A Bad Boy | Teen Ink

A Bad Boy

February 12, 2019
By sknerr GOLD, Princeton, New Jersey
sknerr GOLD, Princeton, New Jersey
15 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take -Wayne Gretzky" -Michael Scott

“We’ll get you out of there,” the bearded man said through the bars. “I promise.”

I tried to thank him, but no sound came out. I gave him a subtle nod, but he probably missed it. 

I’d been in the prison since I was a child. A toddler, even. My brother and I were locked up at the same time, but someone had come to bail him out only a few weeks later. Maybe it was my parents. Nobody ever came to bail me out, and I soon guessed why: money was scarce, and they didn’t want to pay to correct my limp. The prison should have offered a physical therapy program, but let’s be real; the guards weren’t even making minimum wage.

I had no idea why they locked me up. I must have done something horrendous to get jailed as a two-year-old, right? I remember another prisoner once telling me that it was illegal to lock up a little kid. But they came for her son too, via some legal loophole. We had no control; the prison’s management would do what they wanted.

Many of my inmates were literally insane. They hollered gibberish in the middle of the night, they pissed through the bars uncontrollably, they sometimes even attacked each other, biting and scratching. The building echoed with their cries, shooting knives into my ears. I always turned my back to the din, only facing the bars when they came to deliver our meager meals twice a day, which consisted of mysterious chunks of meat drowned in a pungent slush. 

I was allowed to leave my cell once per day, to walk around outside for four minutes. But I was accompanied by a staunch guard, a bulwark between me and my freedom. The guard tried to talk to me, but I had no idea what he was saying. He spoke a foreign language, as did most of the staff. I think they were all immigrants of a common nation. Or maybe I was in another country. Sometimes I understood snippets of their day to day conversation; it was banal at best, offensive at worst. 

The bearded man was the only person who I could really understand. He came by the prison every couple weeks to remind me that he was going to bail me out. He was a complete stranger, but I had no complaints. We talked a lot. He dominated our conversations, his loud baritone crashing over the wails of the other prisoners. He talked about his life and his family, and I nodded along awkwardly, not really sure of what to say.

The day came. They let me out of the cell, and the foreign guards accompanied me to the main entrance of the prison, where I saw the bearded man waiting for me. I limped alongside them, my side dragging against the wall. I tried to give the man a hug, but he told me not to. So I thanked him the only other way I knew how. 


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