I have met a lot of interesting humans throughout my life. I have met a lot of interesting characters throughout my using days, and while incarcerated in particular. I have told you about many of them thus far. I’m not exactly sure what always prompts my writing, though I choose to believe that it is somewhat “inspired” writing. I never want to just jump on here and start writing just to fill the air, not that my “inspired” stuff is particularly much better. I just want it to actually have some meat, and substance to it. See? Don’t you feel inspired right now? LOL.
Anyways. So, Imagine this. Imagine living a life and being subject to a life; for years on end- going all the way back to childhood- where going to jail- beginning at the ripe old age of 18 and on through your late 20’s- was actually an improvement in your life circumstances. Yes, you read that correctly. Imagine going to jail, and actually feeling safe and provided for. isn’t that sick? And no, jail/Prison is not a nice place. I have witnessed some of the most disgusting and horrific things I could ever imagine inside the walls of incarceration- but that just supports my previous point. Imagine that your life is so fucked up, and you’re so desperate, lonely, strung out, and lost, that once the initial shock of being cuffed, going to jail, getting booked in, and getting over the dope sickness wheres off- you actually feel a great deal of relief. It is such a sad and awful truth for so many of us out there who are struggling and still sick. I don’t know, maybe I’m the only one who has ever experienced this? But I doubt it. Every single time I got arrested, yes I was scared because I didn’t know what was in store for me, and I was about to be dope sick for about a month, but I also concurrently felt relief. Relief- knowing that I wouldn’t have to sleep outside anymore, or eat out of garbage cans, or shoot dope again, for a while. It is really a sick sad world for so many of us out there.
And once I got over the dope sickness, and acclimated to whatever Pod/Dorm that I was assigned to, I actually felt somewhat comfortable. Yes, I missed my family, I missed my Son, but this is the duality of being an addict. We’re survivors. We Can adjust and adapt instinctually to almost any environment. I guess it comes from the years of trauma, grief, loss, PTSD, and undiagnosed mental health issues that go into making a low bottom addict such as myself, but I speculate. And though the sadness would come, and I would get in my feelings and miss my people on the outside, I was so accustomed to this carousel of jail, drugs, homelessness, jail, drugs, etc… I could actually compartmentalize most of it. And I think this is why they say “You really only do two days when you’re locked up: The day you come in, and the day you get out.” The rest is just kind of like being in some type of pergatory, or a dream world of sorts. But it is very much real. And though we do tend to get acclimated and comfortable with the humans we’re locked up with and our surroundings, we have to remember to stay alert and proceed with caution and respect because there are some very dangerous people inside those walls.
During the “day time hours”, as many of you who have been to jail know, we’re allowed to come out into the day room, watch a T.V with no sound, play cards, make phone calls etc… And this is when most of the dumb shit goes down. Dudes talkin shit. Constantly. It’s annoying. Everybody’s somebody special when they’re in jail. It’s weird, and there should be some psychology studies done on this topic inparticular, but I think as a lay person, maybe it’s Ego? A defense mechanism to shield them from the fact that they’re just another broken hearted, lost, forgotten about lonely person inside a jail with people just like them? I don’t know. But they never shut up. And pretty much everything they say is bullshit. That’s why I jokingly say that JAIL stands for: Just Another Inmate Lyin’. And the day time hours, usually until about 10:00 PM is when we play cards and go to programs, and mail comes and etc. And when we tend to kind of find our little cliques of friends in there. The day time is, for the most part, pretty easy going I suppose, but it’s also when the most chaos happens. Fights, arguments, etc… My God it can be so annoying. Fighting over dominoes, fighting over spades, fighting over 85 cent Ramen Fuckin Noodles. And my all time “Favorite” Argument/Fight: Fighting over which Rapper makes the most money. My God, I have actually seen dudes come to blows over which Rapper has more money, Drake or Eminem. Holy shit the ignorance inside these places. But it’s also incredibly sad. The fact that two, three, or seven grown men would actually beat each other up over such a petty disagreement shows me the level of maturity and lack of nurturing that these once little boys with dreams had. I mean, think about it, as we speak, there are thousands of grown men sitting in prison or jail with a known or unknown amount of time staring at the floor watching they’re shitty life unfold over and over in their heads. Wondering why their fathers didn’t want them, or why their mothers sold their bodies for crack, or _________- Fill in the blanks; and why they got turned onto drugs in the first place, but only to escape from the trauma in their lives so that they could feel better, even for just one second. Then they got so strung out that they only choice they had was to rob a liquor store and now they’re stuck in prison for twenty years. I mean really, think about that. Think about what a shitty hand that is to be dealt. Especially when we only have one life to live. And that’s the one you get. It breaks my heart. And so now, you’re forced to again compartmentalize and create a persona to be inside the walls so that you can “get your respect” and feel visible, probably for the first time in your entire life. And the only outlet you have is to finally explode on someone and smash their head with a food tray, and thus earn yourself a month in the hole and a year added on to your sentence. So much for the “C”(Correction) in Dept. of Corrections, huh? Yeah it’s a twisted world man. And tens of thousands of good human capital are just thrown away into the system of Privatized prisons and jails. Talk about “Heads in beds” Jesus, it’s sick. So much potential just flushed down the tubes because, they’re “drug addict losers”. UGH. But anyways.
