Thursday, April 29, 2010

Learning To Solo

No, not the inmates, unfortunately. I meant Drew.

We had a real sumbitch of a day. Two fights called on our shift alone. I think that made four for the day. Maybe five. Eight lockups on our shift, which hasn't happened in awhile. Four fighters, one sleepover, one R/O off the bus one PC and one for sleeping through count.

Yeah, our count was screwed up because of one rotten little punk too cheap to buy an alarm clock.

KP is still off living the easy life out in GP while he is being "investigated" and the sent Uncle Scary down to work the floor with Drew. Uncle S knows the nuts and bolts of the Hive... feeding and med pass and putting away lockups and such, but probably wouldn't have the slightest idea how to make a file or do the boards or anything.

So I hung back and let Drew do most of the work and lent a hand when he started to sweat. He doesn't want to admit he can't do it all yet.

He's young. He'll learn. Or not. You never know.

And we had Sgt Archer to back him up in case he fell down, so I wasn't too worried.

But it was kind of fun watching him sweat just a little. He has to learn and it's better to do it this way than to have it all dumped on him without any backup at all. That's what happened to me the first time the snit hit the fan and I was the only regular assigned Hive officer. They just said "Tag! You're it!" and began dumping lockups on me with a houseful of utility officers.

Man, that sucked. I thought I was going to have an aneurysm.

But I survived........ I think.

Hopefully our little boy will be a bit more ready to solo when the time comes. I sure hope so. BG and I are both taking time off next month and who knows when or if KP will be coming back? Out on the rec yard BG said "He's going to get a taste of the easy life and not want to come back!"

Man, I hope not.

And Drewy? Tag!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fighting Idiocy

I imagine if I were on the campus of an ivy-league college amidst the best and the brightest listening to them spout Proust and discuss Kant and Hegel and n-space geometry I would feel pretty much like a dunce.

Hell, I had to look half of those names up just to make sure I was talking about the right people and spelling their names correctly.

But working at the prison often makes me feel like Albert freaking Einstein.

Here's a typical conversation I get to listen to several times a day:

Inmate 1: "Hey Dawg! Wha'sup?"

Inmate 2: "Not sh*t Dawg! Wha'sup wichoo?"

Inmate 1: "Not sh*t. Wha'choo doin'?"

Inmate 2: "Nuttin' man. Wha'choo doin'?"

Inmate 1: "Nuttin'. Wha'sup?"

Etc.... etc..... etc.... ad nauseum.

It's no wonder that we spend so much time with each other playing word games and doing puzzles and making up bad puns. Our brains are actually fighting back against the stupidity that permeates this place.

The stupid and crazy leaks out of these guys like the sticky crap on the floor of a movie theater. And the only real weapon we have to combat it is our brains. So we try to keep them limber and well oiled to keep ourselves sharp.

And that's really all I have to say about that subject right now. I've had a headache that has lasted all damn day and not having KP in the house to keep me entertained and challenged didn't help any. The guy they sent down in his place wasn't what you would call a brilliant conversationalist.

So I have taken my meds and another round of tylenol and I am going to bed.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Guess What We Got?

Yeah, a big long pointy one and it wasn't put in a place to be easily removed, either!

Chucky and I get in today and the office looks like a paper tornado has struck. Files and crap everywhere. I think they had thirteen lockups on day shift and they were still scrambling trying to get things straightened out. Sgt Banty was pulling out his last two hairs so we jumped in to help.

That was nothing but a thing. I'm getting to be fairly competent with the files and the paperwork. I think, anyway. They are always willing to let me jump in and do it. Maybe they just like to watch me work. I dunno.

Then Sgt Miz P comes down and tells me that KP has been pulled out of the Hive under investigation over his last use of force. They tell me there are some "discrepancies" between what he and Drew wrote and what they saw on the video tape.

I don't see it. KP is a stand up kind of guy and he has actually gotten us out of a few uses of force where I would have just bulled on in and planted someone. I'm impatient like that.

Sp KP is out and I'm sure that means that Drew is out as well.

Oh..... snap.

Right after I found out that happy news we got slapped with five transfers off the bus. Right in the middle of doing med pass and feeding dinner to the critters. So Windows and the new guy were off doing med pass and Chucky and I started throwing the new arrivals in cells just as fast as we could trying to get done so we could feed the rest of them.

Then they call and have us recount our workers.

Then they call and have them all sent back to their houses so the whole camp could recount.

And just as that is getting done a fire alarm goes off in A-Dining and they have to evacuate the building.

I almost asked aloud "What next?" but thought better of it.

So, tomorrow we are going to have a utility Sarge and two utilities on the floor and me and Chucky on rec. And frankly, no disrespect to the guy they sent us tonight (he was okay, if a bit green), but they haven't been sending us the cream of the crop on utilities of late.

