Shame, shame, shame, your mother used to say when she caught you doing something wrong. Shame on you. And did you feel shame? Guilt? Was it because of what you had done?
Or was it because you got caught?
Most folks in Oz do feel sorry... for that second reason. Sorry for themselves, not for their crimes; not giving a shit that they sold drugs to a twelve year old, raped their sister, or shot a man because he couldn't open the cash register quick enough.
Just 'cause the law says you're guilty doesn't mean you'll feel guilt.
But if you do feel it, then you want that feeling to stop. Guilt can be a strong motivator. In the best situation, it makes you change for the better. You atone for your crimes, you vow to live a good life, you pay your dues, and you move on.
However, guilt can also make you change for the worse. Instead of atoning and moving on, you lose yourself. You drown in your own self-disgust and you attach yourself to anything that takes away the shame you associate with being what you are.
And there are so many options! Drugs, sex, booze, pain, misery, choose your poison. You'll hate yourself, but it will be easier than the alternative, taking responsibility, because that is the one thing you can't bring yourself to face.
"C'mon Beecher, wake up."
I am awake. I have been awake since before he left for breakfast. He's been back for only five minutes or so, but I have only heard him, not looking, not caring to look. I feel a hand on my shoulder, but I still don't want to open my eyes. When I close them, I know who I am. When I close them, there's nothing but me. If I open them, then what?
"Get the fuck up, prag," Schillinger says and jerks my shoulder this time.
I finally open my eyes and look up at him. He's naked except for a white towel wrapped around his waist. I close my eyes again and yawn, stretching my muscles out. For a moment, I am in my bed at home. I can almost hear Genevieve in the bathroom turning on the water. The kids are downstairs watching cartoons, and I, Tobias Beecher, husband and father, am ready to get my day started.
"We're taking a shower."
I look again at Schillinger and sit up, wincing as I do so, a throbbing pain becoming acute. He burnt me in the night. Branded me. Right on the ass. My ass was his, he had said. Of course, I know what he means. How can I not? I may be nave in some ways about prison life, but I have read the paper and watched the news. I know something of what goes on. I know. Holy shit, I know.
"I think I'm okay," I say, trying to play it cool. "Had a shower before I arrived here yesterday." Christ, did my voice just tremble?
Schillinger smiles and I want to hit him, but I don't.
"Now let's not have talk like that, sweet pea, I'd almost say you were telling me no."
"I am telling you no," I say stiffly, but it sounds weak in my ears. Where's my voice? Where did it go? Tobias Beecher, attorney at law, had a voice he used a thousand times in the courtroom, a take-no-shit voice. It's gone now. It was gone last night.
Schillinger grabs my hair and yanks my head painfully, forcing me to stand up. "You don't ever tell me no, you got that, prag?"
Nazi redneck, get your fucking hands off of me! But why can't I say it? I open my mouth, but no sound comes out. Finally, I stammer, "I--I--I..."
"You, you, you," Schillinger mocks. "The next words I want to hear out of your mouth are 'Yes, sir'. Give me anymore shit and we'll brand that other cheek tonight." He grabs my ass squeezes it tightly, painfully.
Threaten to sue. Call for a guard. Hit him. Hit him. Fucking do something. "Yes, sir."
He lets go of me and says, patronizing, "That's better. Now get your towel and follow me."
I find myself obeying, giving in to the inevitability of him, and it feels good. Not the happy kind of good, but the losing control kind of good. It feels sort of like when the alcohol buzz would start to kick in after a few drinks: the world would start to shift out of focus, a slight numbness would tingle the mind and body, and the calm, the peace, the loss of control would set in.
I follow him to the showers. He struts, grinning at his comrades. The Aryans leer at me and snicker as I walk past before falling in step behind us. When we reach the showers, Schillinger goes inside while a couple of the Aryans take post outside, keeping an eye out for the COs. Schillinger turns and beckons to me. "Get your ass in here."
I hesitate. My heart is beating hard in my chest. I tell myself to turn around. Run. Scream for help. Don't go in there, Tobias Beecher. But that name, that name, I don't know that it's really me. Tobias Beecher. Attorney at law? Husband? Father? Drunk? Murderer? What?
Schillinger stalks back to me and jerks me over the threshold. Roughly and strongly, he shoves me toward the showers. I feel myself slipping out of control.
Who am I?
I am getting into my car after a few martinis. I can find my way home; it's just five miles. Going fast, I turn left onto Oakdale Way. It's only a few seconds until I hear a smack and I slam to a stop. The moment repeats again and again as I try to make sense of it. Speed. Smack. Stop. Speed. Smack. Stop. Speed...
