Creative Commons License
Super Friends by Whitney Holwadel Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at Super Friends: March 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Crap Week, Pt. 3

Wow, sometimes the B.O.P. makes it a challenge to keep my cool. Keeping in mind that the guards I interact with daily are just doing their jobs, following orders, helps sooth my frustrations a little. Although it often seems that the most aggravating tactics are meticulously timed for when they'll be the most psychologically devastating. Like pissing in my cornflakes first thing in the morning. Or raiding my cell immediately after I ducked having to tussle with a madman suffering from a bad case of Hulkism.

Walking back to my cell after recreation I observed several trash carts filled with Stuff We're Not Allowed To Have. What's funny is that, mixed in with piles of contraband, I could also see remnants of my once-strong psychological stability. Oh, look - right next to that bag of cereal is my ability to reason properly. And those shoes are stacked right on top of what patience I had left. Hey - that mattress is right underneath my ability to suppress rage. Imagine that!

A-Upper range was in shambles. Scraps of cloth and clothes lay everywhere, some soaking in grimy puddles of I-don't-know-what. And of course my cell was demolished. My old letters lay strewn across the floor like tiles. The mattress on my bunk had been ripped open, the stuffing partially expelled. A small pile of books lay neatly stacked in the back of the shower. They were the only books in the cell. Not good.

Glancing at the titles I noticed: Jeffrey Lent's Lost Nation; 2009 World Almanac; Webster's Dictionary and Thesaurus; and Tracy Chevalier's Girl With a Pearl Earring. Those sons of bitches - where's The Creature from Jekyll Island?! The Story of Edgar Sawtelle?! Where are the textbooks for my fucking classes???!!! These cops are playing a dangerous game.

Yes, I know "policy" states that each inmate is only allowed to possess 5 books while in the hole. Yes, I admit that the stack of books piled in one corner of the cell was tall enough to ride the good rides at Disneyland. But these B.O.P. creeps aren't going to get away with picking a few for me to keep and trash the rest. Screw the extra blanket and bottle of bleach which was taken. Don't mess with my literature, though. Serious business. The fact that my books lay in one of those carts mixed in with extra clothes and the remnants of my self-control was too much. Somebody's going to dig through those carts and retrieve every one of those confiscated texts, if the warden herself has to do it. If it's war they want, it's war they'll get.

Hold on, let me stop myself right there. If anybody was going to war, it certainly wasn't going to be me. The last time I tried to "fight the system" was April of last year and that incident ended up with me being kidnapped at gunpoint and put in the hole for what's been a year already. From now on I'll let some other brave soul battle authority. Brave souls are plentiful around here. As the saying goes, the natives were growing restless. Both literally and figuratively. One cell was complaining about a broken radio, another said some of his commissary had been destroyed. Everybody seemed to have a gripe about something. At first there was just some general grumbling and yelling which soon escalated into banging on cell doors. At some point several windows were busted and small fires were started. Then someone set off the fire sprinkler in their cell. Not to put out a fire, just for the flooding effects of the spewing water.

Through the chaos the guards did almost nothing. There wasn't a whole lot they could do except weather the shit-storm and wait until everyone had exhausted themselves. No Ninja Turtles or tear gas, this sort of pandemonium is expected after a big shake-down.

Tuesday morning the prison administration bravely did a walk-through in the hole, walking past every cell at least pretending to listen to the complaints. And you better believe every one of them heard my complaint. Was my name clearly written on the covers? Yes. Do I have shipping receipts proving ownership? Yes. Had I submitted a written request asking for the books to be returned? Several. I earned myself several vague and dubious reassurances that my books were probably moved to the prison library in general population and every effort would be made to have them located and returned.

If I wasn't being told the truth, it was at least what I wanted to hear. But despite this, I felt even more frustrated than I did before. As these sour-faced men with fat stomachs and cheap, ugly suits bobbed their heads at the right times during my bitching session, the infantile quality of my life became brutally apparent just at that moment. As much as I consider myself a man, as much as all of us behind bars consider ourselves men, look at us now. Trapped behind a door wholly dependent on the goodwill of the prison to feed and clothe us. We yell our complaints and requests from the wrong side of the steel, cheep-cheeping like chicks in a nest; completely helpless. In retrospect, this is a realization I should have had somewhere around Day One. But my brain's ability to hide my reality from itself won out for a while.

