"Wayne-ayne-yne...," a voice echoed through Wayne Heyden's head, bouncing around melodically. "Wayne-ayne-yne, did you hear me-ee-ee?" There it was again. His senses were dulled; his vision blurred, his ears rang as if a bomb had just gone off. And one had - his boss, Robert Plankerton, had just told him he was being relieved of his position at P & R Construction. "WAYNE!" Robert's voice came through clearly this time; Wayne's world suddenly slammed back into focus.
"Huh?" Wayne asked, as if being awoken from a dream - a nightmare, really. He looked around to ensure he wasn't, in fact, dreaming. He rubbed his face absentmindedly with his right hand as his left fidgeted at his side. The office was dimly lit and stank of stale cigarette smoke and cheap whiskey; the decor was non-existent, aside from an outdated calendar hung next to a faded photo of President Obama. It wasn't really an office, it was an old foreman's shack that P & R placed in a huge lot. Robert sat behind an old pine desk - something you wouldn't be surprised to find in a Walmart clearance isle. Robert himself was a short, portly man with a tuft of white hair atop his head. He had a nasty drinking problem that, somehow, hadn't claimed his life.
Robert straightened himself in his chair and smoothed his tie, visibly agitated. "I'm sorry Wayne, we have to downsize. The fuckin' market's drying up out here; no one wants to build new houses." He pulled two smudged glasses and a bottle of Duggan's Dew from his desk drawer before placing them on the table. "You've been an invaluable part of the team," he continued as he poured some amber liquid into each glass. He placed one in front of Wayne before taking a sip from his. "But, we have to let a lot of you guys go - we're only able to keep a handful."
"But, why me?" Wayne asked as he leaned forward in his chair; the legs moaned in protest. "I've been with P & R for ten years, Bob," he said as he ignored the whiskey. "If I'm so fucking invaluable, why me?" he asked, his fingers air quoting 'invaluable.'
"Frankly?" Robert stated as he polished off his glass, "you've been here too long. I pay you more than most of my other guys." He poured himself another drink before getting to his feet; he walked around the small office, his hands running over his face and hair. "When Paul and I performed our audit you were our biggest cost - employee wise," he clarified.
Wayne leaned back into his chair and let out a harsh sigh. He stared at the ceiling for a moment, counting water stained tiles. "Was it really all that bad?" Wayne thought to himself. After all, he would be able to collect unemployment, and spend more times with his kids. But he didn't want to leech of the system like so many others he knew - he could barely pay the bills as it was. "Fuck it," he breathed as he, himself, stood. Robert took notice and approached, grabbing Wayne's still full whiskey glass.
"Here, bud, have a drink," Robert said as he extended the glass to Wayne, tilting it ever-so-slightly. Wayne blinked at it for a moment then, without another word, turned and pushed himself through the office's door - its hinges screamed as it opened; it closed with a bang. Robert's gaze lowered to the floor and a tear ran down his cheek. "Fuck."
Wayne shielded his eyes from the blinding Nevada sun with one hand as the other fished an old pair of Ray-Banns from his pocket. After his eyes were sufficiently protected from the sun he made his way towards his truck; a white 1994 Ford F-350. His cowboy books crunched the rocky substrate laid out to create the make shift "parking lot." He yanked the door open with a creek before jumping inside; he slammed the door shut behind him. He exhumed the keys from his other pocket and stabbed him into the ignition. Wayne swiftly cranked his window down, then sat in the stifling heat listening to his radio.
"I've been wounded, jaded, loved, and hated..." Martina McBride sang into the cab, her voice slightly hollow in the space. Wayne popped the glove box and it came down with a jolt, the small bulb didn't light up - though it didn't need to. He reached inside and pulled a pack of Marlboro 27s out and placed one between his lips. He returned the box and returned with a disposable Bic lighter. After sparking the tool he touched the flame to exposed tobacco and took a draw. "Fuck," he exhaled, blue-gray smoke danced in his face.
