A Single Moment, part II


Chapter 7 - Unbowed
********

Toby felt assaulted by the noise of his fellow inmates as he walked through the archway. Everyone was so damn loud. He nearly cringed. The first person he caught sight of was Schillinger, in his blues, passing out the mail. Toby stopped and turned back to the gate. Did he have to do this? Yes, he did, and his anger would have to be enough to see him through the pain.

"Hey, Beech!" Keller, of course, and he smiled as he walked over.

Toby didn't return it, but he did feel something. He just wasn't sure what. Complete isolation had taken away his perspective on life, and he nearly drooled at the sight of those letters. He never got one. Never. He‛d told himself that he didn‛t care, but after the last month, he did. He had to have one. Just one to see him through the dark times.

 "I wish I got mail," he said softly, certain that no one would hear him.

"Why don't ya?" Keller, being stupid. It suited him.

Toby started walking again. He couldn‛t have it. Schillinger would never relent. Toby bit his upper lip and resolved to forget about it. Right now, he wanted a shower, some pants, not sweats, and some shoes, in that order. Clean underwear would be nice also. Okay, just some underwear.

"Want your envelopes, Tobias?"

"It's ridiculous to want to go to hell so I can watch you suffer." Toby threw his resolution out the window. He wanted some damn mail! He also wanted a gun, but would have settled for a shank. There had to be some way to get the mailroom turned over to the Christians. There had to be. He was smart. Hell, he had been smart.

"Vern, just give him his mail." Keller was still with him.

"Suck my cock and he can have it." Schillinger laughed.

Toby left them to argue it out. He stripped off his filthy clothes and wrapped a towel around his hips. Pod looked the same, except for the mess that was Keller's bunk. Didn't he know he was supposed to make it? When Toby went towards the shower, he stepped around the men yelling, the hacks shoving, and mail flying every direction. Em City. It never changed.

The water felt good, but he watched the other men carefully. He was back, and he had to be ready for anything. No more alone time. No more boredom. Now he got to fear for his life every minute he was outside his pod and worry about his ass when he was alone with Keller. Yes. Everything was back to normal. His time was up, and he dried off. The pod was still empty, and he dressed quickly. Socks. He'd missed them.

"That was fun." Keller burst through the door. "Glad you're back."

"Me too," Toby lied. He had been gone so long that he had no idea what he had or didn't, and he started a quick inventory. Catching sight of his face in the mirror, he groaned. He should have shaved. He looked like a wild man. "I'm going to the barber."

"Whatever. You're about out of toothpaste." Keller laughed.

Toby knew why. Keller had used it. Toby rubbed his forehead. "What else do I need?"

"Deodorant." Keller sat down on his bunk.

Murphy strutted past, stopped, and came through the door. "Clean this mess up!"

Keller threw him a salute. Toby sighed. "Do I have to work today?"

Murphy shrugged. "I'll check. Go get a haircut, for Christ's sake!"

"I'm going." Toby waited until the hack was gone and the door firmly shut. There was something more important than toothpaste. It was even more important than the mail. "When are we killing Mack?"

"I was just waiting for you." Keller started tossing things on the floor. "I need you to play the pussy and get Mack in a storage closet or the kitchen or somewhere."

"Where you'll be waiting to twist his head in the wrong direction." Toby nearly quivered from the joy that flicked through him at the idea. He'd taken Mack's cock up his ass, and it was time to return the favor. "You know they'll suspect us."

"No evidence means they don't give a damn. We'll be careful." Keller looked certain. "You need to cry and act all insane. Can you do that?"

"Oh, easily." Toby had no problem with that part. "Okay, I'm going to go to the bank and get a haircut."

"I'll go with you. What are you buying?" Keller grinned and worked faster at making a bigger mess.

Toby didn't answer, but he was getting two of everything. He wasn't sharing his toothpaste. "You already spend that money?"

Keller made the bunk fast and shoved a few things underneath it. "Well," he said and blushed a little, "I gave most of it to Bonnie."

"Who the hell is Bonnie?" Toby wasn't waiting any longer. He headed out the door. Keller caught up fast, and he seemed to spend the morning talking. Toby grunted in the appropriate places, but filed it all away for the future. By the time the lunch horn rang, he had his prison life organized and was ready to kill someone. Mack was at the top of the list.

"Play the mail angle," Keller whispered in Toby's ear as they stood in line. "O'Reily will leave the kitchen storage closet unlocked."

Toby understood immediately. He ate quickly, didn't talk to anyone, and slunk over to the Aryans. Schillinger grinned at him.

"Vern, please, give me some mail." Toby had no trouble whining and wiping his eyes. "Just something. I - I - I know my parents send me mail. Please!"

"That's what I like to hear - some honest begging." Schillinger laughed. "Forget it."

"I can pay you." Toby reached in his pocket and tossed a twenty in front of Mack, who was smirking. "Give me a damn break!"

"Never." Schillinger grabbed the twenty from Mack's hand.

Toby sobbed and staggered away. He loitered in the hallway that led back to Em City and waited for it. Mack was an idiot - a horny idiot. He came out of the cafeteria, lagged behind Schillinger, and caught Toby's eye as the Aryans swaggered past. Toby licked his lips. It would be enough.

Keller sauntered over to him. "He's coming back."

"O'Reily left the door open?"

"He did." Keller reached with his long arm and slapped Toby across the face. "I told you to stay away from Schillinger!"

Toby felt tears burst from his eyes. "You don't own me!"

"Fine. You're on your fucking own!" Keller stormed away. He looked as if he meant it. Toby took a harsh breath and scrubbed his face. That had hurt! He did honestly flinch in surprise when suddenly Mack was there next to him.

"Keller making you cry?" Mack gloated.

"He doesn't understand!" Toby let his eyes plead. Mack was eating it up.

"You want your mail, Bitcher?"

Toby wiped his eyes again. "Just something. Please."

"Keller ain't gonna do shit for you." Mack smiled. "I can get it done."

"What do you want?" Toby slid a little closer. "I'll do anything."

"Nothing you ain't done before." Mack raised his eyebrows. "We do it right now, and tomorrow, you'll get your mail."

Toby hesitated. He groaned and ran his hand through his short hair. "You won't tell Keller?"

"I promise," Mack said greasily. "Now."

Toby nodded. "Come on. I know a spot."

"I bet you do." Mack followed right after him. Toby made sure no one saw them go inside. Mack unzipped himself fast. "Get on your knees, bitch. Get it wet and then I‛ll fuck you."

Toby didn't stare at the dark shadows. He had to believe. "You promise?"

"Sure." Mack grabbed him around the neck and shoved him down. Toby flinched, dropped to his knees, and looked up in astonishment. Mack gurgled as Keller's strong arm contracted, and then, Toby swallowed, there was a sharp twist, and Mack went limp. Completely. Keller took a step away and dropped him to the floor.

"Oh God," Toby said. It was all he could think of.

Keller pulled him up. Their lips met, and Toby felt Keller's bulge.

"Killing makes you horny?" Toby asked softly. He wasn't sure how he felt, but he suspected that happiness was at the top of the list, and that was probably wrong.

"You make me fucking horny." Keller didn't even look at Mack. "Let's get the fuck out of here."

Toby looked back once. "It was over too fast."

"Maybe so." Keller locked and shut the door firmly. "Let's go get caught making out in the laundry room."

"Alibi?" Toby knew the answer, and Keller's nod confirmed it. They went quickly to the corner of the laundry room, and Toby tried hard not to care as Keller embraced him.

"Okay?" Keller kissed him under the jaw.

"Not sure I want to make out." Toby pushed him slightly away. "You make me nervous."

"It's my overwhelming sexuality." Keller grinned. "Thanks for the toothpaste."

"You needed it." Toby kept his hands on Keller's chest, and he had to give a gentle push. He felt trapped. "Back off. Please."

"You heard him," McManus said.

Toby cringed. Keller whipped around. "Hey, Mac. What's up?"

"Keller, you're due at Sister Pete's. Beecher, I suggest you go rest in your pod." McManus frowned. "You looked tired."

"I am." Toby moved away from them both.

McManus shot Keller a glare. "Keller, keep it zipped."

"We've been through this." Keller bolted out the door.

Toby shoved his hands in his pockets. "Work?"

"In an hour." McManus caught him by the arm. "Stay out of trouble, Toby."

"I'll do my best." Toby went to lie down. The sight of Mack's astonished face flashed in front of his eyes, and he smiled. Schillinger didn't know it, but he was one man short. It had been nothing but murder, and it felt damn good. It was wrong, and it had been right. Justice. Toby brushed his teeth, washed his hands, and crawled up to lean against the glass. He wasn't sleepy, more like some strange combination of ecstatic and horrified. Suddenly, it hit him that murder in here could lead to death row. He smiled. The horror of that was no deterrent. He'd do it again. Soon, he hoped. Next time, maybe, he could kill one of them. Prags everywhere would thank him.

********

"How long?" McManus yelled at the top of his lungs.

"Three days, give or take." Murphy hung his head. "No one goes in there but kitchen workers."

"The smell didn't tip someone off?" McManus threw his hat the length of his office.

"That's why Mineo finally went in there."

McManus rubbed his forehead. "They just stepped over him for three days?"

"Well, he was in the corner." Murphy sat down with a thump. "Dr. Nathan says someone snapped his neck."

"Fuck." McManus knew where to look for the killer. "Who do you think killed him?"

"Probably Keller, but honestly, everyone hated Mack, even Schillinger. Schillinger would do it to make Keller and Beecher look guilty." Murphy sighed heavily. "No evidence. None. And no one saw a thing."

"Anyone smiling?" McManus's money was on Keller, but Murphy was right.

"Beecher was crying yesterday in the lunchroom. He's a wreck." Murphy threw up his hands.

"What happened?" McManus wasn't sure he wanted to know. "Keller?"

