Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Self-Inflicted Wounds

They say that laughter is the best medicine. It may make my mind feel better but it makes the rest of me hurt like hell.

I have either pinched a nerve or have a disk out of place in my back or something and it hurts like crazy. It hurts when I sit, stand, walk, talk, breathe or blink. So I am trying not to do any of those things. I sneezed tonight and they almost had to pick me up off of the floor.

But laughing..... ah yes. That is supreme pain. And on a night when you have me, Sgt LB, KP, Chucky and Drew all in the same office, it is really hard not to laugh. We get raunchy puns flying around the room and we just can't stop.

I'm sitting in the chair wiping the tears from my eyes going "Hee hee hee... ow, ah gawd. Hee hee hee... ow.... dammit... hee hee hee snap! Quit it!"

And I was one of the worst ones. It's a sickness, that bad Hive sense of humor. Even when I was hurting myself I couldn't stop.

I am calling the doctor first thing in the morning. Depending on which way it goes, I may not be in to work. Somebody tell BG I'm sorry if I don't make it. I may end up flat on my back for the next couple of days.

But I can't take another day of this pain. Even if he can't fix it, I'm going to have him give me something to take the pain away for a few hours so I can get some sleep.

And I can get away from those clowns who keep making me laugh.... ooooooooch.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Beans, Beans! The Musical Fruit.....

Even for the seven years I was in the Army or all of the years I was in the Job Corps did I ever in all of my natural born days ever see a place that served beans for all three meals every single day.

I just cannot recall ever seeing a single meal served without beans of one sort or another.

If I had to live on nothing but state food, I would starve. I don't care much for beans.

Plus I know what eating beans does to me. It's not a pretty sight. Not a pleasant thing for any of your senses.

And I'm pretty sure that somewhere close to three thousand people all eating beans at the same time just cannot be good for the ozone layer. I can just see some environmental science geek making the connection now...... "Holy snap, it's not the cow farts and SUV's that are destroying the world! It's all those goddam inmates and their beans!"

I suppose if I were more of a "guy" type guy I would find this just immensely funny. Sometimes I do. But since I work in a place that is defined already by it's horrendous stench adding to it in any way is just wrong.

Of course I do have to admit that a strategically laid fart in the right place, say, in the captains office right before you leave or in front of the vending machines or in any small enclosed space you can trap the next person in is just pretty damn funny.

We refer to it as "Talking out your a**." or "Speaking in Dungs."

But when three thousand people are all doing it at the same time...... I suspect that this may be detrimental to our overall health.

And some people seem to take this way too far. I have seen more than one staff member with his entire food service tray piled high with nothing but turkey ham and beans with one or two small pieces of cornbread.

All right, you! Downwind! Now!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mixing And Mix-Ups

Well, I guess that the job cuts are official. Luckily KP and I got spared from the chopping block. Frankly, I didn't see any other way it could have turned out down here in the Hive.

Like the Boss man said "The choice was simple. They either cut two off of day shift or they cut two off of evenings and day shift has to pick up doing rec." And we know that day shift has waay too much stuff going on to be able to do rec. The just couldn't do it. And rec is federally mandated so it has to get done.

It sucks that days is losing two, but I didn't cause it. Just for those couple of you who keep shooting me dirty looks about it. I didn't cause you to lose your slots so quit giving me grief about it. You know who you are.

Last weeks bids finally came down and apparently there is a bit of confusion over who got what. We have had our bubble relief spot vacant for well over a year and when they finally put it up, there was some stiff bidding. COI Fishbowl called down and said "I heard that I got that bubble spot!" Then about a half an hour later Uncle Scary came down escorting a lockup and said "Hey, I heard I got that spot!"

So there's no telling who got it at this point. Maybe Chucky did. I'd be okay with that.

One of the side effects of these job positions being cut is a great realignment that has to go on. They have to shuffle everybody around to make sure we are staffed as fully as we can be. From what I have heard, forty-two jobs will go up for bid next week. Some people will try to get their old slots back with different days off, and some people will be looking to go somewhere else entirely.

All I know for sure is that it is going to be a real mess and I wouldn't want to be the Major for anything.

I'm not even sure which posts are going up for bid. I hope mine isn't one of them. I hope somebody would have told me beforehand if it were. Guess I better check the job bid board next week just to make sure. I'd hate to get ganked out of my spot by not paying attention.

I guess we will see what next week holds. I'm sure it's going to be interesting.

But it will be nice to have someone regular in the bubble on Miz Maybe's days off. Whoever it ends up being.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Getting On My Last Nerve

This bozo was trying hard to push my buttons and he very nearly succeeded.

I don't think he would have liked it that much if I had gone with what my head was telling me.

I was kicking out food trays in A-wing and this guy asks "How do I go about getting moved to another cell? I want to go in with my partner downstairs." I shrugged and said "Ask midnight shift. We don't do convenience moves."

Well, he didn't like that answer. I guess he assumed I would drop everything and roll out the red carpet to put him in with his buddy.

He doesn't know me very well, obviously.

His face clouded up and he said "Well, I want P.C., then! You have to move me now!" And he got this satisfied look on his face like he had just outfoxed me.

I said "Write a kite to the Sergeant." and slammed the chuck hole and walked away. I heard him in there muttering and complaining.

He never said he was in fear for his life from his cellie. As a matter of fact, I heard him in there discussing why I wouldn't move him with his cellie after I walked away. They were getting along fine.

A little while later we ended up taking them both out for rec. Knucklehead comes out of the cell mouthing me about how I am denying him his P.C. rights and he's going to file paper on me.

