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Since you asked.

It was a long drive from PA to NJ. FNCCW grew increasingly frustrated as Wild insisted on stopping at every restuarant and diner with a Help Wanted sign, as well as stopping to check the curriculum of every liberal arts college along the way. It was at the truck stop just inside the NJ state line that everything started to go wrong. Although, of course, Wild didn't see it that way at first.

As she and FNCWW walked into the truck stop diner, no one paid any attention except the haggard waitress who shuffled over to where Wild was sitting and asked, "What'll you have, hon?"

But Wild was not thinking coffee. There was a man at the end of the bar, a man in blue jeans with a red and black plaid shirt. He was barrel chested but not in an obese or obscene way. He had a scruffy beard, trimmed just enough to announce this is how he wanted to look. And he had grey hairs along his side burns as if to say he knew he was in his fifties and was proud of having survived this long.

FNCWW went into the bathroom, and by the time she came out, the man in blue jeans was gone. And so was Wild. She checked, but the Wild Mobile™ was still in the parking lot. She thought about calling the New Jersey State Troopers, but didn't know what she would say. She had been abandoned at a truck stop by a middle-aged woman who ran off with a middle-aged trucker? She figured she would give it an hour or two and Wild would be back.

Wild indeed had left with the blue jean man, who she had approached with classic disinterest. This wasn't HG, this wasn't WFM™, this wasn't Slimey. This was a rugged, blue collar man. But it turns out, while he was rugged, he wasn't blue collar at all. The man was a corrections officer from a local prison facility, grabbing a bite to eat before heading off to work.

Wild's interest in criminal justice was peaked and she asked if she could get a tour of the jail. The man was skeptical at first, not usually hearing that as a pick-up line from women. But after Wild explained her 10 year education plan and desire to find gainful employment in the business back in PA, the man agreed and they headed out. The whole conversation had taken 5 minutes.

As they drove off from the truck stop, night was falling and the daylight haze turned to a charcoal dusk. By they time the turned off the road at the Horatio C. Dolgren Correctional Facility for the criminally insane, it was dark. The long drive was lit only by the half moon but Wild didn't notice; she was excited by prospect of visiting a real prison as a visitor but not as a guest of the state.

The maintenance crew was due in the next morning, the man said, explaining the darkened entrance. There were a few cars and a motorcycle out front, and a pale light peaking out through a side window. They entered the building and the man used his ID badge to let them through the unmanned electronic security door. They met no one.

The man showed Wild the empty incarceration processing room, where prisoners are educated on the rules of the facility. Wild looked disapprovingly at the thick layers of dust on the furniture. They made their way to the exercise room where Wild talked about her own efforts at the YMCA. This was not the YMCS, the man said, disapprovingly. The next stop was the infirmary, where Wild saw 3 men strapped into beds, catatonic with their eyes wide open and their faces in a vacant expression.

They ended up in the guard lounge, a room that looked more like a bordelero than an office. The walls were painted red with velvet window treatments, not that there were any windows. The couch as plastic vinyl, the chairs unadorned metal frame. There was a small CD/stereo system in the corner. The man told her to make herself comfortable; he had to make rounds and would be back in 15 minutes.

Wild's curiosity got the better of her and she began to explore the room. The fridge was stocked with Pabst Blue Ribbon, salsa dip, Cheeze Whiz and wipped cream. The CD in the player described its contents as Luther Vandross Greatist Hits. Wild opened the cabinet and saw a 100ct box of rasberry flavored ribbed condoms. It was at that moment Wild heard the screaming.

Clang, Clang, the sound of a night stick on steel bars followed by cries of torture, inhumane sounds of agony and despair. Wild suddently got the notion that maybe being here alone wasn't such a good idea. She pulled out her cell phone and confirmed her fears: no service. She decided that maybe anywhere else was a better place to be.

But she was locked into the facility; she needed the man's security badge to let herself through the unmanned security station. Come to think of it, there wasn't a soul around except the comotose inmates they had seen. She was fighting panic when the man suddently appeared in the door way and asked if she was enjoying her visit.

Quickly, Wild pulled herself together and replied with composure that she was fascinated by how he could manage the prison all by himself. She was flirting, and he knew it. But whatever evil intentions he may have had were no match for a determined Wild.

She sat him into a chair, rubbing her hands gently across his shoulders, gracing his forearms and lightly touching his chest, registering but not lingering over the security badge clipped to his shirt pocket.

This is not something I do often, she said, But it's been a strange year. And then Wild launched into a story of the trailer park, Slummy and Slimey, WFM™ and HG, and FNCWW who she had left back at the truck stop. She told him about each of her jobs, of driving the bus and dodging deer and the Amish on the Highway to He$$, of DS#2 and DH#1, of school and the queen cat.

By the time she was done, Wild looked over and the blue jean plaid shirted man was lying on the plastic vinyl couch with his eyes wide open, and his face in a catatonic state. Wild smiled with grim satisfaction as she grabbed the security badge and the car keys, then hauled her TOA out of the prison. She drove back to the truck stop and found FNCWW who just looked at her and silently asked the questions she wanted to express out loud. Wild had been gone only 2 hours.

Wild just said, Let's go. They drove in silence, counting the signs on the New Jersey turnpike. Wild dug into her purse for the coins it would take to buy her way out of the state and they returned to PA. Wild dropped FNCWW at her home and as she pulled away, she called back with a mischevious grin.

Let's do this again next year!

Fuskie
Who wishes everyone a Happy Halloween, but reminds you not to be too afraid to vote a week later...
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