I didn't even want to look at the chrono to see who was going to be there. I'll just wait and be surprised.

I'm still mad as hell about KP and Drew. It's all B.S. if you ask me, but nobody ever asks me.

Tomorrow is going to suck, I just know it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

PC Does Not Mean What You Think It Does

In prison lingo, PC does means neither "Politically Correct" nor "Personal Computer", it means "Protective Custody".

There are many and varied reasons for inmates wanting PC.

Usually it means they are scared of something or someone. Or they are just so insecure and/or immature that they cannot deal with being out on the hill with other inmates. Or they owe gambling debts that they cannot pay. Or they are straight and don't want to engage in any extracurricular sex. Or that they are gay and do want to, just not with that guy who is demanding it.

You get the picture, I'm sure.

And here in Raccoon City, when you ask for PC, you go to the Hive.

Where, of course, nine times out of ten, we will stick them in a cell with another inmate. Hey, we only have twenty five single-man cells and eight of them are set aside for suicide watch. That leaves seventeen.

And on an average day we have at least twenty or thirty PC's in the house. Sometimes more. I have seen inmates stay in the Hive for almost two years because they just refused to go back into population.

While in the Hive, an inmate can ask for PC from his present cellie and we usually have to honor that request by moving him somewhere else. We do demand that they write us a Check-in note before we will move them. The note specifically has to state "I fear for my life" or words to that effect.

In the years I have been working the Hive I have seen an awful lot of strange and awful check-in notes. I have seen notes stating they were in fear for their lives from their cellies, written by their cellies because that person can't write.

It's more prevalent than you think.

I got handed a check-in note the other night that set me back a little. This wobblehead came down PC. He's a frequent flier. Nobody ever wants to cell with him because he has very poor personal hygiene and he..... "Smells bad" doesn't really cover it. He reeks. The smell follows him like a gaggle of dead baby ducks. We knew he was coming and were going to put him in C-wing by himself anyway.

And he gave me this note:

"I fear for my life because my shirts go mildewy from being put into my box wet."

Okey dokey, then! That doesn't really explain it, but what can you do?

And every time I walk past his cell I take a deep breath before I get there and hurry past just as fast as I can.

Sometimes I mourn for the good old days when we could hose them down when they got too bad. All I can really hope for is that they transfer him to another camp.

Maybe some place with air conditioning?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Most Stressful?

Today on the front page of Yahoo! they had a link to a story that CNBC wrote about the ten most stressful jobs in America today.

If you want to read it, the link is here.

You will note that when you read it, working in a prison is not mentioned anywhere.

Number one is firefighter and I have to give them that one. That's not a job I would want. And police officers and state patrolmen are listed as well. I wouldn't want their jobs either.

But then, that is what most people say about my job.

I even had an inmate say that to me tonight. He said "I never give you guys no trouble. I respect what you do. It takes a special breed of person to put up with the abuse you take. I couldn't do it."

If your ten year old son walked up to you and said "When I grow up, I want to work in a prison!" What would you do? How would you react?

Most people would smack him in the head and shout "Are you stupid? Go to your room! You are grounded until you are fifty!"

I imagine any job could be highly stressful. I even imagine being Hugh Hefner has its blood pressure moments.

But I'll bet he wouldn't trade with me.


We all cope with stress in our own little ways. Tonight I spent half an hour annoying everybody else in the office with a blue handball I found in the mailbox. And I discovered I can bounce a ball and carry a cup of coffee at the same time and not lose track of either one of them.

Good thing, too. Otherwise this post would have been titled "Hey! That Coffee Was Hot!!!"

Hee hee hee!

I blog and make stupid jokes and build furniture. And play Castle Age and Mafia Wars. And talk to my dog alot. She doesn't understand, but she's a good listener.

I would defy any of those advertising executives or public relations people to do my job and not get extremely stressed out the first time somebody offered to rape their children and then threw poop on them.

You just don't get that kind of social interaction in a cubicle.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Building Up And Tearing Down

Let me lay a little background for this here story. Back in 1976 (remember then?) the stellar team of Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle wrote a book titled "Inferno", a more modern day versions of Dante Alighieri's classic novel in which a sci-fi writer falls out of a window, dies and gets sent to hell.

The hero of the story realizes that the only way back out is to follow the same path Dante did. All the way down through hell and out through the middle.

I won't tell you how it ends. You should run right out and buy a copy or order one from Amazon if you don't own one already.

Go ahead...... I'll wait here.

Just kidding.

The story has some modern twists on the classic. After all, the world has changed quite a bit since Dante was loose in the world. Some things that were considered cardinal sins back then, like Simony (whatever that was) have almost completely disappeared. While we do some awful things now that they would have probably gotten a good chuckle over back then.

