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The start of the day was a bit rough. I had left my significant other crying in a hotel room after she had gasped out an emphatic "goodbye". She had been on my mind most of the two hour plus drive to the Scranton, PA area.

I stopped on River Street to call Bob from a pay phone as Harold had requested. Bob wanted to give me directions to the facility, but I told him it wasn't necessary, Harold had already provided directions.

I drove up the valley into the mountains west of Scranton until I reached their black mailbox on the left side of the road, and turned into a dirt side road with a green weed and grass strip down the middle. I paused briefly, wondering if I really wanted to do this, before plunging my Honda Civic (with too little clearance) into and across a small creek before heading up the hill through a switch-back to their house.

At this point I was scared to go on but felt safe enough to proceed. I have come to recognize that this is key to where I want to play. Emotionally, I want to feel fear and be afraid. Intellectually, I want to know that I am in safe hands.

I have read Checkmate Magazine and Dungeon Master Magazine for years. Harold, Bob, and I have friends in common. I was still pretty nervous. I think it was momentum that got me up the driveway and parked. There wasn't any place to turn around. It is nice to know the people you are playing with are safe. References make a big difference to me. If I hadn't intellectually felt safe, I don't think I could have made it up the drive.

As I arrive, Bob walks over from the construction area where he was working, to greet me. We introduced ourselves and I passed on my wife's impassioned request that I not get my head shaved. She had said that she didn't want a reminder of my visit to MCF all summer. Bob said that that was OK with him, though I missed not getting my head shaved -- I was looking forward to it.

Bob, probably sensing my jitters, says that he has some business that he needs to attend to in town and asked me if I want to go into the cell or ride along. I choose to ride along. The business turns out to be a trip to the bank so that Bob can buy a back-hoe. It felt really good to talk to Bob a bit before we get started. As I calm down I think to myself, "Yes, this is going to be OK".

It turns out that Harold hadn't shown Bob most of my letters. At this point I am thinking it was a really good idea to go for a ride with Bob first. Most of the trip I talk about the kind of play I like and what I want.

The conversation lapsed occasionally mostly because I am still pretty wound-up and don't really know what I am getting myself into (which by the way, is just the way I want it).

We talk a bit about whipping. Bob runs a male whipping male bare-back mailing list. He feels that bottoms are for boys and backs are for men. I describe the type of whipping I think I want, no warm up. He labels it as a "punishment" whipping. It has been 14 years since I have been whipped. I wonder why I am asking for it. But clearly, at some level, I want it.

After the trip to the bank, Bob invites me into the house. As I go in, I stop just inside the door. Bob asks me what's going on. I explain to Bob that from my previous conversations with Harold that I was expecting to be told to strip before I got into the house. Bob waves me into the living room area next to the cage and has me strip there. He has fetched a pair of orange pocket-less pants with an elastic waist and an orange pullover shirt with one front pocket and "Mountain Correction Facility" silk-screened on three lines in black on the back. These two pieces of clothing will be what I wear for most of my stay.

Originally I had planned on a long weekend, but my schedule changed to free me for the entire prior week as well. I wasn't sure I wanted to spend that long, though the urge was certainly there. I talked it over with John, the close friend who finally got me in touch with Harold and Bob. He said "go for it". I did. I made two requests for a longer visit to Harold and Bob without getting any answer back. Their response to my third request was that they were too busy this summer with their prison addition and some radio station re-wiring, but after the addition was in they would be able to handle longer-term incarceration. Persistent me asked if I could help with the construction. First came a maybe, then a yes -- construction Monday through Thursday with "serious harassment" to start Thursday.

So I expected to work Monday and the next three days, and hopefully spend my nights in a basement cell.

Bob and I had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the kitchen table before starting work on the addition. It was hot and humid working outside. As Bob laid block, I mixed mortar and carried CMUs (Cement Masonry Units). I was also directed to dig out and shape the holes for nine column footers. It was both fun and awkward working in the prison garb. The pants kept slipping down from my waist, so it was hard to take long or high steps. Bob gave me free reign to get water and take breaks whenever I needed. In addition to the orange outfit, I had my glasses, combat boots, socks, and leather gloves while I was working.

In "reality" only a trusted prisoner would have access to the tools I was using - especially the pick. A trusted prisoner was the last thing I wanted to be considered that week. I wanted to be locked up with no chance of escape. Better, for me, to be a trusted prisoner than a rambler on a Pennsylvania trail. I enjoyed the work even if it did interfere with my fantasy.

We quit work and started play as dusk approached.

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