Wayne put the truck into gear but still sat motionless in the driver's seat. More thoughts than he could count ran through his mind - so many so he wasn't able to focus of any but a few. "The fuck are we gonna do?" he asked himself. They could barely pay the bills as it is and he didn't want his wife, Gabriela, to have to go out and get a job. As he thought he became angry; angry at himself, angry at Robert and Paul, angry at God himself. His hands wrapped tighter and tighter around the cracked steering wheel; his teeth bared down onto the cigarette filter. Wayne suddenly stepped onto the accelerator; the truck shot forward, its 7.3-liter diesel V8 roared like an angry giant. The Ford barreled towards the makeshift office; Robert stood at a window, his legs began to shake. At the last moment Wayne cranked the wheel hard to the left; the trunk swung widely on the loose gravel, its tires struggling to find purchase. Robert jumped to the side, thinking this was the end; a whiskey glass clattered to the floor. The truck found traction and jumped forward, sending rocks into the office. With a final grunt Wayne left the parking lot and sped down the street, narrowly colliding with another vehicle.
"And then he'd pray for everybody in the world but him..."
Wayne's Ford came into view of his home - a single story rancher. It was dusk now and the neighborhood kids were starting to pack up from their day of fun. Wayne watched as they gathered footballs, Frisbees and other childhood necessities; he laughed to himself. "Why couldn't it be like that forever?" he thought to himself, "never had to worry about paying bills, getting a job, a house, all the bullshit." He aimed the truck into his splintered driveway and came to a stop, the engine died and the headlights cut out - the beams slowly fading as the bulbs cooled.
Wayne opened the front door and was greeted by the smell of his wife's cooking; he wasn't exactly sure what it was but he assumed something Italian. His nose led him down a hall of green shag carpet into the kitchen where he found his kids at their old, worn table; they were eating some type of pasta dish. His wife was at the refrigerator, bent at the waist looking for something. He stood there, in the doorway, admiring her for a moment. She was a tall woman, with jet black hair and olive skin and legs that seemed to go on forever. She was Italian by heritage but was born and raised in Sparks, just like Wayne. They met back in high school and immediately fell for each other; they were married as soon as they were legally allowed. Wayne stepped into the kitchen and gave his kids a "SH" motion; they nodded in approval before glancing at their mother. Wayne crept up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist; she jumped slightly but recognized her husband's smell immediately. She chuckled for a moment before placing her hands onto Wayne's arms. Gabriela turned slightly and kissed her husband. He felt guilty as she did; he didn't deserve her - she deserved to be with someone who could give her the finest things in life.
"You're home early," she said as he turned to face him, her arms ran down Wayne's back before resting in his hips. She gave his ass a quick slap before pulling away to wrap up dinner. "I wasn't expecting your for another half hour - I'm happy to see you, though," she said as she bounded to the stove. She always made the kids their dinner first so her and Wayne could eat together, in relative peace. Wayne went to his kids and gave them each a kiss on the forehead. "Hi dad!" they said in unison.
"Thought I'd cut out early," Wayne lied, "wasn't a whole lot goin' on." He knew he had to tell his wife the truth, but didn't want to upset the kids. He took a seat at the table, across from his son, Joshua, and appraised the two children. They had a little bit of Wayne and a lot of Gabriela in them, which he was grateful for; he didn't know what she saw in him but he knew she could be a model or an actress - someone that men the world over pined for. His son was fifteen, tall and strapping with dark brown hair and hazel eyes; his daughter, Katherine, was almost as tall as Joshua and was almost a carbon copy of her mother, except she shared the same hazel eyes as her brother and father. She was eighteen and about to head off to college.
"How was school today?" Wayne asked, knowing full well they were still on summer vacation. "Dad," his daughter said back - knowingly. Wayne chuckled as Joshua rolled his eyes. His two children cleared their plates before taking them to the sink to clean up. "I got it kids; go ahead and go - summer vacation is almost over, enjoy," he said as his eyes looked towards his wife. They sped from the kitchen before Wayne had the chance to change his mind.
"That was nice," Gabriela commented as she sat down adjacent from Wayne; she placed two full plates down onto the table, one in front of her husband and another in front of herself. Wayne shrugged as he picked up his fork, "I guess." He took a large bite and gave his wife a look of approval. She smiled back before taking a bite of her own, see seemed pleased with it. "Actually," Wayne continued, "I wanted to talk to you and didn't want to wait much longer." Gabriela wiped her mouth with a napkin and gave him a nod, "what's up? Everything ok?"