At any rate, in the fourth circle of hell (reserved for hoarders and wasters) is a large chasm. And over this chasm is being constructed a bridge. There are teams or workers and builders and architects and engineers feverishly building this bridge across the chasm.

Simple enough, right? It's not an endless chasm. They should be done in a few years at the most. It's just a bridge.

The problem is that on the other end, there are rabid groups of anti-development types and earth-firsters and environmentalists and Luddites who despise the bridge and are tearing it back down as fast as it is being built. And there are not enough tools and materials to go around so the groups are constantly fighting and stealing from each other.

Someone's version of hell, I imagine. Me, I would just sit back on the bank and watch the show.

It reminds me for all the world of what we do almost every night in the Hive.

Since third shift is not allowed to do room moves without approval (even the necessary ones) we try very hard never to move anybody. It doesn't always work, but we do try. Instead, we leave shuffling people around to the other shifts. It seems they have carte blanche to do whatever moves they deem necessary.

I'm just saying......

This afternoon, day shift shuffled a whole slew of inmates around to try and clear out our camera cells in C-wing. We often need those in a hurry and it's a real bitch to have to hustle somebody along to get them moving sometimes.

They did good. They emptied six of our eight camera cells.

Problem is, we filled three of them back up before they had been gone very long. They moved one guy from C-wing to B-wing and an hour later we had to move him right back. And right before we got there they sent the inmate from C-5 back to the wobblehead house and right before we left we put him right back in there.

We can just never gain any ground at all.

If Dante were alive today and visited the Hive, he would ignore the inmates and look at us and say "What did you do to get put down here? It must have been bad."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stepped Into A Hornets Nest!

Hoo boy. Stepped right into the hornets nest today. What a mess!

Chucky and I got there and they were doing releases and the PRC board (for those treatment guys) and there were three or four lockups on the walk and all I could see was two open beds.

Luckily, Peggy Sue and her crew took a few of them back to the treatment house so we had places to put the lockups in. I could have smooched her right on the lips for that.

So Chucky threw down with the lockups and releases and I set to trying to get the files made and the numbers and boards to match.

That turned out to be a bigger job than I had anticipated. One or two of the caseworkers had decided to be nice and refile the folders that they had taken out. The only problem was that they paid absolutely no attention to what they were doing. A, B, and D wings only have two offenders in each cell and C-wing only has one. When I went to look for the files I needed I found five files in B-25 and three files in C-18! And where were the files for the guys that they had released?

Well, they put them back in the cabinet, of course. In the wrong places. The two from A-wing were in D-wing and the one from D-wing was in B-wing and the one from D-wing was on the desk.

That was the only file that was in the right place.

Holy crap.

Sgt Banty and I spent the best part of an hour trying to get everything back in order, but it was still another hour before it was all back ship shape again.

And after it was all said and done I think we were left with two open beds. I sure hope alot of inmates transfer out tomorrow so I can have some space to work with.

And if some people don't start coming back to work on a regular basis we are going to run into some serious problems!

P.S. Drew- It wasn't broken but definitely sprained. You are so lucky. Quit playing so rough.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We Are Not Freaking Twins!!!

You would think that as long as I have been down there in the Hive, people would have figured out who I am by now. The only one on our shift who has been there longer than me is BG and everybody knows who he is and doesn't mistake him for anybody else....... ever.

But almost every time I walk into a wing, some knucklehead calls me KP! And some of the staff are doing it, too!

Granted, we do look a bit alike. We are both about the same age and build. The same salt and pepper hair, glasses and the same cheesy mustache. I can see that, from a distance, how the mistake could be made. Except that I am almost always wearing a very cool fitted hat and KP never wears one.

Hey, I'm just one of those people who looks really good in hats. Some people have it, and some don't.

Pay attention to the details, folks!

And Chucky looks nothing like either one of us. He's tall and slender and walks like he has a purpose in life rather than sauntering like I do and when he smiles his eyes squinch up like he's turning chinese or something.

Even if he does wear a hat and have a mustache.

On they way out tonight that whirling dervish of a man Vinnie taps on the window and calls Chucky over to the chuck hole (how fitting was that??) and says "Hey, if you got glasses, you two could be twins!"

What the........ Hey now!

I suspect that one or the other of us may just have been insulted. When I figure out who I'll let you know.

I am not KP. I am not Chucky. I am...... wait a minute.... let me check my name tag. I forget.

Aw, heck with it. As long as my paycheck has the right name on it, I'm cool with that.

P.S. I forgot to post last night. I was off work to go to an awards ceremony for my daughter at the high school. I'm getting forgetful in my old age. it seems.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Like A Virgin......

While I was at home slacking off and making chairs our very own Drew went and got his use of force cherry busted! And I just couldn't have picked anybody better than KP to take it from him without leaving permanent scars.

