I think I liked you better when you didn’t have a knife in your hand, Peaches...
Chapter 38 - Flirting against a wall
When Blake finds herself sold out to the Saviours by her abusive fiancé, she realises that she’s certainly not on her own anymore and finds an unlikely friend in Negan. And Negan does NOT like men who beat their girlfriends, one tiny bit…
Chapter 38 - Flirting against a wall
Blake pursed her lips together, her arms folded across herself irritably, as the truck hurtled down the dusty dirt back road.
Normally she would have enjoyed being out of the Sanctuary, staring out at the open road stretching for miles and miles ahead of them…
But what should have been a normal journey, was, instead, full of annoyance for Blake.
Mainly due to the tanned hand that had been sitting on top of her knee for almost the entire journey.
Arat was driving in the seat just to Blake’s left, but of course, Negan who had ushered Blake into the cab ahead of him, about thirty minutes ago, was now sat close to her other side, his hand placed up her leg possessively, and his other elbow leant lazily against the open window on his right.
Negan had touched her with more purpose than this before, that was certain, but it was the fact that he was being so blatant in front of Arat, and the other men sat in the back of the truck, that really put Blake on edge.
She had tried to shove his hand away from her, several times now, but Negan had just wordlessly grinned, smugly replacing his hand where it had been each time…inching ever-higher on her thigh, every time he did so.
Maddie pulled to a stop in the parking lot of a hulking, gray building. She sat there a long moment, holding on to the steering wheel, trying to center her thoughts. It was hard to believe the chain of events that had led to this. To her working for them.
She closed her eyes as her fingers tightened around the steering wheel, making the leather creak and squeak and groan. Then she let out a long breath, released the steering wheel, and switched off the car. She’d agreed to this. She’d thought about it long and hard. There was no need to chicken out now.
Before she grabbed her bag, she paused to touch a picture hanging near the radio. Then she pulled herself out of the car, slammed the door, and dragged two weeks worth of clothes towards the door.
It was just a job, she told herself. And, honestly, she needed the distraction. There wasn’t anything she could do sitting around at home other than worry a hole in the floor.
The building was nondescript. Small, darkened windows peppered the concrete walls. Only a small logo on the door showed that it belonged to Axion Labs, and nothing to explain what wonders might lay behind that door. She’d seen abandoned warehouses with more style. Holding her bag close, Maddie pushed through the single glass door and walked into the lobby of the building.
For five years, I worked as a clerk in the California prison system. Like a slave, I had no choice about the work I did, nor was I paid fully for my labor. The thirty-two dollars a month that I earned had to pay for overpriced feminine products, soap, shampoo, and toothpaste in the prison commissary. Prison labor, rooted in the history of slavery and colonization, plays an important role in the economics of incarceration. The prison industrial complex has a twofold purpose: social control and profit. Like the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex interweaves government agencies with business interests who seek to make a profit from imprisoning the poor and people of color. Like any industry, the prison economy needs raw material. In this case, the raw materials are people—prisoners. Prisoners generate profits for the companies that build and house prisons. They also generate profits by providing a cheap, plentiful, and easily controlled workforce.
In the past two decades, prisons in California have shed the pretense of rehabilitation in favor of large warehouse-style prisons that provide few opportunities for education or training. Instead, prisoners are exploited as a cheap source of labor, both to maintain the prison itself and to bring in income through prison industries. In fact, they often keep prisoners in their cells for twenty-three hours a day. Prison wardens are clear that they are not here to rehabilitate, but only to punish. Clearly, history is repeating itself.
…Economic exploitation and forced slave labor are not new to Native peoples, especially the indigenous people of early California. If we are to map the origins of the prison industrial complex in California accurately, we must look at the history of forced labor in the Golden State. When the colonizers arrived in eighteenth-century California, they stereotyped Native people and assumed that they were weak and only useful for labor. The Spanish and Mexican invaders valued the Indian people as an essential workforce necessary to build their missions, presidios, and pueblos and to work in the fields.
The American system continued these policies. In 1850, the California legislature passed a law called the Government and Protection of the Indians Act, which can be described as legalized slavery. This act provided for the indenture of loitering, intoxicated, and orphaned Indians, and the forced regulation of their employment. It also defined a special class of crimes and punishment for these Indians. The law, enacted on April 22, 1850, established within its twenty various sections the mechanism whereby Indians of all ages could be indentured to any white citizen. A white man could pay the fine and costs of any Indian convicted of an offense punishable before a justice of the peace. Then, the Indian person was required to work for the white man until the fine was paid off.
The act also gave local justices of the peace jurisdiction over all Indians within their districts and allowed the Indians to be punished with up to twenty-five lashes for stealing. According to Sidney L. Harring, “[t]he same Act also made provision for indenturing Indian children as servants and curtailed tribal land rights.” Under the apprenticeship provisions of the laws of 1850 and I860, the abduction and sale of Indians, especially young women and children, was a regular business in California. These provisions in the state law resulted in the institution of a slave mart in Los Angeles where captives were auctioned off to the highest bidder for “private service.” Although the slave mart has since disappeared, UNICOR, the California prison industry authority, continues to sell captive labor to the highest bidder.
Stormy Ogden, Sharing Our Stories of Survival: Native Women Surviving Violence