As it is, my new perspective has had a slightly demoralizing effect on me. I try to search for meaning or moral something along the lines of needing to be broken down to a baby-like state in order to build myself up as a better man, but such logic seems like nothing more than a superficial pacification, not a legitimate analysis.

Compounded with the frustration of the confiscated books and the ebbing anxiety of the Timmy troubles, finally acknowledging my helplessness as a ward of the B.O.P. pushes things over the top to make this a truly crappy week. Yeah, yeah, yeah - I know what you're thinking - if I don't want to be in such an infantile state then I need to quit crying so much. Touché. My response?

Waaaaaaaaaaah, I wanna go home.

This was Whit's last blog entry. Ten days later he was gone from us.

Monday, March 23, 2009

How to Piss Off a Killer, Part Deux

Someone who's never been around a man like Timmy might be questioning how such an obviously petty issue could arouse a violent reaction from anyone. Men like him are fine... until they're not. Killers know they're feared and respected; they absolutely expect everyone to comply with everything they say. Any minor defiance can be interpreted as a slap in the face, an open disrespect. Tim was pissed.

At the same time, it was disrespectful to even attempt ordering me around. There were a few ways I could have responded to the statement regarding the kite. I could have said something like "Of course you're not asking, tough guy. You're begging, because that's what sissies like you do." This would have been The Stupid Approach, otherwise known as The Suicidal Approach. The Sensible Approach would have been to retort with something along the lines of "Jeez, Tim, I was just joking. I'll send the kite down to you tomorrow morning along with my breakfast because my humor did not make you laugh, sir." This is also called The Coward's Way Out. Finally, there's The Non-Committal Approach, aka The-Oh-God-I-Hope-He-Gets-Sudden-Amnesia Approach. This involves saying... nothing. And this is how I chose to proceed. Slowly, I backed away from the door, worried that any furtive movements might incite Tim to order the food slot to suddenly come alive and rip my throat out.

"I'll see ya at rec on Monday, kid," the madman said before I'd even made it to my bunk.

Glancing at my celly, he looked like I felt. He and Tim are homeboys, although The Code suggests that cellies must help one another if attacked. Celly was in an unlucky spot.

Back in my rack and dwelling on what the recreation session on Monday would be like, I twirled the accursed kite in my hands contemplating exactly how much my honor was worth. How easy it would be to just cave to the psycho. The kid Carl doesn't even know he's got this coming. l don't even know if the message is important - maybe Jo-Jo just wanted to tell him a dirty joke he'd just heard. Maybe inside this taped paper was nothing more than a recipe for Ramen noodle spaghetti. Or, it could have been a book of stamps Jo-Jo owed and felt duty-bound to pay and by neglecting my duty I'd be sabotaging Jo-Jo's honor. Friday was a rough night.

Late Saturday morning an inmate came off the range who could serve as a courier for the kite. Better to just get this thing out of my possession ASAP and remove the temptation, I decided. Discretion was vital, so when calling the convict to my door, I spoke softly. Unfortunately the loud-mouthed punk is apparently hard of hearing because he screams out "What?! Did you say this is FROM Carl? Oh! It's TO him! Gotcha!" And the words rang out in the hallway like a death sentence; the madman surely heard his "orders" being blatantly defied. My celly claims he couldn't hear it but I swear later that morning I heard the unmistakable grinding sound of metal being honed on concrete.

There was never a doubt in my mind that I'd be outside on Monday to stand up for the decision I'd made; hiding out was not an option. Although it certainly wasn't fun wondering what to expect. I'm no slouch when it comes to fisticuffs although I readily admit to lacking the animal ferocity of my soon-to-be foe. At one point the best-case scenario was that Tim and his celly would settle for a moderate pounding rather than a full-on butchering. Yikes!

Finally Monday arrives. Rec is late that day, after dinner. The sun has almost set by the time my range is taken outside. Tim's cell is all the way at the back so he goes out first. He makes no eye contact as he passes, but I did notice that he was wearing a full-body jumpsuit. Which in the middle of winter is great for staying warm, although the only use such clothing would have in Monday's 70 deg. weather is its moderate protection from razor blades and dull knives during a fight. Not a good sign.