Murphy got up and started pacing. "I'm not sure I believe it, but he claims that he doesn't get his mail - ever. Keller is backing him up. O'Reily swears it's true. Hill is also saying he doesn't get his Hustler. Everyone is pissed. Few days ago, there was almost a riot. Now, that was Keller, but things are getting dicey. Hoyt is making it worse. He's bragging how he throws away anything that pisses him off."

McManus groaned. "Great. Just great!" He should've guessed this was coming. "I'll have to talk to the warden about this."

"If Beecher cries one more time, I may slap him silly." Murphy put his hands on his hips.

McManus could believe it. "Lockdown for twenty-four hours while I sort this out. Okay?"

"Thank God. Some peace and quiet." Murphy went out the door fast.

McManus rubbed his face. He'd known he'd be dealing with murderers and drug dealers, but Schillinger and Beecher were a whole ‘nother ball game.

********

Toby leaned against the glass and watched his podmate. "Do you think they suspect us?"

"For what?" Keller shook off his dick and washed his hands. He tossed Toby a grin. "We didn't do shit."

"I'll keep telling myself that." Toby still didn't feel any guilt. They'd shot down a rabid dog, and even Schillinger had laughed. "Did you see Murphy's face when I started crying?"

Keller laughed and leaned against the wall. "He wants to slap you around. It's working. You're damn smart, for a lawyer."

"Thanks," Toby drawled. He did think it was working. Everyone was suddenly pissed about the mail, and that was all to the good.

Keller came over to Toby's bunk and rested his arms on it. "You think, maybe, after lights out, you and me could . . ." He lifted one eyebrow.

Toby fielded that question almost every night. Keller wasn't giving up. Toby didn't understand it, and he'd spent hours thinking about it. "Why do you want me? Tell the truth."

Keller cocked his head to the side. He slowly put out his hand and dropped it on Toby's leg. "See. You didn't flinch."

Toby had to acknowledge that as the truth. Somewhere deep inside him, he trusted this killer. Stupid. Stupid. So, he wasn't very smart. "But, every double-dipper and faggot in this place throws themselves at you daily."

"And I've taken a few of them up on it." Keller grinned. "But you're special. Not sure why. I think it's because you talk to me."

Toby had to rub his eyes. It gave him time to think. He'd seen Keller naked, often. He knew what he'd be getting. The whole package was nice. Not like Schillinger. Toby could admit that he wanted him, but that wasn't the same as getting him.

"Well?"

"You have a condom?" Toby thought he knew the answer, so he was safe.

Keller grinned. "Nope."

"Forget it. I got tested. I'm clean." Toby took a breath and insulted him. "You fuck everyone."

"Maybe. I don't want to fuck, just-" Keller lifted his hand. "Touch."

Toby didn't understand this man at all. "Come on. It's all about the fucking."

Keller went over to the door and stared out. "Not with you."

Toby let that rattle around in his brain. "You'd suck my cock or let me fuck you?"

"You bet your ass." Keller didn't turn to look at him. Toby didn't believe him. Keller was a top, like Schillinger. It had to be all his way. Keller gave a grunt. "Toby, I been a prag too. It ain't fun."

"No shit," Toby whispered. That was the difference. He hadn't seen it, and he should've. Keller knew to go easy with him. Keller understood. Toby looked at him again and abruptly gave up. "We can touch, but if I don't like it, you'll stop."

"I promise." Keller turned that sweet smile Toby's direction. "I'll do extra penance."

Toby still didn't quite get the whole penance and sin thing. It sounded like a free pass to him. "Did you go to confession today?"

"Lockdown happened first." Keller shrugged. "Father Mukada ain't going anywhere. Did you see what he gave me?"

"No." Toby hadn't noticed anything new.

Keller came back to him and pulled a long, beaded necklace out of his pocket. "It's a rosary. So I can keep count of my penance."

"It matches your arm." Toby didn't like Christ imagery. It made him slightly nervous and a touch guilty. He'd never had any faith to abandon, and it was sad. Sure, he'd read the Bible his first year in here, but it hadn't meant dick when he was taking it up the ass every night.

"Sacrifice for your fellow man." Keller rubbed his arm. "I ain't never done that."

"Me neither." Toby would never do that. In here, it was every man for himself. But. He held out his hand, and Keller dropped the rosary in it. Toby ran his thumb over the beads. "It's pretty."

"I hate to say this, but it was nice of him." Keller shrugged and looked slightly embarrassed. "For a priest, he ain't bad."

Toby nodded. "During the riot, he got the stuffing kicked out of him. I thought he'd quit. It's not like he's here for the money."

"No shit? At Lardner, the priest was nothing but a hack in black, but Mukada is different. He seems to understand, a little." Keller laughed. "Listen to my fucking mouth."

Toby smiled at him. "It's okay to like someone."

"Not in prison. Not even men you swear oaths to." Keller gently took the necklace back. "I gotta teach you better."

Toby didn't believe all of that shit. "You like me, and you shouldn't. I'm a nutjob."

"I ain't never said I like you." Keller went back to stare out the door. "I'm making the best of a bad, fucking situation here. You are too."

"That's true." Toby couldn't deny it. They had an oath made of necessity. "I don't want to like you, Chris. You're loud, rude, uneducated, and a cold-blooded killer."

"And?" Keller turned, put his fists on his hips, and looked dangerous. The rosary dangled from his fingers.

Toby took another leap of faith. This one even bigger than the last. "And I think I love you."

Keller's face was a study in bewilderment. He said nothing. Quickly, he turned back to the door. Toby looked through the glass at the men around them. He was a fool and rather stupid, but denying it any longer was ridiculous. Keller had played it just right, and Toby knew he was weak and vulnerable. It didn't make any difference. Toby loved him. Love was blind, dumb, and insane. It also felt like what was between them. They would share a look and then a laugh. Their friendship was honest and easy. Oh, Keller was a liar, but Toby was also. All alcoholics were liars. They were match made in hell, but the time he spent with Keller felt like heaven. And in this shithole, it was more than amazing.

"Sister Pete told me to keep my hands off you," Keller said quietly.

Toby nodded. "She's worried that I'll lose my mind."

Keller barked a laugh. "Haven't you told her the truth about that fucked up brain of yours?"

"She holds out faith that some part of me is still sane." Toby laughed softly. "Crazy bitch."

Keller laughed with him. "Toby, you insult a nun again, and I'll hit you so hard you'll wake up tomorrow."

"You told me you hate nuns!" Toby remembered it clearly.

"Don't give you the right to call her names." Keller glowered at him. "Got it?"

"Yeah." Toby filed the information away for later and rolled his eyes. "I'm not the only crazy one in this pod."

Keller took off his shirt and got on the floor. He started doing sit-ups. "Schillinger could fuck anyone crazy."

"Damn truth." Toby watched. He got off the top bunk, sat in the chair, and stared. Keller didn't seem to care. Toby enjoyed the play of the muscles and the bunching of Keller's abs. Somewhere around fifty, the horn rang, and the lights snapped off. Keller didn't stop, but Toby used the darkness to reach for Keller‛s thigh.

Keller gasped. "Higher up would be nicer."

Toby stood and undressed. He brushed his teeth slowly and thought it all through again. Touching would be nice. He could handle that. Maybe a kiss or two. He sure as fuck had never kissed Schillinger on the lips.

Keller nudged him aside and started on his teeth. "My bunk or yours?"

"Yours. I might push you off. Less distance to fall." Toby felt his heart beat faster. He couldn't believe he was doing this. Crazy was a good word for it. He might freak out.

Keller stowed his toothbrush and stepped around him to get on the bunk first. "Your choice."

Toby went to see who was on duty. Not Murphy, thank God. He went to Keller and sat down close. "Sorry. I said too much."

Keller gentled his hand over him. "I love you, Toby."

Toby wanted to burst with happiness, and at the same time, skepticism washed over him. "You're saying that to get a blowjob, right?"

"You betcha." Keller grinned. Toby had thought so. He eased down and wasn't surprised when Keller kissed him. Keller groaned softly. "You feel so good."

Toby expected to be rolled over and fucked, but Keller kissed him, and kissed him, and then found a part of Toby's mouth that he hadn't explored. Toby lost his fear, his reason, and his inhibitions. He ground his cock into Keller's. The boxers they still had on did nothing but excite him more. Keller's hands skipped and jumped all over him and suddenly gripped Toby's ass hard.

Toby panted and squirmed, thrusting. He didn't understand this, and he didn't care. "Suck me?"

Keller moved fast, yanking Toby's boxers off. "Finally," he whispered. Toby promised himself he wouldn't shove, and he didn't need to. Keller took him to the hair and sucked hard. Toby whimpered and orgasmed. He gripped the sheet and pulled. His body jerking slightly. Keller crawled up and kissed him. Come dripped between their mouths, and Keller tensed.

"Fuck. Oh fuck." Keller sucked Toby's tongue. Toby held him tightly. Held on for all he was worth. He would pray it was enough. Keller collapsed to the side. "Toby."

Toby held on and didn't let go.

********
Vern's Second Interlude
********

"Where the hell is everybody?" Vern glared at the half-empty mailroom.

"Em City is in lockdown."

"About fucking time." Vern was glad to hear that. Maybe they'd catch the bastard that had killed Mack. Of course, it was Keller. Broken necks were his calling card. The only question that mattered was why Keller had taken the time to do it. "What's the word with Beecher and Keller?"

"Keller's been slapping him around."

"That crying would make anyone do it." Vern laughed. Beecher wanted his mail, but that was too damn bad, and his crying was pissing Keller off. Perfect. Of course, an angry Keller might kill anyone, say Mack.

"Was Mack sniffing around Beecher?" Vern sat down in front of a pile of mail and started sorting. He was going to have to work today.

"Dunno."

Vern knew his prags. Keller had a terrible temper. It had kept him alive over the years. Beecher was a weakling. He'd piss, moan, and cry about the world instead of doing something. Of course, if he were using - all bets were off. Fucker was crazy when he was on tits.

