The Letters From Hell series written by guest poster Screedler were the most visited and read posts of the old Drupal powered TDA. Unbeknowst to me, the links to this series were broken in my switch to a WordPress platform so to make up for it I will post the whole series again one new one per day.
Welcome to the third installment of Letters from Hell. Things start to heat up a little in this letter as the first of many thefts and confrontations begin. I was a little worried about the racial content of the letter but have decided to post it as is. I hope I do not offend anyone. As you will see in later letters there is an equal amount of “badness” reflected in all the races within the jail. One thing that anyone who has been in a long-term stay in a correctional facility will tell you is that it is a very racially tense and segregated place. Everyone there has to pick a poison and there is really no choice. It’s just the way it is.
May 21, 2006
Dear Paul and Nan,
Greetings from inmate # 237458. I hope this letter finds both of you doing well. I miss everyone and would give anything just to spend the day with the family around the pool and the deck and enjoy some good food. This is day 15 of my incarceration. My desire for alcohol is minimal. I rarely think about it during the day but I do have dreams about it. My desire for cigarettes is still very strong. I am eating pretty good and I am sure I have put on some weight. I intend to start exercising as soon as I get some shoes that fit.
I got my first “store” (things from the commissary) on Saturday and as predicted someone immediately stole something from me. It was just a honey-bun. The only time besides lunch, our visit and my dinner that I left my cell was to play cards for about two hours. No one saw who did it but the local “gang” had visited our cell while I was out. It created a great brew ha ha among my cellmates and a lot of finger pointing. Ultimately one of my cellmates named “Baldy” who fancies himself an emissary to the gang went and had a pow wow with them and came back and replaced my stolen honey bun. Afterwards most of my cellmates concluded he was in collusion with the gang all along.
By the time Saturday evening rolled around and we were all in nightly lock up it was agreed we would all redouble our efforts to look after each others stuff. We all went to sleep thinking the threat of theft was over (at least I did). Sunday, I was hit again; this time for another honey bun and 2 candy bars. I was out of the cell again playing cards and two members of the gang (they call themselves G Unit – how original) had visited our cell again. When I came back to the cell and discovered the theft I got pretty mad and asked the bank robber who he thought had done it. He said it was the leader of the gang “Peanut” and his head henchman the notorious “Goldtooth”.
Well, they were both laughing it up and acting all gangster in the cell next to ours and I just stared at them like I was going to kill them. They did not like this and came over to my cell after about 30 minutes. There were four of them. They all surrounded me and started shouting at me and accusing me of telling everyone in the block that they had stole my stuff (which they had). I stood my ground ready to rumble and be carted off to “Seg” and told them I had not accused them of anything. They then told me to tell them who said they were to blame and I refused to tell them anything; eventually they left and confronted a couple more of my cellmates. Nothing ever came of it. This act of ganging up on someone is called “kludging someone out”. It’s how they operate. One of my cellmates is a member of the gang. His name is Nick. After the incident all my cellmates were very mad and Nick suddenly moved out of our cell and into the next cell where Peanut resides. Amazingly nothing was stolen on Monday. Hmmm.
I am afraid my opinion of black people is going to be severely damaged by the jail experience. They (the gang) seem to be the sole cause for all the trouble on my block. I am not the only one they pick on, but they only pick on whites. If things do not change there is probably going to be a race riot and it will probably happen pretty soon.
Sleep is still kind of a problem, even naps. On the “outside” I could always say to myself “Well, I am going to sleep and nobody can do anything to me now”; you can’t do that in jail. I am sometimes worried about putting my earplugs in for fear of a surprise attack.
On the lighter side of things, we do laugh from time to time. My cellmates came up with a new nickname for me, “Ice pick” because of my last name and they have even joked around with new inmates telling them not to mess with me because I killed my whole family. I know that’s sick but everyone seems to get a kick out of it.
My talent for music trivia has also been a source of entertainment for a couple of my cellmates who continually try to stump me with music trivia. One guy named Burgette looks like Ozzy Osbourne and is totally into 80’s metal music – he can never best me. The bank robber is a musician (he’s been in a couple of bands) and quizzes me on 60’s & 70’s bands – he gets me every once in a while. If someone throws in a country song I don’t do very well.
I am anxious about my upcoming court date. As you can imagine sentences and fines are a major topic of conversation here. Best case scenario according to inmate law pundits – 2 months jail time – 6 months work release and 6-7K fine. Worst case – 10 years prison – serving 12 to 18 months with a 10-12k fine. I am learning all the inmate legal speak like EOS (end of sentence) and 10 split (prison plus parole- see above), FTA, FTP, and LWOP (life without parole). Anyhow, it all sounds bad to me.
Besides the prison sentence my biggest fear is losing the house. I hope we can work something out to save it for me.
I finally got hold of the Stephen King book floating around here called “Eyes of the Dragon”. It is very different from any of his other books – written in 3rd person just like someone reading a fairy tale. I am about a third of the way through it.
Well time keeps on tick’in thankfully, so I will say goodbye for now. I will write again soon.
Looking back on that week and the theft that happened I realize there is no telling who really stole my stuff. It was most likely the one person I did not expect or suspect. There was an incident later on where one guy I was convinced would never steal from me did. I caught him red-handed stealing from me and another inmate. It was very disheartening and made me feel crushed inside. Probably the way my family felt after trusting me time after time to do the right thing and sober up.