Seems that while some knucklehead was out on rec they searched his cell and discovered he had jimmied the cover off of his window. And when they went to bring him back in, there was something clutched in his hand. When KP tried to get him to give up the item (turned out to be nothing more than a small bag of tobacco) he tried to toss it under another cell door and then got frisky with them.

Well, as you can imagine, that didn't turn out to well for said knucklehead. He ended up face down on Mr Concrete with several hundred pounds of pissed off CO on top of him. And he was issued a spate of conduct violations just to round out his evening.

Good job, lads!

And Drew?

I hope KP was gentle with you......

Hee hee hee!

I Haven't Been Slacking!

I got so busy this weekend that I forgot I was going to post some pics. I drug all of the chairs I had finished out of the shop and lined them up under the big maple tree in the back yard for a photo op.

Looked like we were planning a family reunion or something out there. I'm kind of glad we weren't. We would have needed alot more food and several more chairs. Of all sizes.

So it was just me out there grabbing a moment to relax. Sitting in my "Papasan" chair.

That big sucker is made out of all 2x4's instead of the 1x4's like the others. Had to glue two of them together for the arms and the side supports. But it is sturdy as hell and weighs about fifty pounds as opposed to the maybe twenty pounds of the other ones.

I like it, tho. I have the pieces of a second Papasan chair all cut and stained and waiting to be put together down in the shop spread all over the table. Just waiting for some extra time to put it together.

I also built a prototype of an adirondack footstool that I am going to make.

This one was just rough and unroutered and unsanded but I didn't expect it to turn out at all, so I guess that's not too bad. Once I realized it was going to work, I went ahead and cut the pieces to make two finished ones so this next weekend I'll turn out a couple of them. Now I just make one to fit the Papasan chair and I'll be in business.

Next weekend, if the weather is nice, I'm going to set the whole kit and caboodle out in the front yard and stick "For Sale" signs on them and see if I can clear out some room and make me enough money for wood to make some more. I had someone that was going to come by yesterday and buy a couple of chairs but they *ahem* didn't show up. Hmph. Hopefully next weekend I can get rid of at least a few of them and make some room.

And, of course, each one will be bearing my new logo:
So, just so you don't think I sit here and play Mafia Wars and Castle Age all weekend. I actually do manage to drag my sorry carcass out of my chair now and then to do a few things.

You need any chairs?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

All About Nothing

And in the Hive on this date nothing happened either.

We fed them and gave them their meds and counted them and gave them rec and we ate dinner and smoked cigarettes and that's about it.

The most noteworthy thing that happened to me today is I found two dollars in the parking lot on the way in. On the way out I noticed that one of our new change machines gives out dollar coins. So I stopped and swapped my two paper dollars for the Sacajaweas (Sacajaweum? Sacajaweii? I dunno.) Those dollars that look like gold quarters, anyhow.

If these inmates don't start misbehaving soon, I'm going to have to quit blogging.

Tomorrow I am going to work in the shop. I'll put up some pics of the chairs and things.

Something different for a change.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Slow Children

I often stop and wonder in the middle of the shift whether I am working in a prison or a mental institution. The place is so crazy it makes me question reality at times.

Working in the Hive is stressful. Even slow nights are stressful. If you walk out into one of the wings or even outside where they think you might be listening, the inmates will start yelling questions (like the old "what time is it?" thing) or making demands for soap or toilet paper or to see the Sarge or the Warden or Howdy Doody or whoever.

They yell just to make noise and to be acknowledged by someone other than their cellie. They yell to seem tough or clever or pitiful, depending on what they think will work. They yell because it is the only tool they have available because they cannot get free from their cells.

Your average inmate in the Hive acts like a ten year old after a six pack of Jolt cola. They are loud and rude and annoying and hyperkinetic and it makes you want to slap their mothers for raising such unruly little brats.

Damn, I wish that was an option.

So to bleed off the stress we, in return, act like twelve year olds in the privacy of the office. A little more mature than the inmates, but not much, sometimes.

A string of bad puns coming from a fart joke will keep us in stitches for long minutes. And an actual fart will send us all reeling in laughter.

Someone keyed up their radio by mistake tonight and said "Aw, bullsh*t!" really loud into the mike. I thought it sounded like Miz Shortcake, but KP said she had already gone home. I laughed so hard I got the hiccups over that one. I wish it had been Miz Shortcake. I would have given her grief over that for a long time. Ah, well...

I am sure that there were points during the night if someone had installed a microphone in our office and listened to our conversations they would have come to the conclusion that we had all been down there way too long and we needed a vacation.

It's all quite therapeutic and I'm sure we go home the better for it.

But man, we do sound silly down there sometimes.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Overdue Books

Every day, except Sundays, we have to sort and deliver mail to the offenders in the Hive.

