A group of men sat around in a loose circle of chairs about 10 feet wide, beneath scalding white florescents. They were all dressed in orange jumpsuits emblazoned with long strings of numbers, besides one man in a green turtleneck and thick rimmed glasses. The man looked down past his glasses at the list of names on the clipboard in his hand.
“Okay, very good, Michael,” Turtleneck crossed a name off the list. “Now Tyrone, it looks like it’s your turn. Please tell us a little about yourself and, if you’re comfortable, explain how you got here.”
An African-American man, about 7 feet tall with the build of a heavyweight boxer and/or small grizzly bear, stood up. The flimsy folding chair he was sitting on sighed in relief. “My name is Tyrone. I’m 23, from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and I’m in here because I killed my girlfriend after I found out she was sleeping with another man. All I gotta say is you don’t fuck with me, shit is gonna turn out alright.” Tyrone’s eyes darted around the rest of the circle before he sat back down, the chair buckling under his weight.
Turtleneck unflinchingly checked Tyrone’s name off of the list. “Okay, very good, Tyrone. Who’s next, who’s next, who’s next?” Turtleneck tapped unrelentingly on the clipboard with his pen. “Ah, Rick. I think you know the drill by now, so tell us about yourself.”
The man to Tyrone’s left stood up. He was aging, but still devilishly handsome, with a beautiful, perfectly coiffed head of hair marked with streaks of silver. Long story short, he was a goddamned hunk. “Hey, how are you men doing?” The man hummed in a low, comforting southern drawl. “My name is Rick Perry, govern…. former governor of the great state of Texas. I’m 65 and a proud, God fearing Christian. I have a beautiful wife of 33 years, Anita, and two darling children. I sure don’t want to forget about my four dogs, who, might I say, are the cutest little scamps God ever put on this green earth. Now that I shared a bit about myself, might I say that it certainly was nice meeting you gentlemen. Y’all have a nice day.”
Rick started to sit back down before Turtleneck interrupted, stopping him mid-sit. “Excuse me, Mr. Perry, but if you don’t mind, could you tell us why you’re here? It is healthy for men in your… uhm… situation to be open with this sort of information.”
“Fair enough,” Rick stood back up. “I was sentenced to 109 years in prison for abuse of power and coercion.”
Sharp gasps shot through the room.
“I wanted someone out of office, so I vetoed millions of dollars of funding to her department if she didn’t resign,” Perry said, popping the collar on his jumpsuit. “She didn’t resign, so I cut her funding. Motherfuckers better stay the fuck back or else I’ll ‘cut your funding’ too. Get what I’m saying, you punk-ass bitches?”
The other inmates couldn’t believe what they were hearing. Tyrone was so taken aback that he fainted on the spot, falling from (and subsequently breaking) his chair. “That is quite enough, Mr. Perry!” Turtleneck blurted out. “Out of all my years as a counselor, I have never been so singularly offended! Now, for the sake of the other inmates, I would ask you to sit down and refrain from any more storytelling!”
“Aight, whateva, brah,” Rick sat down in his chair and crossed his arms. He muttered something under his breath along the lines of “bitch ass motherfuckers” and “shit, cumgums knew what they were getting into” as the rest of the inmates recovered. They tried to console each other, offering their neighbors hugs and a shoulder to cry on.
“I… I don’t really know if we can salvage this current session. Sorry, Tyrone,” Turtleneck got up and patted Tyrone, who was currently on the floor in a fetal position, on the back. “I guess I will see you on Thursday, gentlemen.”
* * *
Rick sat on the top bunk in his cell, looking through his reading glasses at a musty issue of Playboy from 1987. The front cover had a bare and shapely blond woman flashing a fake smile. This smile was meant to catch the eye of lonely men passing the newsstand, but it really hinted at her desperation; how she had to stoop this low to pay for her rapidly waning collegiate ambitions. That she had to debase herself for millions in order to better herself. The back cover was a full page ad for Harry and the Hendersons. He was carefully separating two fused together pages when he heard a rapping on his cell door.
“Wake the fuck up, Perry,” boomed a man’s voice. Rick looked down from his magazine to see Tyrone standing outside of his cell, tossing a nightstick between his palms.
“What do you want, Tyrone?” Perry asked Tyrone in an unenthused tone before looking back at his sticky pornography. “It’s not like you can do anything to me in he-”
Tyrone put the key into Rick’s cell door and turned it. The door slid open. “Can’t we just work this out like the two civilized adults we are?” Rick took off his glasses and hopped down onto the cold concrete floor.
