A new story written by Pete Brown (Part 4 of 12 –> click here to read the other published chapters.)
ON THE ROAD GANG
We drove on and after about 30 miles turned off the highway and went through a gate marked “State Of Arkansas Department Of Transportation – Highways Depot 3”. The pickup stopped outside what was clearly an administration building, flying the state flag, and the driver got out and told us to follow inside.
It wasn’t a big building, and there was just an outer office with a couple of secretaries sitting at PCs. They chatted with the driver, ignoring us totally, and the driver told us to site down and wait as the depot manager was busy. We went to sit on the chairs in the reception area, and the driver snapped at us “Not there! Those are for proper folk. You slaves sit along the wall there, on the floor. Put your hands behind your heads, and draw your legs up so you don’t get in these ladies’ way!”.
He pointed to a short stretch of wall, and we went over and sat down. The thermoplastic tiles were at first cold to my ass, and the cheap plaster on the wall was rough on my naked back. When I drew my knees up to my chin, as I had been told, I was very conscious of my cock and sac hanging down from between my thighs. There wasn’t much room, and I was sandwiched in close contact with Dave and Mitch. Our elbows overlapped we were so close together, and Mitch’s wiry arm hair was scratchy on the smooth flesh on the inside of my elbow. How different their bodies felt as they touched mine – Dave still had a slight layer of fat that made his skin feel quite smooth, but Mitch was all taught muscle, and I could clearly feel his rib bones sticking into mine as we sat there.
We waited for about l5 minutes like this, and then there was a buzz from one of the secretary’s phones, and she listened then looked up and told the guard we could go in.
The manager’s office wasn’t big, and we stood there in front of his desk with our cocks almost touching the edge of it. He looked at us for a few seconds, then said “Welcome to the roads depot, boys. You’re here to work.”
“This has turned out to be a good part of The Arkansas Programme for both the state generally and its roads – the folk in Washington pay the State to run the whole Programme, and we also get the services of a lot of young, strong guys like you for almost nothing to work on our rural roads. This is a very poor, isolated part of the state and we have hundreds of miles of rural roads that are almost nothing more than dirt tracks. They used to be in a terrible condition a the State could never afford to do anything about them, but now they’re steadily improving – we have a works programme that is gradually covering the whole area, putting them back into the condition they were in in the l940s before the huge rise in motor traffic really started to break them up.”
“You’ll be working in a road gang on a stretch of road, and that’s just like the old chain gangs we used to have here years ago, in my daddy’s time, with a few differences! You have probably seen old movies with gangs of prisoners working on the roads, and that’s what you’ll be doing, with a few important differences: First, of course, in the movies the prisoners are all chained together. How barbaric that was! In these enlightened times you won’t of course be chained, as we know you can’t run off. It’s worth noting that we join all the control units for a gang together electronically, so that if one of you is punished by using your chip, the whole gang gets to feel it. There’s a powerful incentive for you men to make sure your fellows behave themselves.”
“Secondly, in the old movies they’re always wearing funny suits with horizontal stripes on them. You of course will be naked. Your brands, tattoos and rings are sufficient marking that you are slaves on the Programme, without the need for you to wear funny clothes! However the State is of course very concerned about your heath and safety, and under the State’s code for health and safety in the workplace, we do need to make sure you have suitable protective clothing.
So you will always wear heavy work boots, to prevent things dropping on your feet and crushing your toes. And if you do anything like rock breaking, you will wear protective goggles for your eyes.”
“And thirdly, of course, in the movies the guards just stand there cradling rifles in case of escape, and doing not much else! We only have one guard per gang, and he doesn’t have a rifle as you’re not going to run off. But he is responsible for the active management of the gang, and for ensuring that he reaches his targets of so many yards of road repaired each week – he is on an incentive scheme, with 60% of his weekly money dependent on him reaching his targets, so you can be sure he will work you hard to make certain that he makes it. Without that 60% of his salary, his little ones might go hungry, and at the very least his old woman will nag him!”
