Thursday, February 25, 2016

William Myrl; Letters to No One (39)

Dear No One,
I would like to juxtapose two experiences for you. A few Fridays ago, I was privileged to enjoy the annual appreciation meal for shop workers. Their are two shops on this compound, the tailor shop and the shoe shop. If you'll recall, I am employed as a clerk in the former. The regulations governing the meal seem to vary from year to year, but one thing that they've settled on is that the kitchen has to be the place where the food is cooked, no outside source. I can but presume this is a means of ensuring a little gustatory graft. They caught someone on the boulevard with his pants full of pilfered chicken. It was real chicken by the way, I haven't had actual chicken meat in about five years. I would prefer that they just pay us more, but I won't complain about a free meal. The shops are set slightly apart from the rest of the compound, and they don't have quite the prison vibe that you find everywhere else. There is still the occasional strip search, naturally, but that is part of the appeal of the job. People take small things, office supplies, thread, needles, that's about it. 
I said I would contrast the appreciation meal with someone else. Fate did that for me. The next morning, at breakfast , I overheard people discussing a compound wide or even state wide piss test. They do drug tests all the time, both randomly and off of a hot list. I have been called up only once, and it was a less than delightful romp. You have two hours and two cups of water to give them a sample. If you don't, you go to jail (segregation), and are most likely given an institutional charge just as if you had failed the test. I have a shy bladder, and I came within minutes of not making the deadline. By lunchtime Saturday, it was pretty obvious we were being tested after count, around 2 O'Clock. So at eleven or so, I had my last pee, and I drank two and one half peanut butter jars of water between lunch and when they came in the pod around 2:30. It was uncomfortable, and I had to let off a little pressure before they got to my cell because my kidneys were hurting something fierce. I know that I am not going to be able to relax whatever muscle you have to relax to urinate, so my strategy is simple. If enough water is in my bladder, I can push it out. It isn't fun, and probably could damage my stuff if I made a habit of it, but what are you going to do? I fill up the cup in roughly twice the time it would have taken a normal person, and they move on. Victory. I missed library for this.
So there are my two stories for for this letter, I hope it makes more sense to you than it does me.

William Myrl 

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