"Hey, Robson." Vern grinned. "I need you to do something for me."

"Sure." Robson was perfect for the job - big and not all that bright. Vern whispered the plan quickly and went back to his mail. Crazy Beecher and Psychotic Keller were perfect for each other. Vern sorted until his eyes quit on him and then began to deliver. He was about tired of the games with his prags. Keller needed to come back where he belonged - the Brotherhood, and Beecher needed a shank.

Vern regretted not being in Em City where it would be easy to see it done. Em City had been clean, not a shithole like Unit B. Something else that was Beecher's fault. But if Robson did his job, that prag would be history. It might happen. If not, Vern might have to take a direct hand in Beecher's death. Messy, but fun.

"Schillinger! Warden wants to see you!" It was Mineo. "Leave the cart. Let's go."

Schillinger shook his head. "Let me take it back. I can't leave it lying about for anyone to  go through."

"Oh, now you're doing your job." Mineo rolled his eyes. "Fine. Move it!"

Schillinger took it back and then suffered the long walk to the warden's office. It didn't matter what this was about. He didn't want to talk to the nigger. Attica had a proper white warden, but Oz was a shithole.

"Schillinger." The warden used his puny intellect and managed to come up with the right name.

"Warden Glynn." Schillinger stood in an easy parade rest, not that the nigger would know it, but this was about pride.

"I've received a number of complaints about the mailroom recently." Glynn kept his fat, nigger ass in his leather chair. "Would you care to explain?"

Schillinger weighed his answer carefully. "Em City is in lockdown. Several of my men are unavailable." He managed not to say ‘nigger,' but it wasn't easy.

"Good answer." Glynn picked up a pen and made a note. So, he could write. "And, of course, everyone gets their mail. Everyone."

"As long as it's not contraband, yes." Schillinger nodded. Beecher didn't count. Whatever he got belonged to him. That's what prag meant, after all. "I do my job."

"It's a matter of pride, right?" Glynn leaned back in his chair.

"It is." Schillinger narrowed his eyes. "If someone was complaining, it might do well to remember that he's probably on drugs, again."

"Ah, I see your point." Glynn pointed at the door. "Beat it."

Schillinger didn‛t grace him with even a nod before going to the door. When his hand hit the doorknob, he heard, "One more complaint and I'll find out what kind of job the Muslims can do." He shut the door hard. Damn it! Beecher and his tears were causing trouble. Pussy lawyer. Well, Robson would take care of that. The prag would be dead or caught high, one would be great, but the other would serve a purpose also. No one would believe him if he were sniffing tits.

Schillinger passed McManus in the hallway - nigger lover. McManus glared. He was so obvious. Schillinger went back to his mail. He wasn't worried. It was under control.

Chapter Eight - Tested
******

"Hey, Toby?"

Toby put his shirt on before he answered. "What?"

"Watch your ass today. Vern ain't gonna take this laying down." Keller was dead serious. Toby could see it. He nodded. Both of them were eager to get out of the pod after twenty-four straight hours of breathing the same air. Breakfast was pancakes and juice, and Toby didn't care. He ate and stared at people that weren't Keller. And then Keller sat down across from him.

Schillinger was two tables over, and he was smiling about something. Toby felt a chill creep down his spine. He would be extra careful today.

"You gonna cry?" Keller cracked.

"Fuck me." Toby made sure everyone heard him. It was part of the game. He and Keller were on the outs. It made Schillinger worry less, and that was good. The crying part of the plan was over. He'd gone to Plan B right before lockdown. One phone call had taken care of it.

"Keller, why don't you come down to Unit B where you belong?" Schillinger put his black boot on the bench. "You ain't no pussy. We would appreciate your talents."

Toby chewed. He wasn't going to say a word.

Keller shrugged. "Em City is full of pussy though. Why would I want to leave?"

"I know you offed Mack, and I'm having a hard time caring." Schillinger smiled. "Come back and there's no hard feelings."

"I'll think about it." Keller smiled. "Can Toby come?"

Toby nearly shot juice out his nose. He gasped and wiped his mouth. His glare was a real one. "Over my dead body!"

"Exactly." Schillinger strode away. He meant that. No doubt.

Keller laughed. "I want more." He went to hit O'Reily up for more food. Toby finished his last pancake and drank his juice. He wasn't worried, not any more than usual. Like Keller said, they could only kill him once. Toby put his tray away and headed for Sister Pete's office. He wasn't going back to the pod until they made him. Through doors and down the hallway, he watched his back.

Schillinger stepped out from around the corner, and Toby stopped. When to yell was the
only question. A thick arm wrapped around Toby's throat, and Schillinger was gone. Toby fought, but he was dragged backwards into a closet that should have been locked. Air! Fuck! He needed air. A big hand clapped over his mouth, and Toby sucked air through his nose.

"That's a good boy." The fucker laughed.

Toby fought harder, but tits were crammed up his nose, and it blasted through his brain two seconds later. Oh motherfuck! So damn good. He tried to shake his head, but he was trapped, and another hit roared through him. And another. He held his breath. His head spun and he quivered. More. More! The hand on his mouth came away.

"Feels good, huh?" The asshole tucked two tits in Toby's pocket. "Have fun."

Toby slid down the wall and curled up. The door shut and he was alone. He had to get rid of the tits. Schillinger would tell someone. Toby fumbled one out of his pocket and tried to throw it away. He tried. Oh, shit. That was nice. So good. Staying here was a fine idea.

*********

Keller went back to the quad, but didn't spot Toby. "Murphy, where's Beecher?"

"Work!" Murphy frowned. "You're scheduled for Sister Pete and Father Mukada. Damn, you're a bad boy!"

"Yeah, eat me." Keller stuck his hands in his pockets and strolled off towards Sister Pete's. He could wait, if he were early. Robson, the Nazi dickhead, came striding down the hallway towards him. "Prick."

Robson smiled. "Your prag is a sweet piece of ass." He rubbed his crotch. "One hit and he was all mine."

Keller saw him glance back at the closet door. His temper flashed hot, and he nearly slugged him, but a hack looked around the corner. Keller whispered, "Robson, you're next."

Robson laughed and strolled away. The hack turned around, and Keller got in that closet fast and shut the door. He also locked it before kneeling down. "Toby!"

"Hey, babe." Toby took another hit before Keller could yank it away. "You want some?"

Keller stared at it. He took a gentle sniff and his head rocked back. All of that could kill a man. It was almost pure. He searched Toby's pockets and found another one. Schillinger hadn't been taking any chances. Keller cursed, "Damn you, Toby!"

"He shoved it up my nose. I'll thank him later." Toby giggled. Keller rubbed his forehead. It was probably true. Toby grabbed him. "I didn't kiss him though."

"Glad to hear that!" Keller tucked the tits away. He'd sell them later, but right now. "What the fuck are we going to do?"

"I gotta get to work." Toby tried to stagger up. Keller put him on his feet and watched him sway. Fuck. Toby giggled again. "Bye."

"Toby." Keller slapped him gently. "Sister Pete ain't no idiot." They were screwed. It wasn't like Toby could hide until he came down, and if he were caught it would be bad for both of them. Keller pulled Toby into a quick embrace. "Sorry about this."

Toby smiled. "It's been fun."

Keller used his forehead.

********

McManus picked up the phone, even though he'd rather ignore it. "Hello?"

"Tim, this is Sister Pete. Wasn't Tobias scheduled with me this morning?"

"I think so. Let me check." McManus fumbled out the clipboard. "Yes. He was. Isn't he there?"

"No, but Keller is." Sister Pete paused. "Maybe you should look for him."

"Shit." McManus hung up on her and called Murphy in the tower. "Any chance that Beecher is in his pod?"

"Nope. Saw him head to work." Murphy groaned. "I'll start looking."

McManus put the phone down. He'd head over to Sister Pete's office. Schillinger was behind this. The Nazi fucker was pissed. Hopefully, Beecher was alive. McManus saw the closet door was slightly open, and he groaned. The CO's had to lock them! He pulled it open and found exactly what he'd worried about. Beecher. McManus trotted down to Sister Pete's office.

"Get Dr. Nathan and a gurney over here. Beecher's in the closet."

Keller roared to his feet. "Fuck!"

Sister Pete made the call, and McManus went back to Beecher. Keller beat him to it. "Shit! Toby!"

Toby didn't move. McManus got in Keller's face. "What happened?"

"Like I fucking know. Your damn CO's shouldn't be in charge of a damn chicken farm, much less a prison!" Keller punched the door. "I'm gonna kill him!"

McManus pushed Keller back out into the hallway. "Who?"

"Robson! I saw him come out when I went in Sister Pete's. He was smiling. I figured he'd gotten laid." Keller hit the wall again. "I'm gonna fucking kill him!"

Murphy came fast into sight, and McManus breathed a sigh of relief. "Sean, put Keller in his pod. Father Mukada can see him there."

Keller started fighting. Of course. McManus got out of the way as they dragged him off. Dr. Nathan showed up, and they put Toby on the gurney. Toby groaned. McManus caught him by the face. "Toby, who did this?"

"Robson," Toby breathed. He passed out again. Shit! McManus grabbed a CO and sent a squad to put Robson in the hole.

Sister Pete caught him by the arm. "You think they're telling the truth?"

"I saw Robson in the hallway, laughing at Keller." One of the CO's spoke up. "Keller nearly hit him, but Robson walked off."

McManus believed that. Keller hadn't lied, not much. "The closet doors have to stay fucking locked! It's your job to check them!"

"Yes, sir." The CO blushed. "I forgot."

McManus rubbed his forehead. Managing a chicken farm sounded good on days like these. He turned to go to the infirmary and nearly bumped into Warden Glynn.

"McManus, what the hell is going on?"

"Robson beat up Beecher." McManus kept it short.

Glynn frowned. "Great. Just fucking great!" He looked completely pissed. "I got a phone call from the governor's office. We're being sued!"

McManus felt his jaw drop. "Oz?"

