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Day 3

Sunday, Febuary 6, 2000

I woke up this morning at 4:00 again. this time it was an oatmeal substance instead of grits, and a pancake instead of a waffle. Same dog, different shit.

A little about my cellmates...

Greg had been the one who woke me the first night about snoring. He was cool. Then there's Jerome, the big guy. To be honest, I was scared of Jerome. He's just a big scary looking guy. He looked like one of the roughians out of the HBO series "OZ" or the file "Shawshank Redemption." Although he's shorter than I, he looked tougher than nails. Huge arms and deep dark eyes with hair in four braids going back across the top of his head. He spoke in a deep voice in a quick mannor using terms I'm familiar with, but because of his quick speech, I missed half of what he was saying. In other words, I found him hard to understand, but I didn't want to say "huh?" and let him KNOW I didn't understand him. Turns out he wasn't even talking to me so I was O.K.

Although he's hard to understand, he likes to crack jokes. He went off one night about smackin' people down. It was a funny little anecdote, as he was making light of his probation violation that landed him in jail. It was funny. For the first time since Friday I laughed hard. At that point that Jerome isn't one to be scared of, but he was actually very nice and had a great sense of humor.

After breakfast I went back to bed. At around 7:15, the guard came to take whoever wanted to go up on the roof for exercise. Urkel, hairdresser and I went up. It was an hour of fresh air and exercise on the roof of a tall downtown building. Sounded good to me.

We left our beloved Cell Block B. In the hallway we met a couple of guys from blocks A and C. Together we rode an elevator up to the top floor where we put on out official Wal-Mart issue jackets and headed out. As you might expect, this was a secure roof. The walls surrounding us stood two stories high and were brick. Over our heads there was chain link fencing separating us from the sky and razor wire where the fencing met the walls. within this space was a basketball court with a ball on it.

I took a deep breath and loved the cold crisp morning air. Under normal conditions, I would never be up this early, but hey, here I don't have much choice. Although I could be in bed locked down with the others, the air made all the difference. I began by walking around the perimeter of the court. I noticed the sun came about halfway down the backwall, as it climbed above the front wall on its way to the noon sky. One guy grabbed the basketball and began shooting hoops, the rest walked laps, as I did.

After about five minutes or so, I decided to run a while. I had about three laps when I heard one of the others getting all excited about finding a cigarette butt. If they had any means to create fire, I have no doubt I would have witnessed three men trying to suck the inside out of a cigarette butt that had been lying there for God knows how long.

It was at this moment that I remembered smoking. For 38 hours, I had been smoke free and really hadn't thought about it. Hmmm. Screw the patch, just GO TO JAIL!!!

I ran a few more laps, annoyed that my size XL boxers were falling off my ass inside my jumpsuit and my size 11 shoes were falling off my size 10 feet. So I pulled up my shorts and walked. I got to the back wall to see a tall long haired shadow in from of me. I stopped and turned around, facing the sun, The warm rays felt good against my cold face,although flush from the run. The others noticed the sun was now high enough to drench us in its rays, so they stood along side me facing the sun. There we stood silent for a few minutes, letting the sun warm our faces without the obstruction of steel bars or plexiglass. Finally someone spoke, and conversation resumed. I stood a while longer before walking a few more laps, then going back inside and back to bed.

I got up about 11:30 for lunch, then went back to bed. Every half hour or so they opened our cell doors into the great room there were metal picnic tables lined up end to end the length of the room. Halfway back there was a TV hanging from the ceiling facing the back wall. On each side there were three cells, each with eight beds. In the back were windows with steel bars and a lovely view of a brick wall about ten feet back from the window. If you looked diagonally to the left from the window, you could see around the wall. There you could catch a glimpse of the top of a parking garage, the corner of the colleseum, and a couple of buildings. Other than a distant road visible between the buildings, the view was void of all motion.

At the end opposite the windows was the cell door in the middle, with three toilet/sinks to the left and three showers to the right. There were also three collect-call-only phones on the shower side. One of the toilets didn't work, but its sink did. One of the sinks didn't work, but its toilet did. Next to one of the toilets was a pair of boxer shorts covered with shit. I couldn't tell if someone exploded in them or wiped their ass off with them, but either way, they stunk to high heaven and never moved the whole time I was there.

Now the showers, THERE'S a treat. Walls and curtains covered with mildew to a point you couldn't see the curtain, just the mildew. In one stall, a nice pile of bologna-laden vomit. I went in one of the non-vomit stalls, and stood before the shower head located roughly 5'10" off the ground. I stand 6'3". I had to duck to get my head wet, while trying not to touch the edges of the funk nasty shower and curtain. The faucet was far from convenient as well. It had the kind you had to push for a 3 second spray of water. I was constantly pushing that damn button. At the temperature was nice and warm. Scalding, actually.

We had afternoon lockdown and dinner was served around four. There had been a roumor about the dinner they served on Sunday, and thankfully it had been true. a leg quarter of fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, cornbread and cake. By far the best tasting meal yet.

All day, the guard assigned to our block had been an ass hole. He would lock you down if you said the wrong thing, and yell at you for no reason. He also went into some cells and would throw the sheets off your bed onto the floor, then yell at you to make your bed. In a few cases, by the time the inmate had finished making their bed, he had reached the control box in the hall and would shut their call door while they were feverioushly trying to make their bed. If the door closed before you could get out, tough shit. No chicken for you.

After dinner clean up was finished, everyone went into the great room to watch the Pro Bowl. Our home team had 3 or 4 players out there this year, and we watched as they played alongside their rivals to try to beat the best players from the other conference. At about seven o'clock, the NFC had a commanding lead over the AFC, so we changed channels to catch the beginning of the Sunday Night Movie, which was Face Off staring John Travolta and Nicholas Cage.

For the first time since I had been in the place, everyone was quiet. We all watched the movie in silence, with a little talking during the commercials. Every now and again Asscop wouldturn the TV off, wait a few minutes to be certain he had our attention, then open the main cell door and call a name or call for medication or something. He would then just stand there looking at us, as if he were daring us to tell him to turn the TV back on. eventually he did, and we all cussed him to ourselves, beneath our breath.

Lock down was at 10:30. The movie ended at 10:00. At about fifteen till ten, the TV shut off. The gate opened to Ass-cop with an all to happy smile on his face. "Lock Down, Gentlemen!", he said with a Grinch style grin. This spurred much profanity, there was no reason for him to lock us down save for the fact he wanted to piss us off. He DID. This didn't surprise me, nor did the onslought of cussing that followed. With each "Cocksucker", Motherfucker", or "Ain't 'dis a BITCH!", his smile got a little wider.

I threw in my own special arrangement of profanity, closed with an "Ain't this a BITCH!", and went to bed.

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