Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Medium Maximum Lockdown Part I (After I turned myself in)
On the evening of the third day, I walked into something they call a POD. The room was thirty feet high with three floors of cells along the right hand wall and across the back. Half the left side was a structure that looked like an air traffic control tower. Before they brought me to Lower Buckeye, they gave me a ID tag with an orange rectangle designating my placement as medium-level maximum security. I've attached the mug shot. It amused me that they thought I was a dangerous fugitive, in their defense...look at the picture... They let me keep my shoe strings, but took the buttons off my pants so I “couldn’t make a weapon”.
An offender who looked like a young Uncle Fester introduced himself to me as “the greeter”, and told me once I stowed my mattress I was to report to him for orientation. My cell was the first one on the first floor. It was a six by nine with two bunks on the wall and a plastic boat on the floor. The boat was six feet long and I’m six-one. I removed my mattress and flipped it over, placing the pad on the bottom. I had the choice of either my feet or head touching the toilet when I slept.
I met my cell mates, both of them armed bandits, and went to my appointment with Young Fester. He was sitting on a bench at the back of the POD. The surrealistic nature of my position overwhelmed me as I noticed a large “W” drawn on the bench. Father-rapers and mother-stabbers and a real life “group W” bench.
We shook hands and Fester laid down the rules. No hand washing in the drinking fountain, no masturbating on the payphones, no racial slurs, no epithets were to be used toward the gay population. Then he asked me if I had ever been in the woods before. I thought maybe we had met in the forest and I replied “Hell Yeah! I lived in the woods for almost five years”!
“Mostly on the Mogollon Rim and the Verde Hot Springs, but I made it as far south as Apache lake”.
He looked at me like I was an idiot and explained that the POD was divided up racially. The white people were called the “Wood’s”, as in peckerwoods. If you weren’t White, Black (Bro’s), or Mexican (Piso’s), you got to chose which group to join. The races were allowed to talk amongst each other, but not eat, sit together in the common area, or enter each other’s cells. Fester explained that this was to prevent tension and show solidarity to the leaders of each respective group. He further explained that we had a leader, called the Woodhead, and introduced me to Robert DeNiro’s twin. DeNiro explained that if I wanted anything at all to let him know. I immediately tried to put in an order for cigarettes and marijuana, but was informed those were the two things they couldn’t risk because of the smell. There was a lot of cocaine, heroin, and homebrew. The Bro’s handled the drugs, the Piso’s ran the bootlegging, and the Wood’s took care of the gambling.
Both of my Cellmates were Piso’s. Reuben, the carjacker, was the brew master. Everybody traded him their oranges, peppermint candies, and plastic soda bottles. There was an exchange rate and list of names and contributions. My position as Celly gave me certain hooch rights and, coupled with my 15 years of escape, earned me the respect of the father-rapers. This amounts to gifts of food and a seat at the Woodhead’s table. At any given time, there were probably thirty bottles of home made orange hooch stashed under our mattresses and in the toilet. I was rationed a half bottle a night, after lights out, and two bottles on Saturday. The other inmates were only allowed to buy on Saturday. I stayed pretty buzzed for the whole time I was there.