“You’re late Bob. You can’t keep showing up late every day. I know you are a week away from retirement and don’t give a rat’s ass, but we have a responsibility.” Norma said.
Bob nodded in agreement and took his night shift post at the detention center.
“She’s a real ball buster, isn’t she?” Jim said.
“Well, I only have a week left and then I’m outta here for good. She can say whatever she wants.”
“It’s been pretty quiet so far today. Hope that continues for us tonight. Even your buddy in cell 7B has been well behaved.” Jim said.
Bob peered at the feed looking into cell 7B and pounded his fist on the table. “I know that jerk is planning something.” Bob said.
“Oh, come on Bob you can’t stay mad at him right before you leave for good.” Jim said.
Bob’s teeth and fists clenched thinking back to all the times this inmate harassed him.
The name calling, the constant teasing about Bob’s weight, the ridicule about Bob’s sexuality. Even though Bob was straight, and the prisoner loved to get under his skin.
There was one-time last week that was particularly bad.
Bob was doing his usual rounds at the beginning of his shift when it was lights out for the prisoners.
Checking doors to make sure they were locked, performing inmate count to ensure everyone is present and accounted for, and walking the floor to make sure nobody was horsing around or being disobedient.
A strange noise was coming from down the hall as Bob went to investigate.
He shook his head as he got closer knowing that the noise emanated from cell 7B.
He arrived to find the prisoner in cell 7B grabbing his throat and coughing as if he was choking.
“Come on you’re not going to get me again with another one of your tricks.” Bob said.
The prisoner lounged toward the cell door and motioned to his throat as the cough got worse.
He shook the cell door bars in a frenzy hoping Bob would help.
Bob was hesitant to open the door and assist until he saw the prisoner’s eyes swell up.
He unclipped the keys off his belt and started to open the door as the prisoner stepped back.
Gasping for air, the prisoner grabbed Bob by the arm and pleaded for help.
As Bob went to administer the Heimlich the prisoner swung around and was laughing.
“Hey fat boy gotcha again. You have your daily 12 donuts a day diet today? Don’t think your boyfriend will like you being a lard ass.”
Bob grabbed him by the throat and said, “You want something to choke on? I’ll give ya something to choke on.”
“Bob that’s enough, he ain’t worth it” said the night head guard as he came strolling by to check on things.
Bob released his hands from around the prisoner’s throat.
“Do what your boss tells you two tons of fun,” the prisoner said.
The shift lead stood in the doorway as the prisoner and him exchanged glances.
As Bob walked through the cell door he heard “See you next time fat ass. You’re lucky your boyfriend was here to protect you.”
Bob stared at the camera showing cell 7B and was glad he’d finally be rid of this prisoner next week.
“Hey Bob, you wanna do first rounds tonight while I watch the cameras.” Jim asked.
Bob did his shift rounds hoping and praying that nothing happens on this or any other shift until he is gone for good.
“Are you gonna miss me?”
“I’m gonna pay you a visit when I get out here Bob.”
Bob heard this chirping every night and learned to tune them all out except for cell 7B.
As he walked by cell 7B there was dead silence which is unusual cause this prisoner is always the most vocal when it comes to guards doing rounds especially Bob.
Bob peeked in and saw him lying down with his hands on his chest. Bob didn’t want to be noticed so he moved quietly past.
He got back to the security desk and breathed a sigh of relief.
“I guess everything is good out there on the floor huh?” Jim asked.
“Yeah, thank God. I’m so relieved that I retire next week. I don’t know how much more I can take after 27 years.” Bob said.
“Well, I am happy for you but jealous at the same time.” Jim said.
For the next few hours Bob and Jim reminisced about the happenings at the prison and all the interesting stuff that happened over the years.
Just two old buddies shooting the shit about their place of work.
“You know Jim I’m gonna miss the folks around here like you. We are like a family who nobody on the outside could ever relate to cause of the occupational hazards we’ve had to deal with.”
“Yup this is true Bob. You will definitely gonna be missed around here. With that being said I’m gonna go to lunch Bob.”
Bob swirled around in his chair to face the cameras to check on things.
The camera facing cell 7B catches his eye as there is movement inside the cell.
Bob watched as the prisoner got out of bed and started ripping the sheets off the mattress.
“What the hell is he doing now?” he muttered.
Bob couldn’t figure out what this prisoner was doing. He saw him biting the sheet and doing his best to rip it apart.
This continued for over 7 minutes when the sheet was finally torn apart.
Bob realized what was happening and picked the phone up to call for backup.
The prisoner tied the sheet over the top of the bunk bed into a noose and slipped his head through.
Bob knew the prisoner was on suicide watch and he was to be monitored closely and report any suspicious behavior to the shift lead.
As the prisoner’s body started revolting Bob hung the phone back up and said, “Screw him, he doesn’t deserve to live.”
Jim arrived 20 minutes later and asked, “Anything happen while I was gone?”
“Nope all good.”