Minutes later it's my turn to go out. As my celly and I were being handcuffed, I thought to myself that at least I was finally getting this beef with Tim over with. A few bruises and maybe a puncture wound or two certainly couldn't be any worse than the incapacitating anxiety I'd endured since Friday night. Walking down the stairs on my way to the chicken pens, I pass the dry-erase board on which is a list of which cage each inmate will be placed in. Sure enough, celly and I were to be placed in the same cage as Tim, as always. The penultimate cage in the ascending row of ten.

Cages 1 - 7 had been filled already with blacks or whites or natives talking or exercising. Timmy and his celly were the lone occupants of 8 thus far. Each cage has a sort of ante-cage or ante-chamber where a convict's handcuffs are removed before entering the cage proper. As I entered the ante-cage and was being uncuffed, Tim stood along one edge of the fencing, his back half-turned to me as he spoke with a guy in Cage 7 who was obviously looking over Tim's shoulder to alert him when I'd possibly rush him. OK, cuffs off... ante-cage door shuts completely... cage door unlocks... here we go... celly and I step in slowly with no immediate incident. I make my way to the back of the pen, watching carefully everything to my left. There's a charge in the air, like the atmosphere knows it's about to get ugly. Walking to the front of the cage again and turning around for lap two, Timmy suddenly turns to face me. In less than a nanosecond I had simultaneously crapped my pants while bracing myself in preparation of performing Whitney's patented Drop-Curl-Yell maneuver. But then I notice Tim is only extending his fist for me to tap.

"You alright?" he asks. Translation = Are you alright with me? Did I go too far?

"I'm cool. You?" Translation = Dude, I want NO problems. But are you just singing me a lullaby and planning to get me as soon as I've dropped my guard?

"Yeah, I'm good. Just hating on pieces of shit is all." Translation = We're cool. I was just being petty and crazy because I really dislike that guy Carl.

"Right on," I said, and walked away. Still checking over my shoulder, of course. Tim was, too. But he did take the jumpsuit off. Along with the 3 layers of thermal underwear he had on which presumably might have stopped the sharper knives.

My celly and I disagree on what inspired Tim to use at least moderately rational thought. Celly believes our buddy the psycho killer is hoping to be transferred soon and the situation with the kite was too petty for even someone like Tim to get another notch on his belt at the expense of a speedy transfer. Personally, I believe the cause of his change of heart is my naturally intimidating aura, coupled with the fact that, me being such a cool guy, attacking me would earn Tim far too many enemies to handle. Oh, the rumor I started a few years ago that I'm a black belt in 4 different martial arts and was offered an early release if I'd commit to leading a Navy Seal team for 6 years, an offer I declined, might have something to do with Tim's trepidation.

Whatever the reason - Whew!

But the Crap Train does not stop here! Oh, no! Just lightened its load a little. By unfortunate coincidence, guards chose that particular night to do a mass shakedown of every cell on my range while we were in the coops.

More tomorrow. Drama!!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

How to Piss Off a Killer, 101

Have you ever had one of those succession of days which are so unique in their misery, so disgustingly awful that the only description for the melange of emotions which eat at your mind like heartburn of the brain is that you now know what it is to be a dingleberry hanging onto Rush Limbaugh's ass-hair? One of those stretches of living when you constantly pinch yourself in hopes that you'll wake up to discover that it's only been a bad dream, only to realize that even a nightmare couldn't be so hellish? A brief period in your life which is so appallingly dreadful that the only logical way to proceed after it's over is to gather everything you own into a pile and set it on fire so you'd possess nothing which could trigger a mental recall of the state you were in during that week's wretchedness? For me, these past few days have been Those Days.

Am I being overdramatic and excessive? Somewhat. Do I want to set everything in sight on fire? Not personally, no. But if someone else around me has already, I certainly didn't prevent or even discourage him/them from doing so. Another day in paradise.

