This really sucks. My first night here and I have to sleep with one eye open. Thank God I kept my pen under my pillow. I slept on my stomach and kept my hands underneath the pillow, clutching my pen as if it were a knife with my right hand. I told myself that I wasn’t going to fall asleep… but I did. [continued from July 23, 2014]
My Main Man Moses
As I laid on the top bunk, trying desperately to stay awake, I suddenly heard this loud slapping noise – over & over again. I looked to see where it was coming from and saw Moses slapping the shit out of himself. What the hell? I looked down at Joe (beneath Moses), who, half asleep popped his head up. I looked at Joe with a confused look on my face. He just shrugged his shoulders at me and laid his head back down. I slowly laid my head back down also. “Welcome to Cell Pod “C”,” I heard “D” say to me from the bottom rack. He must have heard it too and knew I was awake. For the rest of the night, I had no problem staying awake, unlike Moses who fell back asleep (or at least look like he was). I began to wonder:
- What was this guy in for?
- How often does he slap himself?
- Is there anything else I should know?
These were questions I wanted answered and I wanted to know Moses story… or do I?
The Next Morning
I laid there until a correctional officer turned on the lights early next morning. I looked over at Moses (being half awake) and saw that he was fast asleep. I wondered if he left a mark on his face, but unfortunately he happened to be laying on the side of his face he was slapping the shit out of.
A nurse accompanied a correctional officer this one morning to dispense medications to the inmates. A line was formed in the common area then the nurse began to call out names to those who needed medication.
An old black man remained in his rack until his name was called. The nurse had to wait for him make his way across the common area.
“Johnson,” the correctional officer called out, “after your medication remain seated in the common area until the nurse finishes distributing medications.”
The old man looked confused.
“Orson,” the nurse called out. “Orson?” she asked a moment later.
“Here!” a voice yelled out from the top tier. It was a small skinny white guy. Couldn’t have been older than 21.
“Why didn’t you come down?” the correctional officer asked.
“I didn’t hear,” Orson replied as he walked down from the top tier.
“Didn’t hear? Didn’t hear?” the correctional officer sounded a bit agitated. “Don’t you receive medication every morning?”
“Yes,” Orson said as he walked towards the nurse.
“Haven’t you received medication every morning since you’ve been here?” the correctional officer started to turn red in the face.
“Then why is it, every morning we have to wait on you?”
No answer was given.
“That’s what I thought,” the officers tone changed and started to sound like a smart-ass. “Grab a seat next to Mr. Johnson after you’ve taken your medication.”
Orson takes his medication and sits down next to Johnson at a table.
While all this drama was going on, I didn’t notice that Moses had sat up. He was at the foot of his rack with his legs dangling off the end. He just sat there towards the wall looking down at his hands that laid in his lap. He looked distant.
And when I say “distant” – I mean totally insane.
I tried to see if Moses left a mark on his face but the correctional officer broke my train of thought by yelling.
“From now on,” the correctional officer bellowed, “if you take medications in the morning and you’re not down here by the time a nurse opens this cell door, you’ll be going where Mr. Johnson & Mr. Orson are headed. Cell Pod “F”… any questions?”
It got dead quiet. The only sound you heard was the nurse packing up her cart.
“Good!” the correctional officer continued. “From now on, this is law! Any questions?”
The nurse wheeled her cart out. You could hear the squeak from one of its wheels, but still, nobody said a word.
You could tell the correctional officer was getting sarcastic. He turned and faced Orson & Johnson.
“You two,” the correctional announced as he pointed to the two inmates. “Grab your mattress and follow me.”
Orson and Johnson started to stand up.
“Let’s go!” the correctional officer screamed.
Orson got so startled that he tripped & fell, but immediately ran up to the top tier, ripped his mattress from his rack and started to run back.
“Don’t run, man,” an inmate said as Orson ran past him. “Fuck that mother-fucker.”
“He got that white-boy all shook up…don’t he, Joe?” I heard “D” say coming from beneath me.
“Got that right,” Joe said back. I don’t even think Joe was really paying attention.
I remembered about Moses and decided to take a quick glance at him. He was looking at me, but his body was still facing towards the back wall. Just his head was turned. His mouth was slightly open and with his head tilted down but his eyes up staring at me just freaked me out.
I quickly broke eye contact.
“Holy shit,” I thought to myself. I went back to watching the correctional officer exit the cell pod. From my peripheral vision, I watched Moses as he jumped down from his rack. I just laid there looking straight ahead, watching his every move.
He threw a towel over his shoulder and grabbed a white mesh bag full of toiletries. He walked towards the railing and stood in the walkway. He was now standing right in front of me.
All of a sudden, he stretched out his arms with the white mesh bag still in hand and he started singing.
Oh. My. God.
And he was good too!
[to be continued]