Category: Maytag (Gen)
Summary: How did Maytag wind up under T-Bag’s protection? The answer is not so simple.
Author’s Comments: This came out of one of the ficlets for "Stories I Never Told You", and was originally for the Title of "Sponge". This longer story expands that idea. Written for the pbreak_drabbles “Secrets” challenge.
His face was a mixture of innocence and mischief as a boy, and he was always getting into things. He got away with it though, far too often. “Oh, surely Jason didn’t know what he was doing,” they’d say, and he’d look up at them all big-eyed and still. They’d let him off the hook with a half-hearted reprimand and he’d be on his way, behaving for awhile until he found something new that tempted him. By age four, he had his mother wrapped around his finger.
The consequences were never bad enough to make him want to stop. Pretty soon, he would weigh the punishment against the crime. A lot of times, the crime was worth it. A timeout for stolen cookies? Easy choice. A spanking for painting the dog? Okay, he hadn’t known his mother would go that far, but again— totally worth it. Comparing two weeks of purple dog versus an hour of sore bottom was not a tough decision.
As he got older his pranks escalated. Soon it was petty theft and getting stoned behind the school. His mother wrung her hands at home, but she could pull an excuse for him out of thin air by the time the cops showed up. She was better at it than he was, so he just let her do the talking when she could.
After a couple of stints in Juvie, he’d learned the routine. Find someone to protect you, someone other people feared. Doing unsavory favors for one person was a whole lot better than doing them for everyone, and it was a bargain he could live with. By the time he found himself at Fox River prison, he was an expert at picking his mark.
He was looking to stay alive, of course, and it took him awhile to get positioned. But one useless cellmate later, he found what he needed. T-Bag was brutal and demanding, but he had hips like pistons and could guarantee protection. It wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t pretty, but as long as it worked he was covered.
His new savior called him “Maytag,” a typical prag name, but it didn’t change the fact that Jason was as wily as ever. So long as he was alive and thriving in his niche, it didn’t matter what the other inmates thought. He let it look like he was the one being used, but he knew he'd found someone strong enough to do the work for him.
He'd been manipulating and stealing and sponging off people all his life, and he’d learned the secret to it long ago. He did what he had to, became what they needed. The trick was to make other people think they wanted it.
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