“To help him help you support him in making his targets, he is of course allowed to use his ‘tickler’ on individual slaves in the gang who aren’t pulling their weight. But on a minute by minute basis, we think that’s a bit extreme. So he is allowed to use a lash, and most of you will feel it across your backs and on your asses at least three or four times a day if you’re not really going hard at your work – those targets we set are pretty agressive!”
“In general, we only have you here for three months as when you go back to the auction hall at the end of that time you’ll be snapped up by another master. We like to think that in that short time we really add value to you – because the more value we add, the better we do for the State, which is allowed to keep all the auction fees. “
“You’re all multi-coloured now, with different shades of tan on your legs, arms, and chests, and with those big white areas around your cocks and asses. I can see that most of you wore the fashionable long shorts, and a lot of buyers find long, white thighs very aesthetically unsatisfying. But after three months in the open air every day, you’ll be the same rich dark tan all over.
Even if the sun doesn’t shine, there’s always enough UV coming through the clouds to get and keep an outdoor worker well tanned. That in itself will raise your auction price.”
“But the biggest change will be in your musculature. This is three months of really hard, unrelenting manual labour, from sunrise to sunset. I can see one of you “ (he pointed at me) “has muscles he has got from manual work, and you probably won’t fair too badly. You “ (pointing at Jim) “have got well developed muscles, but I can see from their general shape that you got them pounding those machines in a gym. You’ll discover that the muscles you get from working are very different – you’ll have flatter pecs, more muscular thighs, and parts that are difficult to exercise fully in the gym, like your forearms, will get properly toned.”
Looking at Mitch he said “I guess you’re the marine, from seeing that USMC tattoo on your arm. You probably think you’re very fit, and indeed the Marine’s training is excellent for turning out what it wants – fighting machines, with quite a lot of endurance for running over the battlefield and so on. But we will give you a properly developed body all over – for example currently the development of your arms doesn’t quite match the rest of your body. You’ll find it’s like being back at boot camp all the time here – do you remember how it was when you first went into the service, and how they spent time toughening you up? Well, it’s like that all the time here.”
“But the one that will have the most problems is the young one at the end there”, he said looking at Dave. “Like so many young guys these days your body is simply not used to punishing hard work. Even though I suppose you used to be into sport at High School, you just have not got the sort of development that you’ll need in the rest of your time on the Programme as a slave. But we will fix that.”
“You’ll then have a good future as a slave – in the sex shops the clients go wild for guys with the sort of build you’ll have – you’re about 5’9”, and they like guys who are a bit shorter than these tall ones here, and you’ll have hard, well-defined muscles all over. You’ve got a nice fat cock, and it sits on top of your balls well. I think that when we have finished getting your muscles into shape your contract will sell really well to a sex shop operator. And the guys there have quite cushy lives – once they have got used to the over weight, middle-aged customers ramming their cocks up their asses, that is!”
“The gangs are just coming in for the night now, so you can go off and join them. Sleep well – you’re going to have a tiring day tomorrow!”.
And with that, he waved his hand in a gesture of dismissal and the guard shepherded us out into the outer office, then along a corridor and out the back of the building. Across a paved yard there was a long, low wooden shed with a tar-paper roof, and he led us in there.
Immediately inside there was another guard and he was opening the now familiar red-topped tins of slave food, and we were given bowls of it. I didn’t really want to eat it, because I knew that he red-topped food had the mild sleeping draught in it, and I wanted to stay awake and talk to the other guys on the gang. But I was so hungry, and the smell was so delicious, that I was soon wolfing it down, as were Jim, Mitch and Dave.
