Shantih Journal 3.1 - Page 46

“It’s just like some of the jurors said about Rodney King,” one angry gangster observed. “They said he shouldn’t have been trying to outrun the police. Because we’re criminals, they say we deserve what we get.” “But I came into this when I was a kid,” another gangster complained. “It doesn’t matter, bro,” the angry gangster continued. “Those jurors were ready to refuse King that money because he’d committed a crime: speeding. They even let the officers get away with beating him because he was a ‘criminal.’ That’s why we’re ignored in here. It’s like One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Whenever a crazy dude said he was being mistreated, the institution would tell his friends, family, and media the guy was insane, had paranoid delusions or something. With us, they say we’re lying criminals.” 46 I turned back to my friend George, who just finished doing some pull-ups on his rec cage’s gate. “Man, I’m trying to stay out here an extra hour,” I said. “We hardly ever get the chance to get out here together.” There were forty-four inmates in the pod and only six rec cages. It was damn near impossible for us to ever get the chance to talk. “It doesn’t hurt to ask, right?” My tattooed friend laughed. “BADger,” he said, “with these mother fuckers, it might.” I chuckled and rubbed around my blond goatee. I went by the better-to-laugh- than-cry way of life, too. My built-in defense mechanism helped me cope with not taking seriously anything I couldn’t stop. The two officers we all had been talking about came out of the building to bring us back to our cells, and everyone got quiet. Little One is what I’ll call the smaller correctional officer. Big One the other. Dammit! They were going to take George inside first. He wasn’t saying anything, so it looked like I’d be the one to ask. “Do you mind allowing us to stay out here an extra hour, please?” I said. “Both me and my homie will lay it down for rec and shower tomorrow if you help us out.” The officers weren’t above making deals. If George and I didn’t go outside or take a shower the following day, it would make their work easier. They wouldn’t have to repeatedly cuff and uncuff us and escort us to and from the rec cages, to our cells, to the showers, and back to our cells.