As you can probably tell, I’m a bit of an empath. And I can pick up on, and feel energies and I tend to have a bleeding heart for the lost ones. I always have actually. I have always had an affinity for the underdog. I love watching people “Come Back”. It is literally my favorite thing in the whole world- Hence my career path. “For the Lord does not despise humble beginnings, but rejoices to see the work commence.” And the Big Book says that watching “The Light come on” Is the bright spot of our lives. And it’s true. I love seeing the lost souls turn their lives around. It makes my heart skip a beat when I get the texts from those that We have worked with thanking us, and celebrating 60,90,120 days; 1,2,3 years etc. Its truly awesome – the potential that we addicts have, and when we realize it. But anyways, that was a rabbit hole.
So yeah, we have established what the day time hours are like; and the night time hours, at least from my experience, were very much different. But again, I’m an empath, so I think I just naturally feel and interpret things differently. To me, the night times, considering the circumstances that I was presently in, and the ones I was recently in- were strangely very peaceful. There was almost like this weird, eerie serenity to it. It’s hard to explain. But I could actually FEEL safe. Locked inside this little box. Nothing could get me. No monsters, no dealers, no drugs, and no needles could find me here. And I could just pray and dream. And I swear I could pick up on all of the others througout the jail feeling the same things. Slowly drifting off to sleep to the the sound of humming and dimmed luminescent lights, and sometimes flushing toilets and maybe the sound of someone sharpening a shank, but the doors were locked and no one could get us. I could let my guard down and just fall asleep. Lamenting. Dreaming. Reflecting. Not having to act or lie anymore for the day. Almost like, “Phew, we survived another day, praise God.” And then we would drift off thinking about what possibilities the future may or may not have…Only to wake up to more of the same old bullshit tomorrow. UGH. It’s like Groundhog’s Day in there.
So, lets kind of compound all of those previous ramblings above into one moving forward, I think most of you get the picture, and those who have been to jail get it. So this is nothing new. But anyways. So we get to know people and all of their bullshit lies. And we clique up. And we play spades. And we tell jokes. And we bullshit. And we compartmentalize.
But not every single person that we meet in there actually fits all of this. At least not in full. Sometimes we meet people in there who are brutally honest, to a flaw. And one gentleman, who I will not name because I do not name names, is the one I want to tell you about. Remember when I said that yes, we do get comfortable, and jail is actually an improvement upon our shitty drugged out life, but we must also proceed with caution because there are some truly dangerous people in there and we never really know what guys are in for because they all fucking lie? Well this young man is exactly why I say that. And you wouldn’t know it if you saw him on the street walking past you. He looked totally normal. Literally normal. And he didn’t use drugs. And he didn’t get angry. And he shared his Commissary. And He was a genuinely- SEEMINGLY- regular dude. We actually had to ask him to have his newspaper article mailed in because we didn’t, we couldn’t believe what he was in for.
He sure as shit murdered someone. I had been sharing coffee, and playing cards with, and making slams with a Stoned Cold Killer. And I mean Stone cold. This dude would laugh and joke with us, and play Monopoly with us like he wasn’t facing 75 years and like he didn’t take someone’s life in cold blood. And He would tell you all about it too. No fucking remorse whatsoever. It was one of the strangest interactions I have ever had to this day. If you asked him, He would straight up tell you: “I fucking hate drugs, and don’t understand why someone would do drugs, and my Step Dad got my mom addicted to Heroin so I fucking smoked his Ass. Put like 8 rounds right in his back, then walked to 7/11 and got a burrito and a mountain dew and waited for the cops.”