The conversation went like this:

I said "Did you write a note?"


"Did you give it to anybody?"

"It's in my cell."

"Then you haven't checked in. You got nothing to complain about."

"I'll file paper on you!"

"I don't care."

"I'll write a letter to the Major!"

"Tell him I said 'Hi' "

Boy, he just didn't like that one bit. I came real close to just putting him back in his cell and letting him get his rec inside. I probably should have.

Out on the rec yard he continues running his mouth. He tells me "I 12-12 in february. I don't have to do a thing you tell me to! I could stay out here and make you carry my a** back inside!" Man, he doesn't know how happy that sort of event would make me. I got a feeling I'm going to be changing his address as soon as we walk back in the house. I nip inside and let Sgt Miz P know what is going on and that there might be a problem. She smiles at me and says "Okay, Revvy. Let me know what happens and if you need any help."

She trusts my judgment. I'm still not sure why.

On the way back in he starts up again. I'm real tempted to just walk him into a C-wing cell myself and see what happened from there. But we still had seven other offenders loose in the wing on the way back to their cells. That kind of situation could turn bad real quick.

Instead, I point to the restraint bench and say "Sit your a** down right there." And when he sits I lock his cuffs to the bench and we head out to put the others away. On the way through I stick my head in the office and say "D*ckhead is on the bench in C-wing."

So while BG and I were putting the rest of them up, Chucky and some new guy were putting the knucklehead in a C-wing cell by himself.

He wasn't real happy about that, either. Chucky and the new guy almost planted him on the way to the cell. And almost again during med pass.

I wrote a little note on the board where we put him that states "Leave in C-wing for as long as possible, please."

I hope somebody pays attention.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

And Two For Flinching!

I just knew that paperwork from last night was going to come back to haunt me. I have never ever gotten through a use of force like that without having to do the whole packet. I figured they would jump on me as soon as I entered central on my way in.

So I sliiiiiiid through real careful. Not trying to hide or anything, but not making any advertisement that I was there. Nobody said anything so I went on outside to wait for BG and head on down to the house.

We got down there and things were busy so we decided to stay in from rec and help out. Besides, Sgt Banty didn't look like he felt good (almost enough to have me worried about him) and I figured he could use a hand.

So we stayed busy doing lockups and property and keeping the boards straight. I figured as soon as shift change came about they would be calling me up there to redo all of that paperwork.

I waited and waited and nothing happened. Oh well.

Then, right at 6 when they opened the yards, BG and I were all geared up to go get our first round of rec. Julio came down from the house up the street to get a violation read and he turned to me and said "Oh, by the way, I'm your relief. You have to go up front and do paperwork."


I gave Julio all of my keys and cuffs and sent him off to do rec with BG and I trotted up the hill. It was raining and the wind was blowing so hard that my right ear filled up with water. When I got up to Central I stuffed a paper towel in my ear to draw out the water and went in to see the Lt. he gives me my IOC's and says "We just need you to change these right here. Where it just says 'I' you need to put your full name in there."

I kind of just blinked at him for a second and said "Is that it?"

He says "Yup. That's all we need!"

So I set down at a computer, log in and change my paperwork and print them back out again. Honestly, it took longer to log into the system than it did to change my IOC's and print all three of them back out again.

I hand them off to the Lt and say "Are you sure that's all you need?"

He says "Yup! Thanks!"

Shaking my head, I put all of my rain gear back on and head back down to the Hive. Since I was walking the other way, my left ear filled up with water. Grabbed another paper towel when I got there.

When I walked back in the office everyone was dumbfounded. "Back so soon?"

I just smiled mysteriously and said "I told you I was the fastest with the paperwork, didn't I?"

So, if nothing else really got accomplished, I got my exercise for the day.

And I got my ears cleaned to boot.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sacrificial Lamb

We had been having a pretty good night. We had a good crew and things were getting done quickly and even faster than normal.

For having a utility officer on the floor and another one in the bubble, we weren't doing bad at all.

I should have known something was going to happen.

Chucky and I were in D-wing just fixing to pull out a round for rec when the call came over the radio: "10-49! 10-49! A-yard in front of medical!"


We couldn't get out of the wing because the bubble officer was watching out the other side and by the time we got out Mr Coffee had already run out the door to the fight.

So we put the cuffs away and get out two blank files and wait for the call to come. They finally get us the info and we get the files ready and wait for them to come down. We're all standing out front waiting for the fighters. We know it's a use of force so all we are supposed to do is hand off our keys and let the escorting officers put them into the cell. We aren't supposed to get involved.

So here comes the first guy being escorted by one officer. Snap! It takes two people to put one up. I say "Somebody is going to have to go with him to put this guy up."

And everybody looks at me.

Okay, I get it. I'm the fastest at the paperwork anyway. I'll do it.

So I go into the cell. The guy is just covered with blood. I get all of his clothes and put them in a biohazard bag to be cleaned and we get the door shut. Three minutes, no big deal.

Then a yard dog shows up with the camera to take pictures. And in we go again into the cell. Take the pictures and we are out in under two minutes. Still no big deal.

Then here comes the second guy, escorted by one officer. Crap! Here I go again. Same deal. Gather his bloody clothes and strip him out and get out of the cell. Three more minutes.

I write down all of the timetables for being in and out and taking pictures and the like. Nobody else ever remembers to do that.

No sooner do I get back in the office and Sgt LB is on the phone saying "Yes, he's on his way up there right now. Should be there any minute." After he hangs up he says "They want you up there for the paperwork. Right now."

