tagLoving WivesDoing 'Hard' Time

Doing 'Hard' Time


The unlovely buildings of the Benton Correctional Facility squatted on the edge of the desert and within its electrified borders there dwelt a combustible mix of a thousand men.

All of them had been found guilty of offences meriting serious time.

It was no holiday camp.

The governor of Benton, John Reynolds, lived in a secluded house in an affluent area twenty miles away. The grounds of the house were extensive and the governor was talking to his wife Marcia over lunch one weekend about the difficulty of maintaining them. How Styles (their regular gardener) was doing a great job when he came each week but was knocking on in age now for the more strenuous of the activities required to keep everything in good order.

"Those half-rotting trees, for example," the governor pointed out.

Marcia nodded vaguely. She was only half listening.

"We really have to get rid of them," the governor said.

"I know, John, I know."

"Hey, how about we put it on the program?"

"What do you mean?"

"The RUN program, honey. You know."

RUN - 'Release Unless Negative' - was a scheme which allowed the freeing before standard minimum term of those prisoners who had shown consistently excellent conduct during their time inside and who posed zero threat to society.

But there were strings.

Inmates accepted onto the program were licensed for day release on certain designated afternoons over a period of six months to do various bits and pieces in the vicinity. Only if they passed muster with this would they receive a positive overall assessment and be allowed full and final exit from BC.

A negative meant back to square one with no second chances.

So possible to fail, yes, but it was unusual nevertheless. A guy 'on the run' (how this status was colloquially referred to) was highly motivated not to mess up and the tasks required, benefit-the-community things like sweeping the streets, helping out in the communal parks and such, weren't exactly rocket science.

It was, all in all, a scheme which worked well. Governor Reynolds had instigated it approximately three years ago and he was proud of his baby.

"I know what it is, John."

Marcia's tone was playfully affectionate, recognizing this hobby horse of her husband's, recalling the countless times he'd held forth on the subject. Although exactly how the program operated, she wasn't sure, since whenever he went into the finer detail of it she tended to switch off.

The governor smiled at her fondly. Marcia was his second wife. He'd been married to her for six months and he absolutely doted on her.

Marcia was decades younger than him and she was very beautiful. She was out of his league - a fact that he was delighted to admit to all and sundry - and not a day passed by when he didn't thank his heavenly stars that she was with him and seemed content to stay that way.

Did Marcia exploit her husband's adoration a teeny bit sometimes?

Sure she did. She twisted him around her little finger.

But he didn't mind. He got plenty in return. His lovely young wife ran the house and their social life superbly well, and she did certain other things superbly well too. That John Reynolds looked forward to going to bed each night, for example, was something of an understatement. The governor was a happy man.

"Ok, so we have one of the guys come by and do a few hours out there. We get a great looking exterior, he gets another small step to freedom... Neat, huh?"

Marcia could see that her husband was pleased with himself.

"Sure, hun, good idea."

"Course, it will mean having him here," said the governor.

The governor regarded his wife carefully as he said this. Despite his power and status, the fact that his word was iron law around BC, he'd never do anything of significance involving house and home without her approval.

Marcia's mental wheels were spinning.

She loved John and was happy enough being married to him; however there was only so much shopping and socialising with girlfriends, going to the gym or the country club, that a person could do and she'd been getting rather bored with life lately.

The more she mused about one of the prisoners coming to work at the house the more she liked the prospect. Certain possibilities sprang to mind.

"But just for a few hours, right?" she said.

"Yes, darling. Just be for one afternoon. Weekday afternoons is when we schedule the outside activities."

"And he'd be supervised by one of the guards?"

"No need for that. Point is to demonstrate that they can be trusted."

"But can't they just up and run?"

"Never happens. Like I've told you before, Marcia, they're tagged. Get caught in no time. Besides, why run when you'll soon be out anyway if you play your cards right?"

"Guess that's incentive enough to behave themselves," Marcia acknowledged.

The governor nodded vigorously.

"Believe me, it is. You know how it works, sweetheart... any trouble whatsoever and they're busted back and looking at a full stretch."

Marcia was looking settled and satisfied now.

"Ok, so great."


"Sure, hun."

"So I'll go ahead and fix that up, darling girl, will I?"

Marcia smiled serenely across the table and nodded her consent.


