun and something stabbed my butt. Then I was on the ground, twitching; I had been stunned again.
When I recovered I was on my stomach in the back of the van, with my hands cuffed behind my back and leg irons on my ankles. There was a ball gag stuffed in my mouth, but no hood. They drove back to the Farm and Gimpy hauled me out of the van; Tien and Inga were there to greet me and they took me back to my old stall in the barn.
There had been some changes; a chain was now securely bolted to opposite sides of the stall. The center of the chain was wrapped around my neck and padlocked in place; it was long enough to let me sit up, but I couldn't stand.
Tien took off the chains and removed the gag. She said, "Oh, Bonnie, why did you try to escape? Now you have to be punished."
Inga sneered, "Don't feel sorry for her; she knew what would happen." She said to me, "Take off those clothes, and be quick about it unless you want me to help you."
Inga had picked up a heavy strap, so I didn't hesitate; I stripped everything off and put on the orange dress that Tien gave me. Then she cuffed my hands in front and ironed my ankles.
I asked, "How did you find me?"
Tien answered, "One of the bailiffs has a friend who works for the DMV. She got the address from your new driver's license, and they watched the house."
Tien and Inga went away, but a few minutes later Inga returned alone and padlocked the leg iron chain to the handcuffs. She said, "I'll be by every few hours. If you want anything, like water or a chance to stretch your legs, you can beg me for it. If you're humble enough I might let you have it."
It was tough to get comfortable when I was chained like this, and I was worried that I was going to go through what I had experienced before my trial, only for a much longer time. I was wrong about this, though. When Tien saw my cramped body a little later she stormed off and I could hear her shouting at Inga, and then she returned and removed the padlock.
I extended my legs and said, "Thank you. I take it that Inga wasn't following the Policy?"
"That's right. The policy document is very explicit about what punishments are allowed, and I've warned Inga before about going outside the guidelines. If she doesn't shape up she's likely to find herself wearing orange instead of black."
I felt I had to know, so I inquired, "What is the punishment for escape? You said something about flogging, but I can't believe that."
"But it's true, Bonnie. The penalty for trying to escape is fifty lashes. I don't want that to happen, but the policy document is very clear that the prescribed punishment must be administered."
"Fifty lashes with what? And who is the flogger?" Maybe it was just a symbolic flogging.
"Inga does it with a heavy leather strap, and she can be brutal. Last summer I saw her give a prisoner twenty lashes, and it was a week before the poor girl could even move. Inga covered the girl's back and legs with big swollen welts, but she didn't break the skin, so there wasn't any violation of the contract."
I felt sick. Inga obviously enjoyed her work, and I knew she wouldn't go easy on me. I fell on my back and stared at the ceiling while my mind raced, trying to find some way out. I couldn't think of anything.
I didn't get much sleep that night, and I was tense and nervous the next day. Some time in the morning I heard loud voices coming from the barn door.
Tien said, "Stop! You can't go in there."
A man's voice replied, "I know Kristen is in there and I have a warrant for her arrest. I'll give you two minutes to bring her here or I'm going in there after her, and if I have to do that I'll arrest you, too."
A minute later Tien and Inga entered my stall. Inga took off the handcuffs and leg irons and Tien tied my hands behind my back. Inga unlocked the chain holding my neck and replaced it with her choke chain. They dragged me to my feet and hustled me out of the barn.
The man waiting outside was a uniformed deputy sheriff. I knew a lot of Jim's fellow deputies, but this man was a stranger to me. He asked, "Are you Kristen?"
I nodded, and he said, "I have a warrant for your arrest." He removed the choke chain and cut the rope off my wrists, but he replaced it with plastic handcuffs. He took my arm and walked me over to his patrol car and folded me into the back seat, and once I was belted in he pulled a hood over my head and tightened the drawstring around my neck.
As we drove away I tried to think of what I might have done to get arrested. The only thing I could think of was taking the university's collar with me when I escaped. It was probably valuable enough to make that grand theft, but I wasn't too worried because it would be tough for them to make a case in court. I didn't really care; I was moving away from Inga's whip, and that was all that mattered now.
After a while the car stopped and the deputy got me out of the back seat. I wondered where we were; there wasn't the traffic noise I'd expect to hear around the jail downtown. We walked a short distance on a sidewalk and I heard a muffled doorbell, and then a door opened and the deputy said, "You were right, they didn't even look at the phony warrant. She's all yours; I'll see you later."
I was frightened now, and I struggled when I was dragged inside and the door locked behind me. Someone's arms wrapped around me and a voice growled, "Resistance is useless. You're my prisoner now, and you'll never escape."
That voice. That corny dialogue. I knew who it was and I yelled, "Jim! Let me look at you."
My lover removed the hood and our lips met, and then merged. When we stopped to breathe I said, "I've missed you so much. When did you get back?"
"Four days ago. Jean told me what had happened to you, but she said that you had escaped and no one knew where you were. I was afraid that you'd left town, but then she called and told me that you'd been recaptured. After that it didn't take me long to invent a clever way to break you out."
"Stop talking. You can take this dress off without freeing my hands. Is that enough of a hint to let you deduce what I want?"
Jim unbuttoned the straps on my dress and pulled it down and off, and then picked me up and carried me into the bedroom. He dropped me on the bed and then stripped and joined me. He was as eager as I was, and omitted a lot of our usual foreplay. To increase my arousal I struggled against the plastic cuffs holding my hands behind my back, and when he entered me I screamed with pleasure.
Much later Jim released my hands and we rested in bed. I hugged his neck and told him about all the things that had been done to me, and he was properly sympathetic. Then I broke the bad news: "I really do have to get out of town. Those Psychology Department people are fanatics, and I'm their favorite lab rat. As long as they've got that contract they'll never let me go."
"I know, they do tend to forget that their experimental subjects are people. I'm going to persuade Aunt Jesse to transfer the contract to me. I'm sure she'll agree, because she wouldn't want your story to get around. But I'm going to keep the contract, not cancel it. You really will be my prisoner."
I kissed him again. "You won't have to keep me chained to keep me with you. And rope is more fun anyway."
Copyright© 2002 by Zack. All rights reserved.
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