It begins with the clanging sound of steel doors shutting. Followed by the sniffles, sneezes and sadness of the sick. The inmates and guards all look mean spirited, merciless and mad. The breakfast of watery grits thinned out powdered milk and flour deficient cold pancakes sets the morning mood of extreme melancholy. The unprovoked yelling of insensitive newly hired guards will bash the best of hopes of a better day.
By noon, inmates and guards are becoming neurotic. The mundaneness of slave jobs makes you feel idiotic. Lunch is always a letdown. Lost in the world of lunacy makes you begin to feel less than left behind. Public showers are humiliating. Negative thoughts are always formulating.
If it’s summer the heat can be more than a bummer, it can be a killer. In your cell after work you only have a flat mattress with no pillow. Evil engrosses the environment by evening. Empathy is absent as anxiety appears to be all around. The evening meal is the worst. Pork and beans, fried rice or casserole, most likely served unseasoned and cold. Without commissary many inmates will feign a second helping of pork and beans.
At night, the TV is the drug. It keeps the population numb as they vie over sports shown and reruns. The phone is the straight shot home. That is if you have anybody at home. After mail call, everybody is acting like they ain’t alone. It will be only seconds before something goes down.
Contraband drugs and smoke is all over the place. Danger, desperateness and despair is now in the air. Perverted erotic lust begins to be spewed. Secret lovers are coming unglued. The fights are fast but seldom fierce. A lot of thugs are trying to get tatted and pierced. The gambling is intense, who will get paid keeps us all in suspense.
At 10:30 pm it all ends, you survived another day and so you win. Now you go into a cell with a stranger who’s strange. On the way to sleep you feel the loneliness which is prison’s worst pain. You try to have the joy of a private memory of a loved one or good sex. You whisper a silent prayer and refuse yourself a cry.
The next morning it starts again as the doors start to clang and bang. And clang and bang and the guards start to yell.
By Willie Fleming