We don't like it, but we do it anyway.

As far as I'm concerned, if they want things like mail and visits and recreation and phone calls, they can learn to behave themselves and get out of the Hive and back out on the hill with the general population.

But I'm not in charge here. I just do what I'm told.

Mostly, anyway.

One of the things we deliver alot of is overdue library book notices. They are so inconsiderate that they don't go turn in their books before getting themselves locked up. That's just the caliber of inmates we have here in Raccoon City. Bastards.

Last week we had an inmate in from the "other" treatment house. Not the drug and alcohol treatment where Peggy Sue and Bad Actor spend their days, but from the sex offender treatment house. Things over there apparently got to be too much for him and he came down to the Hive on suicide watch.

He spent several days on suicide watch and a few days on close observation and he was released back to his house this morning to continue his "rehabilitation" of whatever it is they do over there.

Don't mind me, I have a bias when it comes to those guys.

At any rate, we got a piece of mail for this inmate in the mail today that said he had three overdue library books and that the library would like to have them back.

And just in case the titles had slipped his mind, it listed the books that he was tardy in returning:

1. How To Win Friends And Influence people. <-- Just the kind of thing we want a sexual offender reading, eh?

2. Dealing With Depression Naturally. <-- I guess he forgot to read that one.

3. The Complete Home Guide To Mental Health. <-- Maybe he should have read this one before he came to prison. And actually, that sounds like some kind of DIY for the brain thing. I wonder if it covers power drill trephination and do it yourself icepick lobotomies?

I couldn't help but laugh and shake my head, then laugh some more.

Maybe he just thought that they would look impressive on his coffee table.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dark Omens

After the day I had yesterday (I don't want to talk about it), you'd think I would have had the sense to call in sick today. But my mother always said I didn't have the sense Gawd gave a goose and I guess she was right because I came in anyway.

First thing right off the bat I see one of our caseworkers (the one we got that works, anyway) heading up to central with a load of property for transfers. He says "There's nobody but utilities in the house. It's a fu*king disaster down there."

Hoo boy. I just love hearing that. I eyeball the front gate and wonder if I could get suddenly sick and go home.

And as I'm pondering my escape route I see BG coming down the walk. Snap! It's too late to go home now. Might as well leap into the fray and at least go down swinging. So down on to the house we go.

When we get down there the only regular house officer they have is the one that is up in the bubble. And he can neither see or hear very good so things are progressing very very slowly. He tells me "They are trying to get the 1:00 releases done. There's only five of them but they can't get them done. Go help out!"

So BG and I trot down and get two releases out the door by the time they get one out of the cell. He goes off to help with med pass and I go into the office to survey the damage. Right away I see files everywhere and notes and papers all over the desks and the utility Sarge struggling with the numbers. He's the kind of guy that would be iffy balancing a checkbook and here he is holding my future count in his hands.

I hit the boards and the numbers and right away I know we are in trouble. Our base numbers are off by eleven! Oh......... snap.

Start writing and erasing and juggling and making phone calls, trying to get the numbers back in line. And Sarge and another officer are "helping" me by making their own fixes, writing and erasing things on the boards.

Forty five minutes later I have improved our numbers so that we are only off by one. I look and look and look and count and recount and recount and we are still off by one. Still no joy.

I glance up at the clock. 3:00 pm. I have fifteen minutes to make this right.

Then they come in and say one of the inmates in B-wing is checking in from his cellie. Snap! Now I have to juggle him while trying to fix this cockup. I say "Stick him over in A-16 and if he doesn't want to go, stuff him through the chuck hole. He's going in there anyway!"

3:05. Snap!

Then somebody says, out of the blue "What about that other guy in A-23?" I look at the board and there is only one inmate in that cell. I say "You mean the guy you erased? I thought you said he got released???"

Welllllll......... maybe not.

Check the files and sure enough, he was still in there. Write the guy back on the board and double check the numbers and call control center to triple check and we are there.

Made it with seconds to spare. I was beginning to worry there for a minute.

I had hoped after that exciting start that the rest of the evening would be a cake walk.

It wasn't, but we survived it anyway.

I would have been alot happier if I had called in sick.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

BG's Day

I have been working alongside BG for over six years now and I have alot of respect for the man. He has a keen mind and an almost obsessive work ethic and he's always willing to go the extra mile to get the job done.

And the fact that he's the biggest guy in the house and not worried about getting his hands dirty when it comes down to a tussle just makes it all the better.

I worry on the days that I am not there that he isn't getting good help. Nothing I can do about it, but I still worry.

The last guy that was there on my days off was kind of a squirrel. He knew the job, but he was a squirrel. And, like all of the others in that spot, he lasted less than a year. It seems he was having commute problems so he transferred to a facility closer to his home.

