What follows is an excerpt from my new book Deep Penitentiary 6. DP6 is a campy throwback to 70’s “women-in-prison” cinema filled with action, humor, and robes inexplicably flying open. In this selection, assassin, Theta Butterfly, has gone undercover in a secret space prison to locate her missing sister. She is taken to Block B where she is introduced to her fellow convicts and the leader of their pack, Honey Bee.
DP6 is being released as one half of a pulp split-paperback with Shane Crash. We currently have a Kickstarter campaign going to raise funds to print the book. If you pledge to our Kickstarter you can get a copy of the book as well as some other great perks. Thanks for your support!
Theta landed in the middle of the steel deck. She felt the eyes burning into her before she even got to her feet. She sized up the room, making quick count. Eight women. All wearing the same drab gray prison robes and not much else. Which one was in charge? Theta’s eyes followed the other women’s gaze to the tall Nubian in the middle. Chocolate brown skin, large hanging breasts, and a bushy afro that hadn’t been in style for at least two centuries. Not very smart in a fight, where the key was to minimize surface area. One quick grab and the bitch would be on the floor, minus a handful of those kinky black curls.
The black woman stepped forward. “Well, look what the cat dragged in.” The other women circled around, but still kept an uneasy distance.
Theta cocked an eyebrow. “Nice to meet you, ladies.” She looked around. “You are ladies, right?”
Their leader sneered. “Name’s Honey Bee. I’m the queen bee around here.” Her big hazel eyes drank in the length of Theta. “Who might you be?”
“Just a girl looking for her long-lost twin sister.”
Honey looked around at the other women. “Any of you bitches missing a sister?” She kicked her head back with a laugh that echoed against the steel walls. The other women joined her laughter. A smirk pulled across the black woman’s face. “I guess that’d be a no. Looks like I’m the only sista around here.”
Theta met her smirk with a cool, casual nod. “Damn, that’d be just the kind of unlucky day I’ve been having.”
“So what does this sister look like?”
“Well considering she’s a twin, she looks a lot like me.” Theta shot up a finger. “Except for one thing.” All eyes closed in on her, as she pulled back her robe, revealing a tease of her naked form. “She’s got a birth mark right here.” Her finger swept around in a circle, just above her pelvic bone. “It’s cute, it looks like road kill.” She dropped the robe.
The black woman studied her for a bit. “Sorry. There’s no one here in this block like that. Maybe you’ll have better luck with some of the others.” She extended a hand. “Let me show you around.”
What did she take her for? Theta knew that game. Grab their hand. Pull them close. Bury a shiv deep in their back. “Not today.” Theta refused the outstretched hand, sliding past the black woman, walking further into the circular room that seemed to serve as a common area. There wasn’t much there: just a few plastic chairs, a chess board, some tattered romance novels, and an antique LED television playing an equally old episode of The Walking Dead.
“Bitch!” Honey’s voice cried out. “This is a small muthafuckin’ cell-block, and we don’t have any room for rudeness.”
“Then maybe you should take a long walk out of a short airlock.” Theta kept her eyes on the television, not for the show, but for the faintest reflection of the tall black woman closing behind her, hand tightly clasped around a six-inch long piece of sharp steel.
Theta leapt to the side to avoid the charge. She didn’t have to think. It was muscle memory, although her weak muscles weren’t cooperating all that well. The jagged piece of metal caught her robe, tearing it open. Oh well, she needed to lose it anyway. Too easy to grab onto.
Again the makeshift knife flashed, lightning quick, toward Theta. The ripped robe was flung toward the fast approaching woman as Theta rolled out of the way. She was surprised at how quick Honey was. Theta swept up one of the smoke-grey acrylic chairs and held it out in front of her like a lion tamer. It was fitting: this jungle cat had claws.
Honey stepped back, shiv held up in front of her. Theta circled her with the chair. She quickly took a sidelong glance at the roaring crowd. They kept a distance, something Theta was thankful for. If they all went for her at once, she wasn’t sure how many she could take down before they poked her like a pincushion.
The crowd cheered Honey as she advanced and they jeered the near-naked new girl who blocked another lunge. The knife cracked against the steel chair leg. The rabid prison women screamed at Theta. “Bitch!” “Ho!”
