Badge and Broke

Submitted for Contest #76 in response to: Write a story told exclusively through dialogue.... view prompt

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Jan 12, 2021

Drama Suspense Thriller

“I got a letter this morning.”

“A letter?”

“Yeah, a letter. From my girl on the outside.”

“How’s she doing, with the baby and all?”

“She’s uh… She says she’s leaving me. She’s taking little Emily and they’re leaving.”

“No shit? Damn it, man. Where’s she going?”

“I don’t know. She wouldn’t say. Probably thinks I’m too dangerous to be around my daughter. I only even got to see Emily once. She was born the day before I got locked up.”

“That’s fucked up, dude. Real fucked up.”

“I probably deserve it, man.”

“What are you talking about?”

“It’s not fair to her. Not fair for her to spend all her time out there waiting for me, when I can’t even be there to take care of Emily. She’s gonna be better off somewhere else, with family or something I guess. Get herself a new man and a new life.”

“That unfaithful bitch…you gotta stand up for yourself more! Go and track her down once you get the hell out of this God-damned place!”

“No, no way! That right there, that’s crazy. Look, I fucked up, ok? Same as you, and same as everyone else in here. If she wants to leave, I’m not gonna go out and try to stop her. She’s her own person.”

“Listen mate, I’ll tell you what. I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. You see this?”

“What’s that?”

“Been working on this for a few weeks. Got my stash stuffed in the mattress right here, everything we need to bust out of here and be back on the outside. Don’t you say nothing, and I’ll get you out of here, too.”

“You’re crazy! I’m not going along with that. Listen, I’ve only got a year left on my sentence anyway. Good behavior too, so probably less. I’ll be out of here and they won’t be looking for me no more.”

“I don’t think you understand what I’m trying to tell you.”

“What I understand is that you’re going to get yourself killed, or at least end up in here for life. Fuck that, I’m staying out of it.”

“I don’t think you understand me. I let you in on my secret, and now you’re involved. Anything happens to me, and I’m gonna tell them it was your idea. You planted that stuff in my mattress, blackmailed me and threatened me until I went along with it. This shit works both ways, dumbass.”

“Hey, be cool. I’ll keep my mouth shut for you, but I’m not gonna try to bust out with you. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a death wish. I want to start my life over. That’s what this is to me, okay? A chance to start over.”

“They’ve brainwashed you bad, haven’t they? They’ve gotten into your head, making you believe all their bullshit about rules and rehabilitation…that’s not who you were when you walked into this place. You went hardcore just as much as the rest of us. What’s happened to you, man?”

“The only thing that’s happened to me, is deciding that I don’t want to spend the rest of my life locked up behind bars. I did it as a kid, twice before Emily was born, and again now. I haven’t lived…I haven’t done anything with my life other than sit here and rot like some sort of animal. I’ve had enough, alright?”

“If you had enough, you’d be fighting to get the hell out of here.”

“I am still fighting. I’m fighting for a life where I’m not constantly running away from something. I’m waiting out the end of my sentence and then I’ll get my freedom back. I’ve got a buddy to stay with until I can get work and get my own place. What you’re doing is a suicide mission.”

“When this is all over, it’s not gonna be my body that they find in this cell.”

“What are you talking abo-“

“Sorry mate, I didn’t want to do this. You were the best pal I had around here, but I can’t risk anyone knowing about the plan. Looks like I’ll have to take off a bit sooner than expected.”

“You…cough…why would yo-“

“Hey, what the hell is going on in here?!”

“Oh, shi-“

“Knife! Drop the weapon! Drop it now!”

“Sergeant, put this block into lockdown now! Nobody gets in or out!”

“Get down on the ground, hands behind your head! Don’t move or I’ll shoot!”

“We need a medic over here, this guy’s been stabbed!”

“You fucking pigs! Go ahead and shoot me, I know you’d fucking enjoy it!”

“Get the cuffs on him and get him out of here. Put him in the solitary cell.”

“Fuck you!”

“You may as well keep your mouth shut, buddy. You’re only going to make things worse for yourself at this point.”

“You can’t put me in the hole! Let go of me!”

“Stop resisting! Stop resisting!”

“Don’t worry, you’ll be out of there soon enough…for some serious questioning.”

“Hey, Sarge! Look what I found in the mattress!”

“Holy shit…how long has all this been here?”

“Looks like he’d been stockpiling for weeks. Months, maybe.”

“Why the hell did no one notice this when it was happening?!”

“Well, I…uh-”

“You what?”

“Well, he obviously kept it hidden! How would anyone have known?!”

“Inspections, damn it! Who was responsible for inspecting the cell? Don’t bother answering, ‘cause I already know it was supposed to be you.”

“Sarge, I-”

“I always figured that if anyone around here was a traitor, it would be you. Save your explanation for questioning. Guards!”

“No! Please! I was blackmailed, I swear! He said he would kill me if I talked!”

“So you helped him?! Damn it, rookie! The integrity of this entire prison has been compromised because of you! God almighty only knows who else has been planning an escape or what sort of connections they may have. You’re just as guilty as he is!”

“Please, let me go!”

“Sorry, rookie. You’ve lost your chance for that. See you in the slammer, when I inspect your tiny cell. Give my regards to the prisoners.”

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