Can't really blame him there.

I wonder why nobody ever lasts very long in that spot? It's a mystery.

Anyway, the job is back up for bid and we hope somebody decent will get it. In the meantime, we get utilities. And not always the ones who have worked the Hive and know the drill. Sometimes we get brand new people who don't have a clue.

I do so just adore having to train people on the fly. It adds to the excitement.

Friday, while I was at home building chairs in my shop, BG was at work. He took the utility under his wing and they did a 2:00 rec round. As they were bringing them back inside, the control center closed the yards.

Apparently it was a surprise E-Squad search so they locked the place down. It happens.

Well, with the yards closed, they had to call the houses to get our food service workers released down to work. It took them a while to get there and dinner was late.

Normally, on a good day, we can get the workers in and stripped out and get the truck unloaded, feed the house, pick up trays and get the truck loaded again and the workers back out of the house by 5:15. Friday it was closer to 6:15.

There was just time to run in and check the rec list and get going if they were going to get three rounds out.

The problem that arose: The knucklehead in C-5 was discovered to have thrown food and poop all over his cell.

Oh, nice.

That put a kink in their plans.

I think it was at that time that we also discovered that we no longer have a biohazard worker on our side of the camp. If we need a bio cleanup we have to call over to B-side and have them send their guy all the way over.


So they had one poopy guy in the shower in C-wing, one refusing a cellie on the bench in B-wing, and poor BG standing there holding his rec list and not being able to go.

He eventually managed to get a couple of rounds out after the wing had aired out a little bit.

Hell, even if I had been there it probably wouldn't have been any better. I might theoretically have even made it worse. You never know.

But I still hope we get someone good to help him those two days.

Gawds know he could use some good help.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

More Paperwork

KP and I got into a little bit of a tussle with this squirrely little inmate tonight.

No big deal. Nobody really got hurt.

Apparently this little nutjob has some medical condition that makes one wrist bigger than the other. It looks swollen, but it's not due to an injury. But he has been playing it up.

We had to move him into a different cell and when I went to take the cuffs off of him he yelled and tried to pull my cuffs into the cell with him. Since his cellie was in there in cuffs I wasn't going to have him loose in the cell with one cuff on his wrist to use as a weapon.

So I hung onto the other one and KP grabbed his arm. There was no way in hell we were going to let him get both arms free in there like that.

Then I looked down and realized he had broken my favorite cuff key.

That sort of pissed me off.

I started to say "You little mother.." and KP talked right over the top of me (keeping a firm hold on the knuckleheads wrist all the while) saying "Turn around right now and stick your hand back out here!"

A distraction technique, you see. He was distracting me, not the inmate. Reminding me we had something to get done here. That's why he's my hero.

So we took him back out of the cell and figured that since he was planning on being such a problem anyway, we should go ahead and relocate him to C-wing.

Then he started telling everybody that I had assaulted him. I imagine that I will get pulled out under investigation. Damn.... I was going for the record.

So three hours of paperwork for the use of force and another hour for the broken cuff key later it was time to go home.

And just to make matters worse while we were up doing the paperwork, one of the yard sergeants referred to me as "Our version of WD." Someone I won't name out loud but who is well known for dubious uses of force and has been kicked out of more housing units that I have ever worked.

That pissed me off worse than the broken cuff key. What an a**hole.

And I got to make the Captain mad for trying to be efficient. He apologized later. That was a bit startling.

So if anything is wrong with the paperwork, I will not be answering my phone this weekend.

I will be making chairs instead.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I didn't mean to scare anybody...... honest.

I just thought it should be brought to someones attention.

Right outside of the back of the prison is a public road. People can drive by and see the inmates on the yard doing..... well, let's not get in to that.

On one end of the road is a P&P office and on the other end is the county sheriffs office and jail. I'm sure us being so handy and all saves the state oodles in transportation.

It's like one stop shopping for all of your antisocial and felonious needs.

(And the Rev roooooollls his eyes)

But on three sides we are surrounded by an outer road that is state property and not for the general public.

On occasion someone gets lost and has to be directed back off of the property.

My rec yard is out back and we have a pretty good view of two sides of the prison. Once or twice we have called in to report strange vehicles or people out on the outer road.

Like tonight.

A pickup truck pulled onto the outer road, drove along for about 25 yards and stopped. The driver (who I couldn't see very well) was just sitting in the truck looking through the fence. After a few seconds he started to make me a little nervous so I called the P-Car on our side and told him there was a truck on the outer road and he should go check it out.

What I got back from the control center was "10-9?! 10-9 your last transmission!!!"

So I repeated myself. Wondering why they sounded so panicky.

Apparently since I was back behind the Hive they weren't picking me up well and didn't hear all of what I had to say. I had to repeat myself again and once more on channel two before they understood me.

