“Did you bring his bail,” the girl with bright chartreuse hair said. She grinned. It was a smirk.
“Obviously,” she said.
I did not ask her why she bothered to ask the question. She sat on a high stool in a little room. There was a thick glass window between her and me. Her voice came through a speaker to the left of the window. I talked to a mic on the window.
“What’s his bail?” I said.
“Let’s see,” she looked down at something on her desk, “Billy Bittinger,” she said and looked up, “five hundred,” she said it in a way to let me know she was pleased someone like me wouldn’t have five hundred to bail his pal. Her smile was flat and hard through the thick glass. Her lips moved out of sync with her words through the speakers.
I shrugged. “Can I see him?” I had come to see if Bitcher needed anything. The rest of us could get work. But Bitcher had a sass about him. In the employment line, bosses who knew us generally did not hire him. He was having a hard winter. Now he was under the thumb.
She shrugged. “Go through there,” she lifted her thumb to the left. There was a metallic “clonk” of a deadbolt releasing on the door. She got down off her stool and waddled a step back to the door behind her.
I went to the door and pulled it open. There was a long room with a concrete block wall on one side and three cubicles on the other. There was a plastic chair in the cubicles. The wall on the other side of the cubicle had a thick glass window in it. Behind the glass was another narrow room.
I sat in a chair and waited. Pretty soon a door opened and Bitcher came through it followed by a guy in a uniform. Bitcher saw me and waved and came to the window and sat down.
“How’s it,” I said.
The lights in the room behind him were hard and bright.
“Two bananas and a box of oatmeal,” Bitcher said.
“I was eating them when Busy Beaver patrolled up and asked me to join him at this fine emporium?” Bitcher shrugged. “How could I refuse?”
“I think we could raise your bail,” I said.
“What’s the temp out there,” He lifted his head and pointed behind me with his lips.
“It was 28 degrees on the tower behind the church,” I said.
“You know what I told the JoP when he told me my court date was in two weeks?”
“I shrugged. I didn’t see how that mattered.
“I told him, I said, ‘Judge, I got a sister in Phoenix. I was planning on going on down there this week and spend the rest of the winter with her.’ JoP said ‘five hundred dollars.’ I smiled all the way to my warm cell and three squares a day. So, no. Please do NOT bail me.”
“If there’s anything?” I said.
“Like I say, A warm bed and three squares at least for two weeks. Then I’ll have the PD plead me out for at least another two. By then it will be almost spring.”
“I couldn’t stay in this place.”
“Like I say. . . . If the man is giving you the deep screw, you might as well make him pay for it.”
I nodded. It made sense.
“Don’t never say never,” Bitcher said.
In response to the prompt Guilty
As with most posts on writelee.com, this was drafted the day of posting. It may be revised over the course of several weeks.