As we were finishing, the rest of the gang started to come in, and they too set into the food. They were grimy – it looked as if dust from the roads had stuck to their sweating bodies, then, as they sweated some more, it had formed little rivulets and trickled down their bodies and legs. I thought that we would all go to the showers so that they could wash off the day’s dirt, but as we finished eating we simply went through a door into the next part of the hut and this contained only the standard-issue bunks, two high, in a row at right angles to one wall, and a small tiled area in the floor with a hole at its centre – I guessed this must be the place where we were expected to crap and piss if we needed to during the night.
The gang were obviously exhausted, and they didn’t seem to want to talk at all. And I too was starting to feel very tired, but I knew this was only the effects of the drug kicking in. There didn’t seem to be any particular allocation of bunks, so, like the rest of them were doing, I simply went to one of them and lay down.
In spite of being very drowsy from the drug, I didn’t go to sleep immediately though. The experiences I had been through that day kept going through my mind – the way I had simply been handled, as if I were no more than an animal, by the potential bidders at the auction. And seeing Jim being masturbated in front of the crowd of buyers, and then having his cum discussed by them. In spite of the slight discomfort caused by my cock bar, I was erect as I thought about it all.
I tossed and turned in the bunk, unable to sleep. Normally I would have jerked myself off, as I usually went to sleep after that, but how could I do that, lying totally naked in the middle of 30 other naked guys? Admittedly, they all seemed to be asleep as I was surrounded by the gentle sounds of snoring, heavy breathing, and the occasional low fart. But supposing some of them were, like me, still awake and only trying to get to sleep? And, anyway, what would I do with the cum? – at home I used to use an old T-shirt to catch it and mop any little spills off my stomach and thighs, until it was fairly stiff with the dried residue. Then I would toss it in the wash, and could use it again. I never liked that litter of paper tissues that you see around some guys’ rooms after they have forgotten to throw it into the toilet bowl after they have jerked off – a T-shirt or old boxers always seemed to me a better solution. You don’t get those little bits of loose paper sticking to your cockhead, if the tissue disintegrates because you’ve had a particularly big, wet load. But here I didn’t even have a tissue. What did the guys do, I wondered?
But I didn’t have to think about this for long, as I did eventually fall into a deep sleep, in spite of myself.
I had strangely erotic dreams, where I thought I had a huge cock, about l8” long and four inches thick jutting out in front of me. Nothing I could do would make it detumesce and lie quietly in front of my two tennis-ball sized balls. I had to go through a series of rooms with this obscenely large prick straight out in front as if leading the way, and all the other people in the rooms, who were fully dressed, stopped and pointed and stared. I knew it wasn’t real, and I had that sense that it was a dream, because although it was me, it wasn’t my prick that had been scaled up to gigantic proportions- this one was not circumcised, and, of course, my cock head was always discretely covered by my foreskin with only the piss slit peeping out at the end.
I woke up with a start, still with the dream in my mind, and realised that the dream had been trying to give me a message – I was massively erect, and I guess my balls knew they needed relief because I was in the middle of a big involuntary ejaculation. Just as I swam up to consciousness, a big load of jism leapt out of my cock all across the mattress. As I came to, I tried to prevent it staining the mattress too badly by scooping up most of the semen, but the watery accompaniment of the pre-cum had already made the mattress wet and I knew there would be an embarrassing stain there.
But what should I do now anyway, with my hand full of sticky semen? I guessed I could get up and go over to the piss hole in the floor, but there was no toilet tissue there or any way of washing my hands. The obvious solution – simply to lick my hands clean and swallow my semen didn’t occur to me as I had never swallowed my own, or any other guy’s semen, before. So I dispersed the stuff as best I could by rubbing my hands on the inside of each thigh, then in my chest hair. The ammoniacal smell of the warm semen filled my nostrils, and I thought that he guy lying on the bunk on top of me would surely smell it too and know what I had been doing, but, mercifully, he still seemed to be sleeping.
