Bad Asses


By Brian Haycock

The new prisoner stood at the chain-link fence, looking out across the flat, wasted land. He gripped a fence pole with one hand while he smoked with the other. When the cigarette burned down he flipped the ash away and stuck the butt in his back pocket.

Candler walked over and stood five feet away, looked out. There were clouds building in the distance. There were always clouds out there, but they never seemed to make it to the prison. Then he looked over at the new prisoner.

I’m Candler,” he said.


What are you in for, Ross?”

I made an unauthorized duplicate of a DVD and distributed it to some friends. That Batman movie, you know.”

Yeah, there’s a lot of guys in here for that. You get the full five?”

Sure. And a fine. Two hundred fifty grand. Not sure how I’ll pay that.”

Hope it was a good movie.”

It was all right. Not good enough for this. Ross pulled out another cigarette and lit it. He blew the smoke straight up in the air. “It’s the surveillance. Mini-cams everywhere. Man, everything you do, there’s someone watching. You can’t get away with nothing.”

You’re telling me.”

What’re you in for?”

I made commercial use of the pictures, accounts and descriptions of a game without the express written consent of major league baseball. That’s a hard eight years. But I’m making it. It’s not so bad in here once you get used to it.”

That might take a while.”

“Hey, let’s take a walk. I’ll introduce you to some of the guys. You know, you want to hang out with the right people. There are guys in here for removing the tags from mattresses. Violation of federal law. Says so right on the tag. Those guys are punks. You don’t want to hang around with people like that.”

Thanks, Candler. I appreciate that.”

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