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Story Notes: This was written for the 2005 Lyric Wheel Challenge. It's
Based on Oz Season 6, episode `A Failure to Communicate'. I still feel
that one particular scene was cruel but usual punishment. With no
offense intended towards the writers, *wink wink*, Tom Fontana and
Bradford Winters, I've done a little editing. The beginning of
this fic starts as we saw it on TV.
The title is a military acronym started during WW2, but most
frequently used during the Vietnam Conflict and it's still in use
today. Some might be familiar with the word but not the meaning;
Situation Normal All Fucked Up. The effect of the SNAFU principle is
a progressive disconnection of decision-makers from reality. And
just another bit of trivia, the next step would be TACFU, Totally
And Completely Fucked Up and ending with FUBAR, Fucked Up
Beyond All Repair. Formatting fic to be posted is TACFU while some
relationships can be considered FUBAR.
Lyrics Provided By: cg (mandysbitch) Thanks for supplying
me with a few to choose from.
Song Title: Either Way from the album Lost and Gone Forever.
Artist: Guster
Beta assistance: Beecher Jean (magickslash)the
bestest of the best. I can't write without her because I'd
have no one to share very deep B/K discussions including the
proverbial 3-way. And she's just so darn funny! Thank you
sweetie. All mistakes are mine.
Feedback: Yes, it's food for the writer, even though I'm probably still
behind in doing the same thing.


by Rifka


Sister Pete: Thank you, Officer. Good morning. Keller: Hello, gorgeous. Sister Pete: Ah, we're in that kind of mood of mood, huh? All right, under a new state law, every six months I have to review the mental health of every resident on death row, and now it's your turn. So, how's your mental health? Keller: Well, Beecher seems to think my days on death row are numbered. Sister Pete: Yeah, I know. I saw him earlier. Keller: How'd he seem to you? Sister Pete: Well, he's obviously grieving for the loss of his father and Said. Keller: Yeah, I mean, other then that. Sister Pete: What are you asking me, exactly? Keller: Beecher's in love. Sister Pete: Really? Did he say so? Keller: I can tell. Sister Pete: And how does that make you feel? Keller: I don't know. Sister Pete: Come on, Chris, don't bull me. How does that make you feel? Keller: Happy! Sister Pete: For him? Keller: Yes. Sister Pete: And for you? Keller: Jealous. Sister Pete: And what are you going to do with that jealousy? Chew on it? Suck on it? Devour it whole? Keller: Yeah, okay? Beecher has what I want! I want a life! I get executed and he lives a long, old life surrounded by his grandchildren. I want a life! You can't expect me not to be a little envious. Sister Pete: Sure, I can. If you truly love him, I expect that and more. I'll write in my review that you're behaving normally.


Keller stares at her, not believing she was really ending their session. Just like that. His composure is back and he says,

"Were you always this cruel? Or is it just me? Were you ever kind to anyone besides Beecher? He was right, he's seen that other side of you; you *are* a cunt."

"What difference does it make to you, Chris? You've lived long enough to know life is cruel, it's not fair, and it's not what we hoped it would be. Life rarely turns out the way we want it to."

"Oh right, you gotta wait till you've been `chosen'. I forgot that for a second. How come Beecher gets chosen over and over again? How come I have to stay here and rot? He was born with that silver spoon in his mouth, why not me?"

"Chris, I do have to meet with other inmates. Let's make another appointment. Guard!" She motions to the CO monitoring her office. She looks through her appointment book and says,

"How about we meet..."

Chris stands and stares down at this diminutive woman; a woman who has failed pathetically so many times, yet still exercises the authority of her position.

"No! You can't just bring me in your office for two minutes and then dismiss me with a wave of your hand. I gotta get this shit off my chest. You're reviewing my mental health, right? Then goddammit, review it! I'm not gonna be in any condition to be executed because I'm losing my mind! I don't want to end up like Cyril playing with some puppet in the corner of some fuckin' cell."

As the guard enters, the good nun shakes her head to indicate she doesn't need him after all. She stands up so Keller doesn't tower over her quite as much, even though it means leaving the protection offered by her space.

"Sit down, Chris. Why don't you tell me what else you're feeling?"

"Jesus Christ, Sister. I just can't sit down right now."

"Ok, then pace around the room if you think that will help."

"Look it, we go back a long way, you and me. You know me, I've spilled my guts all over you desk and I..."

"And you showed me your other side too. It happens every time we meet; you manipulate me the same way you do Tobias. And don't you dare stand there and deny it." She stands as tall as possible, shaking her finger at him.

"All right I won't deny it," he said, his jaw muscles twitching to a primitive beat. "But you forgave me you knew why I did it. I love Toby and I've proved it to you and him over and over again. I'll always love him."

Sister Pete cleared her throat, waiting to see what fork in the road he'd take next.

"How can you can just stand there and bullshit me?" Chris said licking his dry lips.

"Would it really make a difference if I admitted I cared more about Tobias than I do about you? That's part of your jealousy too, isn't it?" she said.

"You're damn right it is. Toby could have come in here and told you the same thing I did and you would have sat down real close to him and then given him what I deserve," he said.

"Why do you think it's either him or you? That I can only be there for one of you? Isn't that a little childish, `Mom likes him better'? I'm not Tobias's mother and I'm not yours, so please Chris, tell me what do you feel you deserve?"

"Sister Pete, this is said with respect because you're a nun and all, but can you stop with the `how do you feel' crap? I feel with my fingers and my hands. I feel with my mouth and my tongue. I feel with my cock and my ass. How do you `feel' Sister? Do you ever feel anything for anyone besides yourself? Can't you ever give anything? Some hope? Some compassion to those of us who don't have anyone? Maybe just a little something to hold on to? I have to hold on to something cause I'm losing Toby for good and I can't, I can't do it. I can't go it alone. I just can't."