But I saw the light of dawn creeping in, and a moment later a guard came along the rows of bunks telling us to all get up and get out. The guys staggered out of the bunks, doing the sort of things guys everywhere do when they wake from a deep sleep – rubbing their eyes, scratching their asses, yawning, and, of course, feeling their morning erections which all of them had.
I thought that we would go off to the showers as we had not been given one the previous evening, and it would be an opportunity to get the dried cum off my body, but it was not so. We went into a shower room, with about four holes in the tiled floor, and we were allowed to piss and crap, but no water came out of the shower heads. Seeing me crouching rather inexpertly over the hole as I really needed a crap, the slave at the hole next to me showed me how to do it properly – you put your feet just in front of the hole, then squat down so that your ass cheeks are almost touching the ground, and you grasp your arms around your knees so you can hold the position easily. This way your ass cheeks are pulled away from your anus by the position you have adopted, and so the turds can drop out unobstructed. As the slave pointed out, there was no bathroom tissue given to slaves, so it was really important that your turds don’t make a mess of your ass.
We were given breakfast from the tins of slave food, using the stainless steel bowls in turn and each of us being required to lick the bowl completely clean before the next slave’s meal was put into it. Then we went out into the yard between the bunk house and the admin building, and simply stood there.
Autumn was coming on, and it was actually quite cold standing there. I began to shiver, and wished that I could hug my arms around myself to try to keep warm – but all the other slaves had immediately stood with their legs apart and their hands clasped behind their heads, so I had done the same thing. The guards were only dressed in trousers and shirts, so I guessed it wasn’t really cold – but with all your body area exposed to the elements, even a small drop in temperature can soon be uncomfortable.
A guard came along the line of us, checking each of our numbers on a list he held on a little clip-board, and as we were obviously all there, he then gave the order for us to leave the yard and we climbed up into the back of an open-topped truck.
Thirty guys in one truck is quite a lot, and we were pushed quite close together. I wasn’t used to being so close to other naked guys, but no one else seemed to mind as we were thrown aainst each other as the truck rumbled along the minor county roads. It was easiest, I found, to do what everyone else did and link my arms around the guys on either side of me to help us all keep our balance. And, as an added bonus, the warmth of their bodies pressed to mine helped me to feel warmer – if it was cold-ish standing in the yard, it was worse as the truck dragged us through the open air. Several of the guys started to get erections, of course, as a lot of men are susceptible to “travel stickness” and find any form of moving vehicle causes them to have even more than the usual 20 erections a day.
It was about 30 minutes in the truck to the work site for the day, and when we arrived we all jumped down from the back of the truck. A guard was already there, and he started to order us to get started. Mitch, Dave, Jim and I were kept to one side as we were knew, and didn’t know what to do yet. But the rest formed up into pairs, and got started.
Basically the work was hard and repetitive, and I guess hadn’t changed much over all the time that chain gangs had been used in the penal system. Two slaves stood facing each other, each with a sledge hammer, and tok turns in raising their hammers and bringing them crashing down on to the rock or rocks in-between the pair. It needed some degree of synchronisation, so that the timing of one guy’s upswing didn’t interfere with the downswing of the other, but that was it. Every now and then, one pair had a little break from this tedium and was allowed to use a wheeled trug to carry more stones to the other slaves, from a large heap that a truck had delivered earlier. The guard walked up and down the line of slaves, making sure that everyone kept at it and pounding at the same, quite fast, pace. He had a lash, consisting of about eight short leather straps on the end of a two-foot handle, and if any slaves were not performing properly he would lash them with this across their asses, or backs. I was told later that this form of lash was used, rather than a conventional single-stranded whip, as it was possible to inflict more pain without breaking the skin. The rules allowed for slaves to be punished for not working properly, but there was to be no injury to them that might require hospitalisation.
When all the other slaves were working, the guard came and collected us four. Mitch was paired with Dave, and I was paired with Jim, and we started.
