The vibration from the tram could be felt through the floor but the sound of the car itself was silent. Once again, for the twelfth time since lunch, a tourist car pulled up to the Plexiglas side of Bohdan’s cell and stopped so the ticket holders could get a look at the prison’s most famous resident. Bohdan the Vampire Ripper. Housed at this prison facility for over a hundred and thirty years, Bohdan had become the most famous resident of this now privately owned business.
Built near Topeka in eighteen eighty, the state owned prison was sold to New Systems Corrections Inc. in nineteen ninety three. It was then retrofitted to hold a tram line that could navigate through the building stopping at cells to let paid tourists view the inmates. Inmates that were now exclusively vampires. The venture was akin to a zoo, or a theme park that allowed visitors to view the attractions from a safe distance. Each cell had one side fitted with a Plexiglas that faced the tram and allowed the visitors a full view of the inmates housed inside.
The inmates didn’t care for it much, and made it as difficult as they could for the prison to profit off their crimes. The cells were set up as to have no blockages of view from the tram with the bed, toilet and table set against the back wall. The inmates had no choice but to be in full view when the tram lines stopped at their cells. And they stopped a lot. The trams ran from nine in the morning till eleven and started again at one and ran till six in the evening. The whole time, the inmates were on display. Not much to see, but tourists would flock to the prison to see the vampires in person, and many of them had fans.
Today Bohdan sat in the corner facing away from the tram and ignored the gawking spectators on the other side of the Plexiglas. The trams held around twelve people and the seats faced towards the cell. The tour took about an hour to get through the entire prison and the cars only stopped at certain places. The places that housed the most famous vampires, like Bohdan.
Inside the tram a woman vented her disappointment that the one vampire she came to see, the one she paid fifty dollars to look at, was facing the wall ignoring her. “If he doesn’t turn around, I’m asking for a refund,” the woman said.
“Did you look at your ticket?” an older man said. He was sitting two seats from her.
“No,” she replied.
“It says no refunds.”
“What kind of shit is this? I paid to see Bohdan the Vampire Ripper and all I see is the back of his orange jumpsuit.”
“At least you can say you saw him,” the man replied.
“I’m telling everyone I know this ride is a rip-off.”
“I don’t think that will do much good. We waited in line for an hour and there was another hour’s worth of people behind us. And this is a Thursday, can you image what it’s like on the weekend?”
“They don’t even have any rides here, other than this stupid tram,” the woman said. As she spoke the tram began to move again to the next area of the prison leaving Bohdan behind. As the car slowly moved along the tracks, Bohdan turned his head, almost as to say “Fuck you” and then turn back. For a moment, the woman caught his eye and she smiled, almost jumped out of her seat. “Did you see that? He looked right at me!” she said.
“Guess you got your money’s worth,” the man said.
“God, I’d fuck him in a heartbeat if I could.”
“Are you crazy? Are you one of those prison groupies who gets off on inmates?”
“He is so sexy, you don’t know, you’re a man,” the woman said.
“He murdered four, or was it five women, I don’t think he’s sexy at all.”
“There was no proof, I saw the movie they made on his life. All there was, was a letter that the pastor left.”
“He confessed,” the man said.
“They were starving him to death, anyone would confess under those conditions.”
“So you’re saying they’ve kept an innocent man, I mean vampire locked up here for over a hundred years?”
“Absolutely,” the woman replied. She was rubbing herself between her legs subconsciously.
“It’s a good thing they don’t allow kids on this ride,” the man said.
“Why do you say that?” the woman asked.
“They don’t need to see a grown woman masturbating after seeing her obsession sitting in the corner of his jail cell.”
The woman pulled her hand from her crotch and acted like she wasn’t doing anything.
Seven in the evening, after the inmates were fed, a loud clank could be heard on Bohdan’s cell door. He knew what this was, the guards were coming to get him. He knew the routine, he had to face the wall with his hands behind him so the guards could put on the wrist cuffs and chains. So he stood and waited for the door to open. With another loud sound, the door opened and three guards dressed in riot gear entered the room holding stun sticks and chains.
“Assume the position,” one of the guards said. He had to say it, the words were part of his job. He saw Bohdan was already facing the wall and the men approached binding the vampire and leading him out of the cell into the hall.
“What’s it this time?” Bohdan asked.
“Warden wants to see you,” the lead guard replied.
“She didn’t say.”
“I get really tired of these late meetings, why can’t she come visit me?”
“That’s not how it works,” the guard replied.
It took less than ten minutes to traverse the long halls to the elevator. From there, they went down to the main floor and walked again for a few minutes until they stopped at the locked door to the administration wing. When buzzed in, the group walked around the office space and stopped at the warden’s office and knocked.
“Come in,” the warden said.
The lead guard opened the door and led Bohdan to a seat on the opposite side of the warden’s desk. He was left in his chains and surrounded by the guards on each side and behind.