The following Friday, Governor Reynolds came home with a file.

After he'd showered and changed, he presented it to his wife along with her usual pre-dinner campari soda.

"You're looking great, honey," he told her, as he handed her the drink.

Marcia smiled up from the sofa. She was wearing sprayed-on jeans and a bright pink tee-shirt. She knew exactly how delicious she looked.

"Oh, and what's this?" she said, taking the file.

Her husband fixed himself a large scotch on the rocks and joined her on the couch.

"Take a look," he suggested.

Marcia flipped quickly through the file. It contained half a dozen pages, each of which gave brief detail on a particular BC inmate: name, a head photo, age, what he was in for, time served and time still remaining.

"What exactly am I looking at?"

The governor swirled his drink and took a generous mouthful before replying.

"What you're looking at, sweetheart, are the candidates."

"The candidates?"

"The guys who are eligible to come and work at the house. That thing we talked about, remember?"

"Oh my god, yes!"

Marcia did remember. It hadn't been mentioned since first mooted and she'd thought that perhaps the idea had been dropped.

She was glad that it hadn't.

"Ok, so those are the candidates," the governor repeated.

"I see. Right."

Marcia resumed her study of the file, this time with more focus.

"I've screened out all the murderers and rapists."

"Thank goodness for that!"

The governor chuckled and sipped at his scotch.

"So, of those, who do you think?"

Marcia's eyes widened.

"I get to choose?"

The governor smiled indulgently at her.

"If my wife is agreeing to be on the same premises as one of these guys then at least she ought to have some input on which one."

"Well if you put it that way," grinned Marcia.

She put her glass down so she could really concentrate on the 'candidates'.

"Ok, him," she announced after a few minutes of silent appraisal. She removed a single sheet from the file and passed it over.

"Jack Vickers?"

"Yeah, he seems fine to me."

Marcia tossed the file down and looked expectantly at her husband. She'd selected the youngest (he was thirty three) and most physically attractive of the men on offer and she was a little anxious about his reaction.

But she needn't have worried.

"Good choice."

"You think?"

"Yes. Vickers is an ok guy."

"That's good to hear, hun."

"Plus he got on RUN pretty early and he's more than halfway through it, which means if he's negative he has five years to do instead of just a couple more months, which means..."

"Which means he's gonna be doing a spectacular job when he comes here!" Marcia interrupted gleefully.

"You got it, sweetheart. He'll be super keen to impress."

"We'll have the best looking place in the county!"

The governor laughed at that and got up to refresh his drink.

When he rejoined her on the sofa, Marcia snuggled in close and she kissed him long and softly on the lips. Her hand crawled up his thigh and into his lap.

"I think something is stirring!" she giggled.

The governor was panting slightly and his own hands had started to roam.

"C'mon, baby, let's go to bed," he grunted.

Marcia wriggled away, laughing.

"Dinner will be ready soon," she teased.

"Screw dinner!"

"Rosa will be ecstatic hearing that."

Rosa was their cook and housemaid. A robust Mexican woman of indeterminate age who'd been with them since just after they married, Rosa lived in and was therefore always on duty. The only exception to this was the one day each week when she went to visit her son, a longish trip which had her leaving the house early in the morning and not returning until late the same evening.

The governor grinned and gathered himself.

"Anyway, look, we should finish arranging this," Marcia said.

"The thing with Vickers?"

"How is it gonna work exactly?"

The governor nodded, businesslike now, and laid it out for her.

"Ok, so he'll be driven here after lunch by one of the guards, dropped off at two say... then he'll be picked up again later at about five... three hours should be enough for what we need doing."

"Doesn't the poor thing get a drinks break?" Marcia said, raising an elegant eyebrow at her husband.

"It's not meant to be a picnic, darling."

"I know, hun, but still... hot work out there... guy's gonna need something cold to keep him going."

"Ok, so Rosa can take him out some iced water. Or lemonade or something if there's any going. Hey, you maybe know this already, but no beer. Alcohol is totally verboten. Just water or lemonade, Marcia, ok?"

Marcia rolled her eyes.

"I'll be sure to tell Rosa that," she said, deadpan.


"Like if he asks her for a six pack of bud... or a vodka martini over ice with an olive... I'll make it clear that that's just not on the agenda."

"Ok ok," said the governor, raising his hands.

