AN EXCERPT -
Your day at Mercury begins at 5:00am with the siren. You will collect your soap and towel and any other necessities and proceed to the shower room. Your shower is not to last longer than seven minutes. Remember, cleanliness is your best defense against infection. Following your shower, you will return to your cell. At 6:30am, you will proceed to the dining hall for your first meal of the day.Onita flipped to another page.The following is a list of prohibited items: Cocaine, Crack, Marijuana, Alcohol, Heroin, Scissors, Knives, Forks, Pens, Guns, Money, Syringes, Stamps, Weapons of any kind. All controlled substances are strictly prohibited. Anything that is not sold in the commissary or issued by this institution is prohibited.If any prohibited item is found on or around the person of any inmate or in her cell that inmate will be subject, depending on the item, to a penalty ranging from the loss of television privileges for a predetermined time to isolation for a term not exceeding two weeks.Onita skipped to another section.Visitors are required to dress appropriately. Visitors dressed in revealing clothing will be prohibited.Visitors under the influence of drugs will also be prohibited and visitors may be subject to strip search.Onita threw the rulebook across the cell. That shit was not straight. Who the fuck was gon come visit if they had to wear church clothes? It was bad enough she was in the middle of nowhere. Trina and the others wouldn’t hardly know how to get here.Onita picked the book back up and put it in her locker. Maybe throwing the damn book was against the rules too. Maybe there was even a rule about where you were supposed to put the book, on top or inside the locker. She took it back out and flipped through it. On page two it said she could keep a cup and one other item on top her locker, nothing about the rulebook. Sheeit. Onita put it back inside. Ain't no mistaking where she was now. She flopped down on her bed and stared up at the ceiling. She was on the second floor of cell-block Number Five. The soap and towel she had been issued were on a shelf. The rulebook had explained that, for the first month, commissary items would be credited to her. Whatever she earned at her prison job would be put to her commissary account and when she had paid off what she owed, a quarter would be set aside in a savings account for when she left. Jobs were not mandatory but there was a two for one policy in effect. Every two days she was at a job counted for one day off her sentence. In twelve months she would qualify for an extra ten days off if she had not violated any rules.
According to the rulebook, she could mop floors or she could work in the laundry, the garment factory, the kitchen, offices and other areas. Prisoners could also earn favorable parole reviews by attending programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, parenting classes and vocational skills courses. None of those options set her on fire but the thought of getting out early did. Moon Dog would have less of a chance to get sent up or offed by anyone else the quicker she got back to him. Only the thought of living long enough to kill the motherfucker kept her alive. If she had done what she set out to do on Horley Street, she would have turned the gun on herself. That was her intention.THE WATER OF SUNLIGHT
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