"We've got a new prisoner; he's on antibiotics for an infection. When do you want to see him?" a nurse in the infirmary asked the doctor.
"What's his name?" he asked.
She looked at the file,
"Mm, Riley Black."
The doctor choked on his coffee.
"Uh, Riley Black, he was most wanted in L.A. It says here that he's only seventeen. Here's his file." The doctor snatched it.
"Send him up," he said immediately. Was that a mistake? Would Riley recognize him? He didn't care; he just wanted to see him.
She went into another room, the doctor studied Riley's picture, and was on the verge of tears. He looked so grown up. He had been so close to seeing him only a short time ago, even if it wasn't under the best circumstances. Seeing those ice blue eyes again, those smooth, wavy, jet black, locks and hearing that voice. God, did he miss that singing voice of his. He read the review from the hospital and the holding jail as he waited for him.
"Open on fifty two!" the Captain said.
"Get up Fish, infirmary," he said to Riley.
He got up off the bed and was 'escorted' across the property into the infirmary building.
"Wait for the doc in here," he said as he closed the door.
The doctor just watched him from another room for a few seconds, and then he walked in.
"Good afternoon, Riley. I am Doctor- Scott," he said as he looked back up from his clipboard reluctantly. He had almost forgotten his name. "Get you're act together Gre- Louis," he told himself.
"Afternoon," Riley said sarcastically. He purposely didn't throw in the 'good'. They shook hands. Dr. Scott's fingers tingled when they touched. But he was shocked at how rough and scraped they felt, and it killed him.
"Smoke a lot Riley?"
"Until about four days ago," he sighed.
The doctor rolled his eyes and tossed him a cough drop, he could smell the tobacco from the next room over. He was not happy to hear that either.
"Probably not the best choice for a singer. More so for a belter."
"I know- wait, how do you know I'm a singer?"
"I'm a bit of a theatre bug. I've seen a lot of teen and young adult shows at that theatre Sitzprobe, most of which you had the lead in, 'Jeremy'."
Riley tried to hide his pride. "Really? Well, I hope you enjoyed them."
"Thoroughly. You and your trio are extremely talented, you've got some set of lungs."
Riley looked down and grinned. "Thanks."
"Did an inmate do that to you?"
He gestured to the scar on his neck.
"Oh, no, no, my 'land lord' I guess you could call him."
"Is he in this prison? I heard that your little hide away was invaded."
"No, Arizona. And good riddance to him."
"When's the last time you've eaten?" asked noticing how thin he was.
Riley had to think for a second, when he was at the warehouse for the last time, it had been almost two weeks but he had eaten a little bit in between. Then he was out for two days according to the hospital and was there for another few days where he didn't feel well enough to eat. He was at the jail for another week where the food was just too disgusting to eat. Riley hated math.
"A little over two weeks or something."
raised his eyebrows. "I'm telling you right now, you don't have to 'keep your image' or-"
Riley stopped him. "Round two," he thought. "I haven't been starving myself. I'm a dancer, I can't afford it, I need my strength. Do you know how hard it can be to steal food? The antibiotics ruined my appetite back in the hospital and jail and I was not about to eat that stuff that they call 'food'. I wouldn't have told you how long it's been if I was starving myself."
"I hope you're not lying, if you are and you change your mind, just tell someone, it's not something to hide. Well, you definitely need to put on weight, I'm talking like forty to sixty pounds, you're extremely malnourished, I'll have to inject you with a steroid everyday for a while. Next meal don't eat too fast, it'll make you feel like crap, and don't even think about refusing your food like you did back at your holding jail, I'll know. You can't afford to lose any weight. You've given the cops a run for their money over the past few years haven't you?" he asked.
"That's how I intended it to be. Why am I here exactly?" Riley thought it was a little weird that this guy was making such friendly conversation, maybe it was just a doctor thing or his personality.
The doctor turned around.
"You're antibiotic prescription still has a few more doses to go," he said as he filled the syringe with Riley's steroid.
"Why wouldn't they just bring them to my cell?"
"Well number one, it's just routine to see any new prisoners on medication or anything like that. And number two, because I think that you'll need more than that. From what I've heard, from what's happened to you, I don't think that you just have one scar, if you know what I mean. I want to know if your willing to talk with me. And truthfully, Gen Pop. skeeves me out. I always had stage fright, too many people stare at anyone who walks in there."
Riley snorted. Stage fright was a joke to him.
"You mean like therapy? Listen, I don't need that, I promise you I have not stopped eating," he said as he swallowed the pills.
"No, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking what you've been through, I mean your whole life."
Riley glared at him.
"You have no idea what I've been through."
"You'd be surprised how much you hear through the grapevine."
"I'd be surprised if you know a thing about me that my file doesn't say."
"I know what happened to you when you were twelve," the doctor told him gently.
Riley stared at him, and mentally ripped him apart.
"I would highly advise that you shut up before anything else comes out of your mouth," he growled.
"I'm sorry... But that's what a lot of people say, sometimes its good to get things off of your chest, give me your arm, please."
"Well I'm not that person, anyone of my friends will tell you that. I'm fine." Riley held out his arm.