Marcia smirked happily at him.

"So, when?" she asked.

"Next week is what I'm thinking. Sooner the better, right?"

"But what day?"

The governor paused to think for a moment.

"Should we say he comes Tuesday, same day as Styles?... That way Styles can tell the guy what to do and he can supervise while he's doing it."

Marcia shook her head.

"Not such a great idea, darling."

"Oh?... Why not?"

"Well, you know Styles. He'll get kinda flustered about having someone else around out there. No, honey, that's not going to work too well."

The governor was about to argue the point but thought better of it.

"Maybe you're right. But weekends are out, and Mondays we don't do any program stuff, so if Tuesday is no good that only leaves three days open... what about Friday afternoon?"

Marcia shook her head again.

"I have my mother coming over then and you know how she likes to yabber to all and sundry. Wouldn't want your guy exposed to that, hun, would we?"

The governor cracked a sardonic grin.

"Not if we want him to get any work done," he said.

"Which we do," said Marcia.

The governor gave up gracefully.

"Ok, sweetie, you tell me. What day is best for you?"

"Wednesday," Marcia announced firmly.


"Yes. Wednesday. I'll go through things with Styles the day before so I'll be able to tell Vickers what we want doing. I'll supervise him a bit too. You know, make sure he's doing stuff right."

"But Wednesday is Rosa's day off, sweetie, have you forgotten that? It'll be just you in the house."

"I know, hun, but it can't be helped. Look, it'll be totally fine. Be better if Rosa was here, sure, but I can handle it. Honestly, darling, I don't mind. Thursday is the only alternative and that's no good because I have my tennis lesson."

"Thought you had that on Mondays," protested the governor.

"Fact, I'm sure you do... like last Monday you told me all about..."

Marcia held her hand up.

"I've changed it, darling."


"Mondays are becoming a real bore at the club, hardly anyone around, so starting next week I've switched to Thursdays."

(She made a mental note to call the club at the first opportunity and move her lesson to Thursday.)

"Ok, but that shouldn't matter," the governor persisted.

"I'd have thought it does matter."

"You don't have to hang around the whole time if Rosa is here. You just need to be at the house to meet and greet the guy, explain the job to him, and then again at the end so you can sign off on his form to confirm everything went ok, and in between you can go and do whatever... I'd do it myself if I didn't have to be on site all day."

Marcia drained her drink and took her time before dealing with this.

"My lesson is at one thirty."

"Can't you move it?"

"Not really. They're pretty blocked on Thursdays. Hard enough getting that slot in the first place."


"See the problem now, darling?"

"Mmm," said the governor reluctantly.

"So that leaves Wednesday."

Marcia had a triumphant gleam in her eye.

"I suppose it does. And it leaves my darling wife completely on her own all afternoon with one of my convicts."

"Who isn't the violent sort, right?"

"No... true... he isn't."

"And who is going to behave impeccably and do a fantastic job out there and not give me a moment's trouble... on account of the fact that if he hacks me off in any way I put it on his appraisal, and I tell you all about it, and he gets failed and has to spend another five years in jail instead of getting out well before Christmas when it's already now middle of August... do I have that a hundred per cent correct?"

"You do," admitted the governor.

His wife could be very persuasive.

"Ok sweetheart, if you're happy with that I guess I am too," he said.

(He wasn't, frankly, but had decided to let it go.)

Marcia grinned smugly.

She leaned into her husband, intent on another smooch, but they were interrupted by Rosa entering the room and announcing that dinner was served.


At precisely two o'clock on Wednesday afternoon the car pulled up to the house.

"Quite a place," said Jack Vickers.

"Yeah," grunted the guard, killing the engine. He took off his sunglasses and tucked them into his breast pocket.

"Still don't understand why we can't wear shades," said Jack.

The guard didn't respond.

"Why is that, Jennings?... Why can't we wear shades when we're out doing this stuff?... Scared we'll look too cool?"


Jennings wasn't in the mood for conversation.

The two men sat in silence for a minute or so.

"So, we gonna get moving?" asked Jack.

"Boss said to wait here. The wife will come out and tell you what you're doing."

Shortly afterwards the front door opened and Marcia emerged.

"Ok," muttered Jennings and both he and Jack got out of the car.

"Hi," said Marcia, offering her hand first to the guard.