It seems it was just the power plant guy driving around and checking things out. Supposedly he does that now and then. Hell, I didn't know that. I figured it was something they might want to know.

It's a good thing they finally heard me clearly and we got things straightened out. I would have felt bad if someone had gotten fidgety and shot him by accident.

Maybe I should just tend to my own knitting. I don't seem to share the same priorities as everybody else.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bubble Time....

I guess it had been long enough. I had forgotten how much I just don't like running the bubble. I'm sure glad I didn't bid on that spot. I thought about it, but I didn't.

Miz Maybe had found herself to be physically inconvenienced and had to go home. I stepped up there in the interim, just so she could go as quickly as possible and found myself there for the duration.

My fault, entirely. I could have stuck one of the ensuing flock of utility officers they pressed on us during the evening up there. But I figured I took it so I might as well ride it out.

And it wasn't very long before I started to remember all of the things that used to drive me completely batsh*t when I worked the bubble.

1. The other staff will always time their questions over the intercom when you are halfway down the stairs to the bathroom.

2. The intercom doesn't work if you aren't there to push the button. So no matter how loud you yell "Hold on! I'm in the freaking bathroom!!!", they cannot hear you and will keep shouting their questions.

3. They will all be seated in the office until the very second that your butt hits the chair, at which point everyone will leave the office and run in all directions.

4. Med pass and rec will never ever be in the same wing at the same time. They are always at opposite ends of the house so you have to run back and forth and hope that you don't get confused about which door you are opening in which wing.

5. If you stick your head out the door to smoke, a lieutenant will walk up. And if you get relief to actually step out and smoke, your relief won't know how to open the doors so you'll have to go back in anyway.

And I have discovered that the only thing worse than being on a diet or being in the bubble is being on a diet in the freaking bubble. I always get fidgety up there and want to be snacking on something and tonight I brought a minimal amount of food because I need to lose some weight.

If anybody asks, that just really really sucked.

But I think I probably ran off a few pounds up there tonight. They kept me hopping.

And hopefully it will be many a long taco before I have to experience that again.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Same Old Routine

Some days I think I could just do my job by email. Some of the days are just so predictable and humdrum That I think I could just send in a recording of my voice saying "No. You're beat." and give it to somebody going down to the Hive with directions to play it for every inmate who asks a question.

I could say "If you take out the bottom walk of D-wing for rec, they are going to give you trouble. Nothing too serious, but enough to piss you off. Cut them short and don't let them have anything at all extra. Screw 'em." And "When the knucklehead in C-15 realizes that he forgot to ask for his PRN meds and the nurse doesn't bring them, he's going to try and call a Code 16 and kick on his door for several hours."

Then play the tape that says "No. You're beat."

It's those kind of nights that just fill in between the ones where we have to run our legs off and run the risk of meeting the concrete hard.

They are my bread and butter, but they sure are boring.

It's that going between moments of high stress and long tedium that I think makes most people not want to stay down in the Hive very long. If it was all just fun and games and thumping knuckleheads all day long I think I would have gotten tired and too banged up to be still doing it after all this time.

And if it was nothing but those routine nights where I could have phoned it in, I wouldn't have started down there in the first place. I would have bid on someplace more exciting like the sally port on midnight shift or something.

Luckily for me, the stress moments keep on coming and the routine is always there as a backdrop.

One of these days I'm going to get tired enough to go somewhere else.

But in the meantime, I'll just keep on going.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Chicken Leg Incident

This just goes to show how stupid inmates can screw up anything. You could house them in a palace and they would turn it into a trash dump in no time flat.

Of course, some of us aren't all that much better, as you will see later.

About one a month we would have "chicken quarters" for dinner. Just a leg and a thigh of mostly cooked chicken. Nothing to write home about, but at least you knew it was real chicken and not some processed meat byproduct of dubious origin.

Chicken night was always annoying because for two or three nights later we would be seeing gnawed chicken bones come sliding out under cell doors onto the walk. And the mouse and cockroach population would hold jubilant ceremonies in the wings.

I remember my first night in the Hive when they served chicken. And I saw some of those bones laying around and thought to myself "Man! I'll bet you could hurt somebody with one of those if you really tried!"

But the subject never came up. Until this weekend, that is.

Apparently while I was off on my back pain hiatus they had chicken quarters and some genius threatened to shank his cellie with a chicken bone.

And of course it got paid attention to and sent up the chain and somebody took it seriously. So from now on, whenever they serve chicken quarters on the hill, they will be sending chicken patties down to the Hive.

I'd like to see some snaphead try and shank his cellie with a chicken patty.

No..... one of those idiots would probably try it. But you get the idea. No more chicken for us. Back to the mystery meat for eternity.