"That's not what I heard from doctor at the jail. You didn't eat, sleep, heck you barely even talked and that's not from your meds. You do realize that for medical purposes, the police had to show me a certain security tape that they found of you the other night... You were at Spritzer with John Davingson-"
"Doc, I was just really stressed out-"
"No one, especially someone your age should be stressed to the point of a breakdown like that. Look, I've got time and you've got time, I think it'll help you. These things never turn out well without help," he said persistently, as he injected the medication into Riley's arm.
"Look I'm over what I've been thinking about lately. That's just sort of a bad day for me every year... The only thing that can help me right now is getting out of this cage."
Dr. Scott looked up.
"Well I can't do anything about that. But I really think you should do this."
"Mr. Black, please. I know my persistence is annoying but I don't want to end up watching from the sidelines. I cannot believe that California stuck you in an adult facility. You are seventeen! I'm going to personally file a complaint to the DOC, I actually don't think that this is legal. I can guarantee that you have under estimated this place. Medium security means nothing to some of these guys. It's not like in the movies, and I'm telling you right now that you will be glad that you have someone to talk to. I know how scared you are, it's my job to be able to tell that. This has only happened once before; a minor getting put in this place, and I don't think that I need to tell you how that situation turned out... I talk with the younger men in here, they agree, and they're all at least five years older than you. Besides, since you're a minor we can technically force you to do this, but I'd rather you go willingly."
Riley didn't need this, he wasn't going to be there for more than a week, and he had Rob to talk to and Rob had him. But maybe he could get something more than boredom out of this. This guy really wanted to talk with Riley specifically, he could bargain for something...
"Play along Riley, think of something valuable you can get," he thought.
"What do I have to do?" Riley sighed, giving in, as he rubbed his arm.
"You meet with me for at least forty five minutes every week." Riley glanced to either side of the infirmary.
"Throw in five cigarettes a week and you've got a deal," he said quietly. He missed tobacco; cold turkey was not working when he was this stressed out.
"What?! You do realize that as a doctor and a supervisor of inmates, I have to say no to that request, right?"
"Do you want me to show up or not?"
"You're not even eighteen yet!"
"Would you rather me be get beat up because I'll be snapping at people left and right because of how stressed I am? I am telling right now how short tempered I get, and I'm already short tempered when I'm in a good mood."
sighed, he thought for a minute, he had to make this happen.
"Three," Riley shot back.
"Fine, you see me once a week not counting your meds everyday... and you'll get your smokes, only three. And keep this on the down low, I'm not allowed to be doing this."
"Good, are we done here?"
"Yes, go through there and there'll be a guard waiting for you."
Riley walked out; something seemed a little weird about him. The doctor seemed to hide his face as much as he could, he looked down a lot, had his back to Riley whenever he got the chance. He didn't like to look him in the eyes, but at the same time, he loved talking to him, and that therapy thing, what was that?! He didn't think much about it, though.
"YARD TIME LADIES!" the Captain said into the microphone.
"Oh joy," Riley mumbled. It's not like he could work on choreography in this place. The cons lined up, and they started to make their way to the yard. They seemed to separate into sections, some went for weights, others basketball, a few for the bleachers they had claimed, and the rest formed groups all around.
"So who's got what out here?" Riley asked.
"Well Zab has got the bleachers with his posse, and then Fizz has got the basketball court. Murry over there has the weight station-" Rob continued on with the list.
Riley met eyes with the C.O he had paid for his P.I card. He signaled Riley to come to the fence.
"Here you go Fish, hot off the press," he said as he sneakily shoved the card through the fence and into his hand. He looked at the card, and made sure it wasn't just a laminated piece of paper.
"Thanks for doing business, boss."
"Don't mention it, ever."
Riley smiled and walked away. Riley, Rob and Mike stuck together and caught up with each other. Yard time ended on a good note and they were all cut off from the fresh air and pushed back into cells. The only good thing about that, it was almost meal time for Gen. Pop. Riley was starving; he scarfed down his plate. He didn't care how sick he would feel later, he'd gotten semi-used to it over the years. Rob looked at him.
"I guess I'm best friends with a horse."
"I'm best friends with a color blind half breed. This stuff is disgusting," Riley said in between bites.
"You literally finished that in a minute," he said as he looked at his watch.
"I haven't eaten real food in a month what do you expect?"
"Maybe you would like to enjoy it and slow down so you don't feel like puking your guts out."
"I have to get rid of these hunger pangs before I can enjoy anything."
Rob wasn't that hungry so he pushed his plate to Riley, which was gone in another two minutes.
"What did the doc give you?"
"A cocktail of meds and three cigarettes every week, I'll give you one we'll share the third."
"Nice man, you can keep the second, I know you're stressed. How'd you swing the smokes?"
"I gotta have a talk with him every week."
"Therapy? That's not you."
"That's what I told him, but the pros beat the cons."
They talked for the rest of the time, Rob pointed out some other cons and officers. Riley regretted eating so fast a few minutes after he finished the two servings. When they went back to their cells Riley slumped on his bunk and fell asleep, hoping his stomachache would be gone in the morning. His first day in prison was not his favorite; he did underestimate how intimidating it was.