Man! Who do I look like? Jesse Owens? Give me a break!

I get up there with my pockets loaded with cigarettes, a bottle of water and a package of PopTarts. I figure this is going to be an all night sucker. I'm prepared for a siege.

The Cap says he just wants an IOC (Inter-Office Communication, like a memo) from me about my part. Then he revises that. He wants three separate IOC's. One for the first guy, one for the pictures on the first guy, and one for the second guy.

Okay, I can do that. I basically used the same IOC and just changed the names and times and the wording a little and print them out. Give mine to the Cap. He looks them over and says "Okay! Thanks! That works for me!"

Fifteen minutes, tops.

Man, that has never flown before. I feel like I have stepped into Wonderland or something.

I have this sneaky feeling that I am going to get caught when I come back in tomorrow and have to do it all over again the long way.

And from what the Boss man told me today, we are going to have a busy busy day tomorrow. It seems that they are transferring in more inmates than we actually have beds for. I have another sneaky feeling that tomorrow is going to be bad and busy.

But at least tomorrow is Friday.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

He Said I Could!

Inmates, being inmates, are always trying to get more than what they are due. It's their way.

And one of their favorite tricks is to say that someone else told them they could have it.

That person is usually unavailable for verification.

Sometimes it works. Unless they ask me. If the person isn't available to verify that they okayed it, the inmate is just beat.

I'm a jerk like that.

Inmates in the Hive are only allowed access to the phones for 15 minutes each on saturday mornings. If the Boss or a caseworker doesn't authorize anything extra, it just aint happening.

We used to have a little more leeway on granting extra phone calls. Then I got burned with a sob story. This creep sang me a sad song about needing to get in touch with his attorney before he went out for a court hearing. So I put him on the phone. I didn't see any harm in it.

What the rotten little sh*t did was get on the phone and call his victim (a young girl) and threaten her if she went to court and testified against him.

Needless to say, she got upset and told her parent who called the prison and complained. When I got in the next afternoon and heard what he had done I was horrified. And extremely angry. I wanted real bad to go in and bust that punk in the face several times. And maybe make a mess of his chances for ever reproducing.

What I did was go in to see the Boss Lady and told her what I did. And why. I confessed that I got suckered and that it would never ever happen again. I even offered to call the girl and her family and apologize personally. They didn't think that was a good idea. It probably wasn't.

I got off with a slap on the wrist and a verbal admonition.

Needless to say, I haven't given out any more phone calls. Not without authorization.

Of late several inmates have tried the old "The caseworker said I could get a phone call tonight" ploy on me. And they are extremely vexed when it doesn't work. They run right into a stone wall of "Nope, that isn't going to happen" and they don't have a clue why.

That is just another one of those things that they will not ever get extra from me ever again.

The caseworkers know that I am the go-to guy if they need an inmate to get on the phone on my shift. And unless they deliver that information to me personally, it is just not going to happen.

No way. No how. No Sir!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Much Ado About Nobody

"Last night I met upon the stair
A little man who wasn't there!
He wasn't there again today
I wish like hell he'd go away!"

There's just a hell of alot of that going on lately. It seems like nobody wants to show up for work.

Me, I need the job and the paycheck and I don't want to spend all of my extra time up in the captains office explaining why I don't show up.

I'm not singling anybody out. No single person, anyway. We had eight or ten call outs tonight and it left things tight all over the camp. And this has been going on lately for awhile.

Most of us don't come to work to cause problems.

Most of us, I say. There are always exceptions.

But when the regular people aren't in the regular places, it causes problems. Things don't get done right. Paperwork gets fouled up. Stuff doesn't happen when it's supposed to.

If you need time off, fill out a slip in advance.

Don't leave all of us hanging.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

It's An Attention-Getting Device

I got tipped off by Drew's Facebook page that something had been going on. He said "There was sh*t flying everywhere!"

I knew that couldn't be good.

And when I got in they told me that Schmelvin (remember him?) had been playing in his poop all weekend. He'd got himself put on suicide watch and had been smearing himself all over several times a shift. There had almost been several uses of force on him getting him out to the shower while his cell was cleaned.

He's just another one of those that will do anything at all for attention, whether it is good or bad.

I decided to ignore him and see if that worked. I went into the wing several times to do this or that and every time I came into the wing he call me and I just breezed on by like he hadn't spoken.

After dinner I went into the wing to kick trays and I could smell it as soon as I walked in. With nary a glance in his direction, I went about my job getting the trays back from everyone else.

Someone downstairs yelled "Hey! The guy in 1 cell is playing in his poop again! You have to get him out and get him a shower!"

I just smiled and said "No I don't."

As I walked out of the wing I saw his face at the cell window with his war paint on and I just breezed on by. He started cussing me as I left.

Later on he tried digging at his leg with his fingernail to make himself bleed. But he kept hurting himself and finally stopped.

We ignored him.

He stood up on his sink like he was going to jump off.

We ignored him and he finally got down.

He covered up his cell window with his smock but he wasn't tall enough to reach the top of the door to get it to stay there. So he just stood there holding it up over the window. I could see him on the camera and I said "If he knew how hard I was laughing right now, he'd stop."

We ignored him and he got tired and cold and he quit.

After a little while he got tired of smelling like poop and we saw him washing his face and hands off in the sink.

Not long after that he just sat on the bunk and sulked. Sgt Miz P went in and asked him if he wanted a shower. He was pouting, so he didn't reply.

And right before I left he laid down and tried to cover himself up with the smock and sleep. I guess the poor little pumpkinhead got tired.

