Monday, September 12, 2011

Adrenaline Rush

I was pretty proud of myself early on in the day today. This marked the very first time that I handled the 4:30 count all by myself and got it right and cleared without a single screwup.

And I had additional things to account for. All last week education was out, but now they are back in session and I had over a hundred inmates in there from different houses. Laundry had over a hundred in there from different houses. And the maintenance guys had eight offenders from three different houses out working on a broken water pipe outside of Central.

I wasn't sure where to put them, so I just stuck them in a normally blank column on my count sheet and hoped for the best.

I actually got everything added up early and it all looked good. I was startled and pleased with myself. And it was a good thing it was right because Sgt Puddle left to go take care of something right after I called count so if something was wrong I was going to have to take care of it myself.

Testing me, you see. He's tricky like that.

When it all went well and count cleared I wanted to whoop and do nip-ups in the control center. But there isn't room for that sort of thing and whooping is frowned on up there. So I just sat quietly at my desk and clapped my hands and said "Yay!"

Things went pretty well after that. Only got fumblemouthed a couple of times and nothing too embarrassing. I was starting to feel like I knew what I was doing.

Like I said, things went well. Until a little after nine.

9:06, to be exact.

"10-49! 10-49! 10 house!!!" (that's a fight, by the way)

I said "Yeek!" and started to rise up out of my chair to hit the door and run. I got about halfway up and realized that I could not go. Oh snap!

And not only could I not go, I had to remain calm and coherent enough to relay that call over the radio. Take a deep breath. Push the button and lean into the mike.

"Raccoon Station to all radio units! 10-49 10-49 housing unit 10!"

And even worse than not being able to run to assist I had to sit there and wait for them to get control of the situation and then report that to everybody else over the radio.

That was an extremely long two minutes. That may not seem like a long time to you, but think about if you knew a friend or loved one was going into a possibly dangerous situation and all you could do was sit in a chair and hope they were all right for two minutes.

Two...... Long....... Freaking........ Minutes.......

That took forever.

I've got to tell you that really sucked just sitting there. I couldn't have told you without looking who was down there tonight. It might have been somebody I didn't really like. There's a few of those here. It could have been a close friend. That didn't really matter.

What did matter that some of ours were going into danger and I couldn't do anything about it other than to listen to the radio and report what I heard and hope they were all right.

I've got to tell you, that was bloody difficult. And by the time they called a 10-6 (no further help needed) I reached for the mike button and my hands were shaking from the adrenaline dump. I had to stop and take another deep breath before I could call it over the radio.

If there was much of that going on, I wouldn't be able to stay up there in the fishbowl. I wouldn't be able to take it. Even if I am old and fat and smoke too much and can't run very far, let me out so I can respond. That just eats me up inside when someone needs help and I can't go. If the situation had gotten out of hand I might have just burst into flames.

Those adrenaline rushes make me want to thump somebody. Insert Inmate A into Concrete B, then fold along the dotted lines. Trying to sit dispassionately behind a radio.....

I just don't know about that. I get a little excited.

We'll see how it goes, I guess. I'm up there again tomorrow. Transfer day with no Stubby again.


Tuesday is Defy Superstition Day (knock on wood), as well as International Chocolate Day.

I wonder if I can find a chocolate rabbits foot for luck?


  1. Good Lord Rev - I need meds just reading this - thank god I don’t have a blood pressure problem because I’d be popping a major vein about now.

    How do you cope? Really, how do you cope? What do you do to “unwind” after a long day at the office? Hmm?

    And, thank you for explaining the 10-49 and 10-6 meanings, I’m trying to keep up, but I guess in my world of face creams and body lotions the only thing I’m ever confronted with is a client wanting a miracle cure for ageing. (mind you I think a 10-49 has happened in my industry when products don’t live up to their claims)

    As to those two minutes...I feel for you, sounds major stressful. How much longer do you have to do the job of counting inmates - is it permanent? Or are you filling in for someone? (if you mentioned this in an earlier post I’m sorry for missing it)

    I definitely could not do a job where I had to sit back and have a “wait and see” response - couldn’t do it...I’d go crazy. Don’t know how you do it! Really - wow!

    Anyhow...good luck with it all, particularly the chocolate rabbits foot.

    Cheers, Jenny

    Word Verif - acoma - self explanatory don't you think!

  2. I think of all your posts I've read so far this one best conveys the sense of teamwork, or rather brotherhood, involved in your line of work; comparable to a platoon of soldiers in the front line, watching one another's back; but fortunately without the extreme jeopardy and extreme aggression.

    And it's plain to me that your tales are crafted. But I don't know in what way. I mean, it is possible to draft and redraft your text, taking full advantage of modern word-processing technology (as opposed to the old typewriter or longhand).

    Or there is the age-old writerly way, in which the exposition is largely formed in the unconscious before ever the writing implement is touched, leaving the final checking and polishing to be done by sight.

    So I wonder, but don't like to ask.

  3. Jenny- Sometimes it can be pretty aggravating. Moments of tension and stress interspersed with long stretches of tedium. Sometimes I'm surprised I don't shatter. I'm not sure if this control center gig will turn into something long term or not. A few people really want me up there. I'm still trying to decide if being up there would make me crazy or not. I would miss my time inside the fence.

    Vincent- I take your question as a supreme compliment, especially coming from you. Occasionally I will take a note or two at work, but I mostly just rely on my somewhat erratic memory. Then I just come home and sit down and write, editing only my spelling mistakes along the way. What you see spills directly from my brain onto the keyboard with very little conscious thought or deliberate crafting on my part. I'm generally hypercritical of my own work. If I went back to edit I would just dump the whole thing and start all over every time. So I just crank back and let it fly, hoping I hit something.

    Donna- I would be completely lost around a tractor or a farm. Animals bigger than me make me nervous.

  4. Yeesh! I would have a hard time also just sitting if I knew someone was having trouble. I'm the jump in type myself. Mind you, I've always worked with kids, so I generally just get bruised, spit on, and occasionally bitten. My figurative hat is off to you!

  5. Yeah I almost ran over Sgt Duck trying to get to that fight haha. Hey if you need a break Foxy is going on vacation, so you can work with us. Haha. Sounds like a relaxing day to me, discussing the upcoming zombie apocolypse haha. Although last time you worked with me there was that twenty inmate Smackdown.....maybe it isn't a good idea haha.
    Veri word is subje....
    A substitute je.

  6. Lolamouse- I think some days we could just hire babysitters. Of course some days we could use a Navy Seal team too. I think alot of it has to do with the moon.

    FlyinMonkey- it would be nice to get out and walk around once in awhile. I'm beginning to feel like I'm on a leash. maybe I could come down there for a day or two and be your substitute je.