Remembering Gramercy, the Devil’s Rock

Remembering Gramercy, the Devil’s Rock

“Hey Gary, got a minute?”

2:45pm – January 10th, 2024 – Garrick looked up from his data-table, a smaller version of the one he had upstairs in his room. He was watching some code perform its functions in the test’s QA environment. While he couldn’t make any changes this was suppose to be a replica of Mallic Robotics’ production environment. So far all the changes he was intending to update on the micro laser etcher for micro circuitry was going smoothly. He had copied QA when he sent out an update that barring an unexpected error the patch should be ready to go for the next for the flexible joint hip socket for the [REDACTED] project that wanted to make their [REDACTED] unit available for pilots.

“Yeah Horace, you still good for the raid on Gizergleam Peaks Friday? Trip already replied and it won’t be the same without you.”

“Oh, yeah, totally down with crushing the frozen tyranny of GlacialMaw the Frost Wyrm! No, I had an issue with my son this morning and needed to speak with you about it.”

“Sure man, come in, what the heck could be wrong with Heydar though? That kid is the most well behaved child I have ever met.”

“Seeing you makes my heart happy and sad because Heydar was working at the Giving Tree last night…”

‘Shit,’ thought Garrick as he failed to remember Heydar had been donating time for school credits in the community service portion of the baccalaureate program of the high-school he goes to.

“…he said a new kid, Malik, had shown up and started something but you stopped it and then let him ‘hit’ you to work out his anger? I told him to stop telling stories but he swore on the Koran he wasn’t lying. One look at you and I know the truth now.”

“Horace, Heydar, is not lying and let me explain last night.”

Both men talk for about 15 minutes as Garrick brings Horace up to speed on what happen and when he left. Then he lied and told him when he got back home he slept in his shower in an ice bath, muscle relaxers, and just under a deadly amount of pain-killers. Garrick hated being decent at lying but it has saved his life more times than he could count on fingers and toes. Ashmadiel started to whisper in his head and he ‘thought’ back, “Save it for after work, not now.”

“Gary, you look perfectly fine, I would not have driven myself home in that bloody state! You trying for some kind of humanitarian medal? What the hell?”

Garrick sighs, “No, this was a horribly effective trick I learned in Gramercy. Warden Harker, had somehow figured out how to make a human look presentable for wellness checks if he got just 24 hours notice, ” this part about the trick was not a lie, “from his contacts in Mayor Zardona’s office.”

“Bullshit Gary.”

“Why Horace? Is it bullshit because you find it uncomfortable to think these situations happen,” Garrick stands and lifts his shirt to show some of the old stab wounds, “Do you think these are just party decorations?”

Watching Garrick tuck his shirt back in, “There’s the Century Station Prison Authority’s oversight committee, they would have put a stop to this.”

“Horace I could shit in my hand right now and those daisies wouldn’t even have gotten to the grievance I filed in my first year. Come on man, I was thrilled to find out about the ‘pretty dog show’ trick. Imagine how many ‘Waingroh Sunsets’ the inmates suffered until he figured out the little trick? Was it foolproof, HELL NO! The better in health you were in though the better it would work on you.”

“You think that kid, Malik, right? Was he worth it?”

“I would do the same for Heydar if you had died.”

Horace looked at Garrick and realized he would probably even adopt him if no one else in the Sharma household would, “Thank you Gary.”

“No problem buddy, and it looks like the QA tests are done and I am good to go. When you get back to your office just give the all clear, okay?”

“Sure thing.”

“Hug Heydar for me and let him know I’ll see him next week.”

Horace smiled and nodded with a wave as he walked out of his office and a few minutes later Brandon Mallic was standing in his doorway, “So, I hear you look amazing for a bloody punching bag, Rick.”

“Good day to you as well Mr. Mallic. Does Horace get paid extra for talking about every juicy bit of gossip? Sheesh.”

“Well, I care that you don’t get hurt in ‘our’ charitable contributions nor have a location in which anyone else might be hurt from the company. Oh thanks for getting the repair guy out to the bathrooms today.”

“No worries, boss, given the d-bags I’ve dealt with you’re Aces.”

“Good, set the automation and take tomorrow off. You’ve three people that work under you capable of the update for the micro laser.”