I guess what they say is true Ignore-ance is truly bliss.

We really need to write that strategy into policy somewhere. It works.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Friday Night And Another Raymond Chandler Moment

It was friday night. Or at least, it was my friday night. For other people it might have been monday or thursday but I didn't care. We'd had a long hard busy night in the Hive and now my week was over.

I was going home.

I strolled across the seemingly endless parking lot to the spot where my '98 Expedition was parked out in the grass. If I'd have driven in today in a million dollar Caddy I still couldn't have bought a parking space that was any closer than the county line.

It's like that sometimes.

In the completely dark parking lot my eyes focused on the glowing tip of my Liggett menthol light 100 as I strolled. As I said, my week was done. I didn't have a care in the world.

Suddenly my eyes picked out movement out towards my car. A large figure holding something was walking slowly across the parking lot, seemingly on an interception course. I figured it to be a midnight shift officer coming in early.

I flicked my cigarette away to get the smoke out from under the brim of my hat. Just in case. Out in a darkened prison parking lot this far from civilization is not a place you want to meet up with strangers.

When I got closer, I saw it was my partner, BG! He was carrying a small bundle in his arms and as I approached he thrust it into my hands.

"Here's something you might want to look at, Rev!" He said. "A couple of gunsels in a '39 Packard tossed this out and drove away!"

Having delivered himself of both bundle and message, he scurried away into his car and drove off into the night.

Mystified, I set the bundle in the front seat next to my lunch box and duty belt and turned the key in the ignition.

On the drive home I kept glancing at the bundle, wonder what it could possibly be. About the size of a football, wrapped in brown paper and tied with string.

Holy snap..... wait a minute..... the wheels started turning in my head.

A package about the size of a football, wrapped in brown paper and tied with string?

Could it be?

The second I got to the house I carefully made sure all of the doors were locked and went and got my pen knife from my desk drawer. My hands shook just a little with anticipation as I cut the string and opened the paper.

Holy snap...... he's brought me the Maltese Falcon!

What do I do now? Are legions of fat con men and greasy grifters going to be swarming me, looking for it?

Could this be the real thing?

I've decided to leave it a mystery for now. The Black Bird will live in a place of honor on my desk until the rightful heirs come to claim their prize.

And I believe they may have a fight on their hands when they show up.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fugly, But Funny

Well, if you have been reading, I had a pretty crappy day yesterday. One of the contributing factors was that my help (who shall remain nameless) bailed out on me. The finally scrounged around and sent me Wonder Boy from wherever he was perched for the night and sent him down to "help".

So I had to pick up all of the slack and chase around making sure that WB didn't screw anything up. Like he almost did when he went out to deliver the mail and gave some to a guy who was on suicide watch. Good thing we were watching the cameras. All of the sudden it was "Did he just give him some mail? Oh snap! Go get it back! Stop him!"

Yeah, it was like that.

But we survived and even managed to get some rec done.

But I was still grumpy most of the evening.

But I managed to end the evening with a giggle. We got a call about 9:00 pm that we were getting the Stork back from the wobblehead house. At least he was only going PC, and not suicide watch. I've seen that guy naked more times than I care to admit. He's probably a contributing factor to my weight loss.

You'd have to see the Stork to appreciate him. Maybe 5'6" and 100 lbs soaking wet. All skin and bones. He has this caveman brow and a low slung jaw that looks kind of scary at first glance. He's going to spend the rest of his life in prison because it's the only place he knows how to get around.

Kind of sad in a pathetic sort of way.

He looks like something Dr. Frankenstein would have made as a small working model for his monster. The conversation might have gone like this:

Dr. F: "I want to make something big and scary and strong! But first I want to make something small and ugly and weak so it doesn't break all of the stuff in my lab! Igor! What was the name on the brain you got for me?"

Igor: "Abbie Something, Doctor. Abbie Normal, I think."

Dr. F: "Perfect! We'll use that one."

(With props to the late great Marty Feldman)

Anyway, as I am getting ready to leave, they bring the Stork into the office in cuffs. Sarge says "Stork, what are you doing back down here again?"

He replies, "My cellie kept asking me for sexual favors, so I checked in."

Luckily and tactfully for me I ducked my face down behind my coat and faked a coughing fit to cover the cackling.

I cannot ever imagine being so desperate that I would ask for sexual favors from the Stork.

At least I managed to end the night with a smile.

Good enough.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I was in a crabby mood. Most of my crew has learned that when I'm in one of those moods to just leave me alone. Those of my crew who showed up, anyway.

I'll either get over it or I'll break something and then I'll feel better.

At least most of the inmates noticed my mood right away and didn't hassle me too much. Amazingly enough, even they can learn simple things.

Don't piss off COI Rev when he has that look on his face.

One good thing is that I seem to do more work when I'm pissed off. I don't want to hang around the office and bring everybody else down, so I go out in the wings and do things. Maybe I should get mad more often.

But I'd rather not.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Do We Look That Stupid?

Gawd I hope not. That looks really really stupid.

The department has come out with a new edict. We all are required to watch a video by the end of the month about maintaining a professional relationship in dealing with inmates.

I can understand it, at a base level. We all need to be reminded of that now and then.

There are a few inmates that I am cordial to, because they are cordial to me. They treat me with respect, I treat them with respect. There are alot of them I don't give the time of day to.


But I am not "friendly" with any of them.

Even the ones that I get along well with, like my dorm and food service workers, I am always suspicious of their motives and always watching for something underhanded to be going on. I've been fooled a few times and I learn from my mistakes.