My forehead hits hard against the pale yellow tiles of the shower stall. Smack. Aching, my head throbs, keeping time with my rapidly beating heart. Cool water on the tile soaks into my undershirt and shorts. I stare blankly ahead, my left ear pressed against the wet floor. The scent in the air is soapy and mildewy, clean and unclean.
Schillinger walks away from me and turns on the water to one of the showers. A whisper of vapor rises from the stream and I can faintly feel the warmth from where I lie. Schillinger tosses his towel aside and turns to face me. Oh God, oh God. This isn't happening. Please, please make it stop. Stop.
For the first time in my life I see another man's erection. That's not true, really. Genevieve and I had some porn that we kept locked away. That was different though because it was on the screen, smaller than life: unreality. That was for Tobias Beecher, husband. Now, right here in front of me, in the flesh: reality. This is for Tobias Beecher... what? My stomach clenches tightly, nausea making me almost gag. The reality is about seven inches long, pointing up, and dark, engorged with blood. Blood.
Blood spattered across the windshield. Blood oozing from the little girl's face smashed up against the glass. Blood, the first thing my mind comprehends. The translucent red, bright, cheerful, violent blood. I shouldn't be seeing this, but there it is. I stare stunned and doing nothing.
"Suck it, Bitcher," Schillinger demands and my body curls up around the sickness in my stomach, my ears listening not to him, but to my heartbeat and the running water.
He grabs me by the hair yanks me to my knees. Now his dick is right in front of me.
"Suck my cock or I'll kill you."
Given that choice, I put my hands on his hips and take him in my mouth. He grips my head and makes me take him deeper. I feel sick and weak. I am sick and weak. My hands start trembling.
My whole body is shaking as I open the car door, unfasten my seat belt, and fall into the street. I struggle to my feet and lean on the doorframe. A little girl with red pigtails is sprawled across the windshield. Her bicycle is flung to the side of the car, the metal bent and twisted, one wheel still spinning. I look at her again. She isn't moving. Again, I notice her blood spattered, splattered, sliding down the glass. My gorge rises and I turn aside to throw up.
As I start choking, Schillinger pulls away from me and pushes me aside. My stomach is empty, but I start heaving anyway. Bile scorches at my throat, but nothing comes out.
"I can see you're going to need a lot of guidance, but we have a lot of time in Oz together. Hope you're a fast learner."
His cock is still hard and he is grinning at me with that cold I-own-your-ass smile.
"Stand up," he tells me, and I obey.
I look down at the floor and start shaking my head. He grabs my jaw and forces me to look at him. "Take your god damned clothes off."
Stop saying that. Just stop it. Don't do what he tells you. But even as I am telling myself what not to do, I am doing what he is telling me to do. I strip out of the white undershirt and light blue boxer shorts. Awkwardly, I place my hands over my private parts and look at the floor. Schillinger walks around me and I can feel his eyes looking over, appraising his property. My face burns with embarrassment. He shoves me forward toward the hot running water and I put my hands out to stop myself from running into the wall.
"Spread your legs out."
I do as he tells me and I feel his hands on my ass, fingers brushing over the burnt flesh that stings sharply in the hot water.
"Yeah, that's going to turn out real nice when it heals."
Hoarsely, I ask, "What is it?"
Schillinger giggles, an unpleasant sound. "The mark of the pure, Aryan race. My mark. Heil."
He runs his hands up my back and then presses his body heavily against mine. I think I've started crying, but with the water running down my hair and dripping down my face, I can't really tell. I'm glad.
His lips are on my shoulders and neck kissing, biting. Another wave of nausea passes through me. I can feel his cock pressing up against my ass. He is rubbing soap on me, his slick hands sliding ever further down, down, down, touching the mark he made. He forces a finger inside of me and I jerk away from him.
I feel a spark inside my soul that I didn't know was there. Turn around and break the fucker's nose, it says. Punch him in the gut. Strangle him with your hands. Rip his balls off. Yee haw! And then laugh, laugh your head off while his blood runs down the drain. Down the drain, down the drain, everything's right as rain.
Whatever it is it feels powerful, but it scares the shit of me. It quickly disappears. Again, Schillinger slams me into the tiles, his body pressing more urgently against me, and do I resist? No, I do nothing.
Nothing. Silence. The girl with the red pigtails still isn't moving and I feel numb, disconnected. I look around, but there's no one else there. I can see cars far ahead zipping along at the busy cross street, oblivious to the horror on Oakdale Way, the same quiet, residential street I have driven along a thousand times. Quiet. Silent. Nothing. And then, a scream.