"It's Jennings, isn't it?"

Jennings nodded.

"Hey, Mrs Reynolds."

Marcia turned to Jack.

"And you must be Vickers."

"Yes, Maam," said Jack.

He doffed his baseball cap and they shook hands.

Jack was surprised. He'd expected the governor's wife to be bland and middle-aged (rather like her husband) but here he was looking at a woman who was younger than he was.

She was a looker too. A classy, well proportioned brunette. The appeal was downplayed by the hair tied back and the absence of makeup, by the baggy slacks and even baggier top she was wearing, but it was undeniably there.

Marcia by contrast wasn't at all surprised. Vickers was just like his photo. No Brad Pitt or anything, but definitely more than ok, and despite the standard prison issue garb she could tell that he had an excellent physique.

Not bad at all, thought Marcia. She congratulated herself on her selection.

She told Jennings that she was fine, that she'd see him back there at five o'clock, and he nodded and got back into the car.

The guard drove off, leaving Marcia and the prisoner stood together on the driveway.

"So... Jack... you ready to get started?" she said, smiling brightly.

"Sure thing, Maam."

"Gosh, all this 'Maam' business... wouldn't you rather call me Marcia?"

Jack shrugged.

"They said to call you Maam."

"Because I'm the governor's wife?"

"I guess."

Marcia stifled a giggle.

"Ok, I suppose I can get used to it. Let's go out back and I'll show you what's what."

She moved off around the side of the house and Jack followed, fighting to not imagine what her body looked like under the rather unflattering outfit she had on.

Such thoughts came naturally to a man who'd been forcibly incarcerated in an all-male environment for what seemed like an eternity but they were thoughts which did him no favours, especially when they featured the wife of the governor, and thus if at all possible were to be suppressed.

And was it possible?

Just about, if he used his favourite technique, which was to think about what he'd order for dinner the first night he got out of BC.

Still, this Marcia Reynolds was a babe and Jack was kind of relieved that she was dressed down the way she was.

They'd reached the back of the house and were looking out over the grounds.

"That's the thing," said Marcia, pointing at a row of unkempt and sickly looking trees running up one side of the main lawn.

"We need them cut down and then chopped up for collection. You think you can do that?"

Jack nodded. The job would be more onerous than he'd been hoping but he reckoned he could manage it in the time.

His spirits drooped slightly, however, when Marcia showed him the axe propped against the trunk of one of the trees.

"You don't have an electric one?" he asked, careful to keep any hint of complaint out of his voice.


"A power saw. That'd get through it easier."

"I'm afraid not, no."

Marcia bent to lift the heavy implement and had to put it down after a few seconds.

"Won't this do? It feels pretty powerful to me."

"Guess it is too," said Jack, taking it off her and hefting it himself before placing it on the ground in front of him.

"I'll leave you to it then," Marcia said.


"I'll pop out later to see how you're doing."

"Ok, Maam."

"Oh just one thing."


"It's pretty hot out here. I suggest you lose the overalls."

Jack was unsure how to respond to this.

"Ok?" said Marcia.

"Um, I don't have that much on underneath."

"Don't worry, sugar, I won't mind."

"Ok, Maam... thanks," mumbled Jack.

He was thrown by the suggestive remark and he didn't really know what he was thanking her for.

Marcia remained standing there, looking at him.

"So go on then... your overalls."

The flirty tone had disappeared, replaced by a crisp note of command.

"Take them off."

"You mean now?"

"Hey, what happened to the 'Maam'?" Marcia snapped.

What the fuck?

Was she kidding around?

Jack decided he'd better proceed on the basis that she wasn't.

"I'm sorry, Maam," he said meekly.

"Because you don't want me to put 'rudeness' on your report, Jack, do you?"

"No, Maam."

Damn right he didn't. Something like that could easily spell a 'negative'. It didn't bear thinking about.

"Thought not," said Marcia.

"But taking these off... you mean do it now, Maam?"

"Yes, sugar, right now."

Seemed that something was happening here - exactly what Jack wasn't certain but he sensed the potential for trouble.

Whatever, the important thing was not to antagonize the woman. He was close to getting out of BC - very close - and was determined to do nothing to compromise that. Sixty days until he was free, if he got through the rest of his RUN time ok, and he was damn well going to!

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