“Yeah but I’m, fin…”

“Gary, Rick, Garrick don’t make me use your full name it makes me think of some online Fantasy RPG the kiddies watch on Twitch.”

“…yes dad.”

“Wanker! You did not just call me… in 30 minutes I will be back down here and you best be resting somewhere other than here with ice and that Arabic looking girl security says is staying with you.”

“I can explain..”

“Gary, for the love of god I don’t give two shits as long as she is not a prostitute, and you don’t fuck her on office time,” Brandon emphasized each point by shaking his bionic index finger at him.

“Sure, no worries.”

“For the record, I heard about the ‘pretty dog show’ trick. They used it in the military in extreme cases for wounded soldiers, so I hope that helps you feel some closure. Look, just take care of yourself, be safe and when raises come around in March I think its time you finally take one. Save it sport,” as Garrick tried to interject, “You’ve been a fantastic landlord, two million a year in rent for 48,300 square feet is a godsend and you’ve only been taking $1.4 million, sending $400,000 a year back to the people that bought it for you, WHEN YOU ARE NOT LEGALLY OBLIGATED TO DO SO. Saving the rest for expenses and any repairs we need. We need you whole buddy, so as a friend take a day and heal. If you want to make me feel better take two, please.”

“I guess I’ll see you next week then?”

“Just keep the work phone handy if they have questions, 30 minutes then OUT.

Garrick nodded as he watched Brandon Mallic leave his office. In 29 minutes he had finished two other assignments and handed out marching orders to his team. Then a knock came from the door that connected to the ground level of his part of the building he lived in. There stood Patsy Palmer, holding the transparent smartphone Garrick had acquired for her with a timer showing he had less than a minute to go. “Dad’s going to be mad,” she said barely containing her laughter.

Garrick rolled his eyes and hit an app on a matching transparent phone and his office went into locked-mode with a timer on the screen to shut all doors. He came through the door and shut it behind him. Patsy noticed all the robotic vehicle statues on one of his desks before it shut, “So those were the ‘Transformers’ right?” Garrick nodded and asked how the research was going she told him his shouting at Horace distracted her. She told him she’d thought he needed help and then may have stayed leaning against the door longer than was necessary when she remembered she couldn’t change into Hyperia anymore.

“Gramercy must be as bad as, Castigation Penitentiary, in my world,” stated trying to appear sympathetic when she decided to poke the bear, “Do you want to talk about it, Gary?”

“Ugh, no one likes my name so it got shortened two ways by the front and back depending who liked Gary or Rick more. At the time finding a way to get a good, no great job after supermax hell that Gramercy was I told them call me anything except late for dinner. So this is the worst my day ever gets really.”

Noting to herself how his face changed she decided not to poke the bear that’s been nice, “Why do you go out and play hero, Garrick? You’ve made a cool four million come this March and will have paid the family that bought this for you 1.6 million!”

“Simple,” they head upstairs, “its part of the deal for the home. I have to not mix publicly with anything to do with their family and they made sure I would be taken care of. I have a lawyer I use to pass messages for me, discreetly.”

He left a door open as he popped into his room to change into sweat pants and shirt with a D20 that had vampire fangs and a stylized “8” for angry eyes. He told Patsy that he didn’t want to depress himself so he was going to get on the elliptical machine while he told her about his time in Gramercy. Downstairs on one side of the training area he got on one machine and Patsy the other.

“Ugh, okay where to begin. I’m sure you can understand there’s what the public sees and then there’s reality,” and Patsy nodded, “so the ‘pretty dog show’ parade was only for visitors. You did not get on a surprise trip to Gramercy Island. EVER! Even the Century Station Prison Authority’s oversight committee couldn’t get past Warden Harker.”

“Optimus, can you bring up my mugshot on Patsy’s elliptical? Patsy, please hold your thumb on the handle so Optimus can distinguish you and I.”

“Yes Garrick, here it is.”

“Not many make it out Gramercy other than a ‘Waingroh Sunset’ and for some people its the way they want it,” Garrick’s brow lowers, “Patsy, we’re going to bring up things about me that are not my shining moments. Some of them may cause you to think less of me, for that I am sorry but if you want me to continue I will tell you.”