Theta charged forward, chair held outward. Honey didn’t flinch. “Come on; come on. Imma cut you down,” she growled. Theta threw all her body forward, catching the black woman in the chest and sending her sailing backward to the deck. The chair smashed as it hit the floor, the legs bending outward, pinning Honey to the ground and knocking the shank from her grip.
Theta worked to rip a loose chair leg from the broken seat. Just as she freed it, Honey jolted upwards, knocking Theta to the side. Honey grabbed her shiv and brought it down toward Theta. The clang of metal on metal rang out as Theta deflected the blow with the chair leg. Her long legs swung upward, kicking her opponent in her firm torso, sending her flying backwards.
The two women both regained their footing at the same time. Honey held her blade out menacingly. Theta was balanced and poised, holding the chair leg with two hands. It wasn’t a sword, the weight was off, it had no edge, but it would have to do.
Honey looked at Theta’s rail thin body, covered only in loose underwear. “Look at her. Someone needs to get this bitch a sammich.” The rambunctious crowd snickered. Honey’s free hand balled up into a fist held overhead. “How ’bout a knuckle sandwich … bitch.”
“Okay. You drop your toy, I’ll drop mine. We’ll finish this like real women.”
Honey nodded and opened her hand allowing the knife to fall to the steel deck. She shoved it with her foot, sending it skidding over to a prisoner with a tall orange mohawk, who picked it up. “You skinny bitch. You dead now,” the prisoner cackled at Theta. The assassin returned the gesture, by throwing the chair leg at her. It caught the punk right in the chest, shutting her up.
“Was that really necessary?” Honey held up her fists and cracked her head side to side.
“Yes. I’m a little sensitive right now.” Theta curled the tips of her fingers inward, assuming a leopard hand position.
“She does have a big a mouth,” Honey agreed, stepping forward and swinging at Theta with a wide right hook. Theta sidestepped and slammed her hand into Honey’s rock hard torso. The woman was surprisingly solid. Honey didn’t budge, but locked up with Theta, pummeling the white girl’s already bruised back with her right fist. Theta tried to maintain her trained focus, but each blow drove the pain deeper and deeper into her.
Catch the pain. Ball it up. Compress it. Let it out. Theta exploded, driving her foot into Honey’s shin, knocking her back enough to make enough room to deliver a couple of fast, focused blows right between her ample breasts. While Honey was stunned and gasping to regain her breath, Theta grabbed the afro and threw her down on the ground. The black woman’s robe flung open as she landed on the deck.
Her concern wasn’t on her exposed chest, but rather her do. “Oh, I know you didn’t just mess up my hair.” Honey’s eyes narrowed.
“Never bring an afro to a fistfight.” Theta rushed forward landing on top of her.
The two opponents again locked up and began rolling around on the ground, trading blows. Kicking. Punching. Clawing. White on black. Black on white. Their animal ferocity could not be tamed, only stopping when a sonic siren pierced the air.
Theta grabbed her ears to block shrill sound. Honey did the same rolling out from under her. All around them, the prisoners were recoiling from the aural assault.
As quickly as it came the siren clipped short. It was followed by the clack of stiletto heels, indicating the arrival of the Dark Mother. “Is this how you welcome a new guest?” the warden demanded.
The room didn’t respond. The other women knew better than to speak. Instead they picked themselves up and formed a line, heads bowed low staring down at bare feet.
The warden walked over to Theta, still on the ground, and put her boot on her bare chest. Theta groaned as the pointed stiletto pressed into her skin. The Dark Mother peered down at her with blank white eyes. “And you …” she twisted the sharp heel. “Your first day here and already causing trouble. Though that shouldn’t surprise given your history.” The warden lifted her boot and continued on across the room. She spoke with authority. “You all know the rules. You save the fighting for the arena. Your rations will be cut for the next few days.” She stooped low to pick up the discarded chair leg, examining it closely. With a swift swing she sent it sailing into the television, shattering the screen. “And television time is officially revoked.” She turned back to leer at Honey and Theta. “Guards, take these two reprobates to the isolation hold before I decide to stuff them down the trash chute.”