Sometimes, anyway.

But the main point of the video is what is the most insulting. They make it very clear that having any kind of sexual relationship with an inmate is bad and will land you in prison. They make it clear several times.

Get real. Even if I liked men I would have better taste than that. And better sense.


Excuse me. Got an attack of the willies there.

When I got done watching the video I wanted to tell them where they could store it for safekeeping.

All right. I watched the damned thing! Now get off my back!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

No Vacancies!

Ah. Here we go again. Full up to the brim and no beds out on the hill. That just always makes for such an interesting night.

Luckily for us, it didn't get too interesting.

When I came in at 2:00 Sgt Strings said "You got two beds left!"

Then the phone rang.

When we came back in from doing rec he said "You got one bed left!"

Then the phone rang again.

By the time we started feeding dinner we were full.

And the phone rang again. Sgt Miz P just put her head down on the desk and groaned.

Doing one for one kickouts. That's always a blast. Had to kick some mouthy little street punk out to the wobblehead house. I'm willing to bet he will be back by morning.

And of course, they guy we were getting didn't match at all with the empty bed we had. We were getting some 50 year old p/c who weighed maybe 100 pounds soaking wet. The empty bed we had was with a 230 pound gang banger. So we had to move someone from C-wing (and threaten him with a violation if he didn't move) so we could put the little old dude in there.

Sausage went and asked another dude if he would move and he started yelling. "F*ck no! I wanted to move two weeks ago and y'all wouldn't move me then! So now when you want me to move I say f*ck no!" I just looked up at him and said "I'll remember that next time you want something. Remember last week when you were stuck on the toilet and out of paper and I went and got you some? " I wagged a finger at him. "No more favors. You won't pay them back, so you got nothing more coming." All he said was "Awwww..... man!"

So there are no beds in the Hive and no beds on the hill and nobody is transferring until tuesday. I have a feeling that tomorrow is just going to be more of the same.

And I have a feeling also that we will get almost the same amount of knuckleheads back that we transfer out. So we aren't going to be gaining anything at all. There are at least twenty people in the Hive awaiting bed space to get out on the hill. And some of those have been waiting for almost a week.

The situation is getting pretty bad. We are going to end up with inmates sleeping in the gym again if this keeps up.

Know anybody with about 1,000 sleeping bags for sale? There's still plenty of room out on the yard.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Furniture Factory

I made me a couch! I know it aint awesome or anything but I'm kind of proud it turned out halfway decent looking and sturdy.

The wife didn't have the material for the cushion covers yet, so we just threw some sheets over the foam rubber pads so we could have it to sit on.

Besides, the damn thing was taking up all the room in my shop and I had to get it out of there!

Anyway, the frame is all 2x4's, the seat and back are 1/2" plywood and the arms are 2x10's. The first project I got to do using my new bandsaw. That sucker works great.

I managed to pretty much make the entire thing in a day. It took longer for all of the sanding and staining and clear coat, of course. But it turned out to be a simpler deal than I thought it would be.

I think by the time I bought the wood and hardware and my wife got the foam this couch maybe cost us $250.00. And I'm willing to bet it will outlast any store-bought couch for the same price.

That is what I do with my spare time.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hell No! I Won't Go!

That picture gives me the giggles.

There was a wobblehead down in the wobblehead house who was apparently throwing lighters at the wall in his cell. Making them explode. I heard he almost set his cellie on fire.

When they cuffed him up and took him to the Sergeants office, he plopped down on the floor and refused to respond to anybody. Wouldn't talk, wouldn't get up and walk. Nothing. Last report I hear was they were getting together a team to move him down to the Hive.

Next thing I know I hear a Lieutenant calling for our big gate to be opened and here they come, with the wobblehead riding on the back of the golf cart.

Ummm..... I was told we are never supposed to do that.

Oh well, it's a Captain and two Lieutenants with him, so who am I to say anything?

They pull him off the cart and he lifts his feet up in the air so they have to carry him into the house. Only two of them go in with him. I think to myself "I know this idiot and he can be a handful if he was to start bucking. Somebody better go in with them."

Well of course, it's 3:15 and all of the day shift people are trying to go home. None of the rest of my crew is here yet. Of those of us who are here, who can do the paperwork the fastest?

Me. Crap. Okay, so in I go after them. Riding shotgun.

They get him in the cell and he just slumps to the floor. Limp as a dishrag. Neither one of them is wearing gloves so I offer them a couple pair of mine. Never know what kind of awful never-get-over kind of stuff this guy might have. He's pretty nasty. Like living under a dumpster nasty. Yuck.

They have to manhandle him around to get him stripped out, because he is just laying there. It's a tussle, but they get the job done and we get the door closed on him. Mission accomplished! I jotted down the times they got there and what happened when and give it to the Lt for his report.

I'm kinda hoping to stay out of the paperwork. Wishful thinking, I guess.

A little while later I hear that they are saying that was not a use of force. Say what? That sho' 'nuff was one, boss man!

Sure enough, about six this evening, they call me. Gotta go up and do paperwork. I figured that was coming. I get relief and go up. Ten-fifteen minutes, tops. Head on back to the house.

I no sooner get back to the house and they call me on the radio to come back. Something was wrong and we have to fix it. Okey-dokey! Back I go again. Racking up the frequent flier miles.

I burned up three quarters of my shift running back and forth doing paperwork.

I'll bet if they had just sprayed him down there in the office he would have gotten up to walk pretty quickly.

It's a great motivator.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ghosts Of Inmates Past

Not literally ghosts. The actual living things, such as they are. But bad memories of these same idiots showing up again and again.

