Thursday, April 28, 2016

William Myrl; Letters to No One (49)

Dear No One,
Blinky was what he sounded like. A young man with a tic, someone who would spend most of his life doing his time a year or a few at a time. Life on installment plan, is the usual phrase. He may have been there on arson, or a probation violation, or something in between. People knew him, and there were rumors that he had been raped before, but that's the sort of thing inmates say about people like him, in the same way they say people like me are gay. Its profiling, of a kind. He probably was an abuse victim, whether it started in jail or in childhood I'll never know. My first interaction with him was being taken in by a scam, though an admittedly harmless one. They passed out razors once a week so we could shave, and they took your name down so you had to turn them hack in. I wasn't going to use mine, and he said he needed an extra one to help shave his head. I had met him a few hours before, but I had a real problem with refusing small favors then, still do to an extent. So I gave him mine, and half an hour later he gave me back the pieces. It was all there, but we weren't supposed to break them. He hadn't broken his own, because he didn't want to get in trouble with the CO. When I turned in the pieces, the CO said something about destruction of state property. I wasn't ever served with the charge (institutional infractions can be written for nearly anything, not having your shirt tucked in, for example. They usually aren't.), but I was duly flustered for the evening. Some amusement was had at my expense, being a new guy, and an obviously new one at that. I was nineteen, with a freshly shaven head and an almost beard, and that wasn't the standout issue. There have been countless conversations that began with someone observing that I looked like I didn't belong. I don't get that so much anymore, maybe because I'm older, or more comfortable with my surroundings. I've never had to live in fear in these places, not really. More it is a sort of disquiet, or anxiety, that prevails when the walls close in. There was quite a bit of that at the maximum security prison I went to after jail (technically supermax, the rating system is wacky), it was difficult to relax. Here its much easier, though certain situations can cause the old tightness in my gut to come back. 
Back to Blinky. He didn't mean anything by the trick, he was just a sketchy kid. We got along well enough after razor incident. Jail time is slow time, and as the days passed I became accustomed to the routines and my place among the regulars. Intake is only a few weeks, and before I had met my first public defender I was put in green and white. It was there I had my first long term cellmate. Let's call him Squim.

Hey, I've found a new song I like. Flowers in Paradise -Ouzokuband
Tell me what you think.

William Myrl

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