The Sentence
By Vicki

I had been wrongly accused of embezzlement from my employer. I knew that I was framed. Even the best lawyer I could afford was unable to sway the jury. I was convicted. I was devastated.

Due to prison overcrowding the judicial system had instituted a new system of punishment. Rather than incarceration the convicted were required to undego various forms of personal hardships. I had no idea what was in store for me.

On the day of my sentencing I was not looking forward to what was in store for me. When my case came up I was asked to stand in front of the judge while my sentence was read. The judge began to speak.

"Miss Ames, you have been convicted of the teft of a large amount of money and as such a stiff sentence is warranted. As you know we now find it more suitable for white collar crimes to inflict a non-jail sentence. You may consider this harsh, but in time you will realize it is much more lenient than confinement." 

In one respect I was relieved. I would not serve time in jail. I knew that whatever was in store for me it would not be pleasant.

"Miss Ames, the court sentences you to five years being deprived of the use of your hands. The sentence is to be carried out immediately. Next case," the judge said abruptly.

Oh God, how would I live without hands? I had no idea how this would be accomplished. Obviously my hands couldn't be amputated as my sentence was for five long years and not permanently. My question was answered quite quickly.

I was led out of the court and into another wing of the court house. We entered a room that looked somewhat like a doctor's office.

"Miss Ames, my name is Mr. Davis. I will be fitting you with your stumps. The process should take only an hour and you will then be free to resume your life, although without the use of your hands."

What did he mean by stumps? At this point I was really scared.

"Please remove your sweater," he requested.

I took off my sweater and was just wearing my bra. I felt naked and embarrassed, but this was the least of my worries. Mr. Davis then led me over to a strange device. There were two tube like metal things attached to a frame. He then took out a tape measure and measured the circumference around my arms and then had me make a fist and he measured around it.

"I will need to change the cylinders to fit you. Then we will begin," he said.

He then proceeded to get a new pair of the cylinders and inserted a mesh like tube inside. The mesh appeared to be somewhat rigid and fit the tube perfectly. He then took each of my hands and clipped my fingernails as short as possible. He then instructed me to wash my hands and arms thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap.

"This is the last time you will use your hands for the next five years," he said.

He then got two thin latex items. These were like rolled up condoms. He made me make a fist and rolled one up each arm. They were very flexible and fit the contours of my curled up hands and arms.

"The latex sleeves will protect your arms from the foam and resin. Now insert your arms all the way into the tubes."

I did this and noticed that the openings of the tubes ran up my arms and the diameter matched my arm at the upper end. The tubes felt so tight with my hands curled up. Was this the way I would be for five years? I knew it would be so. I started to shake a little.

"Now I am going to inject a foam like material into the sockets. It is under pressure and will fill every available space."

There was a hose attached to a small fitting about where my wrists were. I felt the material enter. It was slightly cold. He repeated this for my other arm.

"This sets in about five minutes. Don't move your hands or arms."

I did as he said. After about ten minutes he told me to pull my arms out of the tubes. They slipped out easily. I looked at my arms. They were encased in the foam material and the mesh outer covering. The ends where my hands were were smoothly rounded ends. Just like what real arm stumps might look like.

"I am now going to coat the mesh with a quick set resin that hardens into a rigid shell. After that I will apply a skin like latex coating that will almost be like skin," he told me.

All this took another fifteen minutes.  The resin coating hardened in about five minutes. The latex covering was flesh colored and looked like skin. I started to cry as I looked at my new stumps. My hands were gone. I had no idea how I would get by with just stumps.

"You can put your sweater back on now," Mr. Davis told me. He didn't offer to help. I stuck my stumps into the sweater and tried to get them into the arms. Eventually I did. I struggled to get the sweater over my head. It was hard work. I had to wiggle around. I used my new stumps to pull the sweater down. Was this what everything would be like for five long years.

"Miss Ames. There are a few things I need to tell you. First, You can't remove the stumps as the interior material wraps around your wrists and essentially locks your hands in. If we find that you have damaged the stumps in any way your sentence will automatically be doubled to ten years. You will probably experience some pain within the first 24 hours. Take over the counter pain killers. Usually the pain goes away after two or three days. You will probably begin to lose the sensation of having hands about that time as well. You will start to feel as if you were really an arm amputee."

I started to cry again as I looked down and took in the ends of my stumps just showing below my sleeves.

