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Beta'd by Erin.

"Slide" (said the little penguin.) - Part 11/11: Epilogue - "there's no place like *home"

by Ralu

(Over. Nicest part of release - *any* release - is the feeling of surrender. Surrender to what? A new beginning? Right... More like breathing life inside a well-nested lie, making it seem real enough, true enough to actually pass for reality. Brand new day. Release.)


Okay. So lockdown's over, everybody can roam around at their own pseudo-free will... Ha! Ha!... Anyway, a bigger cage is still better than a smaller one, right?

What matters is that he's out and he can at least hope of winning at a game of cards and...(--'Please, God, please. Just once would do, please!...'--) LOSE at a game of chess... Same mindless, boring things he used to do before, coming back to Toby within the same numbing biorhythm. Seeing Busmalis' childish, comforting leer while staring at Miss Sally's tits (--'sorry: *breasts*'--) and O'Reily's psychotic grin when he puts those magnificent, devilish wits of his to work for accomplishing something that doesn't involve getting someone maimed or killed...or just seeding pure mayhem -- winning at chess. Yep, one thing's for sure: Ryan's a whole lot smarter than his podmate.

And speaking of which...what else does the end of lockdown imply? *UH-HUH*.

(--'It's official, my dear friend, you can't do shit to hide away from it now.'--)

Fag or prag or simply fucking nutcase junkie - he can't run away from it. And neither can Chris. It would be almost excruciatingly embarrassing - if it weren't so fucked up, so weirdly hilarious. Both of them, they're 'quite the pair'... Fucking 'two of a kind'...

Just like O'Reily puts it:

"The guy breaks your arms and now you fuck him. That's surreal, man. Only you - or him - could come up with this kind of shit. You're both fucking crazy."

(--'Yeah... But then again...I wouldn't consider killing the husband of the woman you love and fucking up your brother's life in the process exactly 'sane' either.'--)


And - his friend - the one he kept whining to Chris about how he wanted, needed to talk to him...well, Said's proving to be his usual self: annoying. Self-righteous. So fucking self-righteous it makes Toby...(--What? You're not gonna say you wish the lockdown hadn't ended, are you?'--) Okay, he's not about to say that, but... Things are not exactly *easy*.

And - with that - everything turns back to his seemingly predestined mate: strutting around the quad like one of those fucking big cats you get to see on the Discovery channel.

Marking its territory. (--'Its territory being...*you*. Brilliant.'--)

Brushing his stubbled jaw across Toby's own - pure intent and a clear message within his outstretched arm around his shoulders to every fuckwad in Em City: "back off, he's MINE." (--'Yeah, fucking brilliant.'--)

Passion *or* possession? Who knows? Who the fuck cares? Beecher does. Something which - in prison logic or any other logic for that matter - makes all the difference. 'Cause Toby knows what it means; and he doesn't wanna go back there. (--'No way, no fucking way. No chance in hell.'--)

Having Keller's annoyed words whispered almost threateningly, when nobody's around to listen:

"What the fuck do you care about what they say? You know...and I know... That's all that matters, all that should matter."

And Beecher asking himself silently:

"Know *what* exactly?!..."

As far as the inmates in Em City are concerned, they're two guys fucking each other up the ass. As far as the men that know them a bit better, they're a couple of really fucked up weirdos spinning in a closed circle of two. Tangled. Obsessive. Self-destructive. But as far as the rest of the inmates are concerned...somebody's got to be on top, right? 'Cause...they are in prison. And one of them just HAS to be the other's. (Property.) PRAG.

"What the fuck do you care, Toby? You know...and I know..." (--'Yeah, I know...'--) Presumably.

Still, that doesn't solve shit. But Toby knows, and Keller seems to fucking live off it - it's a whole lot better than what they had before. And Chris' arms around him, with everybody watching, with the hacks yelling at them like they're in junior high...it feels kind of *nice*. It feels good. Fun. (--'Crazy.'--) For this man - Chris, Christopher Keller - cares enough about him to risk everything: his own safety, his own life. Not to mention his rep. Which - after all - is all one can have in prison. In everybody else's eyes, they're both fucked up - fig and lit. And...dangerous. (Together.) Just ask Andy. (--'Yeah, just ask *Andy*...'--)

What unites them; and what separates them.

Toby knows part of what drives Keller to care so much about him is the same thing that sets them so far apart. That deep-seated belief Chris seems to have that Toby's different. That there's something that sets him apart from the rest of the guys in Oz; apart from him. And...(--'what exactly is that? My conscience? My fucking *feelings*? I've killed a man. I killed him with my bare hands, watched his life drain out of him, flowing though my fingers. I've tried to kill you... And Andy... Andy. If guilt after the fact counts as a conscience, then conscience is completely useless. Unimportant. Just another example of how I always manage to turn every horrible thing I do into something about myself. *Only* myself. I guess the difference between you and me, Chris...lays only in the fact that I twist and torment myself about it with everybody watching. I'm a poser. But then again...so are you. Just that you hide your guilt, your demons, behind indifference. Your best protective mechanism - 'til it breaks down that is...'--)

And that means...they're not *that* different. They're both just as powerful; just as weak. Both just as guilty. Neither one of them is a *better* man. (Junkies.) Needy, moody, always-up-for-a-fight, fucked up junkies. Feeding off each other like animals. (Nice image.)

(--'Always up and ready for a fun-filled, entertaining stage show for Tim McManus' tit-smiling glass-people of Em City. Yay!...'--)

The odd couple of Em City. (--'Always at your disposal.'--)

Oh, yeah...lockdown's over all right! Best example? Hoyt - jeering behind them, in his unmistakable tone:

"Fucking faggots!"

Yeah: yay... There's no place like *home*...


(Lie, truth, brand new beginning... Who the fuck cares? One day follows another, darkness chases daylight. Seconds swallow themselves, hours devour each other. 'Til time finally stands still. Until then, there really ain't nothing to do but wait. Eat, sleep, piss. Fuck. Hate. Love. Think... Until your head, your heart, your dick explodes. All in between - just days and nights, marks on the calendar. Marks with different meanings for different people, but still...only marks.)

---the end---

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