"No, you and me!" Glynn put his hands on his hips.

Sister Pete got between them. "Why don't you use my office?"

McManus was relieved to get out of the hallway. He followed Glynn inside and shut the door in Sister Pete's face. She could wait outside. "Glynn, what are you talking about?"

"Beecher's dad and his law firm are suing us for postal malfeasance, whatever the fuck that is!" Glynn roared.

McManus sat down in a chair. He rubbed the back of his neck. "Shit."

"Another fucking scandal." Glynn seemed to slump. "That's it. Schillinger is out of the mailroom. Him and his boys can take over the toilets."

"I agree. But not Said, please. He's insufferable enough!" McManus couldn't bear to think it. "How about the Christians? They're honest."

"Give it a try." Glynn groaned. "Get Beecher well, and I'll schedule a visit with his dad. Fuck. I hate lawyers."

"I should have seen this coming." McManus got to his feet. "And Robson?"

"Charge him with assault and leave him in the hole for a month. Then solitary." Glynn opened the door. "Get Em City quieted down or it's your head on the chopping block!"

"I will." McManus followed him out. Beecher and Schillinger were going to stop causing trouble. One way or another.

*********

Toby made sure not to sniff when any of the nurses were around. Dr. Nathan had already given him a hard look, and if she suspected, she'd tell McManus.

"Think you're ready to go back?" Dr. Nathan asked after she took his pulse, checked his blood pressure, and inspected him again.

"Sure." Toby kept his hand away from his nose. He'd been on the best high of his life when Keller had beaten the crap out of him. "This is nothing."

"That concussion was scarcely nothing. Still light-headed?"

"A little." Toby grimaced and dressed slowly. He was light-headed from the heroin, and the craving for more was fierce. Luckily, Keller had thought fast.

"Sticking to your story?" she asked softly.

"Robson did this to me, and he laughed about it." Toby wasn't keeping quiet. It wasn't like the Aryans didn't already plan to kill him.

"Here's your escort." She gave him a small pat and walked away.

Murphy crossed his arms and looked pissed. "Can't you stay out of trouble for one day?"

"Can't your CO's pull their heads out of their asses long enough to keep watch?" Toby glared right back. He stiffened his spine and started walking to Em City. His feet weren't quite connected to the floor, but he'd make it. At this point, he didn't know if it was the heroin or Keller's big fist.

Murphy didn't rush him though. "Tomorrow is visitor's day, and you're on the list."

Toby nodded. "Okay." He knew who it had to be.

"I'll come get you. The meeting is in the warden's office." Murphy shook his head. "You sure know how to cause trouble."

"I wouldn't have to if someone in this hell hole could put a leash on Schillinger," Toby snapped right back. "Think about it."

Murphy looked away. Toby spotted Keller in front of the TV and went there. He slumped down next to him. "Hey, Chris."

"Hey, Toby." Keller planted a quick kiss on Toby's lips. "You okay?"

Toby shrugged, wiped his lips, and leaned very close. "What did you do with it?"

Keller looked sideways at him. "You want?"

Toby bit his lip. God. Did he ever. He craved. He lusted. He ached for it. "No," he choked out.

"Liar." Keller shrugged. "I sold them to O'Reily. Shit was almost pure. You'd have been dead after one."

"Shit," Toby breathed. He'd have snorted it all too. It had been so good. "Buy anything good?"

"Sent it to Bonnie." Keller grinned. "Let's go to the pod. Almost count anyway."

Toby nodded and went with him. His legs worked, mostly. Keller steadied him after they went inside, and it turned into a hug. Toby groaned into it. "I'm gonna kill you."

"Sorry, babe. It was all I could think of. If they'd have caught you high-"

Toby put his hand over Keller's mouth. "I know. I'd rather go to the hospital for two days, than the hole for a month. Not to mention that my plan for the mailroom would have fallen through."

Keller pulled the hand away and kissed him again. "I'll kiss it better later."

"Shithead." Toby eased away and lay down on Keller's bunk. Climbing didn't seem possible right now. "No drugs in here, right?"

"Nothing, not even any whiskey." Keller leaned against the wall. "I could go buy some."

"You're an enabler, you know that?" Toby curled up. "Go buy about a dozen candy bars. That'll help."

"I'll go see what O'Reily has." Keller was out the door fast. Toby shut his eyes. He'd rest a minute.

*********

Keller managed to score about ten candy bars, but it took him three people to do it, and then it was time for count. Toby staggered out, and Keller slid into line next to him.

"You look like shit, Beech."

"Thanks, asshole." Toby managed a glare. "You get them?"

"Yeah." Keller blew a kiss at Murphy. "Robson's in the hole."

"Any more good news?" Toby leaned against him.

Keller ignored the snickers. "Yes. It's on your bunk."

Their names and numbers were read off, and they went inside together. Keller knelt down by the locker and started stowing the candy away.

"I'll be damned," Toby said softly. "I have mail."

Keller nodded. "It's a great story. You got a minute?"

Toby picked up a letter and stared at it. Keller laughed. Toby shot him a look. "Go ahead."

"Schillinger got tossed from the mailroom. Christians took it over, and you know Jimmy? Anyway, Jimmy told me that they went ahead and dumped out the stuff that had been thrown into the contraband pile. Just to start over fresh. Murphy was down there, supervising the shit out of them." Keller pulled out the last candy bar. It had been in his boxers.

"I don't want that one." Toby pointed and shook his head.

Keller laughed and opened it. He'd eat it. "They found three of your letters in the pile."

Toby took them and wiggled his way to the back of Keller's bunk. "Okay. Now shut up for a while."

Keller climbed up top and ate his candy bar. He could wait. Later, he wanted to lick chocolate off Toby's ass, or whatever, but tonight was probably pushing it. Toby looked like shit, and he probably felt bad. Keller relaxed and watched the other fuckers go about their business. Prison was damn dull, but things would be better now that Toby was around. Keller heard a muffled sob, and he had no idea what to do, but he got down, checking who was on duty. Mineo was the closest, and he never gave a shit.

Keller slid on the bunk, wrapped his arm around Toby, and held him. Toby nestled into the nook of Keller's shoulder and stared at his letter. Tears streamed down his face. Keller ignored them. He didn't understand, and he couldn't. He didn't have kids.

Toby didn't say anything. Keller relaxed, and some time later, he realized that Toby had fallen asleep. Toby. Keller kissed him on the forehead. Bonnie was one special lady, and Keller loved her, but it was nothing like Toby. Toby was something Keller had never seen before. Something beyond special. He hadn't meant to love him.

********

Toby woke up, shaking. He needed tits, bad, and he crawled off the bunk to the locker. The sugar would help, and he ate three bars before coming up for air. Em City was dark, and he stared out at the pools of light cast onto the floor. He didn't want to be an addict, but he was. Casual use had blossomed here in Oz. Oz made everything bad worse. His good qualities, if he'd had any, were gone. Hell, he'd help kill a man, and he'd enjoyed it. He was scum, and he needed his damn drugs.

"Bad?" Keller scooted over to him and sat with him.

"Yeah." Toby rocked a little. Keller put his arm around him. Toby leaned into it. "I thought I was over it."

"Hey, that was the real shit, man." Keller leaned back against the glass and took Toby with him.

Toby lay against Keller's chest and tried not to shake. "You do it. You use every now and then, and you're fine."

"I talk a lot, mostly lies." Keller kissed him on the head. "I haven't used since I broke my arm. The painkillers I was on helped me through it, and I still want it."

"I'm weak. Admit it." Toby didn't cry. He wouldn't.

"We're all fucking weak. That's why we're in this shithole." Keller squeezed. "You can have it, if you want."

"I don't want to be an addict." Toby wiggled away, grabbed three candy bars, handed one back, and got comfortable again. "If I ever get out of here, my kids need a father, not a drunken addict."

"Good reason." Keller opened his candy bar. "Can I smear this on you and lick it off?"

Toby looked over his shoulder. "Are you serious?"

"Oh yeah." Keller grinned. "It'll distract you for wanting tits."

Toby got to his feet and went to piss. The candy fell to the floor. He washed his hands and face, thinking it over. Might not be too bad. It wasn't that he was horny, but he had to do something besides cry for tits. "Okay."

"That took a while." Keller scooped up a candy bar. "You want top or bottom?"

Toby wasn't sure. "What I want is for you to get tested."

"Really?" Keller shrugged. "What the fuck for? You ain't never gonna let me have your ass."

"Just to be safe." Toby went to him. "Please."

"Okay, but I may lie about the results." Keller peeled off his clothes, got on the bunk, and broke the candy bar into pieces. Toby could only watch as the pieces were placed strategically around Keller's body. Keller grinned. "I'm ready if you are."

Toby checked the hack and then gingerly crawled between Keller's legs. "You're shameless."

"It's one of my better qualities." Keller put his arms over his head. "Distract yourself."

Toby nibbled the piece on Keller's thigh. He sucked it into his mouth, chewed, and licked the spot it had been sitting on. Keller didn't move, but his cock was already hard. Toby ran his chocolate covered tongue up to a piece that was nestled inside Keller's belly button. He licked and sucked until it was gone.

"Take your clothes off," Keller whispered.

Toby did feel hot. He stripped fast, shoved them off the side, and found another piece that interested him. His craving for heroin backed away as his desire for flesh caught fire. He thoroughly enjoyed the chunk stuck in the crevice of Keller's neck.

"Kiss me."

Toby shoved his tongue deep in Keller's mouth. He fucked him with it. Keller ground them together, and Toby felt chocolate smear on him. It was melting. They moved together, and he wanted to fuck him. Needed it. "Can I fuck your ass?"

Keller kissed him again. "If you want."

"Oh fuck, do I want." Toby pulled back and stared at the chocolate smears. He needed so much right now. "Lube?"

"Spit and chocolate?" Keller laughed. He scooped up a tiny glob and smeared it on Toby's nipple. Before Toby could move, Keller leaned up and sucked it. Toby nearly came on him.