“I’m not a good guy. I’ve done some bad shit. You can murder people and rape them and sell drugs to children without me batting an eye. But when you abuse your power, make a mockery of the government, and betray both this great nation and the state that trusted you to uphold its laws and do what is just and right for its people? That’s when you’ve gone too far, motherfucker,” Tyrone said as he lumbered toward the cowering Rick Perry. “Stand up, Perry. I wanna see how you look when I bash your skull in.”
“If you insist,” Rick said slyly as he broke off one of the arms of his glasses. Rick stood up straight, lunged forward, and plunged the broken piece of his glasses into Tyrone’s neck. Tyrone let out a shriek of pain as blood ejected from his severed veins, covering Rick and pooling on the floor of his cell. Rick stood up and dropped the broken glasses on the ground. “Now, back to my book,” Rick grabbed the girly magazine from his bed and sat on the edge of the bottom bunk. “It’s a shame that I can’t read this fine periodical, since someone broke my glasses.”
Tyrone gurgled something in protest. A few seconds later three burly guards armed with T.A.S.E.R.s burst into the cell. “Get on the ground!” One yelled.
“Alright, alright, hold your danged horses,” Rick sighed as he put his magazine down and dropped to his knees. The guards bound his hands with zip ties and dragged him past the cells full of terrified onlookers toward the solitary confinement wing. Rick smirked. They had gotten his message.
* * *
Rick laid back against the wall of his plain concrete cell, devoid of all furniture besides the weird toilet/sink combo thing that is probably wildly unsanitary. He was stroking his bristly beard which made him look even more ruggedly handsome than before, if that is even possible. He stroked and stroked his fine-ass beard for hours before a knock came from the thick steel door. A small metal slit slid open and two beady eyes peered at Rick.
“Your week’s up, Rick,” the eyes said. “Time to rejoin the living. Think you can play nice this time?”
“I think I can manage,” Rick said through a smug grin.
The lock whirred and clicked in compliance as the door swung open, ringing through the hall of the prison. The guard cuffed Perry and paraded him toward the cafeteria, since as far as Rick could tell it was about noon. The room was buzzing with conversation and the clanging of metal trays on plastic tables. The guard let Rick loose into the rabble of orange fabric. Instead of heading toward the lunch line like the guard expected, Rick walked toward a table in the center of the room.
“Excuse me, gentlemen,” Rick stated politely as he patted two of the table’s occupants on the shoulders. They didn’t hesitate to comply. Rick grabbed their trays, leaped to the top of the table, and clanged the two trays together. The room went silent as all eyes were on Rick.
“Howdy, my fellow inmates and fellow Americans. My name is Rick Perry, and you probably know me best from a recent… altercation that I was involved in,” Rick waved at Tyrone. The crowd focused on the man with the bandaged neck and dumbfounded expression for a couple of seconds before their eyes were back on Rick. “No hard feelings, Tyrone. We cool? Anywho, that certainly was an unfortunate incident, but I think that some good came out of it. You men know that I am a man of action who doesn’t sit idly by, which I think is exactly what we all need. This country… uhrm… correctional facility need a strong leader, a man of conviction who sticks by his values. What this prison needs is a president, and that president should be yours truly.
“If I am elected, I’ll do three things; First, I’ll ensure that the cafeteria has better food than this slop, which I wouldn’t even feed to a pig. I mean seriously. Prison food, what’s up with that stuff?” Rick chuckled, a few people joined him. “Second, I’ll ban sodomy to help preserve the sanctity of traditional marriage within our correctional system. And finally third, I’ll…. uhm…” Rick froze. “I’ll… well uhm, dag nab it…”
“Make sure that we get newer weightlifting equipment?” Someone blurted.
“I mean, sure, but that ain’t it…”
“Give use a more sanitary place to make prison wine?”
“I mean, why not? But that still wasn’t what I had in mind… well, I can’t… uhm, the third… oops,” Rick stumbled, but quickly recovered. “Anyway, you can trust me to do a buncha good stuff. I’m sure my opponents, whoever they may be, won’t deliver on their promises like I will. I’m a man you can trust, because how could a three term governor not make a great president? It’s just simple arithmatics, people. Now, when election time comes, remember that it’s time to get the Federal Correctional Complex of Beaumont, Texas working again.”
Rick jumped off the table and was followed by a wave of thunderous applause. Former Governor Perry went on to become the first president of the FCC Beaumont. Every 4 years, Rick hit the campaign trail, and every 4 years he ran unopposed. Every election season his victory was touted as not just a victory for him, but for the Republican Party, traditional moral values, and America as a whole. In 2123, at the tender age of 174, Rick was released from prison, resigning and passing his office down to his vice president, Kanye West.