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     Teen Cops 'A Time for Redemption', p.4

       D Rossmaur / Actions & Adventure / Mystery & Detective
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Chapter 4
Finally, with all the paperwork completed, I could join the rest of the juvi population, only there was no one else. I was the first guest to arrive.
‘Wait here Mr Hunter please, while I welcome our other new arrival,’ said the administration clerk.
‘At least I’ll have some company,’ I whispered to myself.
I was curious to see who it might be and looked back over my shoulder to have a peek. To my utter surprise it was the mystery girl from the bus.
‘What the hell was she doing here?’

I offered a friendly smile as she approached which was acknowledged with a simple nod. Hey, it was more than I expected. The guard escorting her explained to the desk clerk that the bus driver had missed the girls name off the list and had to turn back. I bet Martinez was thrilled. As soon as she was checked in, we were both escorted to our respective cells. I looked around at the empty hallways hoping the place would come alive when the other inmates arrived. I was disappointed to learn that the boy’s cells were on the top floor, while the girls had the second floor. Damn it!
I called, ‘See you later,’ to the back of our mystery girl as she disappeared into her room.
I followed the guard up to my accommodation, where to my surprise, I was greeted by Warden Ellis.
‘Welcome young man to Mount Hood Juvenile Correctional Centre,’ said Warden Ellis as he shook my hand.
I did wonder if he’d be greeting every inmate in this fashion or was it because I was the first to arrive. We had met before during my interview but I couldn’t remember the warden being such a tall man. He virtually blocked out the sunlight as he stood in the cell doorway. The cells themselves were actually more like hotel rooms with a relaxed modern layout, minus the TV and mini bar naturally.
‘How do you like your new accommodation?’ he asked.
I jumped on the bed to check the mattress out before replying. ‘It’s fine thank you, sir.’ I could hardly complain.
‘I heard someone had a little fun during their bus journey to Gresham,’ he remarked with a sideways glance.
‘Yes sir. Nothing I couldn’t handle though,’ I replied shrugging my shoulders. Boy, does bad news travel fast.
‘I’m sure it was self-defence, Mr Hunter, but please make sure you confine that sort of boisterous behaviour to the gymnasium or sports fields in future,’ the warden said in his deep southern accent.
‘Yes sir,’ I replied.
I suppose it was his way of welcoming me. The Warden strolled off to begin his rounds, which was more of a dress rehearsal really as he walked past rows of empty cells before heading downstairs to welcome guest number two. I unpacked my things, which took all of thirty seconds, then stretched out on the bed to stare at the ceiling for a few minutes. I soon got restless and as my cell door was open, I decided to follow directions to the inmates lounge area, located in the west wing. The TV was already switched on inside and the guards were watching ESPN. Monday night football was on and I sat to watch it with them for a while, despite being more of a baseball man myself. I doubt the inmates would be permitted 24 hour access to the lounge area once the place got busy but, for now, nobody was asking me to leave. It did feel more like a holiday camp than a correctional centre on first impressions but I wasn’t naïve enough to think this was going to be an easy ride. No doubt every inmate would be assigned daily chores as part of their rehabilitation. I doubt Warden Ellis was someone who tolerated slackers.
One of the guards announced that dinner was ready over the PA system. I’d noticed that the canteen area was closed on my walk about, probably because it was hardly worthwhile opening up for just two inmates. Instead I was handed a plate of sandwiches and some chips to eat in the lounge area, but I still had to sit up at the table as there were standards to be set at Mount Hood. I assumed our mystery girl was eating in her cell as there was no sign of her.
Once the football game had finished the TV was switched off and it was time for lights out. I headed back to my room, washed and got into bed. It was only 10pm and I found myself lying awake for ages thinking about what the future might hold. The first night was very lonely with just me on the boys’ floor. Fingers crossed that things would improve tomorrow with the new arrivals. I started to wonder what my family were doing right now and felt sad that I was missing out on so much home life but it was far too late for regrets. I had to start looking ahead. My mother had sent me a new book to read all about advanced computer coding and, after a few chapters, I managed to fall asleep.

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