Tag Archives: Culture

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.


The Absolution Of Sins…Bandit Style

Previously on Bad Blood Bandits: Inspired by the spite that comes of being wrongfully accused and therefore wrongfully sentenced to clean toilets, Jackson spiked the Warden’s coffee with particularly strong hallucinogen. This being Charlie’s signature move the Warden responded by cutting off Charlie’s supply of narcotics. Jackson began to feel a little guilt at causing his friend to be deprived of the one thing that made this hellish place bearable.  

Part 5 of I Wanna Be Sedated

Not everyone who seeks redemption will find it but anyone
who seeks forgiveness can find redemption.

            Admitting fault was not a habit Jackson’s. Neither was helping anyone acquire narcotics yet there he was, sitting in the tattered and uncomfortable couch staring at a pair of Charlie’s grandchildren brainstorming for ways to smuggle narcotics in under the Warden’s nose.

Of course, he could have just walked into the Warden’s office and explained his guilt but since he was already in the doghouse after being falsely accused of assaulting an attendant, this was far from an option. As far as the Warden was concerned, he was getting off easy with cleaning very one of the 60-plus toilets in the building despite his bad back. A second incident in a week would bring untold retribution and chastisement on the old man not to mention admitting guilt; a fate worse than whatever damnation would be inflicted upon him.

He was still left with the problem of absolution –absolution, as far as Jackson was concerned, simply meant making the sentence for the crime null and void. Yes, Charlie was being punished for something he had no part in but if Jackson were to find a source outside of the Warden’s control the punishment would be irrelevant and therefore the crime would be nonexistent. The problem was,Jacksonhad absolutely no idea how or where to acquire drugs of any kind. Even a pharmacy to him was an abomination to the human immune system.

Absolution however, was taking a backseat in Jackson’s mind. The front seat was occupied by Charlie’s grandchildren ages 14 and 16 who seemed to be enjoying themselves too much. The two of them had stopped by most likely because they were bored and thought it was amusing to see Charlie struggle with memory. Sometimes they brought a friend to show off their patriarch like a zoo exhibit and, although there was much snickering had by whoever came to see the show, they usually seemed much too out of place to be having fun probably because they weren’t causing some sort of trouble. They had inherited Charlie’s knack for finding it even though it skipped their parents.

To move in any closer would be obvious and the last thingJacksonwanted to do was interrupt what seemed to be scheming. He knew the look on Charlie’s face when he was on to something and it was even more frightening to see it reflected in the children of his offspring.

His curiosity was pumping adrenaline through his veins. He tried to put his head back and pretend to go to sleep so he could focus on their voices and drown out the ambient noise of the Home but he could barely make out any words and just trying made it worse. To the untrained eye he might have looked serene and peaceful all the while a tempest was brewing in him with every word that he could not hear completely.

The voices tapered off and Jackson opened his eyes quickly and looked around as if he had been startled. Charlie was saying goodbye to his grandchildren with a warmth that was not there before although there remained some vestiges of awkwardness as there usually was in abundance.

Charlie hurried over to Jackson and tapped his shoulder like an excited child.
“My grandkids are brilliant! Who’d have known they came from such prudes!”
“Are you gonna tell me about it or just spout cryptic and uncalled for compliments about your grandchildren at me?” Jackson replied. Charlie looked around uneasily as Lars entered the room.
“Not here.”

As soon as they were in a safe retreat from any eavesdroppers Charlie explained that he could get his usual supply of opiates from his “brilliant” grandchildren who were in more trouble than Jacksonhad imagined and were most certainly Charlie’s decendants.

It would have been better forJackson to have found the solution himself- at least it would have made him feel better- but the result was the same: the punishment was averted and so the crime had ceased to exist.


The “Uncle George” Maneuver

(part 3 of I Wanna Be Sedated)

Previously on Bad Blood Bandits: After the burning of a guard’s foot Jackson is assigned by the Warden to clean toilets despite his bad back.

To the untrained eye, Charlie might have seemed erratic and unstable. While he was most certainly unstable, there was usually some sort of order to what seemed a mind of chaos. Jackson learned before long that Charlie used the same names for the same usual “operations”. For example, if he was talking about a breakout he would say something about a “Bronson” which probably had something to do with The Great Escape. If something were about to go missing you could hear him referring to the Rat Pack.

Most of these were references to movies except for the reliable “Uncle George”. It’s probably no surprise that Charlie had an uncle so happened to be named George and this uncle could always be seen carrying around a flask to “enhance the flavor of the drinks” and sometimes he “enhanced” other peoples drinks as well.

It was an Uncle George that Jackson decided would be his tool of vengeance and spite to teach the Warden not to give a bitter old man a job to do where he is left to stew in wrath and retribution.

After a week of carrying out his sentence he put his pieces into motion. Charlie moved on instinct, he had to since he couldn’t remember any of his plans and so he had vague ides of what would and wouldn’t work and when he saw an opportunity he took it. Jackson had to put his chess skills to work instead.

One night after dinner when and the Warden was working late everyone was engaged in their usual activity of staving off the boredom,Jacksonsaw his chance. Janine was working on her usual craft at a small table in the corner obscured a little by the fake ficus tree and got up for some reason with a mission. AllJacksonhad to do was rearrange her work space to get the desired result; it didn’t take much to set Janine off.

Meanwhile, one of the attendants was preparing the Warden’s coffee so when Janine’s return was announced by her screeching and wailing, all the guards in the immediate vicinity responded to the alarm in hopes to make it stop. This was the moment forJacksonto tamper with the coffee.

When everyone had miraculously persuaded Janine to calm down a little, the attendant in charge of coffee returned to his duty and all Jackson had to do was wait. It felt like the same kind of eternity as waiting for a pot to boil but soon enough there were panicked and surprised shouts coming from the Wardens office. Jackson could hear her yelling something about the lamp stand turning into a snake.

Jackson stopped by the kitchen to thank Virgil, Charlie’s narcotics contact, for scoring such a strong hallucinogen but thought it would be better not to acknowledge the relationship.

After all this time it’s a wonder people haven’t learned to watch their drink when “Uncle George is brought up.

Tune in next week to see who takes the fall for the Warden’s unexpected trip