My crappy couple of days began last Friday night after almost a week perfecting a series of lessons and essays for my classes. As a brief digression, if my professors/teachers/graders/whatever don't give solid "A" grades for every one of those papers, they need to have their degrees scrutinized as possible forgeries. Anyway, after busting my ass with all of the school stuff, I was looking forward to a nice, relaxing weekend spent doing whatever the hell I wanted. All of a sudden there are to be some emergency transfers of guys in the hole. One of those was a guy named Jo-Jo, who was on my range. Jo-Jo owed me a few stamps for some candy bars I had given him and, despite the fact that we would never see each other again and he could have just as easily walked past my cell without paying me a dime, the man actually bothered to slide the 10 stamps under my door on his way out. But after doing so he held up a folded piece of paper and said, "Hey, I've got this kite going to Carl [Note: A kite is what many convicts call any written message to another convict, usually of a sensitive nature]. Would you make sure he gets it?"

Not exactly a backbreaking task. A request made all the harder to refuse by the fact that Jo-Jo had just paid me a few bucks that most people around here wouldn't have. "Sure," I said, "I'll do that for you." I took the kite and went back to my bunk.

Jo-Jo leaves. A minute or so after he's completely off the floor, I hear Madman Tim shout my name through his cell door which is a couple down from mine. "Hey, when you're done reading that kite, shoot it over here," he says to me.

"Uhh, what do you mean?" I asked.

"When you're done reading the kite, give it to me."

For a second I found myself thinking back a few minutes in time to Jo-Jo's instructions, mentally verifying if there was anything said about a detour through Tim. Nope, there wasn't. I politely explained this fact and asserted that Carl would receive the kite.

Nothing short of incredulous over what he's just heard, Tim yells to me "That kid's no good. He doesn't get his mail."

"He's getting this mail," I said.

"The kid Carl's a fucking rat and a check-in. You're gonna look out for him?"

At one point in my life, I was a really sleazy individual. Things like virtue and honor and keeping one's word only meant as much to me as far as they dovetailed with my own ends. And as far as responsibility was concerned, I was Mr. Take-The-Easy-Way-Out himself. But since then I've developed into a man who values and protects his sense of honor and duty. Regardless of Carl's status among convicts, I'd told Jo-Jo that his kite would be delivered and that's what was going to happen.

"I see your point, Tim," I said, "but Jo-Jo isn't and I told him I'd make sure it gets where it's going."

There was a brief pause, until finally Tim says "Look, about the kite - I wasn't asking." As in, he's telling me to give it to him. Ordering.

Tim's statement was significant for one reason. That reason is that Tim's a killer. During my incarceration I've met lots of men who have killed, but there is a huge difference between one who has killed and a cold-blooded killer. I've met only two killers and Tim is without question one of them. Not only is he a killer, he kills other killers. Before coming to Terre Haute Tim was in a Louisiana penitentiary when another inmate snuck up behind him with a knife tied and taped to his hand and proceeded to stab Timmy repeatedly. He got nine strikes in before Tim "came to his senses." With nine holes in his body, each pouring blood, and a punctured lung, Tim then chased his attacker across most of the prison and eventually tackled him. As he tried to unattach the knife from his assailant's hand to use himself, guards swarmed the scene and saved both of their lives. Before coming to Louisiana, Tim was in the Federal Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, the 21st century Alcatraz (thanks, J!), because officials in a California prison say he killed a member of what most people I know consider the most dangerous white gang in America: The West Coast Aryan Brotherhood; distinguished from other A.B.'s as The Brand.

While his physical presence isn't necessarily imposing, Tim's aura bleeds negativity. His perfectly sculpted body is the result of his machine-like endurance during workouts. Most of his fighting skills came from his father who was a Special Forces colonel. Special Forces would possibly have been the perfect calling for Timmy, had he not turned out to be such a completely deranged, irrational, unfeeling psychopath. So when I noticed that between the lines of the "I wasn't asking" statement there was a distinct "Or else..." message, I gulped.

It's late, I'll finish this tomorrow. Suspense!!!...

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Shameless Plug...

