All posts tagged: David Moloney

Podcast: David Moloney on “Counsel”

Writer David Moloney speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about his story “Counsel,” which appears in Issue 19 of The Common. “Counsel” is an excerpt from Moloney’s novel-in-stories, Barker House, set in a correctional facility in New Hampshire. The book follows nine correctional officers over the course of one year on the job. Moloney discusses his own experiences as a correctional officer in a New Hampshire facility, and the work of turning those complex experiences into stories for the novel. Barker House was published by Bloomsbury in April 2020, so this conversation also includes discussion of what it’s like to publish during a pandemic.

David Moloney, Issue 19

Podcast: David Moloney on “Counsel”
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Counsel

By DAVID MOLONEY

Excerpted from BARKER HOUSE, the new book by David Moloney, out now from Bloomsbury.  

 

I work alone on the Restricted Unit in the Barker County Correctional Facility in New Hampshire. It’s a semicircular room, the curved wall lined with nine cells. Most of the day, the inmates press their faces to scuffed windows, silent. There are no bars. The architects went with rosewood steel doors. Rosewood: the color of merlot.

On Tuesday and Saturday mornings I supervise inmates while they shave in their cells. We don’t leave them alone with razors. I try to talk with them, like we’re just in a locker room, hanging out while one of us shaves. Some don’t talk. I imagine that, cutting their whiskers before a scratched plastic mirror, they think of the other mirrors they’ve shaved in front of, the rooms those mirrors were in, and maybe that keeps them silent.

Tuesday. Inmate Bigsby is shaving. He’s talkative. Not crazy crazy, but it’s always tough to tell.

“This scar, right here,” says Bigsby as a stroke down his cheek reveals a cambered wound, “was when I broke from the sheriffs.” The single blade on Bigsby’s flimsy disposable couldn’t shave a teenage girl’s happy trail, but the inmates make do and pull at their skin.

There is a common perception—you see it in movies—that inmates don’t want to talk about their crimes. But they do. They depend on their past, their scars, to prove they were something else. In what standing, that doesn’t matter.

Counsel
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