But on the subject of staff members you wouldn't invite home after work, they sent us a utility officer to replace Miz Maybe up in the bubble.

Of course it was the weekend after payday and she had to call out again. I wish they would pay her just once a month so she would be in more often.

Anyway, they sent us the one officer that everybody flinches when they see him walk into their house. You probably know who I mean. He has a voice like Kermit the frog on valium.

At one point BG had gone back inside to get something and bubble guy was up there with his boots and socks off trimming his toenails. He toiled at that chore for the most part of an hour before he was done.

Hey, at least he had his feet up on day shifts locker and not on ours. Thank Gawd for small favors.

We speculated that if we came back in we would find him with cucumber slices on his eyes, cold cream on his face and little slips of paper between his toes, sunning himself under the desk lamp in a little terrycloth robe.

That whole thing just put horrible pictures in my head.

And I wondered what would have happened if something had kicked off. Would he have been running around up there barefoot or would he have just said "You gotta wait. The paint isn't dry yet! I'll smudge!"

I often wonder who is nuttier. Them or us.

I still do.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Hair-Raising Experience!

If you've been keeping up, you'll know that I called in sick on Thursday. My back was hurting pretty bad and I didn't think I would survive another night in the Hive without some relief. Something other than comic relief, anyway.

I got into the doctors office this morning. I like my doctor, he's a good cat. But I'm beginning to suspect that anybody who is trained to manipulate parts of your body ie: doctors, physical therapists, x-ray techs, chiropractors, etc have all been trained on manuals written first by Vlad The Impaler and maybe refined by Josef Mengele. They always seem to feel that the best way to make you feel better is to make you do whatever hurts you the most.

"If it doesn't hurt or taste nasty, it can't be medicine." My Grandma always said that. I think she trained at that same school.

Doc starts out poking me with his fingers up and down my spine. I'm pretty sure at one point he replaced his thumb with a soldering iron. All the times he's muttering "Ooooo boy. I'll bet that hurts!"

Yeah, it did.

Then he had me lay on my back on the table and he wrapped me up like a pretzel and said "Deep breath" which hurt, and then said "Let it out" which hurt too. Then he dove on top of me like Jimmy "Super Fly" Snuka off the top rope and mashed me into the table. My spine made noises like I had laid down on a box of Fruit Loops.

That loosened me up for round two, where he had me lock my fingers behind my neck and he proceeded to put me in a full nelson and shake me like a terrier with a rubber chew toy.

More crunchy noises ensued.

He prodded me a few more times with the soldering iron then said "I'm going to give you a shot back there. That will help."

That sentence did nothing to make me feel better.

He returns with a nurse and one hand behind his back.



This can't be good.

He has me up against the table with my shirt pulled up and I feel his thumbs poking up and down my back. It feels like:

Poke poke doink! Moves up.

Poke poke doink! Moves up.

Poke poke doink! Moves up.

Poke poke doink!

I'm thinking to myself "Hell, that wasn't so bad!"

Then he moves back down to the lower point and I hear the cap pop off of a hypodermic needle. He says "Little stick."

Awwww..... snap. I thought he had already done that. Apparently he was just marking the spots with a pen. And I fell for it.

The first one wasn't so bad. A little stick and a little burning. No worries.

He moves up and I hear the cap pop off a second needle and I realize why he had them behind his back. There were four of them. Seeing that would have worried me.

The second and third ones weren't so bad either. After the third one the nurse made a joke and he started laughing and I almost did too. I said "Making me giggle while he's poking my spine with a needle is not really a good idea, you know." Doc just pats my shoulder and says "You'll be okay."

Now that last injection must have hit the sweet spot. That sucker went in and all of the hair on my legs shot straight out and my feet were suddenly soaked in sweat. That one hit something. Hopefully it was something good.

Doc told me to go home and relax and not do any heavy lifting for a day or so and take tylenol.

Man, I hope this works!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Calling Out Broken

Got up this morning and could just barely crawl out of bed. The pain in my back kept me awake off and on most of the night.

I wish I knew what I did so that I would never ever do it again.

Called the doctor and they can't get me in until tomorrow. Snap.

So I called in and said I was taking a sick day. At this point I'm not even sure I could shave without hurting myself. And I sure as hell aint going in to listen to those jokers who make me laugh all of the time. Last night was painful enough.

Luckily I found some painkillers left over from my last trip to the dentist. But they make me so foggy my mind keeps wandering away. It still hurts, I just don't notice it so much. I guess you gotta take the lemon with the meringue.

At any rate, I'm going to go have a little lie down and hope the doctors office calls with a cancellation. They might be able to get me in. That would be extra sweet.

Besides, I keep forgetting what I'm doing. Good thing the wife will be able to drive me. I might end up in Michigan or something.

Be careful.