“Where do you think he ended up?”
Eddy shrugged like a person who didn't know, wasn't supposed to know, never expected to know.
Joe paused in his labor to adjust his collar. “Damn starch,” he muttered. The reflex to unbutton it was frozen by the stare of the camera. He resumed his labor and the conversation. “Hank went back, right?”
“Yeah, the past. That's all he could talk about. No fingerprints. No DNA. The cops won't catch him again.”
“Yeah. That's what I'd choose.”
“You plan on gettin' back in the business when you get out?”
“What else? I don't know nuthin' 'bout nuthin' else.”
“If you get caught again, it'll be your third strike. The death sentence.”
“Or I can take the time machine.”
“You'd go back, like Hank?”
“Sure. Gimme the past. Same reason.”
“Who's this?” Joe asked, changing the subject.
Eddy shrugged. “Some con.”
“No, just died.”
Eddy shrugged again.
Joe touched the edge of the six foot long box on the cart and Eddy glanced at the nearest camera.
“Don't worry, I'm not gonna look. I's just thinkin' it's not much of a coffin.”
Eddy smirked. “They ain't gonna bury him, you damn dummy.”
Joe responded with his eyebrows.
“Cremation,” Eddy added.
“You never brought a body down here before?”
“No. How much further?”
“As long as we can make it.”
“Don' wanna miss lunch.”
“Don't worry. You won't.”
Silence joined them for the next span of the hallway and the men's attention wavered. The cart bumped the wall and the box twisted.
“Watch what you're doin'!” Joey complained.
Eddy placed his hands on the top edge and pushed. The weight of the body held the box fast and the lid slipped off.
Both men held their breath and searched for the nearest camera. It was right above them pointed down the hall. The next one looking in their direction was twenty-five yards further on.
“Quick! Put it back.”
“I am,” Eddy replied, but raised up on his toes to peek before pulling the lid back in place.
“Close it, damn it!”
Eddy didn't move.
“What the hell you doin'?”
Eddy didn't respond.
Joey slid between the cart and the wall and reached to pull the lid back in place.
“Look,” Eddy commanded.
Joey glanced at the camera and then peeked into the box.
The men pulled the lid back into place and pushed against the bottom of the box to realign it on the cart, then leaned side-by-side against the wall.
Several moments passed before they started and glanced at the camera. Without another word, they resumed their journey.
The guard at the crematorium opened the door and checked the number on the box before allowing them to push their cart inside. It aligned perfectly with a roller conveyor onto which they shoved the box.
“Take the cart and report back,” the guard instructed.
They returned the way they had come in far less time as though trying to outrun their transgression.
Eddy was the first to dare to speak.
“That was Hank.”
Joe turned on Eddy with a threat.
“Did they see...”
“No. I don't know. I hope not.”
A guard met them when they arrived at the cell block and began leading them away from the mess hall.
“It's lunch time.” Eddy complained.
The guard didn't respond, but locked them in separate cells.
An hour later, trays of food were slid through access ports in their doors.
The next day, four inmates pushed two carts with two boxes along the corridor.