Convict Fenton pedaled, cursing under his breath, and cycled on. He wasn’t upset; it was his pastime on the Bike. Convicts didn’t rate streaming media, so they made due. Some sang, but Fent’s blue litany kept him sane. Kept him from wondering how long he had left.
After his first year in the GenPen – Federal Electro-Generation Penitentiary – he’d hit 10% and realized at that rate, he’d be in for another decade. Pitching the Deal, his lawyer had given him rosy estimates about serving time in kilowatt-hours instead of years. Fent hadn’t known enough science to spot the over-inflated estimates. He hadn’t caught the “up to” caveats built into the Deal, either. Bikes could generate “up to” 100 kwh each day… at full tension and a consistently high rpm. It would help if bike maintenance was a company priority.
But it wasn’t. And counting watts made the time drag on, so he didn’t do it. They’d let him out when he was done.
Fent pedaled and cursed until cool-down kicked in. He dismounted, and stepped through the security door. When the lights showed green, he pushed through to the shower room, and the guy on the other side, coming in to relieve him, was shunted in with the Bike to start pedaling.
Stretched out, showered, and thumbed into his cell, Fent slipped into his VR harness. Time to animate some avatars for the Man. He went through most of the standards in a given night. Orc, pimp, zombie, terrorist; he shot, sliced, or mauled his way through his shift, crawled out of the harness to sleep, and went back to the Bike.
One day, he thought, they’ll let me out. But he thought it less frequently every day.
Convict Fenton pedaled, cursing under his breath, and cycled on.
What did I just read? Explanations and excuses can be found at this link.