Saturday, 29 September 2012
The Office of Correctional Services, Part 3
(For those who were not around in July and August, this is a follow-up to a couple of posts from the summer: Office of Correctional Services, Part 1, and Your Wednesday Appointment)
Sorry it's been awhile since I last emailed, but so far life here at Abernathy College has been crazy busy. My courses and my profs are all great. Haven't had nearly as much time for partying as I'd like, but what can you do? After all, I came here to get a fine arts degree, not get drunk. Well, mostly, anyway. lol.
And you know me, sis, I always have to be involved in more than just my courses. I'm thinking of applying to a sorority, Delta Kappa Phi, but I have to prove I can keep a certain grade average first, and they require applicants to volunteer six hours a week to the admin of the college. I put in a general request, and have already been turned down in three separate departments so far. I have one more interview tomorrow, with the woman who runs the 'Office of Correctional Services', a Ms. Hutchins. Sounds kinda scary, huh? Well, it is! Apparently, they are big on discipline here, and she's like the campus watchdog, or something. She disciplines the students who break the rules. I've heard stories about her (all exaggerated for effect, I'm sure) actually exercising corporal punishment. But I doubt they're true.
I mean, seriously - can you imagine some old shrew beating a 220 pound football halfback with her ruler?
Speaking of football players, I met one of them in my English Lit course - his name's Brad, and he's something called a 'tight end', whatever that is. Actually, the label is pretty accurate, if you catch my meaning. We had coffee and then a first date last week. He's a cool guy - so far - but the jury is still deliberating.
Anyway, got to go. I'll let you know if I get that office job or not.
Later, big sister,
Love, your little Lindsay
Hi again, Tessie!
Wow, two emails in one week - aren't you the lucky one? I just had to write and tell you about the bizarro experience I had at that interview I told you about.
You know what? All the stories are for real! I couldn't believe it. I get to the Office of Correctional Services over lunch Tuesday and Ms. Hutchins is alone in there. Actually, she's no shriveled up old shrew - she's statuesque, probably in her mid-thirties, and a beauty to boot. I hope I look that good when I'm on the downside of thirty.
Anyway, she has this box/bench contraption in her office, kind of like a gym horse, padded on top and with buckles and straps at the base. Behind it on the wall is this mounted rack with a row of belts and paddles and stuff, and an umbrella stand bristling with canes and birch rods. I was pretty shocked. She invited me to sit and I did, which alone seemed to make an impression. Apparently, half the applicants usually bail at the sight of the tools of her trade. She explained how it works - infractions are investigated by the Headmistress' office, and if she determines that 'disciplinary action' is required, she informs the Office of Correctional Services. Then the offender is summoned here, appropriately 'corrected' and released. For a panicky moment I thought I would have to do some of the 'correcting' myself, but she was quick to explain that she only required a receptionist/assistant to manage the appointments and paperwork. I've had some reception experience, but before she agreed to bring me aboard, she said I would have to undertake a practical exam. I nervously asked what that entailed, and she said her next appointment was due shortly. She invited me to take part.
I have to say, I almost panicked and ran myself, but for some reason, I didn't want to disappoint her. I think she was a little desperate to find help. So I agreed. At the very least, I figured I would have a real tale to tell.
So she was showing me the outer office and file system, when this guy walks in. He was in the school's formal uniform, and looked real nervous. Seeing us both, he went white. Ms. Hutchins told him curtly to take a seat, and then pulled me back into her office.
"First lesson," she said. "We want every miscreant who comes in to be as anxious and as intimidated as possible. We're compelling what are effectively grown and unwilling adults to submit to a humiliating and painful ordeal, and that is much easier to do if they are psychologically overwhelmed from the start. They have to know that things will go much worse for them if they don't cooperate. So, don't greet them with a smile, or even a hello. Make them approach you, and introduce themselves. Be aloof and businesslike. It will help inspire the proper attitude in them. Can you do that?"
I told her I would try. Not easy - you know me, Tessie, I'm pretty friendly to everyone, but I am almost as desperate for this job as she is for me to take it. If I don't, my chances of getting into Delta Kappa Phi are toast.
She told me to go out there, take this guy's name and have him fill out the consent form. Once he does, tell him to take a seat and wait quietly. No talking. If he tries to engage you in conversation, it's to sway you to his side. Don't let him. But note his attempt on his file. Then she'd buzz me when she was ready for him.
Well, I did what she asked - it was kind of weird to act all cold and callous toward this guy - I already felt sorry for the poor sap. What did he do to warrant this? Anyway, Ms. Hutchins made him wait for almost twenty minutes. He almost jumped in his chair when the intercom buzzed. He looked at me like a lost child when I told him to go on in. But he went. Ms. Hutchins told him to shut the door behind him, and then it was quiet for awhile. About five minutes went by and then there was this really sharp clap that startled me, followed immediately by a yelp of pain. I couldn't believe my ears - she was actually beating him. The claps got louder and more rapid and the sounds that poor guy made were awful. My own heart was pounding with, what - fear? horror? I don't exactly know. But I actually snapped a pencil I'd been gripping in one hand. When the clapping stopped, I sighed in relief and sank into my chair, only to be startled again at a whooshy sound. I think it was one of those canes. The guy let out a different cry to it, more shrill and desperate. It didn't last long, though, and all went quiet again. I was nervous as a cat, waiting for what might come next. The guy emerged soon after, his face twisted and his lip quivering. He handed me his file in a shaky hand, and said he'd been told by Ms. Hutchins to inform me he needed a second appointment in a week.
I could only nod dumbly at him, as aghast as he was at what had just happened. "Can I go now?" he whispered. I told him I thought so, and he waddled uncertainly out. I was flushed and sweating when Ms. Hutchins called me in and inquired if I thought I could handle hearing that go on several times a day. I thought about it, really hard. As much as I didn't want to, I wanted more to get into Delta Kappa Phi. So I told her I'd take the job, if she'd have me.
So here I am, sis. Sitting in Ms. Hutchins' outer office, an assistant to the Corrections Counselor for the two afternoons a week that she shows up on campus. What does she do the rest of the time, I wonder? There are three guys and a girl in the waiting room with me, all silent, all visibly frightened looking. They've a right to be. I feel terrible for each of them, but I'm not allowed to show it. At least for them, it will be over soon enough. I have to stay and listen.
I'll keep you updated on how this new job goes.