I can't stop the sound coming out of my throat, but Schillinger clamps a hand over my mouth, muffling the shriek. He's shoved his cock into me with one hard thrust and the pain is impossible. My knees buckle and I fall to the floor under the stream of water. Schillinger goes down with me, grabbing me around the middle and thrusting into me again. I gasp for air, choking on water. Now I am certain that I'm crying. Crying because of the pain. Crying because I have no control. Crying because I'm not who I thought I was.
I turn to see a blond woman dressed in jeans, pink t-shirt, and green apron dusted with white running down the steps of a house toward me. "Oh my God! Kathy! Kathy!" She is screaming. She doesn't even notice me as she reaches the car. She grabs the girl and turns her over. "Kathy? Baby? Oh God!"
Kathy's head droops heavily, too heavily. It swings back, eyes vacant, a bit of bone juts from her throat. The blond woman is sobbing and hugging the girl. The woman's small hands are covered with flour and now, streaks of red. I do nothing but look at the blood. The blood. The blood.
I bite my lip as Schillinger fucks me. For a moment, the new pain is a relief. The warm, coppery taste in my mouth is a welcome distraction, but not much of one.
"Say you love me," Schillinger pants in my ear, his lust choked voice mingled with the water. "Say it, prag."
But I can't. I can't make any noise.
"Bitch, fucking say it!"
All I manage is a whimper, but Schillinger doesn't order me again. His thrusts are frenzied. The pain is frenzied. He grunts and he groans. "Mmmmm... arrrrrr... ahhhhhh...mmmmmmmm..."
"M-m-m-murder!" The woman stammers. "You murdered my baby!"
She is looking at me, screaming wrath through her tears. Other people have started gathering around. Hushed oh-my-gods, call-for-helps, is-she-deads, and one, is-he-drunk make their way into my ears.
"My baby, she's dead, you killed her. Why!?"
I don't know why. I didn't see her. I didn't see your baby. That sounds so pathetic. I'm glad I can't seem to speak. In the distance, I hear sirens, but I know it's already too late for little Kathy. And selfishly, all I can think is, what is going to happen to me?
Schillinger bites down hard on my shoulder as he comes and then collapses against me. For a few moments he lies on my back, his weight forcing the air out of my lungs, and then he pulls out of me and stands up. He puts a foot on my ass and pushes me against the tiles and laughs. My innards are churning; my mind is reeling. What happens now?
Schillinger takes his foot off and says, "Get up. Dry off."
I don't want to get up. I want to stay here on the warm tiles with the hot water hitting my body and forget who I am, what I am. Maybe I already have. Forgotten in a world where I have a swastika branded onto my ass and a Nazi fucks me until I cry.
"I said get up."
The water shuts off and a towel is thrown on my back. I get to my knees, my arms and legs trembling, feeling like rubber. Schillinger reaches down and hauls me to my feet. The towel drops off my back and Schillinger reaches down and scoops it up. He starts rubbing me down while I stare ahead without seeing him.
Funny how Schillinger is being almost gentle... gently rough as he dries me off. When he finishes, he puts my underclothes in my hands.
"Put 'em back on."
My eyes focus in on his, those icy, brutal eyes.
I whisper, "There is nothing I can do."
My mind calls up one last image of little Kathy Rockwell's blood splattered across my windshield. And I don't care. I can ignore it because I couldn't do anything then, and I can't do anything now. I repeat the words with more conviction, "There is nothing I can do."
Schillinger shrugs. His voice puzzled and annoyed, he asks, "What the fuck you talking about?"
I put my shorts and t-shirt back on, ignoring the pain in my body, the pain in my soul. Schillinger has wrapped his towel back around his waist. His back is to me and I reach out and touch him on the shoulder.
He turns, looking at me again with his pale eyes.
"I can only do what you say I can," I state in a new voice, my new voice, my new identity. Not Beecher, but Bitcher. Shag prag to this Nazi fag. I almost smile.
He grins and slaps me on the back. "Now you're getting it. Everything you are, everything you're ever going to be, it all belongs to me."
He grabs my head and kisses me roughly, biting my lips, and then turns away again. And now I do smile. I'm not happy. I'm not sad. I'm not anything. I am empty, void, blank, and there is nothing I can do.
You know what? It is so much easier to be a victim than to take responsibility for your actions.
Sure, you committed a crime. Sure, you stole. Sure, you assaulted. Sure, you killed. But you're a victim too! You're hooked on tits, you were raped, a hack beat you up, another inmate shanked you. Awwwwwe.
So let's just not think about the person you stole from, the person you assaulted, the person you killed. Let's ignore them because, oh, poor you.
When you decide to hide behind the banner of victimhood, you don't have to face your past or make amends with what you have done. You give up and decide you have no control. No control to change your life or yourself.
Shame on you.