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!!!...