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Scapegoat Wanted

Previously on Bad Blood Bandits: Jackson and Grant, out of sheer boredom, have constructed a makeshift distillery in hopes of passing the time more quickly. Meanwhile Josh, the new attendant let it slip quite easily to Jackson his growing suspicions that Charlie was doing the same thing. Jackson tracked down Charlie and saw no evidence of this.

   “I never even thought about it. I mean, I was working on another honey for these nosey good-for-nothing kids but that didn’t work and I noticed you an’ Grant getting together after dinner so I figured it might be something to look into.”

“How did you find out?”

“Jackson, picking a lock really isn’t that hard. It might do you some good.”

“So you broke into Grant’s room?”

“Yeah, easy enough. Took a few notes on his, your, paraphanelia and got the hell outta there. Ive heard the things he used to do to his kids, I didn’t wanna stick around to see if it was true.”

“Then you started making your own.”

“Anybody ever tell you your life was wasted on being anything but a Seamus?”

“A what?”

“A detective, idiot.”

“I know what a Seamus is.”

“Then keep up.”

“I’m keeping up just fine Charlie, if you started makin’ moonshine, why isn’t it here?”

“Well, after that new kid John, or Jack or whatever-“

“Josh”

“Yeah him; after he came and started talking to everybody like he cares and

gettin’ into everybody’s business I couldn’t have that stuff in my room so I made a deal with the janitor.”

“The drunk?”

“No Jackson, the sober one. Yeah the drunk. Anyway, the deal is: I make the stuff in his closet and share half of it with him. Everybody knows he keeps some sauce in his closet.”

“But making his own? That’s a bit rich”

“It’s not too far of a stretch, if he’s caught, people will just think it was worse than they thought.”

“You mean if you’re caught.”

“If HE’s caught, I wont have anything to do with it. Besides, he has way to much

dirt on this place for them to fire him.”

“But Josh already thinks, hmm, knows you’re into this.”

“Then it’s a good thing I have an exit strategy.” Charlie widened his lips to show that self-satisfied grin he wore usually before he was busted for something and a sick feeling began to creep into Jackson’s stomach. He knew Josh was determined to have a clean watch and he already knew someone was up to no good and as long as he found someone he would be satisfied.


Pride Will Always Refuse Love

Previously on Bad Blood Bandits: After snooping around Grant’s room due to boredom induced by an absentee Charlie, Jackson had found a still. Grant caught the snoop and the two struck up an uneasy partnership.

Grant had come from a long line of moonshiners so there was a perfectly good reason for him to remember the name of Eliot Ness. During Prohibition, his family kept mostly to themselves (Their mistrust of the Irish went back as far back as the Old Country) and so avoided the unwanted attention of the FBI.

It was Josh, the new attendant, whom Grant and his newfound partner had to avoid now. Avoiding attention was much easier when the guards genuinely didn’t care any more than they had to in order to avoid getting in trouble with The Warden but this one needed skill at avoiding authority. Jackson, having spent years around Charlie, was well-versed in the art.

The pair had only one insight about Josh: that he cared- or at least pretended to care for some sick reason- about all residents, or “raisins” as they were called by the other guards (attendants). He would spend his breaks listening to their stories or passing out what little mail the residents received. They usually only had mailers or credit card offers but even so, it had become an unspoken competition between them to see who had the most mail because somewhere in their decaying minds the idea that mail equals love or at least a demand for attention and, even if it was a credit card company, someone in the world wanted them for something.

The problem for Jackson and Grant was that, with all the attention Josh was giving the “raisins”,he would even sit down at each of the tables and talk with them and if he didn’t have a chance to talk with everybody, he would walk them to their room (something Grant found out the hard way when he tried to avoid him the whole meal and ended up with Josh almost in his room) so it had become harder to sneak fruit back to the room without him noticing, much less using it as the subject of a poor attempt at conversation. He could tell that these two wanted nothing to do with conversation and he had heard so much about Jackson and Charlie. With Charlie gone hermit, Jackson was his only victim of curious and awkward conversation.

What made Josh even more desperate was their constant evasion of him. They were like the one sheep worth leaving the other flock. Nothing makes someone more desperate to give love than someone who will not receive it.