"I can't hurt you." Toby wrapped a hand around Keller's cock and squeezed. "I can't."

"I'm about ready to shoot," Keller said and moved his hips. Toby collapsed down on him and shoved. Their bodies rocked, their cocks slipped, and the sweet smell of candy was in his nose.

"Oh fuck," Toby whispered and came hard. One of Keller's fingers slipped inside Toby's mouth. Toby sucked the chocolate, and Keller pushed against him. Come splattered between them again. They both relaxed, and Keller laughed first. Toby joined in. He did feel better. It might be enough to get him through tonight. Tomorrow would be hard, but he'd do his best. He didn't want it. He didn't.

"You can do anything," Keller said softly. His hands roamed about, stroking and sliding through chocolate.

Toby kissed him. Keller groaned.

"There's another bar."

"I'll get it."

********

McManus stared over the railing at the pods. Murphy hit the horn, and the lights came up. Beecher and Keller were the first ones out, and they were headed for the showers. McManus nudged Murphy and said, "Look at them."

"What the fuck?" Murphy glared.

"It's official. They're fucking." McManus rubbed his forehead. "What do you think that dark stain on Keller's back was?"

"I do not want to think about it!" Murphy shook his head firmly. "We should separate them."

"I don't think so." McManus wasn't ready to go that far. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing. It might keep Beecher from killing Schillinger. "Keep an eye on them."

"If I have to." Murphy rolled his eyes. McManus went downstairs and against his better judgment opened the door to Beecher's pod. It smelled like . . . chocolate. He saw five or six wrappers on the bed. McManus nearly slapped his face. He slowly backed out and went to his office. Chocolate. That explained the dark stain - in a good way. Well. He sank down in his chair and tried not to laugh.

Chapter Nine - Tried
*****

McManus grabbed his coat and headed for the parking lot. This time, he was going home.

"Tim!"

McManus turned and managed not to groan. "Hey, Glynn."

"Em City has been quiet lately. Good job." Glynn smiled.

"It worries me." McManus nodded and frowned. "You know what they say about getting what you wish for."

Glynn's smile turned into a stern expression. "Let's hope not."

"Let's." McManus went home.

*********

Keller pulled the weight to his shoulder and gave a small grunt. Ten more and he was done. Toby was waiting his turn, and his head was practically spinning like a top.

"Settle down, Toby."

"He's out. I'm nervous. Fuck me." Toby bounced on his toes. Keller concentrated on the weight and then quit at ten. He handed it to Toby. Toby took it, leaned over the bench, and let it hang loose. "Like this?"

"Pull it up straight." Keller pushed Toby's back flat. "Relax."

"Hey, fuck him for us, Keller!"

Keller flipped off Pancamo. "Lift with your back."

Toby did one. "How many?"

"Ten." Keller did let his hand trail off Toby's ass before he took a step back. Robson was
out of the solitary, but it wasn't any of Toby's concern. Not this time. This time, Keller was going to kill alone. Robson couldn't be suckered into a dark corner like Mack. Nope. He'd have to be dragged down and killed hard. It was going to be fun.

"Now what?" Toby panted a little.

"Switch hands and sides." Keller helped him find the right position again. "Ten more."

"Fuck." Toby started doing them though. Keller sometimes wondered why, but if Toby wanted to get muscled, that was fine. Right now, Toby was just skinny. Keller heard the door and checked from a keen sense of preservation. Schillinger and the boys. Robson too.

O'Reily strutted over. "Which one?"

"Robson." Keller smiled. Toby put the weight down hard. Keller grabbed him by the arm. "Don't, Toby."

"I'll do what I damn well please." Toby ripped his arm away.

O'Reily laughed. "Fuck him up, Beech."

"Now ain't the time." Keller pointed. "Not with Lopresti on duty in here."

"He's got a point, Beech. You'll go the hole, and Schillinger will go back to his cell." O'Reily shrugged. "Do it anyway."

"Ain't you got enough trouble keeping Cyril out of it?" Keller hated to be the voice of reason, but this wasn't the place. Nowhere to run and he wasn't going to sit on death row for killing scum.

Toby glared. "I could do it."

"You could, but why?" Keller leaned against the fence and wrapped his hands into the links.

"I fucking hate him."

"Big deal. We all do." Keller watched Robson. Was the fucker weak anywhere? "How many Irish you got now, O'Reily?"

"Four here, six in Unit B." O'Reily crossed his arms and waved Cyril over. "Why?"

"Toby, you got any jizz with the Italians?"

"I got money." Toby looked about nuts. "We should try to keep the mess out of Em City."

"Why?" Keller raised his eyebrows. He didn't get that.

"McManus hates him. If we get McManus fired, we're screwed."

O'Reily shrugged. "The devil we know."

Keller was willing to go along with that. "Okay, we'll move it to Unit B. Toby, we're gonna need money for Pancamo. O'Reily, tell the Irish there that the Aryans are fair game. Fuck them up whenever possible."

"What about the damn bikers?" O'Reily hadn't agreed to it yet, but Keller knew it was coming.

"I'll work on it." Keller had no idea how, but he'd think of something. "O'Reily, you got Adebisi, talk to him."

"Fuck." O'Reily looked away. "How many we gonna send to the hospital?"

"All of them, baby." Keller grinned. "But not Robson. He's mine."

Toby got right in Keller's face. "Mine."

"Toby, you ain't got the muscle, and I ain't waiting a fucking year." Keller shrugged.

"Anyway, you gotta use that Harvard brain of yours to figure out a way to kill Schillinger."

Toby backed off. "A shank will do it."

"Death row sound fun?" Keller snorted. "Keep thinking, lawboy."

O'Reily tugged Cyril's sleeve. "Let's go."

Cyril hesitated. "I'll hit him."

"Not right now." O'Reily pulled his brother away. Keller got off the fence and stretched. He needed a shower. Toby still looked pissed, and he was dangerous when he was angry.

Keller got an idea. "Hey, Vern!"

"What do you want, prag?" Schillinger strutted over.

Toby about jumped him, but Keller held him back. "I been teaching Toby here how to wrestle. How about him against one of your boys?"

Schillinger smirked. "Tobias, you feel like going to the hospital?"

"I love the painkillers." Toby grinned.

Keller hooked a thumb. "Clear it with Lopresti. Winner doesn't take any shit."

Schillinger nodded and strolled away.

Toby whirled around and poked Keller in the chest. "What the fuck are you thinking?"

Keller wrapped his arm around Toby's shoulders. "You're all juiced up. Break his arm. Like I taught you. Remember?"

"Yes." Toby lowered his head. "What if he breaks me?"

"Well, live and learn." Keller shook him gently. "You can fucking do it."

Schillinger came back fast. "Deal. I want Bones."

"No fucking way." Keller snorted. "Hundred pound weight difference."

Toby spoke up. "I want to wrestle Dog Breath."

Schillinger laughed. "He'll tear you in half!"

"He did that already," Toby muttered. Keller shrugged. He went through the gate and got out the mats. Schillinger helped him set them up. Keller pointed. "Stand there. I'm here. Three minute round."

"No one interferes!" Schillinger yelled. "Got it?"

Keller watched the bets fly. He grabbed Toby. "Do it!"

Toby got on the mat. Keller felt his guts clench, and the enormity of what he'd set up hit him. Dog Breath could hurt Toby. Hurt him. Keller forced his feet to stay put. He hadn't thought it through.

"Fuck him up, Toby!" Keller screamed. He also crossed himself and promised God to do extra penance, if only Toby came out breathing.

********

Toby felt a spurt of fear, but as he stared at his opponent it was quickly replaced with rage. This fucker had torn him up, and it was time for some payback. He wasn't as big or strong, but he was fast. Even Keller said so. This had been Keller's idea. Toby had a brief qualm that Keller was trying to get him killed.

Dog Breath squared off and laughed at him. Laughed. "I bet you miss my dick up your ass!"

Toby heard Keller screaming, saw Schillinger's smirk, and cast away any remnant of civilization that he had left in him. This was personal. Dog Breath came hard at him, and Toby grinned. Shakespeare flashed through his brain - let slip the dogs of war - and he threw himself into it.

Hands and feet bruised and beat at him. Toby focused on one thing. He scooted, jumped, wiggled, and fought his way there.

"Do it!" Keller yelled.

Toby arched his back and laughed at the beautiful sound of bones breaking. It was somehow louder than the men yelling. Next thing he knew, Keller had him up and was pushing him behind O'Reily and Cyril.

Schillinger came at Keller, and Toby leaned over, breathing so hard. Keller faced him down. Dog Breath writhed on the floor, crying out. Schillinger pointed. "We're not done here!"

"Always later!" Keller laughed. "Take your bitch home."

Lopresti must have pulled the horn at that point. Toby saw Schillinger give Dog Breath a vicious kick to the ribs, and then Keller was there, blocking the view.

"Nobody knows nothing." Keller put his arm around him. "You got some fucking jizz!"

Toby laughed. He wanted to sit down and cry for all he'd lost, but everything he'd gained made him smile.

"Lockdown! Lockdown!"

No one fought it, but Toby saw money exchanged fast and furious. "How much did you make, O'Reily?"

O'Reily laughed. "You so sure I bet on you?"

"Yes." Toby grinned and tried to catch his breath. He bet in the morning that he was going to feel every bruise, but right now all he felt was jubilant.

"A bundle." O'Reily got pushed the other direction and took Cyril with him.

Murphy was there fast. "What the fuck was going on?"

"Dog Breath fell and hurt himself," Lopresti lied like a champion, but he shot Toby a dirty look. "I'll take him to the infirmary."

"You sure he didn't have some help?" Murphy looked at Keller.

"I'm sure." Lopresti pulled Dog Breath to his feet. Dog Breath was crying like a pussy bitch.

"Get to your fucking pods!" Murphy waved his stick. Other CO's were coming to help, and Toby made sure to stay with Keller. Schillinger wasn't above a shank in the confusion.

