The Prison Center

A short story about a weird prison therapy where a woman undergoes a treatment as part of her sentencing. 

“Ms. Fern, if could please tell me how you arrived here?” he interlocked his hands together, resting them on his lap.

“How?” she said confused by the question.

“Yes, what circumstances and choices led you, here?” said Dr. Stevens.

“You mean, why was I sent to prison?” she asked.

“Shelley,” he shifted in his chair to cross his legs then proceeded, “may I call you Shelley?” she nodded, “This isn’t a prison think of it as a Center,” her leg had stopped bouncing, she was charmed by his casualness, “We are here to help you develop a healthy state of mind,” he said uncrossing his legs.

“If this isn’t a prison why do the windows have bars and why are there guards?”

“Well, the state requires us to take certain measures, but lets talk about you,” he leaned closer to Shelley as though he were about to confess a grave sin, “Please, tell me what were you convicted of?”

“Well, they said I murdered my son,” her eyes wandered from the concrete floor to her tan slippers.

“You use the phrase, they said, I take that to mean  you don’t believe you murdered your son?”

“Well, I didn’t mean to kill him it was an accident.” she shifted in her chair then crossed her legs again.

“Describe what happened.”

She sighed and rolled her eyes, but he grinned nodding as though he empathized with frustration.

“Well, it was morning I changed Doyle’s diaper then sat him in front of the T.V. to watch his shows. I was in the kitchen pouring some cereal when he starts screaming so I rush over and the T.V. is off. I press buttons and check the plug, but found nothing so I figured the T.V. blew a fuse. I told him its broken, but he kept screaming and I mean he was yelling! Loud! I tried everything to get him to stop, eventually, I grabbed his shoulders and shook him. I put him on the couch then checked on him an hour later, but he was blue and purple. It was just an accident.”

The doctor nodded then lifted his tablet, the screen lit up his face, “You were arrested for assault when you were fifteen, correct?”

“How are you going to help me?” she asked.

Dr. Steven pulled a syringe from his coat pocket then from his other pocket he pulled out a moist toilette.

“You see I offer a kind of therapy,” he walked over to Shelley then bent down, “but instead of having you lay on a sofa and talk about your childhood, I inject you with a something,” he wiped Shelley’s shoulder with the toilette, “it’s kind of like a virus.”

“Am i going to get sick?”

“Perhaps virus was the wrong word,” he stuck the syringe into Shelley’s shoulder then pushed down the plunger, “remember when you arrived and I took a blood sample,”she nodded as he removed the syringe then dabbed the area with the toilette again, “well, I fixed her genetic- your DNA- and, now, I’m putting it back” he grabbed a band-aid from his coat pocket, “now when these cells multiply your new DNA will spread,” he smoothed out the band-aid.

“How does that help me?” she said rubbing her band-aid.

“I hope it will help you see your crime differently,” he said.

“It was just an accident.” she said rubbing her shoulder.


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