Within about ten minutes I saw what the manager of the depot had told us yesterday was true
- it was hard! Very hard! Normally, when you swing a sledge hammer on a project at home in the yard, you only do it for five or six strokes, then you stop and take a breath. Now we had to do it over and over and over again, with no break.
As the hammer crashed into the rock on the downstroke, there was a dreadful jarring in the arms. And we were reuired to raise it fully above our heads on the upstroke, and not “slack” by only raising it to shoulder height. Within about l0 minutes, there was another problem – I had tough hands from my manual job, but I started to feel the hickory shaft of the sledge hammer starting to chafe. Even when I gripped it tight, I couldn’t stop it sliding slightly, and this started to cause blisters. After an hour, the blisters had burst, and my hands were raw. I could see Jim was in the same piteous state, but we couldn’t stop – at any sign of a break in our rhythym, the lash would fall across our backs. Although I couldn’t see them properly as I needed to keep my eyes focussed on what we were doing, out of the corner of my eye I could see that Mitch and Dave were in even more trouble – Mitch could do it, but Dave had obviously had problems and as well as being lashed he had been given a dose of “the tickler” by the guard to encourage his young body to try harder. He was sitting sobbing on the ground, with the guard standing over him about to give him another burst of “the tickler”, whilst Mitch carried on alone.
The guard went to “tickle” Dave again, but Mitch stopped in mid swing and pushed his body in front of Dave just as the guard struck. Mitch took the full force of “the tickle”, and fell to the ground. But before the guard could do anything else, with an obvious enormous effort he pulled himself to his feet then leaned down and extended one of his bleeding hands to help Dave up to his feet. All of us slaves had stopped to see this sight, and it was a wonderfully tender moment to see the big muscular naked marine trying to help the younger, softer man. I guess that is what the “esprit de corps” in something like the marines is all about – you always try to help your buddies, at whatever cost to yourself.
I was very worried that the guard might take his control box and give us all a shock via our microchips, but I think he must have realised that he was working us too hard for the first day, because he satisfied himself with merely letting Mitch and Dave start again, and shouting at the rest of us to get going again, too. For the rest of that morning I could hear Mitch shouting encouragement at Dave, forcing him to continue even when it was clear that he was past exhaustion, by the sheer power of Mitch’s will. And he said something to the guard, because thereafter Dave was never lashed – Mitch simply stood there and took the lashes for both of them because they were not keeping up the same pace as the rest of us.
After about two hours we were allowed a break, and most of us simply sank down onto the ground to ease our aching legs. Some of the guys squatted down, with their asses close to the ground and their arms wrapped around their legs as I had seen at he crap hole in the barracks, and crapped there by the side of the road – where else was there to go, after all? It was not of course necessary to stop to piss, as if you needed to piss whilst working away, you simply did, without stopping or breaking your rhythm.
You might think that pounding away with a sledge hammer is work for the arms and back muscles, but if it’s done with real vigour, all the thigh, calf and ass muscles are used, too. One of the experienced slaves sitting next to us and seeing our bloody hands said “Soak them in your piss. Piss is mildly antiseptic, and acid. It will sting a bit, but you won’t get infections that way, and it will help them get tougher faster”.
I was a bit dubious, but Dave was in such dire straights that we needed to do anything we could to help him. I saw Mitch piss on his own hands, then rub them together, and then encouraged Dave to do so. Jim and I supported them by directing streams of our own piss onto our hands, too, and saying how much better we felt. The slave was right – it did sting a bit, but, strangely, it did feel a bit better also.
All too soon the brief respite was over, and we did another gruelling two-hour shift, before being allowed to stop again. I thought it must be time for lunch then, but I was told by another slave that we weren’t fed at all during the day – we had our morning feed, and then one again in the evening when we got back.
I don’t know how I got through the afternoon, and I was used to manual labour. It must have been infinitely harder for Dave, and Mitch was subjected to an almost continuous round of lashing as he had said he would take all the punishment for the pair. But evening did come, and we all climbed back up into the open back of the truck, and set off back to the road depot.