It was Pancamo that got too close though. "You got balls, Toby."

Toby took his opportunity. "Declare open season on Unit B Nazis and I'll pay you whatever you want."

"Not Em City?" Pancamo frowned.

"Unit B only." Toby smiled. "McManus stays put."

"I get you." Pancamo nodded. "Five figures, and the first one is a two. Half-price since I bet on you."

Toby laughed. "You'll get it. My word." He would count it cheap. Keller tugged him closer, and they were in their pod moments later. Pancamo gave him a nod. It was enough. Toby gasped as Keller hugged him tightly. "Fuck!"

Keller laughed. "Damn, you scared the shit out of me!"

Toby didn't quite get that. He'd been the one scared. He pulled away and went to wash and piss. Good thing he hadn't pissed his pants. "Damn." He watched his hands start to shake, and he sat down on the toilet.

Keller came over to him and squatted down in front of him. "You did damn good."

"I was an idiot. Dog Breath could have killed me!" Toby smiled though. "You set me up to get killed!"

Keller looked away. "Remember that. You're the fucking brains of this operation."

"Now you tell me!" Toby clasped his hands together and laughed. He ran his hands through his hair. "Dog Breath may rat me out."

"Not if he wants to keep breathing. Schillinger made a deal." Keller hugged him again. "Christ. Let's not do that again."

Toby took a deep breath. And another. "You were scared for me?"

"Well, yeah. Fucker could have hurt you." Keller got up and seemed embarrassed. "My fat mouth got you in trouble."

Toby wasn't going to quibble with that. He stood and went to him. "I broke his arm."

"Fucking right."

"I liked it." Toby rubbed Keller's crucifix. "Dog Breath hurt me. I hurt him. I almost feel like a man."

Keller made a soft noise. "You're a better man than any of the sorry fuckers in here, even the warden."

Toby knew better than that. "I should've broken his other arm. Why'd you pull me off?"

"Three minutes was up. Schillinger was moving in to hurt you. I got there first." Keller looked out the glass. "You gotta get Pancamo the money on the quiet."

Toby didn't hear that at first. He was staring at Keller's ass. Adrenaline had turned into lust. "I'll think of something. Your job is to keep the bikers out of it or we're going to have a full-blown war on our hands."

Keller suddenly wrapped him tight and kissed him. "I'll do it. Thank God you're safe."

"Thank me. I did it." Toby shuddered and relaxed against Keller. "I'd almost think you cared."

"I do. God help me, I do," Keller whispered. He tugged him into another kiss.

"Break it up! Fuck's sake!" Murphy banged his nightstick against the side of the door.

Toby stepped back, and Keller went to lie on his bunk. "No problem with us."

"Right. One more time and it's the hole!"

Toby went to him. "One more time ever or one more time tonight?"

"Don't push your luck, Beecher!" Murphy let the door shut. Toby gave it a push, but it had locked. No TV tonight. Probably no dinner either. They might deliver sandwiches. He shrugged. He didn't care.

"Fuck him," Keller growled.

Toby didn't think Murphy was cute at all. "I'll take you. Hey, we got a plan?"

"Yep." Keller nodded. "Got some holes, but we'll get it done. Stay the fuck away from Schillinger. He's going to be fucking pissed off."

"I will, but if he did attack me, and I was to accidentally kill him, no one would blame me." Toby had to mention it.

"You still might get assault or manslaughter, and Toby," Keller said with a quiet intensity that made Toby quiver, "there ain't many men better with a shank than Schillinger."

Toby could only nod. He had seen it. He knew it, and he couldn't afford to get cocky. One broken arm didn't make him a bull. "I'll stay away from him."

"Good." Keller rubbed his crotch. "How's the habit?"

"Better." Toby still wanted it, but he wasn't going to do it. "You staying clean?"

"Yep." Keller leaned up and sat on the edge of the bed. "Let's play chess."

"It's something." Toby went to open the locker. "We doing penance tonight?"

Keller pulled out his rosary. Toby had noticed that Keller always had it with him. "I'm thinking I better."

Toby got out the game and pushed the locker in front of the bunk. "Can't hurt."

*********

"Anyone snitch?" McManus looked over the report from Dr. Nathan.

"Not a damn soul, but Dog Breath is one of Schillinger's boys, and if Schillinger set it up, then . . . " Murphy shrugged.

"Dog Breath was fighting Keller?" McManus could believe that.

"Keller didn't have a bruise on him, and he wasn't breathing hard." Murphy went to stare out the glass. "O'Reily was laughing. Cyril looked dazed, and Beecher had a crazy look on his face."

McManus had begun to think that Beecher was crazy. "You don't think?"

"Dog Breath and Beecher? Nah." Murphy shook his head. "Beecher would be snapped in half."

McManus wondered. "Don't underestimate Beecher. He took out Schillinger once."

"You said he caught him by surprise though. This was more like a cockfight." Murphy came back to the desk and sat down. "Well, it could have been worse."

"You realize that Lopresti knows exactly what happened?" McManus had to say it.

"He ain't talking. I'm thinking he needs to stay in Unit B more."

"I'll see about it." McManus leaned back in his chair. He could hope that this was the end of it, and Em City would stay quiet. He could hope.

********

Keller sat down in the chair. "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It's been, um-"

"Two weeks," Father Mukada said.

"Right. Since my last confession." Keller stopped there. He did want to confess, but he didn't want to betray what he saw as his commitment to Toby.

"Go ahead." Father Mukada wasn't waiting patiently.

Keller sighed. "I engaged in sex with a man. I beat up a man, and I sold some heroin." He paused. "That's enough, right?"

"If that's the extent of your sins." Father Mukada seemed to groan. "There's more?"

"Well, I did ogle Miss Sally's tits, and I told Murphy to blow me at least three times, and I set up this thing and Toby almost got hurt, and I-"

"Wait." Father Mukada sounded stern. "You hurt Toby?"

Keller leaned over and rubbed his face. He hated confession. Sure, it was private, but he hated gabbing about his life. Seeing Sister Pete was hard enough. He tried again, "Yes, I hurt Toby, and I feel terrible about it. That's the only sin I give a shit about. I did my penance every night, but I still feel like shit!"

Father Mukada nodded. "I hear your honest remorse. Is Toby okay?"

"Yeah. He didn't blame me, but I blame me." Keller had hated hitting him, and setting up that fight had been so incredible stupid. "I'm an idiot."

"Do you love Toby?" Father Mukada asked softly.

"That's another sin!" Keller jumped to his feet. He couldn't sit still another minute. "And it ain't possible!"

Father Mukada got up and stepped to him. "Do you?"

Keller kicked a chair off the stage. The door opened immediately. "Everything okay, Father?"

"Yes, Officer." Father Mukada put a gentle hand on Keller's arm. "Leave us."

Keller wanted to hit him. Hit him hard - snap him in half - but it wouldn't make the sin go away. "Fuck."

Father Mukada backed away. "You love him."

Keller picked up the other chair and threw it the distance of the cafeteria. It clattered down. Father Mukada pointed at the floor. "Sit down now!"

"Damn it!" Keller sat down hard. If he didn't, he'd end up in solitary or the hole. Father Mukada soothed the hack again and sat down across from him. Keller leaned back on his arms. "I didn't want to. He's a prag."

"Like you." Father Mukada knew too much. "Yes. It's a sin, but sin happens. We can only live with what we do and try to do better."

Keller flopped backwards. God, he hated priests. He did. They were all so full of shit. "I am going to hurt him. It's only a matter of time."

"Make that your penance. No matter what happens - don't hurt him. Not again. Not even if it means you bear the brunt." Father Mukada seemed sure of himself.

Keller leaned up. "This is prison. Shit happens. Schillinger happens. Tell me, when I kill him, and I confess, are you going to turn me in?"

Father Mukada frowned. "Don't kill him. That's a stain on your soul that you can't wash away."

Keller knew that. His soul was full of stains. "I love Toby."

"Your penance is this - you have to tell him, on your knees, and you can never hurt him again. If you're not sure if it will hurt him, I suggest you come see me. And keep doing the rosary. Te absolve." Father Mukada stood. "Go, my son, and sin no more."

"Like that's gonna fucking happen." Keller got to his feet. He had listened, but Oz wasn‛t as easy as all that, and one last thing. "You tell anyone and I'll kill you."

Father Mukada took a step back. "Go."

Keller went, but he looked back to make sure the fucking priest understood. Father Mukada was a little pale. He got it. Keller was satisfied with that. He would do his penance, but he was still killing Robson and Schillinger. God would have to let it slide.

Chapter Eleven - True
****

"Beecher!"

Toby turned in his chair and waited. "What's up?"

Murphy pointed upstairs. "McManus wants to see you. Now."

"Fuck," Toby muttered and got to his feet. Murphy obliged him by giving him a small push. The walk didn't take long enough. Toby didn't want to talk today. He was even thinking of skipping out of work, not that he would. "Shit."

McManus and Sister Pete gave him sympathetic looks. This was going to be bad. Toby took the obvious chair. He looked at both of them and waited.

"Toby, I'm sorry to have to tell you this," Sister Pete said softly, "but your wife committed suicide."

Toby froze. Of all the things he'd thought of, that had never entered his mind. "But my kids!"

"They're with your parents. Temporary custody has been granted to them until you‛re released." McManus handed Toby a letter. "Here's a letter from them, explaining everything that happened."

Sister Pete patted Toby's knee. "I promise you that you'll see them on visitation day."

"The funeral?" Toby could barely breathe.

"Read the letter. It'll be easier." McManus was trying to be nice. It made it worse. Toby read the letter twice. He could not fucking believe this. Genevieve was the stable one! She would never do anything to hurt the children, and them finding her dead body had definitely hurt them!

"Christ," Toby whispered. "I can't even say goodbye."

