Sunday, March 5, 2017

William Myrl; Letters to No One (73)

Dear No One,

I heard about it at breakfast the morning after, Balerider had been vanquished. It was someone from another pod who gave me the news, the arrest had passed entirely beneath my notice. There was an almost festival air in the plant that morning, it was all anyone could talk about, a delicious end to the drama. Jokes were made ad nauseum. 
Words like shoot, pull, member, weapon, and admire all were twisted into Balerider puns.

"Pow pow pow," the inventory clerk would say. "Pow pow pow."

He shot from the hip. Fastest gun in the west. Balerider asked me if I could stand and talk to him while he's in the shower. He signed his grievance in white ink. He said she locked in, right?

No one was particularly incredulous. Balerider had that wierdness about him, an intensity that could make people uncomfortable, especially women. He went out of his way to talk to female officers, nurses, administrators. Stories emerged that he had been caught before. They were believed.

"I'm almost finished."
"That's what Balerider said."

It went on and on, happily ever after. The inmate advisor let slip that Balerider had refused a plea bargain for ten days in seg. He was officially taken off of the list at work. Once payroll went by, he would have to start over from .55 cents even if he was hired again. After about a week the talk petered out. (As had Balerider.)

On day nine, he was released from segregation.

People were friends with him again. I saw him in the pill line after work, he was walking up and down, telling the tale of his woes. He had a five year out of date copy of the shop rules in his shirt, and he would whip it out (heh) for anyone who showed even the most politely cursory interest in what had happened to him. The Balerider version of events went as follows.

Captain A convinced Officer B to falsely accuse him of infraction C. Captain A did this out of retaliation for a grievance Balerider had filed against him four years earlier. The major dropped the charge, and there would be an investigation into the matter. Every big hat he could name had assured him he would be able to go to work on Monday. One of our supervisors walked by on her way out of the compound.
"Hey! Hey! Can I come to work on Monday?"
"Why not?"
"You were terminated."
He insisted, moments thereafter, that the hearings officer had told her he was supposed to be back at work. Apart from the hearings officer having nothing to do with VCE hiring and firing, she had walked by without taking part in the conversation. But even to those who had witnessed the conversation, he would insist the hearings officer had taken part and advocated for him, despite the fact that it simply had not happened.

He yelled at another supervisor as he went by, but this one ignored him.

As far as anyone could piece together, the charge against Balerider could not go to a hearing because the original paper had been "lost" in a room with two lieutenants. The major was somewhat vexed, not about a conspiracy against Balerider, bit because of one in his favor. This happens sometimes, that when an inmate proves particularly useful to security, things slide by. There was a case recently when a yard worker was caught with a knife and kept his job.

On Monday morning the phone calls started. Balerider bullied the booth officer into calling the shop more than once on his behalf. Balerider was informed that he would be given an unauthorized area charge if he attempted to come into work. All day, the joke became, "Balerider's on the phone!" He moved up the ladder, a sergeant, then a lieutenant called on his behalf. If there had ever been a question whether Balerider had some kind of unusual leverage with security, there was none now. 

His argument stemmed from a line in the shop rules that says "an offender in segregation more than fifteen days may be terminated", it is taken out of context, and he used it to mean that since he had not been in segregation fifteen days, he could not be fired. 

What was strange about this delusion was not that he espoused it but that he had so many COs agreeing with him. The building manager in seg had terminated him, completely within his purview, and the plant managers had been happy enough to go along with it. Balerider hadn't burnt any bridges, he'd set the sea on fire.

Outside my door one afternoon, I heard him describing how he was going to "take them to court", and how the managers pay was going to be garnished until Balerider had his back -pay for the days and hours he'd lost since he was taken off the cutting table, and Balerider was going to work there for three weeks then tell them all to go fuck themselves.

His requests and complaints have been filed. All the bighats know who he is. He's got the plant people "dead to rights three ways to Sunday." The general consensus is that Balerider is going to cause so much fuss the facility is going to transfer him just to be rid of the noise. It happened once before, the last time Balerider was fired from the plant, half a dozen years ago.

Hearts and Stars,

William Myrl

Letters to no No One

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