... from Whit's dad, der blogmeister (me), to let readers know that his 25th birthday is on April 10 . Anyone who wants to write (or comment right around that date) is encouraged to send birthday wishes; I know he'd greatly appreciate it. For those who are willing and able, a card in the mail would be especially welcome (you know how much mail means to inmates), but a comment here on the blog, anonymous or otherwise, will also be most appreciated. Just try to post no less than a week before the 10th to give me time to copy, paste and mail them to him.
Just don't tell him you saw it here, he doesn't know I'm posting this.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Low Blows

There's a conspiracy against me, I'm sure of it. My evidence? Never in my years as a Terre Haute tenant have cornflakes been served. Until today. Daylight savings time not coming into effect until Sunday (it is Thursday as I write this), this morning was as dark as it gets surrounded by security lighting. I sat down with my brown plastic tray of processed corn meal and emptied the 1/2-pint carton of milk into the compartment. Had the cell been a little better illuminated I probably would have seen the clumps of rotting cream before tasting them when taking my first bite of cereal now soaked in rancid dairy. An inspection of the milk carton when the sun rose revealed an expiration date of March 11. The ruthless bastards actually forged an expiration date! They pissed in my cornflakes. Lieutenant Howard, this has your fingerprints all over it. You've won the battle, but the war is far from over.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

To Chris F.

Chris F. - I hope you read his because I want to let you know how much your letter means to me. The return address on the envelope had been partially mangled by the prison's mail opener, so I'm not able to respond directly. Please send your address again. I remember the time we spent together at the wedding vividly. It was by far one of the highlights of that evening. Thank you for writing.

Peachy Keen

Because circumstances prevented A-Upper range from getting recreation yesterday, all of us on that floor are being given an extra hour in the chicken coops today as "make-up." With temperatures at 55-60 F (13-15 C), it is an absolutely perfect day. In just a couple of months temperatures like these will seem comparatively frigid, but for now I could not ask for more pleasant conditions. I'm actually outside in the rec cage right now, as I write this. What's it called: Live blogging? I'm live blogging.

Sitting along a fence so that as many rays of sun as possible hit my badly-needing-a-tan body is turning out to be one of the most physically refreshing experiences of the year so far. No one else in the coops seems to share my recreation revelry, though. Quite a few vexed and annoyed glances from my fellow "reccers" have been shot my way. And on our way out here from the cell, even my own celly gave me one of those looks that says "Are you fucking serious?" when he saw that I was bringing writing materials out with me. This is due to this environment's intense preoccupation with always being "on the ready." The fact that I'm sitting unconcernedly in a cage engrossed in a pad of paper, seemingly oblivious to the four other convicts in the cage with us is blatantly violating the custom of always considering how to be at the best advantage to fend off any potential attacker or tickler. It is a part of The Code which extends to wearing shoes or boots at all times, even to the shower. Which sucks because unless your celly is a talented or at least willing masseuse, getting a decent foot rub is out of the question if prison etiquette is to be followed. Whatever - I'm the SuperFriends shot-caller; I make my own rules. And what my celly and everyone else looking resentful at my carefree demeanor don't realize is that I actually am consciously in the optimal position for my super-secret strategy of dealing with attackers - curling into a ball and yelling for my mommy.

Looking around me, it's amazing to see how the glory of Spring is able to permeate the thickest of walls and highest of fences. Drainage pipes stretching along the ceiling of the coops provide a perfectly secure nook for robins and doves to build their nests, which they are already busily doing. And the troops of ants and beetles and caterpillars which at most times would be an offensive sight to behold at this moment are a welcome sign of the changing season as they cautiously venture from the stress cracks in the concrete.

Ugh, there's a spider. Get away from me you freaky eight-eyed devil bug.

Two hours already? Live blog session signing off.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