This, the two bootleggers discovered, could be used to their advantage. It was agreed that one of them would distract Josh with some bogus story about their past. They were careful to keep playing hard to get with him to keep him interested so the other could sneak out to the still with what ever fruit or sugar they needed for their science project.

It worked well until one day, Josh confided in Jackson. “I think your friend Charlie might be making alcohol in his room.”
Tune in next week for some good old-fashioned backstabbing…
…or maybe even just regular stabbing!


The Proper Use Of Gunpowder

Previously on Bad Blood Bandits: Jackson, worried that his son might be leaving his wife went to the Warden armed with vodka to extract information since it was she who had the conversation with his son in the first place. We learned that his son was not leaving his wife but rather that he was an ass. We did not learn what Charlie was doing to distract the guards to enable Jackson to have this little chat and that is why we are here today…

 

Finale of Our Father’s Sons

…After getting the information he needed from the Warden, Jackson waited for her to descend into a drunken stupor slip out of the office. As much as a relief as the slight truce was, he would have preferred not to spend any more time with her than he had to.

Charlie, on the other hand, had been quite enjoying himself. Having acquired an assortment of party poppers, he’d distributed them to the vegetables (the residents of the home who were losing their minds in one way or another) and since each one discovered what the string was for, the guards were quite occupied by the sporadic pops and showers of confetti.

Jackson found the old trickster in what was at one time a somewhat comfortable chair in the corner of the common area from where he could enjoy his handiwork; his face glowing with accomplished contentment.

“Considerate of you to include the vegetables.”Jackson said after he had lowered himself to a wooden chair.

“Hmm?” Charlie turned to Jackson as if he were distracting him. “Oh, well all they need is a little opportunity.”

“You still have some on you?” Jackson nodded to a vegetable whose party popper had somehow avoided confiscation.

“Yeah, have at it.” Charlie dumped the remaining few in Jackson’s lap

“I’ll hide these before they start looking for the source.” Jackson discreetly stashed them in his pockets and raised himself out of his chair.

“Suit yourself.”

It wouldn’t be safe to say that Jackson was particularly happy. However, after witnessing Charlie at his best and hearing that Genevieve, one of the few bright lights in his sons life, was not being forced out of it he did feel a measure of peace.

The Wardens vodka probably didn’t hurt either

Peace is always short-lived. Tune in next week for more chaos.


Vodka Is A White Flag Of Truce

Previously on Bad Blood Bandits: A middle-aged man showed up provoking a feral reaction from Jackson and was overheard by Marylinne saying something about him “leaving Geneva”. Jackson, having failed to get any more information out of Marylinne has had to resort to a conversation with the only other person to hear the conversation: the Warden. Who revealed that the middle-aged man is his son.

Part 4 of Our Fathers’s Sons

Bottle in hand, Jackson slowly made his way to the desk and sat opposite the Warden as he had done so many times after attempting escape. This time he felt almost an ally since both of them had to tolerate Jackson’s son in their lives.

“I saw he came to visit last night.” Jackson said, knowing he couldn’t play dumb to the Warden, especially when it came to his son.

“Yeah well you must have done a number on him to have him turn out that way.” The old man tensed a little and waited for her to take a hit from her glass.

“Well that’s why I’m here right? So I can dump my kids on you.” Jackson replied, careful not to antagonize her. He would have to get used to her making jabs like that, they only get worse as the bottle empties. She poured him a much smaller drink than hers and pushed it over to his side of the desk. He never drank that much but he knew better than to refuse a temporary peace offering drink from a somewhat functioning alcoholic.

“And somehow he seems to think he’s making YOUR life miserable.” She shook the glass in tight circles before taking a hit.

“Did he mention Genevieve?” Jackson asked directly trying to avoid the elephant in the room that Cam had staggered up against.

“Genevieve? Who’s that?” The Warden looked like she was being dragged out of her buzz to be made to think.

“His wife.”Jackson replied and kept quiet and still, letting her mull it over a little.

“Oh yeah, he did mention her. You’ve not a bad memory for a raisin your age.”

