Paying The Tolls
Everything being equal Anarchy would be the best form of government in which to put in place. Problem is: The history of the planet contains thousands if not millions of years of anarchy and what did we end up with? The bullshit we have today. If anarchy worked so damned good then why in the hell did every nation on Earth stop using anarchy? I'll tell you why: because everything isn't equal. All men were not born equal and all men do not live nor die equals. You don't have to like it. I certainly don't. But like me you do have to live with it.
A good police investigation would have quickly uncovered the fact that Rocco's suicide attempt was anything but. Then again, a good police investigation would have also uncovered the fact that Asylumland was one poor excuse for a mental health institution. Fact is, everyone assumed Rocco was a nutcase from the beginning so they just naturally assumed suicide. Never-mind the fact that suicide wasn't a part of his diagnosis, he lived in Asylumland and that's all they wanted to know.
The shiv on the other hand was cause for concern. If Rocco had a shiv then how many other people had shivs. They decided the police should search all the rooms for drugs, weapons and other contraband.
Janice, knowing this might happen, had already arranged a discrete search of her own the day before the attack took place. With part of the Loon Squad behind her she went through all the women's quarters making sure everything was clean. Then everything that was found was given to Irene and Sabrina for safe keeping. You would not believe some of the things I found stashed away in my lean-to.
When I got to the lean-to, Irene and Sabrina were smoking someone's pot. "Where did you get that?"
"It was in all this stuff," Sabrina coughed.
"You know you're not supposed to be keeping that stuff for yourself," I said.
"We just wanted a little bit," Irene said. "It's been years..."
I kissed Irene on the cheek, then Sabrina,"You two enjoy what you've got there and get back inside before dark. I'm going to make sure the rest of this gets saved for whoever it belongs to."
"Don't you want to stay and party with us?" Sabrina asked.
"I better not," I replied, "I've got to go meet Joe and Janice. Y'all party for me, okay."
"We will," Irene smiled.
I walked back scattering the pot along the trail. Oh, don't get me wrong, I wanted to stay and party with the girls. I even wanted to smoke the pot. But the possibility of a drug bust inside of Asylumland... It wasn't worth the risk. And my meeting with Joe and Janice? That was a lie.
On my way back I ran into Jessica, the creative writing teacher. "Long time no see," I greeted her.
"Too long," she smiled.
"So why haven't you been around," I asked.
"They keep telling me that no one here is interested in creative writing classes," Jessica explained. "I need to teach more classes to get my credits and there's not that many places around here. But every time I come back I'm told no one is signed up."
"Well," I promised, "You come back one week from today and you'll have a whole list of people signed up. On that you have my word."
"Really," Jessica smiled, "so are you the president of Asylumland now and can just make people sign up for creative writing classes?"
"No, but I know the president and I happen to know she enjoys good books when she can get them."
"Really, they voted in a woman president?" Jessica asked.
"Smartest thing they could have done," I laughed.
Of course, the real reason there were no creative writing classes was because everyone was stuck in toll painting. My thinking was that by having a list of people signed up and waiting on creative writing classes we might be able to get the toll painting classes reduced. And if not then at least we'd have everything lined up for after Mr Lincoln's assassination.
We'd had to tolerate increased security and mandatory toll painting for weeks and weeks. Eventually the security slacked off as the penny pinching bean counters saw no incidents as a reason for reducing security. Every morning, 5 days a week, Mr Lincoln and Bob, the security guard, rolled in 2 big cases of items that needed to be painted along with paint and painting supplies. At the end of the class Mr Lincoln would put the newly finished items in the supply closet to dry and load the items from the day before into the 2 cases for him and Bob to roll back out.
"Is Bob in on it?" Janice asked.
"One way or the other," GI Joe answered.
"I agree," I said. "After all this time he'd have to have figured it out if he wasn't in on it from the beginning."
"Are your guys ready?" Janice asked.
"They're ready," Joe answered. "How 'bout your girls?"
"They'll get the job done," Janice replied.
"Good," I said. "I know where I need to be."
We waited for Mr Lincoln and Bob to roll in the cases and start unpacking things just as they prepared for class each and every morning. When Bob came back out of the classroom a group of young woman started flirting with him and lead him up the hall and around the corner out of earshot of anything that might be going on in the classroom. Then 5 men with rags tied over their faces walked into the classroom, grabbed Mr Lincoln and dragged him into the open storage room. "Remember," One of them ordered, "no blows to the face or head. We don't want nobody to see no blood when he walks out at the end of his shift."
They beat and kicked him in his stomach and groin until he was unconscious then packed up his cases and rolled all his things out of the room leaving him on the floor to recover. When he came to I was waiting outside the door. "What happened to you?" I asked. "You don't look like you feel too good."
You could see the fear in his eyes, his hands were trembling and while there were no marks one could see from the outside, I've little doubt his insides were all to pieces. Not to mention the bruises hidden under his shirt and jacket. "My stuff," he asked, "what happened to my stuff?"
"Oh, you mean the evidence," I smiled. "If you don't talk, we don't talk."
Bob, the security guard, left work that day without a single injury but like Mr Lincoln he never came back. And neither did the tolls.