Wayne leaned back in his chair and wiped sauce from his whiskers before letting out a sigh. "Well, not really," he started, his hands were in his lap - he found it hard to keep eating; Gabriela took notice. "Fucking Robert laid me off today. Said they had to downsize or some shit," he explained, his eyes locked with Gabriela's. His wife, always supportive, reached across the table for her husband's hand; he brought one up and allowed her to take it. "Its going to be ok, honey," she started, her thumb rubbed the top of his hand, "we'll figure it out - we always do." A smile crept across her face and, for a moment, Wayne believed it; as if tomorrow that fat sonuvabitch at P & R would call him and offer him his job back. He smiled back at her.
"You're right, babe," Wayne agreed, his other hand came up and wrapped itself around his wife's. They looked at each other for several moments, as if they could read each others' minds. Wayne finally broke contact and stabbed at his pasta, "this is really good. What is it?" He shoved a large bite into his mouth and nodded as he chewed. Gabriela laughed as she took a bite of her own, "just angel hair and some sauce I whipped up - nothing special." Wayne shook his each in disagreement, "no, no! This is, like, AMAZING. Seriously good." They finished eating in silence.
The next day found Wayne sitting at his computer scrolling through job sites, hoping to find something worth applying for. He had already applied for unemployment and expected a phone interview later in the week to validate his claim. As he clicked on yet another ad his cell phone rang. He pulled the old Motorola Razr from his pocket and flipped it open. "Hello?" he asked, not paying attention to the number. "Hello. This is a collect call from...Shawshank Federal Penitentiary...do you accept the charges?" the recording asked. Wayne sat for a moment, staring at his computer screen. He didn't remember the last time he had heard from his brother Jeffery; certainly not since he was transferred to the new Super Max facility.
Jeffery, unlike Wayne, took to being a hood at a young age; selling drugs, pimping whores and beating or killing anyone who messed with him. He got in with a white power crew called the Rollin' 88 Peckerwoods; apparently an offshoot of the Nazi Lowriders. Recently they had the idea to start manufacturing their own methamphetamine on top of selling guns. Jeffery and several other Peckerwoods got caught on the US-Mexico border with a truckload of crystal and Glocks and got sent away for a twenty years.
"Hello. This is a collect call from...Shawshank Federal Penitentiary...do you accept the charges?" the recording repeated, snapping Wayne out of his train of thought. "Yeah-yes," he stammered into the phone. After a moment of mechanical whirs and cranks he heard the ambient sound of the prison.
"Hello?" a voice on the other end asked. He could picture his brother leaned up against what looked like a payphone, his body positioned so no one could hear his business. "Hey bro," Wayne responded, his voice sounded cheery, "its been a while." He could hear his brother chuckle, "too fuckin' long man. Who do I have to fuck to get a phone call?" Wayne heard someone in the background tell him to watch his language. "Sorry Jeff, just been busy," Wayne answered, he felt a ting of guilt. "Fu-screw it Wayne, the world keeps turning while we're in here," Jeffery said, noting to not curse again, as he didn't want an infraction.
"Well, its no reason not to call my own brother," Wayne said as he navigated to another web page, "how's everything at Shawshank? Everything Vogel promised?" His brother laughed hard, almost dropping the phone, "everything and more Wayne-everything and more." Wayne smiled, at least Jeff kept his sense of humor. "But what's goin' on with you? How's Gabby and the kids?" Jeff asked, hoping all was well. Wayne sighed, "they're good Jeff, they're real good. Me? Not so much. Lost my fuckin' job yesterday." "No FUCKIN' way Wayne?" Jeffery started, "yeah-yeah! I know! I ain't gonna curse again! Damn, so P & R let you go? After, what? Eight years?"