“Yes I do want to know, but would you rather sit you’re pushing a little hard on the hand grips.”

Blushing he relaxes, “Sorry ’bout that ma’am, alright I have be moving so I can keep my anxiety in check when I talk about this. Therapist was right that I need to be active to help quell it. I know you’ve read up some on me and I admired you were thorough enough to check external and internal files for veracity.”

Garrick gulps,”Okay, I’m stalling, not many people ever make it out of the ‘Devil’s Rock’. Otherwise known as the United States Gramercy Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility in the District of Century Station — and colloquially known as “Gramercy Island” — the GDX is the highest-security federal prison in the country, located in right here in Century Station. It houses some of the more notorious inmates in recent American history, from Victory City Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnov to September 11 conspirator Zakariel Moussaol to Gulf Coast City bomber Larry Nichols to Robert Hanssen, the FBI agent who became a Soviet spy. Inmates at the GDX are held in solitary confinement for 16 to 23 hours a day, and because of their crimes, many are never released.

However, I survived Gramercy, I sleep so little honestly not because I’m trying to do things that makes me likable, however, it’s a factor. I hate the dreams and I am trying to find a new family. I am the “Fallen Faulkner” as three different editorials and one broadcaster mentioned in the nightly news interviewing my sister, Adeline. At that point it didn’t even matter that I had committed a highway 53-foot truck jacking on Route 273 as it crested into Diego Verde. It didn’t matter I had built a safety bubble skin tag I stabbingly adhered to the drivers chest just before I yanked him from the truck. The force bubble allowed him to get knocked off the highway and roll down the hill before it gave out. That is the only reason they didn’t shove me in B-Block. While the court papers say everything is accounted for we know that isn’t true.”

Pasty watched him shake a wrist wearing a steel bracelet, obviously, Ashmadiel in disguise.

“I was arrested in latter half of 2015 on August 29th. It was an evening operation and at the time I was 18, my dreams had been stolen by the ‘Thug’, I had buried my father in a plot in ‘The Hill’, and my family had disowned me. Being blamed for your father’s death is a rough thing when you loved your father and saw him as your hero. The only reason I don’t plot her / its murder is my father would not have condoned such poor behavior. All of this,” as he waves an arm around, “is my attempt to follow my father and rebuild my life. To find a new dream and as the ‘Famous Faulkner’ has said:

I believe that man will not merely endure; he will prevail.
Between grief and nothing I will take grief.

Let’s just say 18 and grief don’t end well. While I was waiting arraignment a guard tried to get ‘too friendly’ with me and then beat me within an inch of my life saying I reached for his gun upon rejection. Behavior risks to gen pop criminals and guards in other facilities get you a one way ticket to Gramercy. Here’s the take away from all of that prelude, none of it matters. Why I ended up in the Devil’s Rock stopped being important the second I arrived via hover truck. When you’re inside, all that matters is surviving. That’s an inside thing.”

From the neck down he was a whirl of motion, and sweat. His face and head were calm and his eyes were closed as he was talking as though he might be ashamed of what would be spoken next.

“I could see the sky from a small window in the CSPD lock up. After awhile even that can get to you, in fact it is the reasons I have not tried to get any windows in here. I know how to survive in a world made of concrete and vile darkness. Would you believe that ‘midnight working’ as a Maverick is actually a form of therapy for me to re-integrate into society? I mean how fucked up am I that dealing with bad guys feels more normal than trying to figure out dating?

Since I was new I had the first night jitters, especially when urine got tossed on me from a 3rd story cell when I was marched into “Alphaville” or A-Block. In the blocks, once inside the same reinforced style concrete walls like ours – but much thicker.
At the GDX, you can’t see nothing, not a highway out in the distance, not the sky. You know the minute you get there you won’t see any of that, not for years and years. You’re just shut off from the world. You feel it. It sinks in, that dread feeling. It’s just the harshest place you’ve ever seen. Nothing living, not so much as a blade of grass anywhere. My cell was all concrete. Every single thing, made out of concrete. The walls, floor, the desk, the sink, even the two tier bunk bed — slabs of concrete. The normal day for my first year consisted of work, which quickly changed when I started fixing machines and while I got better jobs moving to a unit that helped maintenance. Every one of the guards and senior inmates in my wing hated or like because someone else they hated or liked got shown up or reprimanded from my desire to fix things. There were nightly beatings and I earned a rep through blood that I could take a beating when all I ever said was that I must have fallen down to anyone from the medical staff. I NEVER SNITCHED!