"Once a month you will return here. At that time we will remove your sockets and allow you to exercise your hands for about an hour. I understand that it is quite painful to open your hands. You can open and close them, but will be forbidden to use them for anything. We will then apply new stump tubes for the following month. Of course we will trim your nails and wash your arms and hands. We will do this for you so you will not even have that opportunity to use your hands."

"How will I live this way?" I asked.

"Well most convicts make an appointment with a prosthetist and get fitted with bilateral hook type prosthetics. These are not forbidden. Any other type or prosthesis is. All you can use are hooks. Myoelectrics are forbidden. Some people try to get by with just their stumps. That's up to you. I or someone else will see you in one month. Good luck."

I was shown our and down to the lobby where my roommate Chris was waiting.

"Oh God Jill. They made you an arm amputee. How long?" she asked.

"Five years."

"That's a long time. I am so sorry. Can you get prosthetics?"

"Yes, but they have to be hooks. Nothing that looks like a hand I was told. I think they want the world to know that I am or will look like an amputee," I explained.

Chris drove us home and I sobbed all the way. All I could do for the rest of the day was to look at my stumps. I was devastated. Chris made some dinner and I tried to eat by holding a fork between my stumps. I got by to some extent. I couldn't hold a glass so Chris placed a straw in the glass of wine. By the end of the evening I knew I had had too much to drink.

"How will I live like this, without hands? Five years. Oh God no."

"I know honey. I will help you get through this," Chris said and meant it.

Chris helped me get undressed and to take off my makeup. I hardly slept all night. By midnight the pain began. My hands hurt so much.

The next morning was horrible. My hands throbbed in spite of the pain killers Chris gave me. The pain was much worse than I expected. I tried to pull the stump tubes off. Of course they wouldn't budge. They would remain on for the next month. I was miserable. I didn't think I could live like this. My first task was to take a shower. I did the best I could with my stumps and a wash cloth. I wondered how I could shave my legs. I could get by for another day or so but then I would need to figure out how to do it or Chris would have to shave me.

Toileting was something else. I could pee okay but the other thing was a challenge. I had to ask Chris to help me. I was humiliated. I felt like a baby. Chris had to help me dress and put on my makeup. The pain was still constantly there. I wanted so much to open mu hands but I couldn't. I was miserable.

"What about prosthetics?" Chris asked.

"You mean hooks. I can't stand the idea. Do you know what they look like? I don't know if I could face the idea of having hooks," I said with tears running down my cheeks.

"Well you could try just using your stumps, but I think you would get used to the hooks and I am quite sure they would let you do things you wouldn't be able to with just your stumps."

"I don't have stumps. I am not an amputee," I protested.

"Well maybe not, but you will effectively have stumps for the next five years," Chris said.

"You really think I should try hooks?"

"Yes," Chris said emphatically.

"Well okay I guess," I said.

Chris helped me to call several prosthetists. I explained that I needed hooks as soon as possible. I finally found one that could see me in three days. Three long days. That was the fastest appointment I could get.

I tried to get by for the next three days. Chris fed me for the most part. After three days the pain was almost gone and I sort of lost the ability to sense my hands. The rigid foam didn't allow me to move my fingers even the slightest. I felt a little better and maybe hooks wouldn't be so bad. Anything was better than my stumps.

Chris drove me to the prosthetist's office. I was aware that the receptionist immediately knew that I was not a real amputee, but rather serving a sentence.

"How long is your sentence dear," she asked.

"Five years," I replied.

"You poor thing, but getting your hooks will make life a lot better," she said.

"I hope so," I said.

A few minutes later I was able to see the prosthetist. He was quite nice to me. His name was Bud.

"Seeing as you have the standard stumps prescribed by the court we don't have to take plaster molds as we would for a real amputee. We stock various diameter sockets and we probably have a pair to fit you. If so you can leave here with your new hooks."

I couldn't believe this. I thought it might take a couple of weeks to get my hooks. 

Chris helped me off with the light sweater I wore. I was also wearing a skirt with no pantyhose as I had found that this was the best way for me to go to the bathroom without help. I couldn't manage pants. Once again I was in front of a man in just my bra.

"You have no need for stump socks. These sockets will fit your stump tubes perfectly," bud said.

He then had me slip into the right socket. After placing the harness over my shoulders I inserted my left stump into the left socket. I got my first look at the two new hooks I would be using for the next five years.

Bud adjusted the straps and the control cable length. My hooks had articulating wrists. I had been reading up on the internet about hook type prosthetics and I knew a little about how they worked. I had standard 5X hooks. I moved my shoulder to open my right hook as Bud instructed. I did it without any effort.