“You remember a bit more when you’re sober, or so I hear.” Jackson tilted his head back and killed the drink in the glass; better to get it over with all at once than to drag it out. He made sure to keep the glass close so she couldn’t refill it.

“How’d she end up with him anyway?” Cam went back to shooting the breeze.

“She was a girl then. Something about being married to an ass makes you grow up.” Jackson waited for the conversation to lull again until he tried asking again. Did he say anything about leaving Genevieve?” Cam thought for a second.

“Yeah, something about leaving her with the kids and having to get back to her. Like he really cares.” Jackson was relieved. He had what he had come for: his son was not about to leave his wife as the information from Marylinne seemed to suggest.

Next week: See what sort of mischief Charlie has been up to. I’m pretty sure there was gunpowder involved.


Marinate, And Interrogate

Previously on Bad Blood Bandits: Jackson tries to escape and is yet again foiled by an attentive guard. On his way in he seems to have recognized a middle-aged man. The Next morning at breakfast Marylinne mentions something about hearing that middle-aged man say that he was “leaving Geneva”. Charlie and Lars arrive interrupting any attempt Jackson might have made to find out who Geneva might be.

Part 3 of Our Father’s Sons

The relentless leisure-bickering between Lars and Charlie had preventedJackson from getting anything more out of Marylinne and after breakfast wasn’t much better either. He ambushed her as soon as Charlie and Lars parted ways in amid amicable verbal abuse.

She was surprised at Jackson being any more interested in what she had to say. He didn’t normally care about gossip and so this sudden and enthusiastic interest made her a little uncomfortable. She only liked to talk about the goings on at the Home and was quite content to stay out of them.

“It just looked like you knew him and so I thought you might know what he and the Warden were talking about.” Her eyes darted everywhere but Jackson’s face.

“But did he say anything else!” Marylinne backed away from Jackson’s inquisition and stuttered “I-I didn’t hear.”

The moment was gone. There was no chance of Jackson getting any more out of Marilynne than he already had even if she did hear more. The only person left that heard the conversation was the Warden and she was not exactly on friendly terms with the old escape artist. This would need a certain finesse with the aid of Charlie

The mission: data extraction, the method: intoxication, the mark: Warden Cameron AKA “Cam” Haight. That night Jackson requested two things of Charlie: a distraction and a bottle of Stolichnaya-a particular favorite of The Warden’s.

It wouldn’t be hard to convince the Warden to imbibe in a certain grain beverage. The hard part for Jackson would be to deny his pride.

Charlie did his job causing some sort of distraction involving what sounded like party poppers. Knowing Charlie, he would have the creativity to ensure the complete irritation of the guards on duty. This left Jackson with the difficult task of feigning remorse.

He opened the door to her office without knocking but held out the bottle first as a white flag.

“You cant bribe me with what I can get myself now get the hell out.”

“I came to apologize.” You would never know the burning angst inJackson’s chest at not only having to admit wrong and by proxy, defeat.

“Well it’s nice to know I’m not the only one driven to drink by a visit from your kid. Siddown and open the bottle before I remember who brought it.”


The Hell With John Galt, Who’s “Geneva”?

Previously on Bad Blood Bandits: With more than one opportune distraction provided by the usual trickster, Charlie, the usual escape artist, Jackson, made one more attempt the convalescent home only to be foiled by a guard. On his way back in he saw a familiar middle-aged man.

Since he had been awake most of the night,Jackson was eager to get to breakfast if only to do something other than sit in his room. Normally he would have made his usual post-breakout attempt sulk in Charlie’s room but this time his mind was much too occupied.

He attempted to cure his busy mind with coffee since he was the first at the table. Coffee, however, does not calm the mind, it only excites it as if a slew of bumper cars were given a boost and everything rumbles around for a while.

The pot of muddy liquid at the table was halfway gone by the time Marilynne sat down kitty corner from Jackson. She didn’t mind much since she was the only one at the table that drank tea. She did mind that Jackson had not noticed her.

“Lars won’t be happy when he sees that coffee almost gone.”Jackson made no move. He only sat there staring at his cup.