These fools... mostly punk kids with mild mental, emotional or developmental problems keep cycling around and around.

Our camp is only classed as a C-4 camp, so we aren't as strict. These punks come here and act the fool and when they finally get classes as a C-5, we have to hang onto them forever because there isn't that much room in the C-5 camps.

And there we go again with the whole "I'm a C-5, you better check my file!" thing.

Yeah right.

And when they finally get sent to a C-5 camp they get their heads thumped a few times because they don't put up with that kind of foolishness there. So they lay down and behave themselves for a year until their level drops back down again and they get transferred back here.

And the cycle starts all over again.

Last night on the way out Sgt Miz P was in the control center and she stops me and says "Do you remember this wobblehead?" and she mentions a name.

Oh yeah. I remember him. It took us four years to get rid of this little snaphead the last time. A 21 year old mouthy punk with the mental and emotional age of a ten year old. Temper tantrums and fake seizures. One of the ones that will do anything for attention, good or bad.

He's back on our camp again after a long stint as a C-5 somewhere else.

I remember the little snit. And I'm not looking forward to having to deal with him again.

His file says he hasn't had any violations in awhile and only four of them all last year.

Maybe he has learned his lesson. Maybe he is finally trying to behave himself.

But I'll believe it when he doesn't show up in my house again.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I Didn't Start It!

And I didn't get to stick around and finish it, either. I just hope everything went more or less okay and nobody on my crew got hurt.

Something went down with this wobblehead in C-wing today. There's no telling what for sure set him off. Most of the time he just invents snit to rant and rave about.

He was ranting and raving and kicking his door demanding to see everybody from the Sarge to the Boss to the Warden to probably the President. When ol' Popeye went in there and told him that if he would lay down and quit kicking his door, wobblehead snatched a fresh poop out of the toilet and threw it at his cell window.

Well, we don't take too kindly to that sort of thing down there in the Hive. Popeye wrote him up for that and since it was a poop related violation, they put him on soft tray (styrofoam) for the next three meals.

So when I went up there to give him his styrofoam tray, he demanded to know why he was getting fed like that. I told him it was because he threw poop. He said he never did and demanded to see the Sarge. I told him he either takes his tray or refuses it, but that is what he is getting.

At first he stuck his hand out the chuck hole and said "What are you gonna do about that?" I pulled out the pepper spray (thinking "Yippee!) and said "You better get your hand back in there, right now!" So he pulls his hand back in (the whimp!) and I slam the chuck hole shut.

And as I am walking away, out from underneath his cell door comes his drink and then all of his food. Some of which ends up on my boots. I told him "Congratulations! You just assaulted staff! You really aint gonna like what comes next!" He immediately starts screaming that I dumped his food on the floor (I didn't, I swear!) and screaming for the Sarge and the Captain and the Warden, etc.

And he starts kicking his door again. And he covers up his cell window.

I tell Sarge, who calls the Cap who says "As long as he is still alive in there, let him sit in it. I don't care."

So all night long this idiot kicks the door and screams and calls me names and threatens me and says I am retaliating against him for some unknown reason.

I don't care.

Right about the time me and Chuck are getting ready to leave, Sarge and I go up to read his violation. He says "I don't want to hear that bullsnit! Get away from my door!" We step away to note down that he refused to participate, sign the violation and Sarge slips his copy under his door.

About the time I am walking out of the wing I hear him scream "That motherfuc*er wrote me up for assault! He's a lying di*ksuc*er! I'll kill that motherfuc*er!" And starts kicking his door again.

Whatever. I'm going home. And off I went.

As I'm going through Central I hear the Cap say wobbleheads name. I figure he was just talking about what went on earlier.

When I get out front I remember something I wanted to tell KP so I call back down there and he says "Wobblehead just went on suicide watch!" I ask "Did you get him moved and stripped out okay?" And he replies "Not yet! Thanks alot!"

Hey, I didn't start it. Just remember that.

I have a feeling that tomorrow is going to be more of the same thing.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mounting Evidence

We used to have an "Evidence Room" in the basement of the Central Security building. It was old and dank and dark and infested with critters and tended to flood when it rained really hard.

What was put down there was mostly contraband items that the inmates were found to have in their possession. Items that belonged to other people or stuff that wasn't on their property lists or stuff that was made or "just found" somewhere (like those nifty little home made tattoo guns that they can make with their eyes closed) that they weren't supposed to have. Also, if it was found that they had altered anything outside of it's original use, it was taken away and stored down there.

The caseworkers needed those items stored so that they could determine whether the items would be returned to their original owners or "disposed of per policy" when they came to read the conduct violation.

The place was a real mess.

A few months ago some genius decided that the basement of the Sex Offender Treatment house was bigger and cleaner and better lighted so they moved the whole mess over there.

And, for a while, it was better. Until it started to get really full again.

There are two officers who work together over on B-side. Inspector G and one the inmates just refer to as "The Menace". Those two have decided to make it their life's work to rid B-side of any and all contraband. And every single night at least one of them is calling to have the gate opened to the treatment house. And off they go to log their evidence.

BG says that they are trying to move B-side over here one trash bag full at a time. I suspect he may be right.

Tonight we were running a few minutes late getting out and BG said "We're late! Everyone else has left!" I said (without even thinking) "Not everyone is gone. The menace still hasn't gone to log his evidence yet."

And just like it had been scripted, we hear over the radio "Officer Menace to Raccoon Control, pop gate nineteen." And off he went to log more evidence of wrongdoing.