What a joy it is to finally have a change from what's become the ordinarily freezing temperatures of an Indiana winter. Today could be described as tepid at best, not quite warm even, but the fact that there was still sensation in most parts of my feet after coming back inside from the hour out in the chicken coop is a welcome change of pace. Mr. Anonymous Celly opted to stay in the cell today, so out in the rec cages today it was just Brad, Brad's new celly, Joestrodomos, SpongeBob, Timmy the Psycho and myself. Brad's new cellmate is quite a character. He had been transferred from a prison in McQuery, Kentucky where he lasted in general population only two days before being beat up by the members of a gang he used to belong to after suddenly having a change of heart about his enrollment (if only it were that easy). He introduced himself to me as Quick. After talking to him for a few minutes it occurred to me that he must have lightning fast hands to have earned that moniker or else that is the most ironic sobriquet ever bestowed upon a man. I mean it in the nicest way possible, but the poor guy is about as smart as a bag of hammers, a fact evidenced by his answer given to my inquiry of what inspired him to have a sword tattooed on his face; a sword overlapped by a large red swastika. While answering the question Quick began to excitedly jump up and down, grinning from ear to ear, like a 6-year old telling his mom how he was picked first for kickball at school that day, his head wagging like some sort of neo-Nazi bobble-head. Quick explained that he and a couple friends were discussing facial tattoos when one of them jokingly suggested our buddy have a swazi tatted on him. Quick heard a challenge (uh oh, where has this come up before). "What, you don't think I'd do it?" he told them. They said they didn't. "Well, as you can see, I did it," he said to me. Way to go, Quick; you showed them. Stolen symbol of intolerance aside, Quick really isn't a bad guy, just misguided. He's the most cheerful, generous and optimistic person I've encountered in a long time. To a fault, actually. You see, it's important not to be too upbeat and cheerful in a high-security prison like this one. Certain people become agitated by this behavior and sometimes take offense.

Sounds kinda crazy right? Like a world full of Grinches. Someone told me a few years ago that the average sentence here in Terre Haute is 17 years. There are quite a few lifers around here, so that figure sounds about right. With so many people doing such long sentences, there's usually not much reason to smile. I mean happy smiles. Don't get me wrong, there's quite a bit of laughing and guffawing taking place. Telling the story of how Butt-Naked Bones got the name Butt-Naked Bones by getting drunk and trying to rape his celly, Newt, will have anyone in here rolling on the floor in stitches. A big win at a softball game will have the victorious team in mirthful spirits for a while. These are superficial genialities, though, and a vast majority of convicts are solemn at best or viciously angry at worst. A true glass-is-half-full kind of guy really needs to temper his cheery optimism around here, because being truly happy while in prison is like yelling in the library, a disturbance to those engrossed in their own misery. Engaging in such frowned upon lightheartedness is to incite the resentment or even hostility of the party-poopers around you.

The avoidance of a cheerful countenance reflects a direct correlation between the respect a person is given and the demeanor he usually assumes. For example, to walk around with a look of mild indifference on your face is to be thought of as "a pretty good guy." Someone who prowls the prison yard appearing to be filled with bitter rage is almost always considered a "solid convict." What about me, you wonder? I've achieved no less than king-like status in certain social circles for no other reason than my mastery of a facial expression indicating that all in one day someone had burst my bubble; got my goat; rained on my parade; pissed in my cornflakes; and killed my puppy. This is not a pretty sight. Only one time have I forgotten to wipe this look from my face before looking in the mirror, an incident which ended with me curled into the fetal position on my bunk, gently rocking myself to sleep while sobbing into my pillow.

As an aside, even that isn't my most potent facial expression. The pissed-in-my-cornflakes cast is like playing peek-a-boo compared with the horror of what I call simply The Serious Face. Nina, you know what I'm talking about. Just describing this expression would have everyone who reads the words scrambling for a closet to hide in after immediately depositing their laptops or computer monitors out of the nearest window. I'll only say that the few unlucky guards I've subjected to The Serious Face have all demanded early retirement.

Basically, Quick needs to work on his serious face. Unfortunately, chances are good that he'll eventually be released into general population after his paperwork arrives from McQuery; and after a few months of his enthusiastic smiling, hopping and skipping over things like how good the green beans here are, a few of the surly old-timers will lose patience and send a few of the mildly indifferent youngsters to go give him an "attitude adjustment." Guess it's true that misery loves company. Just as life sentences like misery.

C'est la prison, as they might say in
Région Parisienne.

Counter Surveillance

Not long ago I became aware that SuperFriends has finally had visitors from inside the prison; staff, of course. The fact that it has taken so long for the administration to "log on" is a little surprising. All outgoing inmate mail is closely monitored, so maybe they've always considered themselves completely aware of the SuperFriends SuperMovement and finally decided to read the site as a novelty. Who knows.

What I would like to know is who exactly has been logging on. Guessing that the Almighty Warden Herself - She Who Must Be Obeyed - has taken the time to scope the site out would be almost presumptuous on my part, a rather self-important theorization. But it would have to be someone in the upper-administration, because they're the only ones with that ability. It is someone from one of the institution's two investigation offices - the S.I.S. and S.I.A. - who would be a prime candidate for the "internal" visitor. I can safely eliminate the S.I.A. office because they're actually a branch of the F.B.I. and therefore too full of themselves to surf some silly blog: the snobby pricks.