The journey back was much like the journey out, as we needed to hold on to each other to stop falling over as the truck swayed around, but Dave was so far gone that Mitch had his arms around the poor guy to hold him upright. Dave was slumped against Mitch, with his head lolling on Mitch’s pec, and Mitch’s arms under Dave’s armpits. Jim and I in turn had to help Mitch to stand up by holding him tight, and we all stood there, a little isolated mass of misery amongst the other slaves. My cock was pressed against Mitch’s thigh, but I had long since forgotten any inhibitions I had once had about touching another man’s body, and my only concern was to help my comrades.
When we arrived back at the road depot, I now understood why the other slaves had not been very communicative to us new guys the previous day – as we climbed wearily down off the truck we were just so plain exhausted that we didn’t want to speak. We managed to eat down the slave dinner from the red-topped tins, and went into the bunk room.
I just wanted to collapse, I was so tired, but first I stood and helped Mitch make sure Dave bathed his hands in piss again – he really did need to get them toughened as quickly as he could. I found a bunk, and saw that I needn’t have worried the previous night about my cum staining the mattress – the mattress on this one was stained, too, and so I guessed that involuntary ejaculations must be fairly common because jacking off with our cock rods in was not all that easy.
The following morning we went through the same ritual of shitting, eating, and climbing into the truck. I asked one of the others if we were ever going to be allowed to have a shower, as my body was really dirty and my skin felt all itchy with it. He explained that we were only allowed to shower once a week, and I’d need to wait for the right day. They thought that keeping us dirty further degraded us, so we would learn to become “proper” slaves more quickly.
We had another tortuous day working on the road, and poor Mitch again took most of the lashings that Dave attracted because he still could not keep up the pace. And the physical exhaustion, coupled with the red-tinned food, made certain I slept deeply again that night.
Nothing changed on the third day, and I can’t honestly say that I found the work got any easier, in spite of my muscles starting to adjust. But my own hands had stopped bleeding from using the sledge hammer. When we got out of the truck that night we weren’t fed immediately but were taken into a shower area – just a plain, tiled room with six shower heads for the 30 of us. The water came on, and we all crowded underneath – and I mean “crowded” – five under one shower is really tight. I had completely lost any inhibitions I had formerly had about touching other guys’ bodies by now, and just stood there revelling in the clean water as it cascaded over me, totally unconcerned about the warm flesh that surrounded me and the way that the other guys’ cocks caught my thighs and ass as we moved around under the spray. And, of course, it was bliss to have my body properly soaped and rubbed by one of the others as I in turn ran my own slick hands over a muscular slave called Tony.
When we had finished showering, it was time to shave. Slaves were not allowed to have beards, and on shower days we needed to scrape the accumulated stubble from our faces. There were no mirrors in the shower area, and so we were issued with a small number of disposable razors and you got a mate to shave you. I shaved Tony that first time, as he had been next to me in the shower, and it was difficult – you get used to manipulating the razor on your own face and chin by looking in a mirror, and trying to do it to another guy when it’s not a “mirror image”, is incredibly difficult. And, of course, the nose ring hanging down over the upper lip makes it more difficult to shave it. You have to get really close to another guy in order to be able to shave him, and you can’t help occasionally rubbing your cock against his trunk as you manoeuvre around to get all the beard off.
When I had done him, Tony said “Hey – you haven’t finished. I want my balls done, too.”
There was no prohibition on having a hairy sac at the road depot, although we would be shaved clean again next time we went for auction. But Tony told me that most of the guys kept themselves shaved because, as you know, when the hair starts to grow again on your sac after you have shaved it, it can be really itchy and uncomfortable. It’s particularly bad just inbetween the top of your thighs, and the hard pubic hairs starting to re-grow around your anus can dig into you irritatingly sharply. Tony said that life was hard enough working on the road gang, without being pricked around your ass all day, too!