“Hello Bohdan,” the warden said. Her name was Kathy Coyle, a fifty something skinny witch with long thin grey hair.
“What can I do for you Kathy,” Bohdan said.
“Call me warden,” Kathy replied.
“Fuck you Kathy,” Bohdan replied. He had no respect for her at all, and didn’t really care what she thought about it. “What does my favorite lesbian queen bitch want today?”
“I want you to stop hiding in your cell, we have paying customers who drove a long way and paid good money to see you.”
“I know, I’m your number one cash cow around here. If it weren’t for me, you’d have no theme park/zoo at all.”
“Don’t flatter yourself, people will come from all over to see a prison filled with vampire criminals. You’re just the topping on the cake.”
“I’m the cake, and you can’t make me do anything, cunt,” Bohdan said with a grin.
“I can have them make a display case down at the shop and have the guards strap you to it. Put you in a nice Jesus Christ pose and face you towards the tram if I want. When we bought this prison, it was with the agreement and understanding that we needed special privilege to make it work financially. And that included a broad interpretation of the abuse code. I can basically treat you like a dog if I want. You are property that we use to make a profit, and if you chose to not play by our rules, we will make rules that will ensure we make money.”
“What? Tie me to a rack? Nice,” Bohdan said.
“Exactly, I have maintenance drawing up a plan right now. I have authorized the cost of the materials and they are going to weld something together. So unless you want to be chained to a bunch of angle iron and displayed like sheep at the fair, I’d suggest you play along and entertain our customers.”
Bohdan was used to being abused, but this was something new. The thought of being shackled to a welded steel frame and parked next to the Plexiglas really bothered him. For the last one hundred and thirty years, he had his meals provided for him and a warm place to sleep and had a relatively quiet existence. But now that the corporation was running the prison, his life became hell. More and more hell as they tried to increase profits. To the point a few years back where they would stage fights between the vampires like a gladiator’s to get more people interested in buying tickets. That was put on hold when one of the vampires died and the company contract was almost revoked by the state. Abuse was one thing, murder was another.
“If I play along, I want something out of it,” Bohdan said.
“What do you want?” Kathy asked.
“I want a woman, I have needs.”
“We don’t do conjugal visits here, you know that. And if we did allow it, we don’t provide sexual partners.”
“I can find a woman, I get a hundred fan letters a week. You wouldn’t believe what these women are willing to do.”
“No, actually I can, I’ve been in the prison business for thirty years. I know what these women are like, believe me. I’ve seen it.”
“Then let me have one, or two. Give me the chance to fulfill their fantasy, and let me get off once and a while.”
“Against the rules, sorry,” Kathy said. “You will do as I say or you will be forced, I don’t have to provide you anything.”
“I’m sure your patrons would prefer for me to engage them willingly. Not tied to a rack.”
“Actually, I think the rack would be more interesting. I could see them now, trying to figure out why you’re chained to this metal frame facing the window. When word got out, I could see an increase in ticket sales.
“How many more tickets can you sell? That fucking tram runs all day. I never see an empty car go by, they are always full,” Bohdan said.
“I’m thinking about extending our hours. I think we could sell tickets up till nine.”
“Nine? Are you fucking crazy? I need my privacy!” Bohdan snapped back. “I usually sleep during the day, but you fucked that up and now you want me acting like a zoo animal all fucking day?”
“If I had my way, I’d not only have you on display all day, but I’d put in a pay site so people could log in online and watch you sleep. Anything to increase our profit.”
“I have rights,” Bohdan said.
“As a vampire, technically you don’t. You know that.”
“I was a human before I was a vampire.”
“You had rights then, right up till you became a vampire,” Kathy said. “You tried to sue before, how did that work out for you?”
Bohdan sank back in his chair, he did try to sue for his rights back in the eighties. It went nowhere. According to U.S. law, vampires had very limited rights, basically the same as an ape in a zoo. Only the corporation had a few laws amended so they could take the prison off the hands of the state and make a profit. All the prisons had to do was feed and house the vampires and keep them reasonably safe. They had to provide blood products once a week to keep them healthy and have them see a doctor once a year. There were no social workers, just a few case managers that kept the books.
“Fine, I’ll do as you say, what can I do?”
“Do you want to see the plans for the rack?” Kathy asked. “I can have maintenance fax me a copy.”
“I’m surprised you don’t have a copy on your desk,” Bohdan said.
“Here is what I want you to do. When the trams are running, you are to face the window and let the customers see you. You are not to face away and try to hide. I am going to do random sampling of the customers and survey them to see how happy there are with the ride, you in particular. If I see a marked increase in the satisfaction rating, I will keep you off the rack. If I don’t see an increase, I’ll have it installed and then run the survey again. Either way, this company is going to make more money. Do you understand?” Kathy asked.
Bohdan nodded his head in agreement.
“Take him back to his cell,” the warden said. And the guards led him out the door and back through the halls to his cell. It was late, and he needed to sleep, he had a hard day ahead.