WARNING: This post contains exceptionally well written and honest words regarding very personal and real life events that may not be suitable for all audiences. It contains Adult Situations and Intense Honesty. Certain people who will remain unnamed might not be able to handle it. Please don't punch my Wife dude, she punches back.
If I had a shrink they'd probably recommend that I write this post. I don't have a shrink. I've never had one. Where I come from we work our crap out ourselves, pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and get on with life. That sounds tough, and it can be. But I also wouldn't recommend it. It tends to back up the garbage in your head. Somewhere along the way I learned how to deal with that garbage myself and I've managed to do a decent job of keeping it buried in the landfill. But it surfaces from time to time. The best thing, for me, is to use that flotsam as inspiration for creativity. And motivation for life itself.
About a year ago a Judge suddenly decided to take my liberty away from me. One second I was a man arguing for logic and common sense - and the next I was essentially a piece of garbage. A Bailiff came and put me in handcuffs. I didn't get to see my Wife or my Son. As we went down the elevator the Bailiff shook his head and said, "Man I'm so sorry, you got royally screwed."
Imagine that every friend you have ever had suddenly disappears. Imagine that every person you ever worked with won't return your phone calls. With rare exceptions that has been my life for the past five years. It gets worse. Now imagine that your business partner steals money from you, causing one of your biggest clients to leave with their business. A man you worked with for ten years. I have a long litany of horror I can repeat, but I'll stop there. Needless to say it was Hell. Bankruptcy. Court fees. Fines. Legal fees. Threats. Repossessed cars. etc. etc. etc.
The worst thing about all of that is how it won't stop. It isn't a bad weekend, or a bad stretch. It was a bad eight years of non-stop stress and horror show video playing on your face. And despite what some people choose to believe I never stopped fighting and trying and working to make it go away. I took every job I could. Even with people I knew would eventually screw me over. What choice did I have? And sure enough they eventually screwed me over. I helped start a very successful business only to watch as my friend and business partner got terminal cancer - twice.
Oh yeah, this was some sick shit. Live thru that every single day and then have some punk on the internet talk shit about your wife and see how well you take it. Or sit thru a bullshit session at Fanfest again and see if you can keep quiet. While the company has been selling your work for TWO YEARS without a contract. And there are some at CCP who are mad at me about that.
The worst thing for me about jail was the unknown. They don't have a video to watch when you arrive, "Everything you need to know!" Nope. No brochures, no handouts. They don't tell you shit. They just move you from one place to another. But first you wait. I waited in a room with twenty other people for about six hours. I was the only other white person there who was not overdosing on Heroin. The two other white dudes were seriously fucked up. Almost all the other people there were in on drug charges, some with violence attached. But a few were transfers, being held until such time as they could be moved to their Super Max destinations. One dude was so bad off he had his own special room. Multiple murders is what I heard.
And yes this fifty year old professional white man stuck out like a sore thumb. A fact which many other gentlemen there commented on. I watched The Wire. And that Night Of show on HBO. As well as hundreds of others. I knew that being "special" or "different" was probably not a good thing. But I did my best to be cool, not panic, and stay aloof on the outside. These street skills are hard won, and a tad dusty, but they came back quick. I'm not a rabbit after all, I'm the Wolf. An older Wolf sure. But also more experienced. Such bs, I was scared to death.
I also had no idea of what was happening inside or outside. It was a long time before I got my phone call. And that was just heartbreaking.
Eventually it all gets much worse. Then they shuffle you into processing. Which means removing your clothes so some Officer can watch you spread your ass cheeks. I did get to keep my own shoes however. I wore my Converse on purpose that day. But otherwise it was orange "Property Of" clothes for me. More waiting. More rooms with more inmates. More people who feel the strange need to tell me their story. (That has been a lifelong curse for me, I have that kind of face) I watched a young woman get hit by a female guard. I watched another woman scream and cry. I heard a story about a murder at another prison by a dude that said he was there when it happened. I believed him. His description was very graphic and colorful. And more Heroin overdoses. Which are not fun in person.
After what seemed an eternity we shuffled into the yard. Again, NO ONE has told me anything. We grab a thin mattress and everyone starts to partner off. I don't know any of these people. Someone asks if I'd like to bunk with him, and he seems nice enough for a criminal, so I say yes. We shuffle up to our room and they shut the door. That's it until 12 hours later when that door opens. Again, not a word about process, procedures, schedules, nothing. I have a mattress, a roll of orange sheets which I discover contain a toothbrush, toothpaste and a plastic spoon. I also have a 10x15 concrete room, with two metal beds and a toilet with no lid that is built into the wall. Above the top bunk is a thick glass window with wire mesh inside that looks out at another concrete wall.
And I also have Steve. (That's what I call him, not his real name.) Steve is from Seattle and he got busted at a party here in our fair city for drug possession. Not his fault of course. Someone at the party planted the drugs on him right before the Cops arrived. What I would have originally thought was a stereotype turned out to be true after all - everyone in jail is innocent. Even me. I was super lucky that Steve picked me as his bunk mate. He didn't try to rape me even once. I didn't really sleep. Jail is noisy. Jail makes weird sounds. And I wasn't sure yet that Steve wasn't going to try and rape me.
Blah blah blah, eventually morning came and after another eternity I walked out into the sunshine again.
That was almost a year ago.
Yes I got screwed by a system not prepared for my weird life. No one in that court has ever seen or heard of a case like mine. They simply aren't equipped to deal with it. So they don't. They didn't. And they won't. Yeah I'm screwed. And there isn't anything I can do about it. I fought the good fight, I stood up for my rights as best I could. I had to be willing to go all the way to the wall. And now it is time to move on.
I've got about 22 more months to go.
For those of you that don't understand I apologize. It is a super complicated and often confusing tale. But one I refuse to tell in extreme detail. Some day I may write a book. Until then I write these blog posts. And I do that because of my readers, my friends, and those here in this Community who stood by me, helped me, and believed in me.
I want them all to know that we are doing well now. I love my job and the monthly payments, while large and unfair, are tolerable. As long as I keep working for the next 22 months we'll be fine.
I'm working thru the effects of all that trauma slowly but surely. I can't deny that it has affected me, changed me, and all that other stuff that bad things do to people. On the other hand, it could always be worse. And there are plenty of other people out there who have it much, much worse. I met many of them last year and spent a day with them.
I never want to do that again.