Which leaves the office of the S.I.S. - Special Investigation Supervisor. Ms. Hernandez, have you been spying on me? Mr. Moore, are you now stalking the Internet looking for interactions like you monitor phone calls doing the same? Ahh, Lieutenant Howard, I knew it was you all along. Now that you've been promoted to S.I.S. are you falsifying memos from Region like you were doing when you worked in the hole? I'm just giving you a hard time, don't put me on any of The Lists you guys keep up there. Semper Fi.

Alright then you Big Brother-Gestapo-Storm-Trooper-C.I.A.-Wannabe, fine, upstanding government employees, I hope you're enjoying SuperFriends. Why don't you create a profile and become an official Follower? Might as well, because whenever you cast your evil eye in my direction - I'm watching you watch me. Remember that.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

No Method To The Madness

Now that I've been accepted into the jungle habitat of cell A-203 and have finally gotten comfortable, I'm starting to get a good idea of who else is on A-Upper range. Turns out that SpongeBob SquarePants is right next door to me! Obviously SpongeBob SquarePants isn't his real name, but it's so commonly used that even most of the guards know him only as SpongeBob. It's cool to call him SpongeBob for short, or Sponge. Or Bob. Don't ever call him SquarePants, though. Don't ask why, just avoid doing so at all costs. There are quite a few odd individuals around here, but besides his nickname, SpongeBob SquarePants is a pretty normal guy by society's standards. 5'6", slight build with a scraggly salt-and-pepper beard which gives him an unfortunate Charles Manson-ish appearance. Rather than orchestrating the murders of upstanding Californians, though, SpongeBob wouldn't hurt a fly. A graduate school dropout, Bob's actually a surprisingly rational and intelligent guy. Just an unfortunate victim of the new American scourge called methamphetamine. His addiction to this horrible drug, he explained, was precisely what gave him the life sentence he's serving.

Sponge, you got a life sentence? I asked him. Yep, he said. What'd you do, kill somebody for it? No. Rape somebody? No. Did you try to kill somebody? No. Did you know someone who killed somebody? No. Did you know someone who thought about killing somebody? No. Did you get the judge's daughter pregnant? Yes... I'm just kidding, no. SpongeBob SquarePants finally explained that to be sentenced to life in prison, all he had to do was tell his ex-girlfriend he'd sell her 3.5 grams of meth.

The story according to him is that the ex-girlfriend who had actually introduced SpongeBob to the drug several years before called him up one day and asked him to sell her 3.5 grams, an 8-ball in druggie vernacular. Bob tells me that he was a regular user at this point in his life but had no ambition or desire to become a dealer at all. He did have to meet his own dealer later on that day, and to pick up an extra 8-ball for a woman he knows was no big deal, so he tells her on the phone that she should stop by his place the next day to pick it up.

Sponge says the next day his ex-girlfriend never showed up. Calls to her phone only got a recording. No big deal. Until about a month later when Federal agents arrested Bob in his workplace, charging him with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. The court transcripts I've seen tell how Bob's ex-girlfriend, apparently a woman with a grudge, was arrested in a neighboring state several months back with a small amount of meth. As she's being interrogated about whom she bought the drug from, guess where she points the finger. "Oh yeah?" her interrogators say, "tell us about some other times you've bought from this guy." Ex-girlfriend gets booked and eventually some "concerned citizen" contacts the police and says that he wants to come clean about buying dope from this guy Bob. SpongeBob tells me that he later discovered that Concerned Citizen is actually ex-girlfriend's current boyfriend. Concerned Citizen lists another dozen drug purchases from Bob and all of a sudden the D.E.A. hears about this meth kingpin SpongeBob SquarePants. In exchange for sentence leniency, ex-girlfriend agrees to assist in bringing down this druggie menace to society. The call was made, the Feds were recording, SpongeBob dug his own hole and didn't even know it.