"She made the arrangements in advance. Her parents followed her wishes." Sister Pete drew even closer. "I spoke to them on the phone. They're stunned and grieving."

"What about Harry? He's not even one yet!" Toby saw the strange looks come over their faces. They were doing the math. He explained, "Remember the conjugal visit?"

Sister Pete made a soft sound. McManus said, "Oh."

"Yeah, oh." Toby rubbed his face. "I didn't even know she was pregnant because of fucking Schillinger!"

"I'm sorry, Toby." Sister Pete couldn't look any sadder. "You'll see your father on visiting day. He'll have more information."

Toby looked at the letter again. "I should have called more. Damn." He got up. "We done?"

They all seemed stunned.

"There isn't anything you can do. Just leave me alone!" Toby went out the door before Murphy could stop him, and he headed back to Em City. He ducked under the stairs and sat in the corner with his letter. Fucking God damn. That bitch. Now that he was alone, he got angry. She'd fucking taken the easy way out. That was supposed to be his job! She was the responsible one! His anger flipped into grief hard and fast. She was his wife. Well, ex-wife, but still. He'd loved her once. She'd never shown him her hate, but he knew now that she had hated him. Only hate could do this. He'd killed her. As surely as if he'd run her down along with that child.

"Watch for fucking hacks!"

Toby got to his feet and tucked his letter away. He wiped his face fast. "Making tits, Adebisi?"

"Yeah, To-by." Adebisi grinned. "Want one?"

Toby did. He did. He had to feel better. "Sure." He found some cash and handed it over. The heroin was heavy in his hand, and he put it in his pocket without sampling it. It was for later. He'd get high in the privacy of his pod. "Caught any Nazis lately?"

"Nah." Adebisi laughed, but his crazy hat stayed on. "They're all hiding."

Toby smiled and left him to make his tits. Bricks gave him a shitty look, but Toby walked past him and headed for the quad. Fuckers were watching TV, playing games, and cursing at each other. Just another day in hell. He leaned against the wall and waited for someone to tell him what to do.

"Toby?"

Toby wished people would quit coming up behind him. He rolled his head that direction. "And?"

Mukada raised his eyebrows. "Could I speak to you privately?"

"You mean like confession?" Toby knew more about Catholicism now than he did any other religion, even his own.

"No, but alone." Mukada stuck his hands in his pockets. "It's up to you."

"Wow, I have a choice," Toby said sarcastically. "Sure, what the fuck." He didn't care. Mukada led the way to his office, and Toby trailed along. "Suicide is sin, right?"

"Yes." Mukada shut the door behind them. "Have a seat."

"This is small, but well-appointed." Toby had never set foot in here before. He sat down and hoped this wasn't about him. "It's a sin that won't be forgiven. Go directly to hell, right?"

"Or purgatory." Mukada didn't sound pleased at the idea. "You're not Catholic. Does it worry you what we believe?"

"Well, you guys might be right." Toby watched his hand clench into a fist. If she was rotting in hell, she deserved it for fucking up their kids. Guilt spasmed through him. When he drank, he hadn't given a shit about Holly or Gary. Maybe it had been her turn not to give a shit. The bitch.

"What's wrong, Toby?"

The soft question undid him. He didn't know Mukada, not at all, but right now, that made it easier. He dug out the letter and handed it over. "I understand why she did it, but it was wrong. Wrong!"

After a long minute or two, Mukada seemed to take a deep breath. "I'm sorry for your loss. In situations like these, there are no words to make it better, even time might not help."

"Well, at least you're not blowing smoke up my ass." Toby felt like he was finally talking to someone that was sane. "I know she did this to punish me, but all she did was hurt my children!"

"Perhaps, Toby, it wasn't about you. It was about her inability to deal with her feelings." Mukada spread his hands. "A fine distinction, I know."

"Very fine." Toby rubbed his forehead. "She could have come to see me occasionally."

"You are very aware of the barrier that prison throws up. Some people simply can't handle it." Mukada should have been fidgeting or looking upset, but he was calm. Calm. Toby tried to suck some of it inside himself. He looked around the office at the books and small amount of clutter. Mukada had to hate it here - especially after the riot.

"You got beat up pretty bad during the riot." Toby watched him closely, but the calm didn't desert him. "Why are you still here?"

"I've been assigned here," Mukada said quietly. "Perhaps Oz is my penance as well."

"The powers that be probably thoroughly dislike an Asian intellectual with a bent towards the liberal and a sexuality that could be called in to question." Toby knew his words were nothing that Mukada hadn't realized himself.

Mukada shrugged. "At least you didn't say ‘chink.'"

Toby laughed softly. "I'm a politically correct inmate. Keller likes you. It is an enormous compliment. The man hates priests."

"I know." Mukada nodded. "Tell me - does Keller do his penance?"

"Every night." Toby gave up that information easily. "I sometimes do it with him."

"Interesting. I was going to ask you for a small favor, but in light of your news, I think it can wait." Mukada stood.

Toby knew he was supposed to leave. Perversity kept him in his chair. "Ask, but in return I want to borrow a book on Catholicism."

Mukada looked about the office. "Pick one, but no."

Toby got up and began to scan through a pile. He found a history that looked interesting. Mukada didn't talk. He waited. Toby liked him also and wasn't sure why. Something about him was soothing. "Father, if it's about Keller, the answer is yes."

Mukada sighed softly and slowly smiled. "I was merely going to tell you that I believe Keller is going through a crisis of faith, and if you could do no harm, I would be grateful."

"Do no harm?" Toby put the book under his arm. "In Oz, that's a big order."

"That's why it was a favor." Mukada did seem to understand.

"I'll do my best, but Keller loves to sin." Toby picked his letter up off the desk and put it inside the book. "Keller probably should have been born into a pagan family."

Mukada came around the desk and opened the door. "Toby, if you ever need to talk, I'm here."

"Well, you should probably get out more." Toby left this time. He didn't look back.

********

Keller had stalked him for days, watching him grow more and more nervous as one by one his buddies were picked off. When the opportunity came, it was ridiculously easy. Robson made a big mistake. He went to the gym alone. Maybe he thought it would be safe. He was wrong. Keller watched Lopresti leave him there. Lopresti had looked worried lately too. Keller was supposed to be at work, and he'd get there in a minute, but first he had to do this. He went in quietly and attacked before Robson could even blink, much less yell. Robson struggled. He did. He was strong, but he was dead. Dead. Dead.

Keller was careful in his rage. He set the scene and left fast, showing up for work a mere five minutes late without a drop of blood on him. Furious anger still ran through his veins, but he smiled for Sister Pete.

"New load of paper in today." She pulled her glasses down. "You're late."

"I was looking for Toby, but gave up." Keller was careful not to even take a deep breath. He kept his hands in his pocket in case they were shaking slightly. Never hurt to be sure.

"Yes. Toby. Well. He's not working today." She frowned. "Go easy with him. Okay?"

Keller shrugged. He had no fucking idea what was going on, but that wasn't anything new. Instead of blabbing, he went to unload the paper. He didn't rush. He stacked each one carefully, organizing as he went. The sweet taste of death was still with him. There was one less Nazi in Oz to touch Toby. Robson had needed to die.

"Store room looks good," Sister Pete said.

"I'm trying for brownie points." Keller stacked the last empty box in the corner. "Anything else?"

"Go find Toby." Sister Pete frowned and left him there. Keller got a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach. If something had happened while he was off enjoying himself, he'd feel guilty forever. Toby wasn't in any of his usual places.

Keller did find O'Reily. "Seen Toby?"

"Father Mukada came and got him." O'Reily shrugged. "Is Beecher an honorary Catholic now?"

"I fucking doubt it." Keller smiled. He did like the idea.

"Try baptizing him with your sputz again." O'Reily laughed.

"You fucker." Keller reached out to smack him, but O'Reily was out of distance fast. Cyril stared at him. Keller never knew what to think about him. Slow, yes, but dangerous, yes. "Cyril, you gonna kill Schillinger?"

"I want to, but Ryan says I hafta be good." Cyril slumped. "He's a bad man!"

"Sure as fuck is." Keller nodded. "Do what your brother says."

O'Reily got close. "Schillinger is fucking nuts. I think he's coming for Toby."

"Me too. Schillinger's alone, and he ain't used to that." Keller loved it.

"He's still got Robson." O'Reily shrugged.

"Yeah." Keller smirked and strode away. He had to find Toby. Murphy was by the television, and Keller asked him, "Seen Toby?"

"I'm not in charge of your girlfriend," Murphy snapped.

Keller thought that Murphy needed a good fucking to take the stress out. "Sister Pete told me to find him."

Murphy suddenly looked worried. "He didn't go to work. You didn't find him?"

"Not yet." Keller shrugged. "I'll check the library."

"Good idea." Murphy went off fast. Keller hoped the hack headed to the gym. Toby wasn't in the library. He wasn't under the stairwell. Keller couldn't check every supply closet in the damn prison, so he stopped at McManus's office. "Seen Toby?"

"Toby asked to be put in protective custody for the night. I agreed." McManus got out of his desk chair and came around to him. "He needed a break."

"From me." Keller knew it. He pushed too hard. Demanded too much. He was a piece of shit.

"No." McManus looked away and then back. "Toby got some bad news from home. Nothing to do with you."

Keller had a hard time believing that. "Could I talk to him for just a minute?"

"Shit." McManus shook his head. "He'll be out tomorrow. It can wait."

Keller backed out the door before he killed another man today. He could only go back to Em City and wait for it. Toby was going to quit him. Move out. Keller picked up a chair and threw it before slamming into his pod. He punched the wall about ten times until his knuckles bled.

"Settle the fuck down, Keller!" Murphy, always Murphy.

Keller didn't turn. He put his hand under the water and watched the blood go down the drain. "Murphy, go away. I'm killing mad," he said softly.

"Keep it in here." Murphy shut the door. Keller heard it lock. Just as fucking well. He shut off the water and kicked the locker to the other end of the pod.

