The prisoner would occasionally poke at the ankle bracelet with his cane as he walked about his yard. His electronic tether was clasped on with wide and uncomfortable plastic straps, blocky corners forming the black box at its center, constantly reminding him of its presence as he walked around.
The small batch of green that was his front lawn was the closest the electronic tracker would allow him to freedom. What once were annoying chores, such as weeding, mowing, or snow shoveling, were now the moments that allowed him the illusion of being a liberated man. Stepping outside to walk circles on the grass without purpose only put temptation into view: The blue mailbox sitting on the corner became a beacon of normalcy; the tall, splintered telephone pole its own nation on which he could lean and rest his gimp leg; the children playing with their dog shone like a city on a hill.
But all of these things were just beyond his reach. Stepping outside the small, green enclosure of his lawn would only send a signal into the sky, alerting a series of invisible chariots that would race to inform the authorities that he had overstepped his bounds and needed to be punished for it. Enough of those infractions, he knew, would send him some place far worse than this – the red-suited technicians assured him of this every time they arrived to calibrate the equipment, referring to him as corrupt. Or was it perverted? If only he could remember what he had done. But the first time the technicians had arrived they had also brought syringes and drugs and sanitizing equipment. Now he could only feel the faint outlines of his crime, those edges, like those of the black box, leaving him with the impression he was being punished for wanting more.