I laughed so hard I almost fell off the sidewalk.

I wonder, since those two got together, if they have to take a dump truck out to the treatment house once a month to haul all of that off. It wouldn't surprise me.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Gadget Broke

There are a few things that can make me nervous down in the Hive. And having a fubar radio with no way to call out if I need to is one of them.

I got a radio when I first came in and it seemed to be working fine at first.

While I was up front close to the base station.

Then when I got down to the Hive and had been down there a little while I realized that all I seemed to be getting was chopped up noise. That happens sometimes when the battery is low, so I swapped out a new one with Miz Maybe up in the bubble. We have spare batteries and our own charger for just such an occasion.

No joy. So I tell Sgt Miz P that I'm gadget broke and going up front for a new one. No big deal. It happens, sometimes.

Troop all the way up front and get a new dingus from Mr Odd in the Comm Room.

Sounds fine at first. Picking up everything. While I am up front, close to the base station. Then as I walk further and further away down towards the Hive...... there it goes again.

Nothing but a static hiss and chopped up garbage like "kkkkkk... one..... yard....kkkkkkk.... releasing..... kkkkkkk........ unit."

Okey dokey.

Told Sgt Miz P. Told her I couldn't hear snap out on the rec yard so if she needed me, have Miz Maybe pop the rec door. She told me she would leave the window open so if I needed her, just yell real loud.

What a way to run a railroad.

Sgt Miz P said they have been having some trouble with the radio repeater (the thing that amplifies our signal and spreads it out all over the camp) but they don't seem to be in any hurry to fix it.

Once again, it's going to take someone getting hurt for them to realize they have a problem. They don't seem to get that sacrificing employees is not a good way to run a quality control check.

If they are going to leave us swinging in the wind with no backup, they better give us some better tools to work with.

But you know that isn't going to happen either. The Governor said the other day we have to trim another half a zillion dollars from next years budget or we are going to be in trouble.

Got a news flash for ya, bub. We are already in trouble.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Green Mile

Just got done watching another of my favorite prison movies. If you hadn't noticed the title up there, I watched The Green Mile.

That movie still startles me that it is by Stephen King. I always expect monsters who look like monsters in his movies. In that one they were just people.

Maybe that was the whole point he was trying to make.

In the course of my time in corrections I have met many of the characters in that movie. I've met the Chief who just wanted to do his time and be at peace. I've met Frenchy who just wanted to have a little fun. I've encountered Brutal, the hard as nails tough guy who turns out to have a heart after all. And I've met Percy, who had to be hateful to everybody to make himself look and feel big because he was so small inside.

I have met alot of Percys. They usually don't last very long in the job.

And I have met a sh*tpot full of Wild Bills. It seems like every young punk who comes through that gate wants to be just like him. They are going to start sh*t and throw sh*t and be the sh*t and they don't care about anything.

Usually by the time they eventually leave the Hive they just want to lay down and do their time and get left alone. It doesn't always work, but sometimes. There are days I wish we had the fire hose and the restraint room.

But I won't go there.

The one person I have never met inside or out is John Coffey.

I'm not really sure I ever want to. Know what I mean?

Even after all these years, it's still a classic movie.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


It was another one of those nights.

I'll bet you get tired of hearing that, don't you?

I sure get tired of writing it.

I'm not exactly sure what is going on (I have my suspicions) but in the last three days nearly everybody in A-wing has checked in from everybody else in A-wing.

It got so bad tonight that they had to call me in from the rec yard to help KP put one up while Drew (the new guy whom I refuse to call Purple Sh*t) sat on another one in the office while Sgt LB was dealing with yet a third in B-wing.

And I wouldn't be half surprised if tomorrow most of those ones we had moved were moved once again.

But then, I won't be there tomorrow so I won't have to deal with it. But my crew will. And our job is hard enough without these knuckleheads playing their games.

Hell, I'll just lay it right out in the open. In the last few days we have gotten several of the "girls" in the Hive. The easy, prissy ones who talk funny and like to waggle their hips at the boys. And whenever the number of "girls" in the house gets very high, suddenly everybody wants a room move.

And guess where they all secretly want to end up? Funny innit?

But if you came out and called them on it to their faces, they would deny that they are the least bit gay and get all huffy about it.

But they aren't really fooling anybody.

So we will just keep moving them around and trying our level best to keep them from getting what they want. Because we have to. And just a little because it's fun to frustrate them when we can.

I deal off the bottom of the deck whenever I can get away with it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Watching Teevee

Several months ago they came down and replaced the cameras in our suicide watch cells. And while they were at it, they added two more camera cells for a total of eight.

Of course, being maintenance, they moved at the speed of continental drift and took six weeks to do a job that should have taken three days at best.

But they finally got it done. I give them partial credit.

And now we have not just six but eight cells that we can watch from the security of the office whenever we are bored.

Not that we get much time to be bored, mind you. Not in the Hive.

Whoever is up in the bubble has a remote control that can show us all eight cells or just one at a time if we want. So if someone is doing something really strange or entertaining, we can watch closely.

There are times I don't want to watch. I've seen some rather disgusting things on that screen, believe me. And I know things about disgusting like Chuck Norris knows about kicking people in the head.

On occasion, when the mood strikes, we sit and add commentary like an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. It gets pretty bad in there, sometimes. Especially when the guy in the cell is looking up at the camera and talking to it like we can hear him.

I've heard more than once someone adding in an operatic baritone a song like:

"Look at me! I am naked as the day I was born....
I have poop! poop! poop! in my hair......
And even a little on my nose..."