Bud explained things to me in as much detail as he could. He also gave me a manual for arm amputees that gave hints as to how to do things with hooks. I looked down at my hooks and thought about using them for the next five years. At least I would have some functionality and I would eventually have my hands back. Real amputees had to live like this for the rest of their lives.

Chris helped my on with my sweater and I had to admit that I didn't look that bad with the hooks hanging down. At least with the hooks people might believe I was a real arm amputee and not serving out a sentence. My hands weren't hurting anymore and I had lost the sensation of having hands. I was starting to accept that I would get by somehow.

I arranged for payment out of what little funds I had in my savings. The hooks were not cheap. I hoped they were worth it. On the way home I just stared at my two hooks.

"God these things are horrible to look at," I said. "People are going to stare at me."

"You will get used to it. I think the hooks are kind of sexy," Chris said trying to cheer me. I didn't think they were sexy at all. They were horrible. I had hooks instead of hands. How could that be sexy?

After we got home I started to experiment with my hooks. At least I could use the TV remote and even type on my computer. Using the mouse was hard. I would have top think of something to make it easier. Chris helped me learn to eat. I would need to eat everything with a fork. Trying to hold soft things in my hooks just didn't work out.

That night I took my hooks off and went to bed. I dreamed about life with hooks. I kept picturing myself as others would see me, a poor girl with hooks for hands. This was not the way I wanted to be. No way.

The next morning Chris helped me as usual and I got back into my new hooks for the day. Chris suggested that I go out to the grocery store with her, It would be my first time out in my hooks.

I followed her around the store and even tried to pick up some of the items she needed. The stares were there. I wondered if I would ever get over them.

"I really hate being like this. Everyone stares. I know I look horrible in these things," I said.

"Actually you don't. You are a very attractive woman and I think you are making too much out of your hooks. They just show a little below each sleeve. Unless people look twice they probably don't even notice," Chris said.

"You think so?"

"Yes. I have been watching and not that many people notice. Those that do stare, but a lot of people just aren't aware you are any different than anyone else."

Over the next month I got better and better with my hooks. I could eat really well and I did an adequate job with my makeup. Chris and I went shopping and out to eat. I was feeling less and less self conscious. I was adapting to my hooks. At times I forgot I didn't have hands. Using my hooks became more natural.

I returned to the court house after my first month. Of course I had my hooks on. Mr. Davis was there.

"Well I see you have a pair of nice hooks. I thought you would get them. Time to take them off," he said.

I managed to take off my top and shrugged out of my hooks and placed them on a table. Next Mr. Davis got a special saw. It was like the ones they used on casts. He cut off first my left stump tube. My hand was, of course curled up. Before I did anything he locked my wrist into a ring attached to the frame. He then cut off my right stump tube and locked my right wrist into a similar ring on that side.

"You have one hour to exercise your hands. I will be back then," he said as he left the room.

The pain was unimaginable as I tried to open my hands. It took me almost ten minutes to get them open. I slowly moved my fingers. Of course I couldn't touch anything because I was locked in the two rings around my wrists. Little by little I could move them better. By the end of the hour I could open and close them with only a little pain.

"All set now?" Mr. Davis asked as he came in.

"I guess so," I replied. Actually I could barely deal with the idea that in a short time my arms would be encased in the stump tubes again.

"You will be back in your hooks before you know it."

He then clipped my nails and washed my arms in the anti-bacterial soap. He did this with my arms still in the rings. He then got a stump tube with the mesh insert. He released my left hand and replaced the ring with the tube in the same frame. He applied a new latex liner. I inserted my arm into the socket and the entire process began again. First the foam, then the resin coating and finally the latex coating. Before I realized it my stumps were ready.

It almost felt good to get back into my hooks and get dressed. I left the court house and headed for my car. I had had a driving ring installed on my steering wheel.  I could drive myself using my hooks. I was fairly independent.

This time the pain in my hands didn't last as long. I got on with my life in hooks. Only 59 months to go of my five years. I decided not to dwell on the time I would spend without hands. I tried to forget that eventually I would have my hands back. That made accepting life the way it was a lot easier.

My savings was running out and I needed to get a job. I had no idea how hard it would be having hooks. I was lucky. I got a job in a women's clothing store at the mall. I convinced the owner that I could do just about everything a normal person could using my hooks. She was a bit reluctant as she didn't know how the shoppers would respond. It turned out that most people accepted me. I actually enjoyed helping women and girls find the things they were looking for. I especially liked working in lingerie. I was sort of an underwear freak and I pretty much knew most of the major lines of bras and panties.