"Ten years," Wayne corrected, not that it mattered. "So, now I get to be on unemployment and look for another job - not too pleased," Wayne said as he scanned a job description, but frowned when it required a degree. "Well shi-oot Wayne, why don't you reach out to Chris? He's been doing pretty well," Jeff suggested. Chris Duggan was the meth cook for his crew and had somehow evaded capture when the DEA raided the Rollin' 88's turf. Wayne shook his head; he wasn't too keen on the idea of getting wrapped up with the skinheads. "I'm good Jeff - no offense," Wayne said, hoping not to piss his brother off. "Nah brother, none taken. I get it," Jeff responded, "hey, I gotta get going - if you change your mind Chris' number is 208-555-1234." Wayne took it down to placate his brother, even though he wasn't there to witness it. "Thanks Jeff - love you bro." "Love you too," Jeff replied; the line went dead soon after.
"So you said its how much per run?" Wayne asked as he shoved a tightly wrapped package into a black duffel. A tall, lanky man with a ponytail and long goatee handed him another. "It seems too good to be true."
"It ain't brother - two kay a run," the man replied as he watched Wayne stuff another brick of crystal. "Just don't get caught, or both of us are fucked," he continued. Wayne rolled his eyes before zipping the duffel closed and tossing it into the backseat of his truck.
It had been six months since he had lost his job at P & R. He was able to collect unemployment while searching for work but, aside from a temporary gig here and there, he was still without work. His wife ended up getting a job at a local daycare, but it paid minimum wage and was not enough to keep them from losing their home. After the foreclosure they were forced to move in with Wayne's mother, Patrice, and had accumulated a large amount of debt; so much so they had to take a title loan out on Wayne's Ford. Luckily, they hadn't provided their current address as that loan was defaulted on soon after.
Wayne had had enough - he needed to be able to support his family; his wife, his kid, himself. He decided to give Chris Duggan a call and take a chance on the Peckerwoods and their meth. After some quick vetting between the Shawshank and Sparks crews Wayne was offered a courier position; getting home cooked product to a MS-13 contact in North Las Vegas. He was leery about it, and hadn't even told Gabriela, but knew it would be great money for a day's work. He figured he would take off for Vegas at midnight, be there by six, make the exchange, gamble a bit, maybe take in a titty show and get back home by midnight the next day.
And so he found himself in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, at the Rollin' 88's meth lab. It was nothing special; just a double wide trailer that Chris had converted to a full time cook operation. It was just him here, day in and day out, but that didn't stop him from churning out pounds of the stuff; sure - there was a cot for him to rest but he was a habitual user himself so he had little use for sleep.
"Alright," Wayne said as he climbed into the cab of his truck, "you have that burner?" Chris handed Wayne a large Fed Ex envelope that was folded down the middle; it was heavy and awkward. Wayne accepted it and dropped it into his lap before exhuming its contents: a prepaid Motorola cell phone and a Glock 19. "The fuck is this? I thought you said this was going to be a breeze?"
Chris chuckled as he ran a hand over his hair and down the ponytail. "Yea...," he started, "but its like a condom man. When you're about ready to fuck some bitch...you raw doggin' it or would you rather be prepared? I mean, is it worth your dick fallin' off?"
Wayne stared at the Peckerwood for a moment. Every fiber of his being said to ditch the product and the heater and never look back; was it worth it to risk his life for a quick payday? Yes; if he pulled this off maybe bigger and better paydays were on the horizon. He pulled the slide back on the Glock to ensure there was a round in the pipe before stowing it under his seat. "Fuck it," he said as he wiped sweat from his brow, "I want the money as soon as I get back." Chris nodded in acceptance before stepping away from Wayne's Ford. With a final wave Wayne took off down the dirt road and began his journey to Las Vegas.
Wayne downed his extra tall cup of gas station coffee; it tasted more like styrofoam than coffee but it was keeping him awake. He had made the exchange in Vegas and it went off without a hitch - drugs for cash, as easy as that. He glanced over at his passenger seat and smiled at the briefcase packed to the bursting point with Benjamins. "Christ," he thought, "all that for some chemicals mixed in some po' dunk mother fucker's bathtub?" He was about ten minutes out from Chris' trailer when he passed the unmarked police cruiser.
After turning off the main highway, Wayne steered his truck down dirt road after dirt road. After many minutes of driving he arrived at the trailer; he cut the engine on his Ford and jumped from the driver's seat, briefcase at his side. The trailer's lights were off but he could hear the soft sounds of rabbit-eared television coming from inside. "Yo Chris! I'm back!" he shouted as he slammed his truck door closed. The trailer door popped open as he approached and Chris greeted him with a bro hug.
