The guard smacked his nightstick against the door frame forcefully and shot a glare toward the twenty or so prisoners. They quieted down and formed a rough line, waiting for the dining room door to open. One man in front rubbed his hands with joy at the thought of what meal awaited him in his favorite section of the building. At the back of the line was a mother and her ten year old son, Derik. Derik was born in prison, and for some reason was never released from the custody of his incarcerated mother who he was convinced lived in this institute by choice.
The guard's face distorted in the cross-hatched glass as the metal door creaked open. The first few people in line had already walked partially into the room, treading cautiously as always. The tiles on the floor were black and white, but not the checker pattern commonplace in many cafeterias. There were two large spaces of white-a large white rectangle and an outer space around the perimeter, separated by a two tile thick black outline of the rectangle.
"Take your seats!" The guard shouted authoritatively, pointing his nightstick at the huge wooden table at the center of the room. The table was long, seating over a score of people and resembling an over-sized picnic table. What beheld the prisoners was a plate at each increment, with a juicy, sizzling brown steak on each one. Next to them were forks and extra-sharp steak knives. The man at the head of the line licked his lips and again rubbed his hands together as he took a seat in front of the largest steak he could spot in a small amount of time, followed by everyone else. At last Derik and his mother were seated, two of the most picturesque steaks they had ever seen grinning back at them invitingly. Derik's mouth watered profusely as he stared at his; each of the dark grill lines holding warm juices. Immediately all of the prisoners picked up the steak knives by the blades, their gleaming edges causing deep cuts in their hands. They rubbed the blunt handles back and forth against the tender surface of the steaks, achieving no effect but splashing the juices onto the sides of the porcelain saucers that they rested on. Blood now began to stain the tan edges of the wooden table as the prisoners gripped their knives tightly, ravenously rubbing at the steaks in a vain attempt to cut them.
"Can I stop now mommy?" Asked Derik, putting down his knife, tears streaming down his face to make a diluted red puddle below him on the table.
"No Derik. We won't have another chance to eat until tomorrow, and I don't want to hear your crying later about how you're hungry. Now cut your steak."
Derik picked his knife back up, but something was wrong. The handle fit comfortably into his hand, he was holding it incorrectly! He looked back and forth before surreptitiously piercing the outer layer of meat with the blade, easily slicing all the way through and revealing a tender pink center. Derik climbed into a squat on his seat and lifted himself to the table top, unbending his knees as he rose above the score of heads. He held his knife incorrectly, standing on the table and drawing the undivided attention of his elders.
"There's a better way to do this!" shouted Derik. The crowd looked at him blankly."Hold it like this!". He gripped the knife by its handle and held it up high for all to see. Crooked stares filled Derik's vision. First of confusion, then of dismissive contempt.
"Get down from there," his mom cried. "Stop talking such foolishness!" Obeying his mother, Derik sat back down, disappointed. Another fifteen minutes or so passed of the prisoners vainly rubbing their steaks, then a bell rang.
"Let's go, dinner time's over!" shouted the guard. The prisoners promptly turned their sights toward Derik.
"It's all his fault!" shouted a man. "We would have had more time to eat if he hadn't interrupted us with his stupid idea!"
"We're gonna starve!" shouted one woman. They approached Derik, knife handles pointed towards his diminutive figure, and proceeded to bludgeon the boy relentlessly. The guards broke up the crowd, but it was too late-Derik was dead.