All things considered my life wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Sure, I had hooks, but otherwise I was just the same as I always was. I even took more interest in my appearance and even my makeup was better than it had been. I dressed more stylishly even though I always wore long sleeves except at home. I never wanted anyone to know I wasn't a real arm amputee,

One year went by and I now had only four more years using hooks. I could make it. I was totally used to having hooks. I did pretty much everything I used to do. There were, of course, little things I could never do with my hooks. I couldn't fasten the tiny hooks on jewelry and stuff like that. I could shop by myself and eating was not longer a challenge. I even got used to how I looked in my hooks.

My previous boyfriend had abandoned me after I was convicted. I now had a new boyfriend, Rick. He didn't seem to mind my hooks. Of course he knew that I was serving a five year sentence and would eventually have my hands back. I had a suspicion that he found my hooks a turn on. I didn't care though. He was a great guy and I liked being with him. The sex wasn't bad either. When he wanted me to keep my hooks on that clinched my suspicion he got turned on by my hooks. 

I almost led a normal life for the ensuing years. It was always a pain once a month to get my stump tubes changed. I was used to it though.

My five years were up and I returned to the court house to have my stumps removed for the last time. This time there would be no new stump tubes. After I could move my hands again I carried my hooks out to my car and drove home for the first time using my hands in five long years. I thought I should be really happy my sentence was complete, but for some reason I wasn't.

After about a week using my hands again I started to get a strange feeling. Things were so easy. I no longer had the challenge of figuring out how to do things with my hooks. I don't know why but for some reason I never got rid of my hooks. And for some reason I had the urge to use them again. I slipped my right arm into the socket. It was a little loose since the stump tubes had taken up some room. I pulled my arm out  and found a pair of long woolen socks. I slipped these over my arms and then slipped them into the sockets of my hooks. I was wearing my hooks again. They felt good.

Chris came into the room and saw me with my hooks on.

"What on earth? Wasn't five years enough?" Chris asked.

"I don't know. I sort of feel naked without my hooks. I got so used to them. They were a part of me for so long. It's hard to explain. I think I want to wear them for a while."

"You are completely nuts," Chris said.

I got back into my sweater and just sat there in my hooks. They felt really comfortable again. I opened and closed them The familiar feeling of using them came back.

"Let's go out to eat and a movie," Chris said.

"Okay," I replied.

I grabbed my bag and started for the door.

"Aren't you forgetting something?" Chris asked.

"Like what?"

"You still have the hooks on," Chris pointed out.

"I kind of like being this way. I think I will wear them. I was this way for so many years that I feel like my hooks are part of my personality."

"You are a crazy girl," Chris said laughing as we headed out the door.

I felt normal again using my hooks. I then made a decision. The next day I went to see Mr. Davis.

"Miss Ames. What brings you here? Your sentence is up."

"Well I would like to ask you if you would be willing to fit me with stump tubes again. I am willing to pay you under the table if you will do it."

"Let me get this straight. You want to be prevented from using your hands even though you are not under any sentence."

"Yes, that's right. You may find it hard to understand, but I like not having hands and using my hooks," I said.

"I don't know. I could do it. No one checks up on me. I run this operation. So you want me to fit you with stump tubes and change them every month."

"Yes. I want this to be on a permanent basis if it's not too expensive. I am willing to make it worth your while," I said.

He finally agreed on a price and applied a pair of stump tubes. I had brought my hooks in a large tote bag. I was so happy when my arms were encased in a new pair of stump tubes and I could slip back into my hooks.

"You are a very strange woman," Mr. Davis said. "I guess I will see you in a month."

"Count on it for a long time. I don't think I will ever want to be any other way than this.

Rick and I were still very much involved and I told him of my decision. Not to my surprise he was delighted. He loved the way I looked with my hooks and he loved to watch me use them.

All that was five years ago. Rick and I got married and it has been ten years since I have used my hands except for a few days five years ago. I love living like this. Rick and I are searching for a doctor to perform voluntary amputations of my arms. We haven't found one yet, but we are still looking. We both look forward to the day when I will become a real double above the elbow amputee. We decided that above the elbow amputations would be really cool. Mr. Davis still faithfully changes my stump tubes every month. Hopefully he won't find another job before I find a surgeon. Hopefully. I guess I really got a life sentence and not just five years.

The End