Wednesday morning a little after 3 am, I stirred to consciousness in a crowded day room. I was lying awkwardly on the top bunk of a bunk bed too short for my 6’6’’ frame, grumpily, but exercising silent respect for the other 9 dudes that have to be up at such an ungodly hour. I went to work in the culinary and fried over 1000 eggs through the early A.M. hours to feed the population of N.N.C.C. Not the best use of my skill set but not a terrible job either.
Later that day I bullshitted with my dogs, played chess, and waited patiently for the caseworker to show up so I could complain about my insufferable sleeping situation. He arrived, listened and gave me the concerned looks and properly timed head nods like he gave a shit, and placated my gripes. Even told me he’d handle the bed more on his next work day. I jumped on the phone to promote #NoLooseEnds and finished my day in a fairly good mood. About 9:30 pm the unit officer instructed me to roll up all of my property because I was scheduled for transport the next day. WHAT??? It was odd, unexpected, and in the midst of all the book stuff unwanted.
I woke up Friday morning at High Desert State Prison. I was still on the top bunk, but I only has one person in my immediate space. My accommodations have switched from a day room to a cell. I was awake at 4 but by 4:30 a.m. the room was bathed in a bright orange glow, an officer controlled dome light signaled it was time to wake up for breakfast. A few minutes later a buzz and the slow roll of metal electrical doors opening urged my cell mate and I as well as a small group of men in this new place to the exit doors where we’d all stroll together to a chow hall somewhere for some of Southern Nevada’s early bird cuisine. But it was not to be.
While waiting for this hike to combat the overnight hunger a fight breaks out somewhere out of sight and a strange silence sweeps over the room. Only rough breathing and the sounds of hand to hand combat can be heard. The melee is around the corner s I can’t see the combatants but about 10 ft. away from me another scuffle breaks out and I’m befuddled by this whole scene playing out before 6 a.m. my first day here.
I don’t know any of these dudes so I can only think to give them their space to work out their issues. The time for confusion was short lived. From an elevated perch inside this building a shotgun blasts shatters the silence with a commanding BOOM! Followed by angry cop voices screaming “Get Down! Get on the ground! Get down!”. In the next couple of seconds cordite smoke and confusion are everywhere. More guards appear, more yelling ensues and my breakfast walk about is ruined.
In the end breakfast was postponed, there were a couple of people left bloody and the entire unit was locked down. My point in relating these unpleasant details is our situations may be less than ideal but in a heartbeat they can tumble into a bigger crap sandwich than the one we’re currently stuck in. My advice is simple; love the good that’s around you. Work to make your present predicament better, and don’t despair or complain about how bad things are, because trust me it can ALWAYS get worse.
I’m despairing right now because my location, phone and family access, move around freedom and honestly my physical safety arrangements have been obliterated, but I’m not in the prison infirmary with stab wounds and buck shot from a shotgun shell in my butt cheeks. This new set of circumstances suck dog balls but at least it’s not Iraq.
I’m just saying!