California State Prison, Corcoran

The chair made a guttural scraping sound as he pulled it towards him. The same sounds, always, everyday. Rubber soles. Keys jangling. Rustle of institutional clothes that made you hyperaware of the sound of everyday clothes. The same smells too, antiseptic but with food smells mixed in. A floor cleaner that your school used from back when you went to college. Not unfriendly, nostalgic even.

Here, where everything is labelled and in its right place.

Oscar is waiting. Not uncommon, really, there is a procedure here to everything, and sometimes those procedures take time. The waiting time is a good space for thinking; Oscar does some of his best thinking at these times.  During one of these thinks he realized that his organization system for files could be more efficient if focused on index crimes, rather than last name. Or that the mouse models for behavioural systems simply had no relevance to solitary confinement prisoners in supermax.

Or that his marriage was over.

When the prisoner is finally ushered into the room Oscar finds the sound of his shuffling feet comforting. Stable and predictable. He expects to wait some more as the prisoner makes himself comfortable, but prisoner Hanssen is ready in no time, eager to say whatever it is that he has come here to say.

Well Mr. Hanssen, what can I do you for today? Oscar is convinced that his casual manner wins him points with the prisoners.

Hanssen stares at him: I want to confess to a crime.

 

 

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