After SpongeBob's arrest and arraignment, his court-appointed lawyer came to discuss the case. The lawyer tells Bob that he's toast. He's being charged not only with the 8-ball he without a doubt agreed to distribute in the recording, but also with every grain of the "ghost dope," more Federal lingo for the drugs people are charged with which exist only on the word of other druggies, which ex-girlfriend and Concerned Citizen claimed they bought. Lawyer explains that the grand total is just under a kilogram of methamphetamine and the maximum penalty for SpongeBob's charge is life. Life in Federal prison isn't translated as 20 or 30 years; there is no parole for lifers. When a person is given a life sentence in Federal court, s/he will die in prison. Lawyer-guy advises SpongeBob to work with Federal investigators and plead guilty for a 10-year sentence because losing at trial would be flirting with a life sentence and Bob would lose. Now wishing he hadn't, SpongeBob SquarePants took his case to trial, unable to stomach the injustice of the whole situation, lost the trial, and was sentenced to a slow, miserable death in prison.

There are many things SpongeBob is ... short, stingy, funny, religious. But a drug dealer SpongeBob is not. Selling drugs takes a criminal intuition, self-discipline, personality, and at least a modicum of salesmanship. Because SpongeBob lacks every one of those qualities in spades, I tend to believe him when he tells me that he really wasn't a drug dealer. But so what if he was? What does it matter if he sold 350 keys instead of 3.5 grams? How is it justifiable to sentence a person to spend every day until they die in prison, at taxpayer expense, no less! Last I checked, people like you are paying $25,000 dollars a year (most recent figure) to make sure this petite man doesn't corrupt society with his highly-addictive wares.

The idiot Nazis back on B-Upper range were so concerned with Obama being some sort of Islamic terrorist sleeper agent. Man, did they have it wrong. It was fucking Reagan (or should I say Bin Reagan) whose War on Drugs turned the American justice system into nothing more than a glorified Sharia court. We're only one step away from taking Michael Phelps out in back of the nearest McDonald's and stoning him to death for getting photographed smoking pot. Might as well if we're going to allow decent men to be given a protracted death sentence for drugs which may or may not exist.

The new administration in Washington is going through the budget line by line to discover and eliminate the programs that don't work. Hey Obama, here's an idea! -- Go through the damn Federal sentencing procedures line by line to eliminate what doesn't work. Sentencing people to life in prison for drug offenses is not only unjust, it doesn't work!

His Natural Habitat

This week has been nothing more than an exemplification of sloth. After the big move out of cell B-213, the process of adjusting to a new roommate and new cell atmosphere provided me with a perfect excuse to do absolutely nothing of any substance for the past six or seven days, instead choosing to observe my new celly in his environment and study his habits. This process takes several days and is not at all as easy as one might imagine, being by far the most difficult part of a cell transition. It involves spending no less than 72 hours crouched in the corner of the cell camouflaged with blankets and sweat t-shirts, disguised as an occasionally-quivering pile of dirty laundry. This is an important task because as the subject adjusts to the presence of another male's pheromones in the air, anything besides the utmost furtive movements will send him into a rage. This unfortunately means defecating into a plastic bag and drinking my own urine for hydration until a bond of trust can be formed and the subject develops an acceptance. After the initial 72 hours, it is finally safe to emerge from the stinky-laundry cocoon. The actual visual presence of a rival male will startle the subject initially, which provokes quite a bit of chest-thumping and grunting in an attempt to assert dominance. This is all just part of the instinctual ritual, though; it is customary and necessary to hoot and holler and growl right back. It is the subject's natural inclination to establish himself in an alpha-male role, but he is temporarily blind to the fact that he is no longer part of the pack and a role of dominance in his current world is not only unacceptable but also self-defeating. Once the subject is finally adjusted to the new presence and his attempts at dominance have subsided, creating trust and rapport is important to truly be accepted and share in his hunting strategies and his environmental network. Establishing such rapport is most easily done by showing excited interest or even wonder at the subject's communications and also by the sharing of food items or other sundries. Such acts create a bond which will eventually transcend to trust which stems from a feeling of provisional security.

After 20 years in the concrete jungle my subject still did not know how to create fire. When this feat was demonstrated to him, my status was lifted from intruder to demi-god. In return for providing him with the technology to brew hot coffee, I was given a banana. Two, actually. And a cup of coffee.