She tried again. “Who was that man talking to Cameron* last night? You looked like you knew him.” There was another long pause. At this point he had, in fact, heard Marilynne but his thoughts were scrambled enough by the coffee he had taken mostly out of boredom and didn’t need any more distractions; especially since Charlie and Lars were bound to be interrupting him soon enough and there was no ignoring them.

“He must have been very confused, he thought he was in Geneva . I mean, he must have since he said he was leaving it. Do you think he was The Cameron’s crazy son?” Jackson didn’t really hear the rest of her rambling and what she said hadn’t fully sunk in until it was too late and the other two joined them.

“There you go again Charles! What did you do this time to perturb the attendants enough to only give us half a ration of coffee.”Charlie hated it when Lars called him “Charles” and Lars knew it.

“Lars, buddy, ya gotta start talking to people like they’re at least part human. Who knows, maybe they won’t treat you like a stuffed shirt.”

Jackson hadn’t completely heard what Marilynne said and, if it was what he thought it was he would have to do something perhaps as horrifying as confronting Janine: talking to his son.

 Next time on Bad Blood Bandits: drunkenness…that is all you need know.

*the Warden’s actual name (psst! she hates it and woulnd much rather prefer “Cam”)


It Runs In the Family (It Practically Gallops)

“Pack and get dressed, before your father hears us.
Today we escape.
We escape.”
-Radiohead “Exit Music (For A Film)”

Part 1 of Our Fathers Sons

Images of Russian Gulags and Communist guards populated Jackson’s moderately furnished cell-sized living quarters and disappeared when he closed his copy of A Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovitch.

His son had given the book to him “for his birthday” in the summer (Jackson’s birthday is in January). Jackson assumed he did it out somewhat out of spite but mostly as a way of rubbing his current incarceration in and never thought his father would actually read it so, out of spite, Jackson read it. He didn’t read it right away because that would give the impression that he was bored and in need of entertainment (which he was). His son really wouldn’t know when he read it or even if he read it at all but made all the difference to Jackson. It was a matter of pride.

What necessitated the closing of the book was the frantic entrance of Charlie in his room. The boyish satisfaction in Charlie’s face and the screams of what sounded like a Banshee emanating from down the hall told Jackson enough. Since his mischievous friend had discovered a new source for contraband, he had seen Charlie receive much more unusual items than mild narcotics. In this case, his teenage grandchildren delivered unto him a small rodent of some sort which he promptly planted in Janine’s room once his delinquent descendants had delivered said contraband. This was the source of the Banshee screams.

It was a few moment when Jackson’s instincts kicked in and he saw the ordinary Charlie prank as a small opportunity. Since most of the guards (attendants) were occupied the delicate task of getting Janine to stop screaming they were likely to have left the parking lot surrounding the Home unattended. The front door would still be too heavily populated so he would need Charlie to serve as another distraction.

“Charlie, we’re in business.” The boyish satisfaction graduated to a devilish glow. The two of them rooted around the cell for a pinch of salt and made their way to the dining hall.

Luke was patrolling the last obstacle between Jackson and freedom. The large space of the dining hall being empty would make it hard for him to cross I unnoticed. This was why he brought Charlie and the salt. Luke would surely have no mercy on either of them since they had marred his good looks on more than one occasion. This was exactly what Jackson depended on. He directed Charlie to make sure Luke saw him slip the powdery white substance.

The vain attendant played into Jackson’s hand like the idiot he took him for –no doubt he assumed Charlie was attempting an “Uncle George”) and while he was busy interrogating Charlie Jackson made his move past the vacant lobby and out the doors to the smell of fresh air.

His small taste of freedom was cut short by a fresh batch of jackassery from none other than Donald who was faithfully standing guard outside the entrance and promptly stretched his foot out to trip the old escape artist.Jackson’s leg collapsed and Donald collected him from the cold concrete.

The defeated old man was marched back inside holding his wrist, bloodied a little from the fall. He recognized a well-dressed but rugged looking man in his mid forties on his way in. At the sight of him Jackson covered his wrist and straightened himself up. His new gait suggested that he had nothing better to do and he ignored the rugged middle-aged man.

…to be continued.

*A prank of Charlie’s that was well-known among the guards involving the spiking of someone’s drink.