Here’s Dick – Chapter 2
Richard Pennisman is locked up. But Richard Pennisman doesn’t plan on staying locked up.
Chapter Two – The Warden
Macon State Prison inmate Richard Pennisman is laying on his top bunk as the early morning’s sun rays come in through the window bars, casting a moribund atmosphere over the gray cell. His cellmate, prison cook Chit Hayes, rouses from his slumber and peeks out from the bottom bunk.
“How was your first night, fish?”
Dick blinks blearily. “Couldn’t sleep.”
Chit chuckles. “What you in for anyway?”
“I used to be a bottler for Coca-Cola. Some Asian businessmen approached me one day and said if I could get my hands on the secret recipe, I would be handsomely rewarded. As it turned out they were North Korean military intending to use the secret formula to somehow augment their rocket fuel. I was subsequently tried as an enemy of the state.”
“Turning pop into rocket fuel?”
“Soda is really bad for you, Chit. Thing is, I didn’t know I was committing treason. I just thought I was stealing a soda recipe.”
Chit sits up and stretches. “Even if that’s all you was doing; that’s Coca-Cola, man. That’s Georgia. As far as I’m concerned, you is an enemy of the state. You want my advice? Don’t tell nobody in here you did that. Somebody ask what you in for, just say murder.”
Dick leans over the edge of the top bunk, staring down at his rotund cellmate doing calisthenics. “Well, what are you in for?”
After another midday lunchtime cafeteria beating courtesy of Bumps Blackwell and his boys, Dick is laying up in the infirmary.
Head nurse Carol Jackson strolls by. “Bumps again?”
Dick nods sorely. “Yes, ma’am.”
“Warden wants to see ya, hun.”
The infirmary quickly empties and a short Filipino woman with a stern face briskly approaches Dick’s bed.
“I am Warden Amanda Wu. You are Richard Pennisman?”
“Finally someone pronounces it right. Yes, I’m Richard Pennisman.”
“You are the one who stole the secret Coca-Cola recipe?”
“I would like to make your life easier here. Protection from yard bullies, perhaps a job in prison library?”
“All you have to do is give me Coca-Cola recipe.”
“Oh, I don’t know, warden. I–“
“I will give you time to think over. Perhaps another beating will knock sense into you. Good day.”
Warden Wu spins on her heel and exits faster than she entered as Dick blinks confusedly. “Good…day?”
Back in the yard that afternoon, Dick is standing at the rear fence with a towering Native American inmate named Cherokee.
“So you’re not even Cherokee?”
Cherokee shakes his head. “Seminole. I’m just happy they’re even close. Not exactly an Algonquin Round Table around here.”
“Tell me about it. They call me Penis Man.”
“So, that’s where we’d come out?”
Cherokee points at a manhole cover in the road on the other side of the fence and Dick nods.
“Yup, the sewer goes right under us and up on the other side. I’m really gonna need your help to get us to that point.”
“Hell, I wanna get outta here worse than you. My wife just had another baby. I’m in.”
“Awesome. And congrats.”
Chit swaggers over, shaking his head. “You dragged this fool into your crazy plans, fish?”
Dick shrugs. “We need muscle.”
“How many times I need to tell you. You can’t dig out of a second story cell.”
“I’m putting a plan together, Chit. You can be in or you can be out. But either way, I’m escaping.”
Bumps Blackwell pokes his head into the huddle with a grin. “What are we talkin’ about, fellas?”
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