The sky was cloudless and blue. The open yard stretched away some distance before grey walls, with row upon row of barbed wire, loomed up. To Travis, the walls looked twice a person’s height without the barbed wire. This place ain’t one that lets you leave, it’s a prison. He looked around slowly. The screen turned with him, showing all sorts of young women in shapeless orange or grey shirts and pants that reminded Travis of hospital scrubs. There were no shoes or socks for anyone, just a pull-on slipper. If this is a prison, why such a nice room and a t-shirt sleeper? His thoughts were interrupted as, from his perspective, a taller dark skinned woman approached.
She was about a head taller, travis estimated, and likely heavier than him. She was about as wide as she was tall, hair braided flat in cornrows along her skull. The orange jumpsuit barely seemed to fit as she got closer. Travis felt nervous at her hard-eyed approach. The sneer on her lips, and on the two smaller girls behind her had Travis suddenly very concerned. I wouldn’t want to take her on at all, she must weigh as much as a beer truck. He shook his head. Her. I’m in her. I’m just a rider.
‘You’re a Jiminy, Juminy.’ Suddenly, Travis, had had enough. All the confusion, anguish, and anger he’d been holding in since learning he’d died came roaring out. He turned around and screamed at the blank wall.
“Listen you lousy excuse for a television. I ain’t no Jiminy! I ain’t no cracker, or whitebread, or anything! So quit calling me that! I don’t even know what that means!” Everything seemed to stop, and Travis clenched his hands and jutted his head forward aggressively. “Come on, you got a bone to pick, asshat, bring it! I’ll shove your teeth so far down your throat, you’ll have to sit on something to eat it!” The silence was so complete that not even an echo from his tirade came back to him. It was like sound was just swallowed up. Travis’ anger passed slowly as the moment stretched to a minute, then two. It was a feeling like he was under a microscope, being totally laid bare, inside and out. He rubbed his arms, feeling chilled.
‘Okay, maybe that wasn’t a good choice. but seriously, you’ve never seen Pinocchio?’ The words scrolled in pink and yellow across the rounded wall. Travis thought he could feel a sense of amazement, and a little chagrin. How does the guy do that? I’ve read a few books and no one could make me feel words like this guy. ‘That’s because it’s not writing, exactly. You feel it like I was speaking to you.’ Travis thought about it for a moment.
“Really. So why the explanation now and not about,” he waved his hand irritably at the raised platform in the middle of the room, “all that.”
‘Ah, that. You see, any input on my part will influence how you act and react. Therefore, I can’t tell you. you have to figure it out and do the job, which by the way you’re not doing at the moment.’
Travis jaw clenched so hard he thought he might crush a molar. “I gotta fly blind in a place I don’t understand with a job no one can tell me about using a machine that no one will show me how to operate.”
‘That’s it in a nutshell.’ The letters spelled out on the wall in vivid yellow.