[Episode] The Winter Bridge Mystery
Mon Jul 05, 2021 4:58 pm
December 25th, 1828
All of the prisoner’s gathered at this time of the year for a special banquet provided by the Warden of the Bridge, the man known as ‘Hunchback’. Hunch was a prude prick honestly, he’d often abuse inmates for not working hard enough.
“Another year in this hell hole…” the prisoner declared, shoveling the chunky styled mashed potatoes into his yapper.
“You’d think after we’ve work so hard they feed us something else other than Green Eggs, Ham and Crappy Mash Potaters” another inmate chimed in, re-filling his glass using a wooden pitcher.
Sitting in the corner of the room, the Doctor mulled over the years' events, making sure each of his portion sizes were nutritionally in line.
“Jud’s always like that during The Winter Festival every year. Such a sociable guy… Opting to eat all alone. What a strange tradition.”
It was odd. You could scan the dictionary a hundred times over and still wouldn’t use the word, ‘loner’ to describe the cocoa skinned doctor. Hair gelled slickly at an angle, a condition not expected of those placed in such strenuous conditions daily. Usually full of glee, spunk and warmth, the Doctor was indeed ‘cold’ on this one day of the year.
Murmuring to himself, “Fifty-five. I have to do better next year.” Slamming his hand against the table, the Doctor sighed in immense frustration. “Every year I try to reduce the casualties but this damn bridge… It keeps taking away good chaps’.”
A whistle’s tune carried throughout the holding cells of the Tequila Wolf’s men’s cells.
“Eh. It’s Jude…” one of the inmates whispered to himself.
Going from cell to cell, Jude would conduct full body inspections of the men’s body. His notes were extremely detailed, he could tell who gained weight, who grew in height, whose alcohol intake was too high and what communicable diseases lied in the future for those who’d simply given up on taking care of themselves.
Tequila Wolf was truly a hell hole. An endless project with no seeming end in sight.
“Larry. Look at ya’. You’ve put on fifty pounds in the last year. I told you. Smaller portion sizes, leads to a-”
“A smaller gut. I get it doc’. I get it. Ain’t gonna matter anyway. Look. As long as I can keep getting these letters from my kids… I can pass away in peace.”
Slapping his clipboard against the inmate's head, “I refuse your refusal of my diagnosis. I’m going to instruct the guards to cut your portion sizes down and I'll work out with ya’ myself during the rec time.”
The persistent glare in his eyes quelled the long time mafioso to a whimper of a budding pup.
“Alright alright already doc. For you, I will. Okay.”
Chuckling, the two men would exchange stories about their personal lives, Larry about his wife and kids, and his times in the mafia. For the most part, all of Jude’s inspections went along these lines, the guards hated because it seemed as if he’d humanized them in a way.
That factor made them hesitate on the treatment and protocols that the Warden enforced for ‘Work Time’. It was a hellish process, which involved manually lugging stone slabs from one end of the bridge to the incomplete section, and what made it worse was the endless sea in sight.
Most of the guys called it the Abyss.
The inspections continued and finally, Jude came to his final patient of the day. A stubborn street criminal by the name of Gordon.
Slowly opening the cell-door, Jude knew what would follow next. The fit began, projectiles flew effortlessly like pitches from a major leaguer running drills from the mound. Bed pans, concealed plates, pillows and sheets, Gordon even before being imprisoned despised doctors.
However, what thirteen year old likes going to the doctor.
The cruel reality of Tequila Wolf, abbreviated as ‘TF’ by the inmates, is that regardless of age, all prisoners are given the same treatment. Whether you’re a known crime boss or a petty apple criminal, the abuse was consistent.
Exhausted, panting in frustration, the Doctor, covered in scraps, approached the child in the same manner as always. Small increments, never more than two or three at a time, with open arms and a broad goofy smile on his face.
“You’re mean… Doc. How-”
Before the child even knew it, he’d been embraced in Jude’s arms. The guards privy outside the cell were suppressed by non-verbal signage from Croix to stand-down. That’s the thing, everyone respected Jude’s authority. He’d saved the lives of inmates and prison guards many times over the years, though the duality wasn’t always common at first.
“How am I supposed to resist treatment if you’re such a nice guy every time. It makes me look like trash.” the child declared, sniffling, grappling onto the Doctor’s shirt in frustration.
“The pain… It’s intensifying again, isn’t it? I’m sorry there’s nothing I can do for you with the equipment and resources I have available.”
“Am… I'm going to die, aren’t I Doc’?”
Shuffling his fingers through the child’s brown muffin top head, “All men must die, Gordon. However, if we keep fighting long enough and hard enough, maybe, just maybe, we can choose when or where we will die. That’s the dream. It’s tough, but that’s what being a man’s all about.
Sucking it up when things are flushing down the crapper. Treading water when the spirals cease.”
“Eh. Did you just make an analogy about living and related it to taking a shit.”
“Usu Usu Usu… Sure did.”
Astonished by the random silliness in the Doctor’s words, the loose gap in his mouth gave the doctor the opportunity to slip the medication down the kid’s throat. Choking promptly followed which Jude assisted with a paper glass of water.
“I did the best with the materials I had. It won’t get rid of your condition but it should ease the pain over the next few days. You have a rare bacterial disease, usually, very curable with the right conditions and diet but… The weather and nutritional choices in this shitter doesn’t really help things.”
“Thanks Doc. Sorry about earlier… I just lose my temper sometimes and it’s like I see ‘red’... It’s uncontrollable.”
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