While this is going on another guard is going through our personal belongings. He judisciously disposes of anything that does not fit his and D.O.C. policy. If you were unlucky enough to think you could make it through. What is allowe will be put under the bus to go with us.
We are given one ill-fitting orange jumpsuit. Without underclothes. Then with an outstretched arm at the end of a pointing finger we are passed down the line to the next guards.
Here, we are shackled and chained. We are expected to know the routine, arms out as they wrap the belly chains tight around us. I know to poke my stomach out as far as possible during this part, so it will be looser during the ride. Then my hands are cuffed to the belly chain. Next come the shackles. One ankle and then the next. Finally we are directed to the bus. Slowly, as we are not yet used to shackles I step slowly so my ‘Chain partner’ can keep up.
I am careful not to trip or fall. One step and then another. It reminds me of the three legged races at picnics, except for this on the shackles bite into your legs. We have just begun to get the hang of it when we get to the bus. There is little room for mistakes. In front you can’t move too fast, in back you can’t move too slow. We gradually make it up the four steps of the bus, and then move down the aisle to an empty pair of seats. We are supposed to fill the seats back to front. Unsupervised we sit where we want. As more prisoners fill the bus, the noise level rises as people attempt to talk over one another, or from the back of the bus to the front.
First timers fired questions in every direction. “Who, what, when, where, how?” They wanted to know. Fear radiated from them. I sat still, my own uneasiness casually stashed away inside of me. I had spent enough time in juvenile facilities and jails to know the best way to do time. If you mind your own business, problems generally pass you by. If forced into a situation, violence is the best teacher.
I remained lost in my thoughts, waiting for the bus to pull out. We probably sat there for an
hour before we left.