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Klaus, Mark, and Dave : part 2 by thadeusz
Summary of the "Klaus and Mark" story
My name is Mark Tannenberg and I am a lawyer. When this story started, I had a brother named Klaus, also a lawyer, but he was two year older. We looked very much alike. Klaus was the bad guy and I was the good guy ! Our parents died slightly before the events described in this story started and we had not decided what we should do with their apartment since each of us lived in his own flat and had his own office.
Klaus was arrested and judged for counts such as money laundering, illegal transactions and tax evasion. He was also considered as being part of a mafia gang. He was sentenced to 20 to life in a High Security and Hard Labour prison.
He succeeded, with the complicity of the Chief Guard and others, to force me to take his place and he left the prison as if he were me. When I woke up, after being knocked down by my brother, I was in chains and in prison uniform. The Chief Guard took care of my long hair. He took a certain pleasure to shave my head while reducing me to an object of misery. He placed his hand on the top of my head and so doing he took possession of it and of me, not saying a word but forcing me to move my head in all the directions he wanted. I was in shock since I had heard the Chief Guard telling me that, as of now, "You are Klaus, an inmate of this HS prison." I told him that I was mark and that Klaus had just escaped, but to no avail: the Chief Guard told me that "Your brother’s friends have taken care of all the proofs". The Chief Guard did a good job: I started shivering whenever I saw him. In fact he had done well, considering the prison point of view, since he had tamed me. After shaving my head with brutality, the Chief Guard put on my neck a dog collar provided with a leash in order to "bring me back" to my cell. As a result I was no longer a free man: from then on I was prisoner number 175483, also known as Klaus Tannenberg, my brother’s name ! Moreover I was an obedient and frightened little man in the hands of the Chief Guard.
I very quickly learned, as a matter of survival, that prisoners wear a special "HS and HL" uniform. They must also remain silent except when they are in their cells and lights are on, and "lights out" occurs whenever the Chief Guard feels like it. When prisoners are out of their cells, they have shackles on their feets and they are handcuffed, usually in their back. Moreover when they are moved from one place to another, they must wear a dog collar, except on Sunday during the short free time prisoners have once a week. One can find more details in the "Klaus and Mark" story.
I was led to a cell where another prisoner, named Dave, was alone: he knew about my brother’s project but could do nothing about it. I must add here that Dave was a black prisoner while all the Guards were white people.
This forced transformation occured on a Sunday, only day of rest for the prisoners. The next day, I started my life as High Security and Hard Labour prisoner.
A strident sound woke me up very early the next morning. Dave, my cell mate, told me that it was like that everyday, Sunday included. I got some food and I ate all of it, knowing thanks to Dave that I would need lots of energy. Guards open the cell grid and told us to come out. Each of the Guards had a small whip attached to his belt and a solid stick in his hand. As soon as we were out of our cell we got shackles on our feet and our hands were handcuffed in our back. On top of this, each of us received a dog collar with a leash. Finally my right foot was chained to Dave’s left foot in order to "protect ourselves against any temptation of escape."
My first day as prisoner
The chain linking me to Dave made marching difficult and when I tried to say so, the nearest guard gave me a brutal lash on my face. He shouted:
"Outside your cell, you must keep silent, and you are supposed to know that after one week here. Now walk to the truck."
I did not know which truck, but I assumed that this had been explained the week before to my brother and that nobody tried now to tell me again. I also assumed that it was the truck taking the prisoners to the working place.
Too bad, I had not have any opportunity to bet on it: I would have won. It did not last long before Dave and I had synchronized our steps. We climbed together the little stairs placed by the guards, sat where there was a place and let another guard attach our leashes to rings placed in the truck. This way, the guards succeeded to push about 30 prisoners in the truck. I did not like it, but I did not know what I could do. As soon as it was full of prisoners, the truck started moving.
After a short time, the truck stopped and a guard released our leashes. We went down silently. There guards took care of us: they added to our uniform a short chain serving as belt to which they attached something that looked like a metallic flask and a metallic tiny box. Again I tried to know what it was and a guard gave me as only answer a brutal knock with his stick.
Dave and me were then lead to a place where two poles, placed near a huge rock, were waiting for us: the guards attached each of us, by his leash, to one of these poles. I was on the left and Dave on the right, we were still linked to one another by the "anti-escape chain". At this moment, the guards changed the position of our hands: they were now handcuffed in front of us in order to enable us to work. We received the necessary tools: Dave got a pickaxe while I got a huge and heavy hammer. All that occurred silently. No orders were given: we were supposed to know our job, so I looked at Dave who was not moving.
The Chief Guard passed by, took off my prison hat and stroked my shaved head, while saying:
"Prisoner 175483, are you ready to work now and pay your debt ?" and he placed his hand above my head and let it land heavily on top of it.
The only thing I could think of was to bend my head in sign of obedience and reply humbly:
"Chief Guard, this prisoner is ready to work as ordered."
"Then, at my signal, start breaking this big rock in small pieces to build a new road."
The Chief Guard took a whistle from one of his pockets and produced a strong sound, probably to be heard by all guards and prisoners of our section. Immediately a drummer started to mark a constant rhythm and Dave started to attack his side of the rock with his pickaxe. I followed with my hammer a few seconds later and got a third knock, on the chest this time, from a guard shouting at me:
"Keep the rhythm, prisoner. You are not here to rest but to work hard."
I started to lift the hammer and let it go down brutally on my part of the rock. Rapidly I was taken by the rhythm produced by the drummer and I did these moves following the sound of the drum. There was no end to it and it was exhausting. After a certain time (remember I had no watch), I was so exhausted that I decided to stop for a few seconds. Immediately a guard came, hit me and said:
"You are here to work, not to dream. Keep in tune with the drummer’s music and you will be better off."