Whoa. I’m guessing that this young man had some type of Psychopathy or some type of mental derangement. But he seemed super fucking normal. I can’t even explain it. He is definitely still sitting in prison right now listening to punk rock music and drinking hella coffee. This dude loved coffee. He would order like 5 bags a week. And just walk laps and tell jokes. Very scary to think that there are so many people like this walking the free world and we would never know it. I guess this is why they say we walk past a murderer 50+ times in our life time and never even know it. Gives me chills. But I’m also thankful that I know how to handle myself and I do my best to treat everyone with respect. But this young man also had a dark side. As if you needed me to tell you that after what I just told you.
Now, I’ve seen a lot. I have lived some crazy things. I have seen some fucked up shit in my day. But this absolutely takes the cake, I think. I’m not sure, but it’s up there for sure. So, the title of this blog post is “Pizza Pizza”, and here’s why.
In jail, guys get really creative with their commissary. We can make just about anything out of seemingly nothing. We can make 20 pound burritos out of Ramen Noodles, Crackers, Cheetos, Salami, Pickles, etc. We can also make home made/ Microwave Pizza out of Commissary items. You break up the crackers, noodles, and cheetos, and get them damp/moist with water from the sink and mold them into a crust on the microwave plate then nuke it until it hardens into a crust and then use the sauce, meat, and cheese items from the commissary as toppings and VOILA! Jail Pizza.
One night, maybe about an hour and half, before lock down, were all just kind of unwinding, watching a show and chilling and talking and my punk rock friend sits down across from me. Normal night. No red flags. No chaos. Pretty chill day and night. I think it was a Tuesday. That’s when Commissary came and we all ate like fat rats that day. So my friend sits down across from me. He has a clean rag in his hand and some bleach and cleaner. He has his commissary items out. Looks like he is about to eat again. Not sure where he put it all, as he was a little guy. But he loved to eat. Whatever, do your thing man. He grabs the microwave plate to disinfect it before he starts cooking his night time meal. No big deal. Very methodically. Very Causally. Cleaning the Microwave plate. Preparing his crackers and noodles. Chillin like Bob Dylan.
“Damn man, eatin again huh bub?” I casually say.
“Yeah, Herb. Makin a Pizza.” He says.
“Man, you really can eat dude. Think you wanna let me get a piece of that?” I say.
“Yeah I’ll share it with you, but I don’t think you’re gonna wanna eat this one dude.” He replies.
“Why, what are you making it out of man?” I ask.
And then He looks me dead ass in the eyes, and says, “FLESH!”
And runs up to the front of the Pod, smashes the glass microwave plate against the one way, bulletproof glass; in shatters into jagged shards, and he starts cutting. DIGGING into his arm. And DEEP. Instantly the whole pod freezes and is stunned at what were seeing. Thick Dark purple spurts of blood geyser out of his arm and soak his jump suit. Myself and another man run and tackle him to get the glass out of his hands. “Grab some towels, Grab some shirts!!!” We Scream and we have him pinned and we’re covered in blood and smell like metal. It’s loud and chaotic. “Hit the Button! Hit the Button!!!” We all scream and Guys are jumping up and down trying to flag the guards down. It Must have taken almost five whole minutes for the guards to see us, react, and get inside the Pod. By now, the three of us are soaked in thick red and purple blood. And our Punk Rock friend is as white as a ghost. We are ordered to lock down. But my friend who helped, and myself are ordered to strip down and shower immediately and brought fresh clothes. We Shower as the medics arrive and take our friend out on a stretcher. Never to be seen again….
None of us slept or felt at ease that night. Not even close. There was no lamenting or peace or quiet that night. Just the smell of old stale blood, and the sounds of racing and processing minds as to what in the fuck just happened.
Another Trauma piece of wreckage from the lifestyle that I had been living. So when they crack an Egg and say “This is your brain on drugs” What they really mean is, “This is your life because of drugs.”
I still think about that guy once in a while. He really was a decent enough guy, but he had a demon. I hope he gets the help that he needs.