Thursday, April 28, 2016

William Myrl; Letters to No One (47)

Dear No One,
I was telling you about my first jail. There was an old guy there I talked to, played chess with, once I got out of intake. He wasn't good at chess, and neither was I. His name is lost to me, but I remember how he would track stocks in the newspaper. His brother executed trades for him, nothing huge. On days he made money, we heard about it. When he didn't, we didn't. It was his way of maintaining control.
Probably the most memorable event of my stay before extradition occurred in a holding cell. I had pled guilty to possession of a controlled substance for my mushrooms, they gave me time served. My lawyer had done a good job of convincing our prosecutor that it was best to get me out of their hair and into Virginia's as cleanly as possible.
There were maybe eight people in the holding cell. It was loud, and cramped, and a lot of stories. When lunch time arrived, one of the guys asked for my bologna sandwiches. We hadn't gotten them yet, and I shook my head. He repeated his request when the paper bags were passed out. I again declined, and he was slow about shuffling off. I took one of my sandwiches and my apple out, and with my hands thus occupied, he grabbed under my arm for the bag with my other sandwich and took it to his side of the holding cell. I stood up, walked behind him. I don't know if I said anything. His little brother was there, lovely family situation that, and he stood up as the first fellow sat down with the bag. He said something about commissary. I don't know, likely implying that I could go back to my jail and eat out of my box, as the saying goes. I went back to my space on the bench, and ate what I had already taken out of the bag. One of the other inmate split a sandwich with me.
Eventually we all went back to where we came from. I think this is the only time I have ever been robbed, and losing a couple of bologna sandwiches in front of strangers I never saw again doesn't count as a trauma. The scene stayed in my head for many days afterward. I imagined attacking the person who had made me feel uncomfortable and powerless. I relived the scene a thousand ways, all of them ending quite differently than the real one did. There is no plausible universe in which I acted wrongly. The answer in life is never fighting over bologna, though I could find opposition to that statement by throwing a rock in the pod. No amount of logic or perspective could shake the shame I felt about what had happened. We are animals, and an animal knows when its been cowed. The material conquest is immaterial, it was made clear that I was not the dominant male in the room. That is what I fantasized about changing through so ridiculous a means as a physical altercation. My first fight, in prison and in life, actually came a few years later, and it was for a better reason.
Three months went by with many more holding cells and strangers with strange ways. I remember the titles of three books I read in that period, and only three. Atlas Shrugged, Youngblood Hawk, and Giles Goat Boy. When I was extradited, I got to wear my own clothes again. It was my favorite shirt, a black T with a big scene from the 1989 transformers movie on it. I had lost weight, so it fit me better than when I was arrested in it.
Do you know about the Protomen? 

William Myrl.

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