I took my tool and started again to lift it and let it go down, then again lift it and let it go down, and again and again. And all that according to the drum. I went on and on, during hours probably. I was hot under the sun, sweating because of the stupid work I was doing, but I was no longer tired. I was no longer thinking. I let my body go, and I kept moving my arms in rhythm without thinking anymore. I was not only tamed by the haircut the Chief Guard had given to me and by the threats he had formulated, now it was more: my whole body, my whole personality was reduced to an engine "especially made" to lift and lower a heavy hammer, a mace, on the sound of a drummer. And all that to make gravel for a new road I will probably never see !!!
Suddenly, the powerful whistle could be heard. The drummer stopped immediately and Dave put his instrument on the side, he even dared to sit ! He looked at me, still working, and said:
"You can stop working now. We have a short break, the only one. You can sit, drink and eat. Do it fast because there will not be a second opportunity."
I followed my cell mate’s advice. There was a little bit of water in my flask and two slices of dark bread in my box. I drank and ate everything rapidly. I had just finished when the whistle could be heard once again and the drummer started again his dreadful noise. Without really thinking about what I was doing, I sprang on my feet, got hold of my hammer and started to create more gravel following the rhythm defined by the drummer.
From time to time, a lonely prisoner came with a wheelbarrow. We did not look at him, I simply remember that I thought he was lucky because he had a lesser painful task. And then I did not think anymore, I simply, mechanically, worked. But when I looked, the gravel we had made was gone with that other prisoner. Finally that drummer was helpful: it stopped me thinking !
Much later, the whistle was heard again. The guards liberated us from our poles, placed again our hands in our back before handcuffing us and told us to march, in step, towards the trucks. There the process was finally repeated backwards until we were again fastened to the rings in the truck. After a certain waiting time, the truck left and brought us back to the prison.
In the truck I fell how tired I was: the drummer was no longer making his dreaded noise and I could again think for myself. I fell asleep but before a guard could notice it, the good Dave gave me a helpful kick on my right clog: sleeping in the truck was not allowed for prisoners. We had to stand straight, with open eyes looking to the horizon. That’s what Dave told me later when we were back in our cell. In any case, I was exhausted. I don’t know how I succeeded to walk out of the truck according to the rules, walk further to the entrance of our cell and wait in the position of attention until the guards had freed us from all our chains and dog collar.
During our waiting time I thought about my prison hat, I don’t know why, but I was quite pleased to have it: otherwise under that sun I would be dead by now with my completely shaved head!
That’s when the guards started to take care of us. But the Chief Guard joined them. Once again he placed his right hand on top of my head, taking possession of his new toy and I started to shiver. The Chief Guard looked at me and said:
"I remind you, prisoner 175483, that we have an appointment next Sunday: I will shave your head once again and help you becoming a clean guy and a good prisoner."
The more he spoke, the more I shivered: this man made me sick and I could not resist him.
The Chief Guard then turned towards the two guards taking care of Dave and me and he asked:
"Did this guy behave well during work ?"
"Sir, he tried to speak and he interrupted his work once, without permission."
"So, prisoner 175483, you behave badly ! You do not realize that you are not a man anymore, just an engine to make your hammer move ! You are not better than a dog and you must learn that," and he turned towards our guards, "Guards, let him keep his dog collar permanently as of now. That will help him learning what he really is. And let him take his hat off when I speak to him."
The guards did as ordered and gave me a few knocks "just to let me learn". They then pushed me and Dave inside our cell.
This was my first day at work, at Hard Labour, and I had 20 more years to survive this kind of stuff. I felt filthy and I knew that it was not possible to have clean clothes: mine were disgusting because of my sweating !
Once in our cell, Dave sat on the floor, his back against one of the walls. He was also exhausted, but he was already used to this treatment. He told me:
"If you don’t adjust, you will never survive mate. By the way, I cannot call you Mark because your brother stole your name, and I don’t want to call you Klaus because that’s your brother’s name and he is a bitch. Let me call you Tanner, a short form of your real name."
"OK for Tanner. But are we allowed to drop like sandbags against a wall, the way you do. You told me not to do it."
"That was in the truck, Tanner. Here we are in our cell and we have light so we can speak."
"And when it’s light out, Dave, what are we to do ?"
"When they announce ‘light out’ you rush to lower your plank and you rest on it in silence."
"I was cold last night, could I ask for a blanket ?"
"A what ?" and Dave started to laugh ! "You are not in a palace here, you are in a High Security and Hard Labour prison. So don’t be ridiculous. No blanket."
"But why is it so cold ? It’s summer."
"It will be worse in winter, but you can survive if you do the right things. Don’t forget that our cell has only a grid in front, no walls, and a hole without windowpane but with bars at the other end."
"What should I do to survive ?"
"You work too hard Tanner. I looked discreetly at you. You gave your work all you could. Just do as if. That means move your hammer in rhythm, but don’t raise it too high and don’t lower it too energetically. In any case, the Chief Guard wants to punish you as much as he can: this could be a present from your brother or from his Mafia friends."
"Dave, may I ask what you did to arrive here ?"
"Very simple. My family was hungry, so I broke into a shop and stole some food. We had no money. But they got me, arrested me and sentenced me to five years here."
"Five years ! Remember I am a lawyer, and an honest one ! That’s too much if you stole some food."
"Tanner, look at me: I am black. But in one year I am out of here !"
That was the end of our discussion. It was ‘lights out’, so I pulled down my plank and tried to sleep on it, without blanket, without nothing. My dog collar, now permanent, was hurting. I tried to ignore it and rest. I decided that I would settle that problem the next day and since I was worn out, I fell immediately asleep.