13 February, 2018

They Treat My Prison Cell Like It's a Model Home

I'm feeding a sheet of paper into my typewriter, first thing after my cellmate leaves for work, when the door cracks and our housing unit's Lilliputian day-shift sergeant peeks in.

"Mister Case?"

"Good morning," I say, expecting her to tell me I'm needed in the caseworker's office, at Medical, or any of the half-dozen places at Crossroads that might, on any given day of the week, surprise me with a pass. But no.

"I have a young gentleman here who just started," she explains, opening the door to another very small person, this one in civilian clothes, with a coiffure like Superboy's. "Would you mind if I showed him your cell?"

The paper wound mechanically around the platen. Oh, this again. "No, not at all."

Just like the lowest-numbered cell on the bottom walks tend to be the first searched in routine shakedowns, my cell, the first one on the upper tier, gets this type of attention often. I suspect that the bigger factors in its demo-model status are that I'm not a surly fuck all the time, and what the tiny sergeant tells her trainee as I step out for her guided tour: "It's very clean. They're usually not like this."

The two staff members point and gesture — at the arrangement of our footlockers, at my shelf of books and CDs, at Doyle's terrible fantasy art, and at other stuff I don't pay attention to because I use this time out as an excuse to head downstairs and add a couple of last-minute items to my canteen order. Before I'm done at the touch screen at the front of the wing, the sergeant singsongs, "Thank you!"

I half turn. Unable to think of anything more appropriate, I give a thumbs-up. This is not what people expect prison to be like.

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Lacking computer access of any kind, Byron cannot respond to your comments but is relayed them and appreciates your kind remarks.