Chapter 1
Statesville Prison
Illinois-2011

Kitty

“Mother must be spinning in her grave,” Kitty muttered, as her chauffeur drove up the long driveway to the main entrance of Weston State Prison. “The daughter of a daughter of the American Revolution visiting her husband in prison. My mother would die of shame, except that she’s already gone. Thank God she didn’t live to see this day.”

The tall, distinguished black man, with salt and pepper hair, who drove for Kitty Lancaster, glanced into the rear view mirror. “Excuse me, Ms. Lancaster, Ma’am?” I didn’t catch that.”
“Nothing, Beasley. Just drop me at the front door, if you would, and then go and park the car,” Kitty replied.
“Yes‘m.”

Kitty opened her purse and took out a Tiffany makeup mirror and checked that her perfect hair was perfect and that her flawless makeup was flawless. She was not beautiful in the classic sense but she was often referred to as handsome. Her hair, a deep auburn, was styled twice a week. Her personal trainer made certain that she kept fit and trim. Preferring the French designers, her couture clothes were Chanel and conservative.

Gathering her furs about her Kitty shivered as the shiny black town car pulled up to the front steps of the cold, granite building. It wasn’t particularly cold outside but still she trembled when she thought about what she was required to do today. This was the administration building of the Illinois State Correctional Facility for Men. She had been directed to this place by her attorney for her first visit with her incarcerated husband.

Beasley exited the car, trotted around and opened the rear door for her. Kitty stepped out and stared at the heavy doors where an armed guard stood just inside.
“Ma’am?” Beasley asked. “Are you sure?”

Kitty was silent. As much as she loved her husband, Edward, she wasn’t certain she could do this. She could just imagine the filth, the criminals and the potential violence that awaited her.
“Ma’am?” Beasley repeated.
“What?” Kitty snapped out of her reverie. “Oh, yes Beasley, thank you, I’ll be quite all right.” Kitty straightened her posture and with chin held high, she walked up the steps and through the doors.

The first thing she noticed was the smell and all the other women that waited in the lobby. It reminded her of a DMV office with the uncomfortable chairs and benches. The same smell of old cigarettes and Pine Sol. Along the back wall was a counter manned by a woman in a correctional officer’s uniform. Unrelieved black trousers and tie with a shirt that must have been white and crisp at some point. Her hair was short and frizzy.

She was talking on the telephone and ignored Kitty. Kitty walked to the counter amidst snickers and mumblings from the other women waiting and watching her. Still talking into the phone the woman guard pushed a clipboard over in front of Kitty. Kitty ignored it, tapped her manicured fingernails on the counter and stared at the woman.

With a beleaguered sigh Anne spoke into the telephone. “Hang on a sec.” She covered the receiver with one hand and shoved the clipboard closer to Kitty. “Sign in, please.”
Anne turned back to the phone and continued telling her friend “…so I go over there to the garage and the mechanic says….”
“Excuse me.” Kitty interrupted.
“Hold on again,” snapped Anne. “Sign in and then go have a seat.”
Anne took a closer look at the woman standing in front of her. “You haven’t been here before, hav’ya?” Anne turned back to the phone, “Gotta go, I’ll talk at ya later. Yeah, see ya at Smitty’s at seven.”
Anne hung up the phone and turned to the back wall, gathered several sheets of paper and then turned back to Kitty.
“You’ll need to fill these out. After you’re finished, bring ‘em back to me and sign in here. Be certain to write in the full name of the inmate you are visiting. Who are you here for?”
“Edward Lancaster,” Kitty replied.
“He must be new; doesn’t ring a bell right off. Okay, fill these out, and bring them back to the counter.”
“My dear woman, I don’t believe you know who I am.”
“I’m guessing, Mrs. Edward Lancaster?” Anne said.
“Yes, Mrs. Edward Lancaster, the second, to be exact and I’m here to visit my husband. Now! I don’t see any reason for all these forms. Completely unnecessary,” Kitty sniffed.

She’d used that tone with board members on down to head waiters and it had always gotten her whatever she wanted But oddly it didn’t seem to be working with this five-foot two, one hundred-ten pound, frizzy haired prison guard. She could hear the other women behind her, twittering and murmuring about her interaction with the officer. I might as well have a bull’s-eye painted on my back, Kitty thought. If looks could kill that blousy redhead’s scorn is literally burning a hole in my silk blouse. Kitty sighed. Oh well, these women are of no concern to me. Just get on with it, Katherine; she admonished herself as she turned back at the sound of Anne’s voice.

“These forms are completely necessary, if you want to see your husband today,” Anne said, staring Kitty down until she blinked.
“Well, really!” Kitty gathered up the forms and stepped aside. She took a gold pen from her purse and began to fill them out. “I had no idea there would be such a fuss,” she muttered.

*****

The next segment will appear Monday. Hope you return to find out what happens to Alma and Charlie and the rest of the women living outside the walls.....

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Author's Bio: 

Playwright, author, poet, Trisha Sugarek has been writing for five decades. Until recently her writing focused on play writing that ranged from prison stories to children’s fables. She has expanded her body of work to include two books of poetry, and a group of children’s books.

She has recently completed her first contemporary novel “Women Outside the Walls” and a second book of Haiku poetry. Her original brush and ink artwork will illustrate the book. All of her work can be found on her web site www.writeratplay.com ordered at Samuel French.
A new series, “ShortN’Small” offers individual short one act plays, small casts, no set, and no costumes.

Trisha has enjoyed a thirty year career in theatre as actor, director and writer. For three years she had her own theatre/performing arts company in Texas. Originally from Seattle, she has worked in theatres from coast to coast. Her plays have been produced across the country and Samuel French has published four of her plays to date. A text book is being written in Argentina to teach English using Trisha’s body of work. Trisha lives in Savannah, Georgia with her three golden retrievers.