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.
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