So I knelt down in front of him, and gave him a good clean shave around his balls, then he turned around, bent over, and spread his ass cheeks so that I could clean away the re-growing stubble there, too.
Then it was my turn. I thought we would be given a fresh disposable razor, but Tony started on my face and chin with the same razor that I had just used to shave his ass. He saw me wincing slightly as he brought it up to my face, and then told me not to be so squeamish – we’d all just showered after all, and his ass was perfectly clean. He was right, of course.
And this was to be our life for the next three months. Days of toil, nights of deep sleep induced by the physical effort and the sedatives in our evening food, and every few days the bliss of being able to clean my body properly.
The only break in our routine was when an occasional bus load of prisoners from other jails around the country were brought to “observe the Programme in action”. They would watch our naked bodies in amazement through the bus windows, but were made to get out and stand quite close, and you could see them wince as we were lashed by the guard. We were also observed in the showers, and they would be paraded through the bunk room, too, to see our naked bodies on the bare bunks as we drifted into sleep. I remembered that part of the objective of the Programme was to reduce re-offence rates amongst criminals throughout the USA, and I guess that seeing us working and living in this totally humiliating way was part of their orientation.
Mitch, Dave, Jim and I stayed quite close – although we knew all the other slaves, we were particular buddies and tried to work together whenever we could. Mitch and I had quickly adjusted to the very hard work, and after a couple of weeks, Jim’s gym-toned muscles had also taken on the leaner, harder look of those you only get from physical labour. It took Dave a lot longer, but by the end of one month on the gang he, too, had lost all traces of the remaining “puppy fat”, and now had a trim, muscular body. We were, of course, all the same even tan over every part of our bodies.
I got to realise how important it is to have a group of buddies who you really like, and who you can really trust. Seeing how Mitch had behaved with Dave in those first weeks, supporting him, encouraging him, and taking the lash for him, brought home to me the real meaning of comradeship. Although we got used to touching each others’ bodies constantly, as we worked, as we were herded together in the trucks, and in the showers, we did not feel the need to become sexually involved – just “the guy thing”, with mates you really liked and knew, was enough. Being constantly naked, with not a shred of privacy, we could have no secrets from each other.
Even though we were all healthy young guys and therefore had our normal daily “quota” of erections, it was difficult to do much about it because of the metal bars through our cocks. Involuntary ejaculation in the night was common amongst all the slaves, but I knew Mitch in particular hated that, and always tried to stimulate the end of his cock enough before the inevitable sleep overtook him so that he could cum into his own hand. Jim offered to help him out, but Mitch told him that although he loved Jim like a brother, he didn’t want to have any sexual contact with him as it would spoil the perfect bond of friendship we all had. I guess we all felt the same.
New slaves arrived from the auction house each week, and when we got back from working on the road we would stand there with our tanned, muscular bodies dropping with exhaustion and watch the new guys looking pale and disoriented. I now understood why, when we were new, no one had bothered to greet us or even say anything: we were all wrapped up in our own little world with its strange mixture of misery and real comradeship, and these “outsiders” intruded into it.
But strangely, I enjoyed the road gang. Although the work was hard, and the lash did sting (even as a very hard worker, I usually was lashed once or twice a day to keep up my work rate, as the guard wanted to make his quota), it restored my body to perfect condition. Although I had always done manual work and my body was hard from it, by the end of three months of the very hard regime of the road gang it was absolutely superb. I revelled in the feeling of power in my muscles, and in the sight of my skin tanned to a deep golden brown stretched taught over them. I knew that if I had not had my rings, the tattoos, and the brand, I could easily have been a centrefold in any magazine for men (or women) in the USA.
And then it was over.
One day after our shower and shave, the four of us were not fed but were instead taken out into the yard and loaded into the back of the pickup – we were being taken back to the auction house, as our three months were up and we were to be sold on to our next contract.