First there is a punch. Then a knee to Lloyd’s ribs. His legs give out. Sharp fingernails hook his armpits. Drag him down a hall. He closes his eyes against the lights. Only glimpses the steel door as he is thrown past it. Within the cell is perfect darkness. Lloyd lies still. Catching his breath. Searching for serious injuries. His ribs ache but his breathing is smooth. The cold concrete floor soothes a swollen cheekbone. Miraculously, all his teeth are still in place. Toilet stench tells Lloyd to roll left. Onto a thin mattress with a pillow and blanket. Neither feels clean but Lloyd immediately falls asleep.
The caged bulb in the ceiling blazes. Forces Lloyd to wake. Confirm all assumptions about the cell. Steel door. Threadbare blanket. A second door was not, however, expected. In the wall opposite his bed. Wooden, with a doorknob. And the word NO burnt into it. With discomfort Lloyd stands. The cell is eight feet square. From its center he inspects the wooden door. For spy holes. Booby-traps. Acknowledges its perfect fit. No gaps for light or sound. Eyes the handle. Round. Do they think he is stupid? Go ahead. Open the door. Be free. How ridiculous. But Lloyd is curious. And already in prison. What more can they do? No hinges are visible. The door must open out. But into what? Another cell? Is someone next door? Lloyd knocks. No reply. He grabs the handle. A shutter in the steel door opens. Two eyes on the other side. Can you read? they ask. Lloyd steps back. Yes. What does it say? NO. What does it say? NO. The shutter in the steel door slams shut.