Thursday, April 28, 2016

William Myrl; Letters to No One (46)

Dear No One,
I remember how big the first pod I was ever in felt. A fresh jumpsuit, no underwear, and a blanket in my arms, I went to the cell number I had been given. My celly was a man in his twenties, Spanish, with large and lively hair. He had stolen cars, and this was not his first visit to the county jail. We talked a little, not in that first night but in the days afterward. We were in intake, a sort of quarantine with an hour a day out of the cell. The time rotated, so your hour could be in the afternoon, or it could be five in the morning. 
I asked a passing officer what CO meant, we all kept calling them that. My celly hadn't known either.
Correctional Officer, it makes sense. It was a few days before they sent me upstairs to population, and I never saw my first celly again. Jail is like that, people appear and disappear like interviewees on a serial cop drama. I don't know how many people I met in that place. It was three months there before being extradited to Virginia. The jail was a tower built in the middle of the city. Apparently, the feds owned the building and leased it to the county. One never knows. I remember Spider and Jr and Tauro and L. My experiences with the spanish have always been positive, these three (Spider, Tauro, and Jr) were young and outgoing and optimistic. Spider was doing three years for accessory after the fact. A friend of his had killed someone in an altercation and then come to stay the night with him. One assumes he had a good idea of why his friend was laying low. Jr had drug problems, and Tauro? Who even knows. They were my first almost friends in what is now a long history of almost friends.
L was interesting for other reasons. He was a part of a tragically misguided movement that certainly has a name that I certainly don't remember. In brief, the government creates a "straw man" legal entity in the form of your social security number, and it is that "straw man" that falls under the governments legal jurisdiction to prosecute and tax. L knew a lot of legal sounding terminology, and legal sounding arguments. He could quote any number of irrelevant statutes and pretend they were pertinent. I was at the right point in my life to be taken in by this nonsense. It was at the tail end of my anti bank Ayn Rand phase. That lasted the latter half of my teens, sorry to say. 
At that time I was still imagining I would be home in four years. No reason for that number in particular, it was something that seemed long enough to be significant but not too long to be unbearable. The pseudo-paralegal and I had many conversations. My letters from that period are full of that idiocy. The strange part was that I knew how ridiculous it was even while I was writing it down and practicing the dialogue in my cell. There were a set of phrases you were supposed to say during your arraignment that would, through the magic of wordplay, divest you of all charges and give them to your lawyer. (Because a charge is really about money, has a monetary value assigned to it, and your lawyer can be made out as your fiduciary in relation to the charges pending. Its all quite complicated and made up, and I had it memorized at the time.) Its one of the few things I can thank my constitutional passivity for, that I never brought up any of my fresh faux legalese in the actual courtroom. I did mention it to my lawyer once, and got a bunch of paperwork on civil law sent in. Neither sally found its port.
I lost thirty pounds while I was there, all in the first six weeks. I had stopped eating everything but bread and jello. This was good, I had been chubby, and I didn't like it. Thanks incarceration.

William Myrl

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