March 5, 2010
Laying on my bed reading Stephenie Meyer's second book in the Twilight Series, New Moon, I caught a glimpse of a tall figure with an orange shirt around his head, hiding his face, peek in my cell door window then slowly creep down the run.
Out of an abundance of caution, I set my book down, slipped on my sneakers and went to the door. Before I made it to the door I heard a man yell in shock and a body impacting the floor in the hallway followed by the slamming of the back door to the run.
Stepping into the dimly lit hallway, I saw one of my neighbors picking himself up off of the floor. Blood streaming from his nose. His expression was a mixture of anger, pain and surprise.
"You alright?" I asked him, approaching cautiously. "Someone hit me!" he raised his voice, growing angrier by the second. "You okay?" I asked. "Yeah, he hits like a bitch, whoever did it. He covered his face, sucker-punched me and ran, like a bitch, out the back door," he heatedly told me, adding, "I think I know who it was and I'm gonna go knock that dude smooth out."
Trying to rationalize with him, I spoke calmly. "If you go down there and touch-up who you think it was, you're risking everything you busted your ass to get. You're out of here in eight months. Is it really worth it?" "He punched me in my nose, Shannon!" as if looking for some sign from me that what he wanted to do is justified. "Yeah, and that's fucked up, but is your bloody nose really enough reason to risk your release date?" I asked.
"No, but what am I supposed to do? Dude hit me", he asked, beginning to calm down and consider his options. "I can't answer that. Only you can. I can tell you that if you just go and bomb on anybody you suspect, you'll get caught by the cops, get a major disciplinary report, get moved to the hole, lose your minimum security and may be booked for assault. That's an expensive price to pay," I explained to him. I noticed that his breathing had slowed and his tense shoulders were beginning to slump forward and relax.
"What can I do?" he asked me. "You can do anything you want to, but remember that whatever you do-it's you that will answer for it, " I answered. Frustrated, but more calm, he was silent in thought. "Thanks, Shannon" he suddenly said, extending his hand. Shaking his hand, I went
back to my cell.
A couple of days passed by before I spoke to my neighbor again. I was making a cup of coffee when I heard a knock on my door. "Can I talk to you? It's important," my neighbor asked as soon as I opened the door. The urgency in his voice put me on edge and instinctively I checked the hallway behind him after he came in my cell and sat at my desk. Shutting my door, I sat across from him on my bed.
"Shannon, it was Don who hit me the other day," he told me. Don is a youngster that is "slow" and very impressionable.
"Somebody put him up to it as a joke on him," he explained. "Now those guys are pissed at me for not kickin his ass" he added.
"First, are they wanting to box over this? If not, then who the hell cares if they're pissed. Second, have you asked yourself why you care that a couple of guys who would convince a kid like Don to hit somebody in a cowardly fashion, like they did, doesn't like you?" I asked him, irritated at what I'd learned.
"I don't think they'd bust a grape, and I don't care if they like me, but..." he tried to explain, but stopped, unable to come up with a valid reason for him to concern himself. "Don't sweat over this. You're going home soon. That's what you need to remember. And when you're free, keep all of this in your head. This is what you have coming if you don't keep your head on straight. A lifetime of this," I explained as he listened.
Things like this happen often in here. It's a result of immature people with sadistic and sociopathic personalities with too much idle time and not enough supervision. There are many of us in here who care enough and have the will to do our part to help out, but more and more it seems that we (orangemen) are becoming our own sole source of direction. A disturbing revelation in a place full of people with poor social and communication skills, mental problems, addiction and loss of hope.
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