Chris quietly paces around the room stopping by one of her plants. He leans over the pink flower and draws in the scent... perpetually imprinting it on his brain. It's just another glimpse into what he'll never have.

Sister Pete thinks to herself, I'm not quite sure how to handle Chris..., this aspect of him, explosive, yet at the same time he's so desperate, calling out for help. What does he need? How can I help him when he feels so helpless? He's so lost without Tobias. It must be killing him, giving away this side that he's always kept so private; so hidden I doubt he shared this with Tobias to the extent that he is with me right now. I'm sure he's talked with Tobias about missing him, but when I talked to Tobias earlier today he gave me no indication Chris was in such bad shape.

She watches as Chris finally sits in the chair, slouching, his head in his hands, his long slim fingers rubbing the top of his head trying to control his breathing, trying not to give away anymore of himself than he has to.

But he's already open, raw and exposed. And there's more. Will she listen? Really listen?

"Chris? Chris I know how you..."

He barely lifts his head and looks at her. "You know what?" All the while thinking she doesn't know jack shit about anything.

"Well, you have this tendency to manipulate certain situations to your advantage. Are you trying to manipulate me now?"

"No, not this time," a twitch in his jaw giving away the turmoil he fought to restrain.

"You have to believe me. I don't know what I'm going to do. I know Toby'll get my murder conviction overturned and he'll get Taylor off my back. But what do I do when he no longer has a reason to come visit me?"

"You don't know that for sure. It's only natural for him to get on with his life. Maybe he is in love like you say. Maybe he'll make a new life with this woman, have his family back. But I don't think he'll ever forget you."

"Before he was released, I told him I was real glad he'd get to spend some time with his kids and I really meant it. I asked him... I said,

`Don't forget me' and he said,


But when he came back to discuss the legal stuff, I asked him what it was like to be free. He talked about spending time with the kids and then he told me about Holly's teacher. And that's when I knew for sure. I can always read Toby's face."

`You'd love her; she makes me laugh out loud.'

Chris whispers it; still feeling the sting like the first time he heard it. The same burn just like a shank to the heart.

"She makes him laugh out loud! How many times in this place did we get to make each other laugh? She hardly knows him but she makes him laugh! I never got the chance to do that Sister. I don't get it. How can you stand there and expect me not to be jealous when he's going to live to see Holly and Harry's kids some day and in all likelihood my execution is right around the corner? I know Toby won't forget me, he can't! There's been too much that's gone on between us. But not forgetting me is not the same thing as not coming back here to see me. I have no one to see on visiting day. No one."

"Your ex-wives don't visit anymore?"

"No, I've sort of discouraged them from coming. They've got their own lives to live. And coming here once in a while for a make-out session doesn't help them or me, know what I mean?" he said dejectedly.

Chris fixes his gaze on her, his face accusatory.

"You said Toby will make a new life with that woman. I never said it was a woman. It could have been another man. He told you about her, didn't he? He told you he loved her didn't he? You acted like you knew nothing about it. Why'd you go and do that?" he asked.

"Do you really want my honest opinion Chris? Do you think you can handle it?"

"Yeah I think I can fuckin' handle it. Isn't it why we're meeting?"

"Don't you... don't you realize why Tobias needed you while he was here in Oz? Sometimes Tobias is needy in the way he has to be with someone, in how he yearns for human contact."

"And what about me? I need human contact too, to be touched and ..."

"Yes, I realize that but he fell in love with you only while he was in here. He's really not bisexual or gay. He needs to be with a woman, that's who he is. If he met you on the outside, do you think the two of you would have had a sexual relationship, or *any* type of relationship for that matter? Chris, I don't think Toby would have given you the time of day."

"You don't know that for sure! I don't know that! But Sister, it did happen! Whether you like it or not, *we* fell in love. Not just me, but Beecher, he fell... in... love... with... me! You still don't fuckin' get it do you? I was giving up my life for him because I loved him, I wanted him to be free and be with his children. I wanted him to forget all this, all the shit that's Oz. You knew I lied about having Hank killed but you didn't tell anyone I lied, did you? You didn't give a fuck. You only cared that I'd finally be out of Toby's life for good."

"That's not necessarily true. I really believe you were chosen to do it. It was a forgivable sin. I just want Tobias to be happy."

"But you don't care about me?"

In a voice as cold as death she said, "Chris, there's poison in everything you say, everything that you do. Especially when it involves Tobias. Step on a kid and he'll grow up hating you. Who stepped on you Chris? Either way, what difference does it make? He's free and you're not. You'll not be able to ruin his life anymore. So, like I said a half hour ago, I'll write in my review that you're behaving normally. Officer!"

The End


Song Title: Either Way

You were almost kind You were almost true Don't let me see that other side of you. You have learned in time That you must be cruel I'll have to wait to get the best of you.

Poison in everything you say, Don't you don't you. Wonder what difference does it make Either way.

You were almost kind You were almost true Why give away that other side of you. Happens every time So it must be true Step on a kid he'll grow up hating you.

Poison in every thing you say, (Don't you don't you) Wonder what difference does it make Either way.

Were you ever kind Were you always cruel Who has ever seen that other side of you. Happened every time So it must be true Where did you learn it's either him or you.

You were almost kind You were almost true Don't let me see that other side of you. You have learned in time That you must be cruel I'll have to wait to get the best of you.

Poison in everything you say, (Don't you don't you) Wonder what difference does it make Either way.

Please send feedback to Rifka.