********

McManus poured Murphy a cup of coffee, and they sat at the table together. "Hard fucking day."

"No shit." Murphy stretched, groaned, and added some cream to his coffee. "What did Nathan say about Robson?"

"Lopresti took him to the gym. No one else was around. The bar choked him to death." McManus took a small sip. "Accidents happen."

"Too much weight?"

"A lot of it. More than I could lift." McManus was glad it wasn't his problem for a change.

Murphy smiled tightly. "For once, I know it wasn't Keller."

"How?" McManus was curious.

"He flipped out before lunch. I locked him down. He's pissed, but he's not out killing anyone." Murphy drank some more coffee.

McManus was glad to hear it. "Keller is hooked on Beecher."

"Worse than if they were married. I ain't never seen anything like it." Murphy furrowed his brow. "Fucking is one thing, but . . ."

"I know. I know." McManus didn't understand it, but those two were connected. One time Sister Pete had said they had a bond and she was right. It made no sense that a Harvard lawyer would give the time of day to a flunkie killer, but he'd watched them. They shared something. Outside of prison, they'd have never spoken, but in here, in here it was different. "Someday, Beecher's gonna make parole."

"God help us all."

*********

Toby didn't sleep. He had too much shit going through his brain and he hadn't even tried the heroin yet. He blinked in surprise when the lights clicked on, and the horn sounded. Where'd the night gone? He wasn't sure he'd come to any conclusions, other than he wanted to see Keller, hold him, maybe kiss him.

"Back to Em City," the hack said, and Toby went with him. The pod was empty, and Toby tossed his book up on his bunk. He hadn't read any of it, but he would. Keller's bunk was made. That was odd. The rosary was in the middle of it, and Toby scooped it up. For some reason, this was bad. Keller always carried it. Toby draped it around his neck and started for the cafeteria - fast. He spotted Schillinger first. Schillinger and two of his buddies, but each of them had a cast.

Keller. Where the fuck was he? Toby suddenly saw him. The distance seemed too far, but Toby made it. He made it. "Chris! No!"

Keller didn't seem to hear him, and Toby shoved him back. Schillinger realized the danger now and started yelling. Keller growled something, and Toby wrapped his hand around the business end of the shank.

"No!" Blood spurted and ran down to Toby's elbow.

Keller grabbed him. The shank twisted and cut him again. "Get the fuck out of the way!"

"You're not killing him! I'm not losing you too!" Toby let go of the shank and slapped his bloody hand on Keller's chest. "Have some faith, Chris."

Keller groaned and dropped the shank to the floor. Toby had time to smile, and the SORT guys were on top of them. Keller was hit hard and dropped first. Toby fell on top of him. Blood ran over both of them, and Toby went with the pain. SORT cuffed them both and dragged them out. Toby didn't fight, and he could see that Keller didn‛t either.

"Search them!"

Toby knew he was busted, and he was.

"Got drugs!"

"Shank!"

Keller had another shank on him. Toby was impressed. He clenched his fist around the pain and watched blood drip onto the floor.

"Which of them is hurt?" McManus had come up fast.

"Can't tell. Blood on both of them."

"Hospital, and then we'll sort this out." McManus didn't follow them. Toby winced in pain as they dragged him away.

"He's hurt! Not me, you fuckers!"

Toby laughed and concentrated on staying on his feet. The SORT guys loved to accidentally beat the shit out of prisoners while taking them places. They were shoved through the hospital doors almost simultaneously, and Toby took the chance and tripped Keller. Keller fell hard, and Toby landed on top of him.

"We're fucked," Keller growled.

Toby kissed him on the neck. "Yep. Whatever you were thinking, stop."

"Christ!" Murphy dragged Toby off. "You two are covered!"

Dr. Nathan and her nurses swarmed them both. Keller spoke up. "His hand is cut! Get your fucking hands off me!"

Murphy dragged Keller over to the wall. "Stay put and shut up!"

"Motherfuck!" Toby yelped when the cuffs came off and blood spurted. Now he was really bleeding.

Dr. Nathan grabbed him by the arm and lifted it high. "Get him up!"

Toby fumbled off the rosary with his other hand and launched it at Keller. It seemed to float through the air, Keller scooted and ducked, and it was around his neck. Toby smiled and passed out.

*******

"Okay, I want the fucking truth!" McManus glared his best at them. "It's the only thing that's gonna save your asses!"

Beecher and Keller looked at each other. "It was an accident. Toby grabbed the shank."

McManus knew that. "Keller, you were there to kill Schillinger, right?"

"Nah. I wasn't." Keller shook his lying head.

"Keller didn't hurt anyone." Beecher leaned forward slightly.

"You have fifty stitches in your hand!" McManus rubbed his forehead. Why was he trying? "Keller, you nearly killed him!"

Keller went very pale. He swallowed hard. "You're right. Shit." He slid out of the chair onto his knees in front of Beecher. "Toby, I'm sorry. I love you."

McManus looked helplessly at Murphy, but the bastard was choking back laughter.

Beecher touched Keller gently on the rosary. "I did it. It's okay. I love you too."

"I need some Tylenol," McManus muttered. "And a vacation in the Bahamas. Keller, attempted murder charges aside, you had two shanks on you. A month in the hole. Beecher, you had tits. Since you're injured, solitary for a month."

Neither of them seemed to hear him. Murphy sighed. "A month doesn't seem long enough."

Sister Pete came into the office. She hesitated one second at the sight. "Tobias is scheduled to see his father tomorrow. I think he should retain that privilege. Father Mukada also wants Keller in confession."

"Fine." McManus wasn't going to argue about it. "His father can see him in solitary. Sister Pete, you arrange it. Father Mukada can see Keller whenever he wants. Murphy, please get them out of here."

"Happily."

McManus sat down at his desk. Was a vacation too much to ask?

Chapter Twelve - Vern's Finale
********

Vern didn't get up immediately when the horn rang. He laced his hands behind his head and wished he were angry instead of just tired. The Brotherhood was broken; even he could see that. No one wanted to be an Aryan now - too fucking dangerous. The only way to get some jizz back was to kill someone, in a big way. The only one left to do it was him. He wanted to kill Keller or Beecher, but they were locked away safe. Who else? O'Reily? Not big enough. Pancamo? Ridiculous.

"Get your ass up!"

Vern threw the blanket back and started his day. Somehow, he'd lost control, and it was all gone. It was that damn Keller. Beecher had always been weak. They said Robson's death was an accident. Vern knew better. Keller had made it look like an accident. Smart bastard.

The cafeteria seemed full of nothing but the enemy and he took his tray over by Hoyt. Hoyt shook his head. "Move on, turd."

Vern narrowed his eyes. "We had a deal, you and me."

"Fuck that." Hoyt got up and left. Vern sat down as if he didn't give a shit, and he didn't, but he saw Said's smirk. Pancamo was laughing also. Niggers and wops. They were all against him. Damn that Keller.

O'Reily smiled. Vern turned his gaze on Cyril. Now that had been some sweet ass, and if Cyril died, it would help the cause. Easy picking. Damn retard didn't belong in Oz. Vern ate quickly and looked for an ally. Dog Breath was back in the hospital. Bones had a broken arm. Robson was dead, and Scratchy had a busted leg. God damn it! This called for drastic measures.

Vern tossed his tray and went to linger in the hallway. If he were lucky, Cyril would be alone and vulnerable.

"Lookee, boys." Adebisi laughed.

Vern stood up very straight. "Fuck off, nigger."

"Is that any way to talk to your daddy?" Adebisi got right in Vern's face. "Let me tell you a secret, Nazi boy."

"Get the fuck away." Vern made it two steps before two niggers grabbed him. He pulled
and fought as they dragged him into the back of the kitchen. Where were the fucking hacks? Panic seeped into him, and he fought harder until he was down - his arms pulled back almost to the breaking point.

Adebisi lifted Vern's chin. Vern spat on him. "Nigger!"

"Ah yes, and you're the supreme white race, right?" Adebisi and the other niggers laughed at him. Vern strained, but he could feel the bones in his arms creaking. He panted and waited. He'd never beg and plead. They could kiss his white ass.

Adebisi circled him. "I say we all fuck him."

Vern bucked hard and felt his right arm snap. Agony. White hot pain. He gasped. Adebisi slapped him hard. Vern spat, "You'll get the chair for this!"

"I don't fucking think so. The warden is a nig-ger. He'll give me a fucking medal!" Adebisi made a sharp motion. Vern cried out as his other arm snapped in half. He would not beg. Not. God. Help. Him.

"I don't want to fuck the old asshole," Wangler said and laughed. "I'm willing to piss on him though."

"Kenny, you are my smart boy." Adebisi tugged his sweats down and pulled it out. Vern shut his eyes, pain beat through him, and he wished he could trade places with anyone in the prison, even Keller. Piss hit him and the smell of it clogged his nostrils.

"You fuckers!" Vern yelled, and a big, smelly hand clapped over his mouth. He tried to bite, but his air was pinched off, and he struggled weakly. Adebisi didn't have the balls to kill him. They shoved him down in the piss, and he couldn't do anything more than roll to his back.

"Well, my friends, what shall we do with him?" Adebisi crouched down and smoothed a finger over Vern's head. Vern shut his mouth so he didn't whimper. God would damn these niggers to hell. He would!

"Gut him." Wangler, the little prick. "But how we gonna get rid of the body?"

Adebisi put his foot on Vern's chest. Vern tried to kick him. Stupid fuckers! "Kenny, how many trash bags are going out today?"

"‘Bout thirty." Kenny grinned. "That is gonna fucking hurt!"

"Yeah." Adebisi took a step. Vern opened his mouth to scream as the full weight of the big ass nigger got on him. The piss soaked rag they stuffed in his mouth was almost a blessing. Vern screamed and screamed until only one thought remained - this was all Beecher's fault!

Adebisi peeled up Vern's eyelid. "In your next life, Nazi boy, pick your prags with extra care."

**********
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