Chapter 5: Lockdown

When there is nothing to do but wait, strange things happen. It had been my habit of sleeping through a large portion of the day, and staying up all night. This let me have time that was quiet. I could imagine myself alone. I would usually write short stories, songs, thoughts, or various plans that I had for when I got out. Often I would read a novel in one night.

One night I was sitting on my top bunk (third move by then) drawing cartoons. All was quiet and peaceful. I had a bunk by a window, so I could see some of the stars. Orion was there. As I was perfecting my nose quality, I noticed a slight burning sensation in my eyes. I smelled burning wires, my eyes began to water and burn. Pretty soon I had snot running down my nose.

People were beginning to wake up. There was a lot of confusion. The air started getting hazy.

There was a THUMP then three more, from the diagnostic dorm across the Bowling Alley. We rushed up the bunks to the windows and stared.

Tear gas.

Guards everywhere.

Billowing out of the building. The whole bowling alley was hazy with the gas. There was a helicopter landing.

Two more thumps. More guards.

They turned the lights on in our dorm. A riot team came in with their own tear gas. They told us to get ready for count. We lined up by our bunks, holding out our id cards. I had gotten into the habit of “improving” my jail id. I put scotch tape over it and drew on moustaches, beards, tattoos, hats. We wouldalso try to throw the guards off by holding our id’s in funny ways, like stuck to the forehead or clipped to the crotch of the pants. If the guard looked, we would yell “GAZER” to the guard, indicating that yes, he liked to look at peters.

I was bare chested with my I’d clipped to my nipple. The Capitan was briskly walking around the dorm, checking each I’d carefully to make sure nobody was in the wrong place. He got to me and just stopped.

I waved.

He yanked my id off of my nipple, looked at it, did a double take.


I waved again, saying nothing. He regarded the drawing a moment more.

“This isn’t right, Napoleon did not have an eye patch.” he peeled off my homemade sticker and tossed the card back to me. “If I see this again, I’m writing you up.”

The Capitan finished the count. We were ordered back into our racks and were instructed that the day room was off limits, and we could only have one person to a restroom. The showers were off limits, then the guards left.

We had no idea what was going on. The whole unit was in Lockdown.

People began tossing contraband items into the middle of the room. Extra blankets, uniforms, jars of coffee, anything that would have been found in a shakedown. After five minutes, the pile was immense.

The guards came back in a few hours later, instructed us to pack our belongings and to go out onto the rec yard. They had us stand out there for hours as we each came up, dumped our stuff and allowed them to go through it all. Then there was the strip search.

Back in the bunks, I looked at a book without reading it. We had no idea what had happened in the dorm, but we were all worried. As I was spokesman again, I had to find out. There was this Aryan Brotherhood member who I met on in the diagnostics dorm. He went by “Crazy,” and he was. He would brag about robbing a national guard armory with some friends, and stashing the weapons. He was transferred to another unit and I thought I had heard the last from him.

Crazy was shipped back to our unit.

They placed him in diagnostics. On the first day back he went to the Rec yard and removed his shirt.

“Hey Niggers, what do you think of this?” he yelled, and turned around.

He had a new tattoo covering his back. It was depicting Woody Woodpecker in a KKK hood. He was doing a Nazi salute, holding out a swastika. There were four black people hanging from the corners. Before he could turn back around, they were on him.
He was life-flighted out. As a rule, when a group of people beat down an inmate, one of the group claims responsibility as the sole assailant. This is done to hide the reasons of the beat down, or to keep people out of trouble.

One of the group stepped up, told the guards that he beat the man. He was arrested and placed in AD-SEG.

The next morning he was dead, stabbed in his cell.

  1. […] Chow LineChapter 3: Rec Yard BluesChapter 4: What Do You Call a White Supremacist?Chapter 5: LockdownChapter 6: Saber RattlingChapter 7: The CockroachChapter 8: Cookie of the WeekChapter […]

  2. […] Chow LineChapter 3: Rec Yard BluesChapter 4: What Do You Call a White Supremacist?Chapter 5: LockdownChapter 6: Saber RattlingChapter 7: The CockroachChapter 8: Cookie of the WeekChapter […]

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