"Glad you made it back in one piece brother," he said as they released their embrace, "how was the drive?" The two men climbed the two steps into the abode and disappeared inside. Neither of them noticed a large contingent of government vehicles exit the highway.
"It wasn't that bad, to be honest," he replied as he tossed the briefcase onto a disheveled couch. Chris veered off into the kitchen to get something, Wayne could hear glass tapping together. "So, how do I get my cut?" Wayne continued as he surveyed his surroundings. He hadn't actually entered the trailer on his first visit - he only met Chris outside to accept the product. Several blacked out Sport Utility Vehicles came to rest a few hundred yards from the trailer; the occupants exited - all but a few wore matching combat gear. All of them, though, were identified by large yellow letters somewhere on their person: D.E.A.
"You didn't take it out of the briefcase?" Chris responded, he returned from the kitchen with a couple beers in hand and offered one to Wayne. He accepted the cold brew and took a swig - it was skunky as all get-out. "No man, I ain't fuckin' with your money," Wayne replied. Chris nodded slightly, a smile crept across his face. He went to the couch and fiddled with the case before counting out $2,000 with one hand, the other holding onto his beer. After he was satisfied with the total he bunched it together and held it out for Wayne, who graciously accepted. Instead of counting it, he decided it would be best to not offend his host. Outside, several armed agents stacked against the trailer wall; each movement precisely planned as to not alert the occupants.
"Oh," Chris started, "you got the heater?" Wayne nodded and yanked the Glock from his waistband and presented it to Chris, grip first. The Peckerwood accepted it and held it at his side as he took another drink from his beer. He sighed slightly, clearly exhausted from cooking and smoking, before lookout out of one of the windows. "The fuck?" Chris thought to himself, he could just barely make out what looked like interior dome lights in the distance. "But who the fuck would be out..." "FUCK!" Chris shouted as the front door exploded off its hinges.
Time slowed down for Wayne; he watched as the trailer's door disintegrated - a large metal battering ram was tossed aside by the breacher. A small, cylindrical object floated through space towards the two men before everything went white; Wayne's ears rang. He could feel percussions in the air to his right, where Chris was standing.
"What the fuck is that?" Wayne thought, his body unwilling to move and unable to see. Suddenly he was impacted square in the chest; it was something big and blunt. He felt the floor rush up to meet him and the back of his head bounced off it. "Am I dead? No...no, being dead doesn't hurt and this FUCKING HURTS!" He felt clothed hands grab his left arm and roll him to his right, onto his stomach; both arms were forced behind his back and cold hardness wrapped around his wrists.
Wayne was there for what seemed like a lifetime before his senses began to return to him. He examined the scene around him through blurry eyes: Chris laid several feet to his left; his body half on the floor, the other half up against the couch. His skin was pale white, his veins purple and his eyes were wide open - pupils dilated and empty. His shirt was stained dark red and the Glock sat near him, the slide locked back. Near the door laid another body - this one dressed head to tow in combat gear; a round from the Glock had found its mark in the man's neck. Wayne found the bean bag round that had out him on his ass.
"Let's go mother fucker," a voice came from behind Wayne. He was lifted to his feet, without protest, and shoved along. He was led through the front door of the trailer and out into the brisk night. Several government vehicles had advanced to the building and the scene was beginning to be processed. The man that guided Wayne brought him to one of the marked cruisers and popped the door open. "Watch your head" he said as he shoved Wayne into the back seat.
"What's going on?" Wayne finally mustered, his brain was still not processing what happening. The man knelt down so he was eye level with Wayne. He spoke through his baklava, "you're on your way to Shawshank, fuck head."
- 1994 Ford F-350 [At Mother's House]
- Chris Duggan, Meth Cook F The Rollin' 88 Peckerwoods, Deceased
- To Be Incarcerated At Shawshank Federal Penitentiary
- The Ability To Code Up Cell In Shawshank
Note: This piece, obviously, takes place in the past. I plan to heavily build up the back story before I hit current day.