OK, I know it's a little sick, but it's pretty funny when you're there. You'll have to trust me on that. We have to laugh at it or we'll all go home and bang our heads on the wall.

Once I remember watching an inmate writing on the wall in their favorite artistic medium and somebody asked "What is he writing?" The guy closest to the screen stepped closer, peered at the screen for a moment and replied "Surrender Dorothy!"

You just can't get that kind of entertainment for free, these days.

Of course, we are just inuring ourselves to the fact that very soon we have to suit up and go put cuffs on this guy and get him in the shower so some other poor schmuck inmate bio-hazard worker can come down and scrub that muck off the walls.

Those nights I pour bleach on my boots before I go home and throw my uniform in the wash first thing when I get there.

But at least we get one good laugh out of it before we have to do the nasty part.

I'm sure glad that doesn't happen as often as it used to anymore.

I'd rather just watch reruns.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Open Mike Nite

I was going to write about the silliness and stupidity that went on tonight. The one knucklehead who almost got planted and then put himself on suicide watch just so he could be in the same wing with his........... significant other. Even though they had already broken up.

But I write about that stuff all the time and it pisses me off just thinking about the goat rope we had to go through. Especially with the captain and the lieutenant armchair quarterbacking the whole thing from the office.

So I'll just skip it. Write about something else instead.

A goofball. A card. A cutup. A real madman behind the wheel of a golf cart. And a good guy to have around if things get sticky. Works his butt off and is always there if you need him and always around doing something silly when you don't.

Saint Francis of B-Yard. The living patron saint of lunatic corrections officers everywhere.

That includes most of us, I think.

They stuck him on the mail run this afternoon. I can hear him going through the gates and up to 25 house with the mail truck. Then I hear the following radio transmission:

"14-99 to housing units uno, dos, tres, quatro and cinco! 10-10 for your mail!"

I laugh to myself and head out to get the mail. A few seconds later I hear:

"14-99 10-15 central asap!" Uh-oh. The lieutenant calling.

He rolls down to the Hive and has me watch the cart while he goes in to phone in his butt chewing. He comes out laughing a few minutes later and says "Dammit man! They want me to speak english on the radio at all times! What is this world coming to?" And he roars off in the cart shouting "Adios, muchacho!"

Saint Francis. What a card. He leaves a smile on my face all the time.

We get through the rest of the evening and deal with the lovelorn inmates and their ridiculous little games without having to do any serious paperwork, which is a blessing. It was close a few times, tho.

And as Chuck and I were walking out we hear the radio key up on somebody's open mike and we hear Saint Francis again:

"Will you look at that? Holy crap! That's a big sucker!!!"

Then we hear the yard sergeant Uncle Tommy on the radio calling Francis to come to Central asap again.

Hoo boy. That man isn't going to have any butt left by the time he goes home.

But he won't care. He will just laugh, promise not to do it again, and think up something else to do next time.

Ya just gotta love the guy for that.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Revelations And Aggravations

It was a good day to have Elvis Costello songs running around in my head. They have a way of chasing the bad stuff out, or at least relegating them to the background of my thoughts.

The rest of my head was full of snot. Between that and Elvis, there wasn't alot of room left for conscious thought.

Probably a good thing, as it turns out.

On the way I someone says "I heard they had a 10-5 down at your house this morning. And one the morning before. Whatinell is going on down there?"

I just shrug my shoulders. "Dunno. I been out sick."

Turns out that Lolas new boyfriend was being too demanding and when she (she/he/it = sheeit) tried to check out, the boyfriend took her hostage in the cell.

Fun times.

Then this morning they had to take one of our more unstable wobbleheads (who was on suicide watch at the time) on outcount to court. He apparently resisted being taken out and had to be thumped about a bit to get him to cooperate.

Any other kind of outcount or transfer, they don't go if they are on suicide watch. But if a judge demands their presence, they are going whether they are foaming at the mouth or covered in poop or whatever. The only way to get out of going to court is if you are actively dead. And even then they might drag them there anyway, just to satisfy the judge.

Hell, I have met a few of the local judges. They scare me. If they want something, I'd give it to them.

I ask BG on the way down to the house "What did I miss?"

He just says "Nothing much."

It's his way.

But as the evening progresses I find out that they had one mild use of force and almost a couple more on the same offender. And I hear about the hostage situation and the deal with the wobblehead.

Lots of little things and close calls. As BG says "It's building up. Something is probably going to happen."

I hate it when he says things like that. He's usually right.

And to top it all off, Miz Maybe calls in sick and they stick Chucky up in the bubble, instead of down on the floor where he belongs. They send us Inspector G and some loud useless new guy to work the floor.

The Inspector is fine for working in a regular housing unit. He pries into all of the corners and prowls about keeping them in line. Down in the Hive we tend to overlook some of their silly behavior and ignore their antics as long as they don't get out of control or cross certain lines. He wants to write violations for running their mouths.

Dude, just for the record, you couldn't write enough violations to get them all to shut up. Trust me on this.

The loud useless new guy was just loud and useless for the most part and didn't have a clue what to do. And when he was told what to do, he either ignored what he was told or screwed up what he did.

Actually, I think he may have passed out the mail without any major blunders. That was a plus.

Poor Sgt Miz P kept looking at me and saying "Revvy, I feel like I'm working with idiots!"

I would smile in a reassuring way and pat her gently on the shoulder and reply "You are."

I'm good at moral support like that.

So I'll leave you with a line from "Oliver's Army" which seemed very apropos and kept running through my head all evening:

"And I would rather be anywhere else but here today........"