I asked myself how long it had been. Two years now.... Two years, and my sentence was coming to its end. The parole board led by Amy had deemed me to qualify being released early on "quickness of work", and it would be only a few more days until then. I then could be out there...on that other side.
Suddenly behind me I heard footsteps drawing hear. I turned around to see Tom there, dressed in the same uniform as I with his branded identification. He hadn't been confined long...only three months thus far. He even told me that that very day was three months exactly for him; he'd soon have an evaluation himself. I greeted with a friendly smile and nod, as he replied with an upbeat, "Hey Mikey!"
He took a seat next to me looking out beyond that fence, to where the people didn't have to worry about this...worry about being constrained, worry about any clock, worry about this labor.... I turned my head and looked at him for a second, then looked back out. "On the other side of this fence," I said, "...there's freedom."
"Oh! You've got it sort of like a prison thing, right?"
I chuckled as I picked up my bacon mushroom melt sandwich in front of me and took a bite. I was on break, and had gone to my normal break spot in the back by a small patch of trees. Beyond the fence a baseball game was just now ending, and the people were slowly trickling out beneath a pink sky that slowly gave way to darkening blue. Tom there had also been put on break the same time I had, and had decided to join me there to chat a little bit.
I knew I was going to miss Wendy's. This was the first place I had been where I was able to make a social connection with more than just one or two people. Tom next to me and I talked through e-mail, as well as generally conversing about a variety of things whilst working, from video games and movies to the destruction of our planet because of nanomachines and artificial intelligence (...what? what'd I say?). There was somebody else there named Ian, a biker guy, who had hatched a big idea with Tom that when they were able to, they were going to open up a computer game arcade. It sounded like it could be really neat...if...it wouldn't fail. If it did, they would be in debt for the rest of their lives...which...would actually be quite bad. Ian told me that he would definitely give me a job there when it had been started. Another fellow there named Geoff was the tae kwan do bouncer over at a country line-dancing joint known only as "D.C.'s". We always talked and laughed about different things, and he had even offered to take me over there some time. Sure! Even us suburb folk know how to bust out a ho-down groove, yo! (*gets shot by a passing 1980 Ford pick-up*)
It actually was surprising to me that people treated me like a person over there instead of just an employee. It was a nice change of pace I hadn't felt much since I'd left Lemstone's. Everybody (most everybody) got along with everybody (most everybody). Even Charles and I had gotten along somewhat...though that relationship had been strained. That one mind-numbing night he made just about everybody miserable, he later told me he went back home and cried for an hour. In...a...somewhat guilty sense, I actually felt somewhat vindicated and relieved at that, if not somewhat bewildered hearing that he actually cried, much less told me about it. At least I learned he actually did have a conscience, I suppose. And with everybody else, Tom and I always joked, Geoff and I talked about different stories from our past, Ian elbowed me in the faced, kneed me in the gut, then threw me over the counter...yeah! Fun times! =)
(...okay, okay, it was done W.W.E. style, but I still did go over the counter...a couple times, actually)
Later that night, things were slow, and I was pretty caught up with my dishes. 11:59...wait for it...wait for it...and...and then...aaaaannnnnnnd the~n...it's...now...12:00okayfliptheswi
I finally took off my headset and placed it on the counter, as I proceeded back towards where my dishes were. I nodded to Geoff as I passed by, when suddenly he wrapped his arms around my waist from behind, trapping my arms. Thrown off, I started struggling. "What're you doing?!" I yelled back at him. Doc/Derek then joined him, and he passed me off to him. Before I suddenly was turned over, I saw Rhiannon, our manager, with a look of confusion and disappointment on her face. "Cut that out! Get to work!"
"It's midnight! It's midnight!" Geoff yelled. "What in the world are these people doing?!" I thought to myself. Then it hit me as I heard, "Get the mit! He needs spankings!" Oh crap!! I didn't want freakin' birthday spankings!! I yelled out to contest about it. "This is humiliating!!" ...that...didn't stop them, though...but thankfully I wasn't their entertainment for too long. "Could you just buy me a beer or something instead?!"
It was definitely an interesting night. I forgot that at midnight I crossed the boundary into 21. "Ooohhhhh!! He's legal!" somebody had shouted earlier that night. ...daggumit.... Later I was talking to Tom and I told him, "Well, now I can buy liquor, go to bars, drink, gamble, rent cars...but you know what...I likely won't."
I know that a lot of people out there usually are like "duuuuuuuuuuuude!!!!!!11 I'm 21, man!! I'm gonna go get uber sloshed tonight!!!!! Whoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo"-
Cheers. *sips on Old Towne orange soda*