Four or five months in my first year something about my case was interesting to someone outside as cops, feds, even a private eye that I got a horrible headache around. All of them would try to visit me about it and I knew if they could find nothing new then I could not be tried twice so I told them nothing! It was duing this time I fell to the lowest point of my life. One of the guards had plans for dealing with getting a final reprimand about the work conditions in his area. I had a pillowcase pulled over my head, I cuffed and ankle chained, then I was raped, repeatedly, in so many ways and I was begging for them to kill me!”

Patsy listened in horror as he described this being done to him for six months, every week three times each week. I was given so many drugs for the pain, all of it really became a waking nightmare and it makes physical intimacy an amazing hurdle for me. Patting you on the should, Patsy, was a big hurdle for me and so if your waiting for the other shoe to drop, there it is. My instinct to save someone overwrote my fear of intimacy and because I saved you, something made contact with you okay. So when I said on the roof I was not good with girls because I lost my virginity in prison.”

Along the sweat Patsy could make out the tears on his face, “I was on track to follow my father in dual doctorates: Robotics, and Bio-Dome Engineering. Do you know how much time that left for playing around, NONE! If it wasn’t for the Prince of Century Station helping me get over being pain pill addicted in drug rehabilitation I think I would’ve died. I told him enough about what happened and soon the rape stopped and new guards from SBCW were moved down to A-Block to retrain personal. The Prince helped me find something to focus on when times got rough for me. Rather than falling into the pit of my soul, was learn to cook and when the guards were back in A-Block on my eleventh month. I poisoned the chemical makeup of each of my attackers food. I killed six guards and eight inmates in one sitting and when asked how they died. I told a guard that maybe their food raped them since you are what you eat.”

Garrick was pushing the machine again and was nearly at 8 mph consistently, “Over the next year I survived nine attempts to kill me with shivs and 4 months in the hole. All because I wouldn’t talk about the hijacking for fear of having my sentence increased. Soon I was called Professor-G, Professor Gack because they said if you fuck with me somewhere, somehow you’re already dead. I had given up thinking I would ever be released when Warden Harker one day summoned me. He dropped the review board paperwork saying just that I had friends outside. Then a guard gave me some glad rags and I was let loose after my third year on August 4, 2019. I was met outside and drove to this building where my truck was also inside and waiting for me.”

Then he just stopped and as he got off he fell down, Patsy ran over hearing him whisper he’s not really a man. She gathered him up and decided if he was strong enough to survive this Gramercy and still try and do good then that was what was important. She brought him out of the loop when she whispered in his ear, “You’re still the hero that saved a woman he did not have to. I’m also the second one so being a hero is a choice you’ve made. You had a bad day.” She kissed his forehead, “let’s get you to sleep and know that to me you are my hero. I have faith you will be brave and kiss a woman with tenderness and love.”

“I admit to wanting to kiss you, but felt doing so while you’re dependent on me seemed predatory and therefore unacceptable. You are, however, smart, intelligent, and beautiful. You’re right I need sleep and thanks for not mocking me. You can see why I didn’t mock you.”

Patsy smiled, “Thank you now,” she walked him to his door, “Get inside and sleep and I’ll order some food from the middle-eastern food from a place on that frig list for you to try.”

She watched the door shut with the glowing, blue halo of light emanating from around it. She thought long and hard about the criminals she had put away as Hyperia, “Heldamm if you can hear me I will work with a rehab center for felons just give me another chance if this is some kind of test?” Touching his door she turned and went back to the research. Research, that suggests the world was once full of magic and now, somehow, everything magic in it appears to be made to disappear. It sounded like a conspiracy to her and there was more to look up, but first food.



Art by: AZ_Artisan


8 Replies to “Remembering Gramercy, the Devil’s Rock”

  1. Very powerful, disturbing story! Hopefully he can be helped down his path to redemption- but I doubt that our group is the right one to help him.

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