This is the next to the last letter in the series. As you can probably tell from the contents it sounds like I am pretty much getting accustomed to Hell. You would be surprised what you can get used to. I can hardly imagine how numb the Correctional Officers must be. Click here to read all the prior installments of the series.
July 11, 2006
Dear Dad, Sarah, Amy, James and Audrey,
I hope this letter finds all doing well. It sounds like you all had a really good Fourth of July. We had a pretty quite one here in the slammer. Inmates just slept all day or watched TV. Everyone looked like someone had died, especially the ones that talked to their family and friends, hearing about cookouts and parties. I didn’t see any fireworks this year – not even on TV.
As usual people have come and gone out of my little 12 man area. Two welcome departures were Detroit (a.k.a. Lucifer) and his evil spawn ZuZu (a.k.a Little Nicky). After participating in three fights in two days the guards finally took them out of here. The last brawl with a Mexican resulted in bloodshed and I guess that finally got their attention.
This morning we had two more departures to Seg resulting in a total of four new beds open since last Friday in my cell alone. This was also the result of bloodshed. Several young inmates in my cell were picking on a new inmate named Ben – stealing his stuff and slapping him around. Another inmate, older and not out of prison for very long told them to leave him alone. One of the young guys called him a “bitch”. That was the wrong thing to do. You do not call guys from prison a couple of things and one of them is “bitch”. Needless to say the youngster who slapped Ben in turn got a thorough beating. There was blood on my bunk and sheets where the older guy slammed the youngster’s (we actually called him “Teenager”) head repeatedly. It’s weird but this stuff does not even faze me anymore. I actually sat within feet of the entire brawl calmly watching, eating a fried apple pie and having a cup of orange juice. Not quite “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” but equally entertaining.
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While I have gotten a reprieve from the constant thievery from Detroit and Co. a new nemesis has arrived. He does not have a nickname yet, but I am sure he will. He started off his first day here by stealing a candy bar from under my bunk and blaming it on Ben the new guy. Poor Ben is a real specimen. He is in here for burning down his boss’s trailer. He is a small white man 26 years of age. He closely resembles a “Ferengi” from Star Trek – some have called him “Nosferatu”. Ben is an admitted crack addict and though he claims to have not burnt down the “house”, he knows who did and was kind enough to give them some beer. He does not know their names but they were dressed like ninjas and he knew they liked Busch beer which is also his favorite. There are a lot of house (that usually means trailer) burnings among the jail population. This is the third burning described in my pod alone since I’ve been here. From what I’ve heard trailers are very flammable.
As I started this letter we had just come off a lock down of everyone for the theft of a razor Sunday night. They were pretty serious about finding it, performing the most thorough “shake down” of our pod since my arrival. This included a strip search – that’s always fun.
The young man that took the beating was the guy I predicted would not make it a week in Part 12. He actually made it 10 days. As mentioned at the beginning the Correctional Officers must be hardened. The jail is a very violent place. I was one among about fifty in my Pod. There were fights at least once every other day. The Shelby County Correctional Facility houses about 600 inmates. That’s a lot of fights. Anyway, I have court tomorrow and may be back in there for a while. Wish me and my teeth luck.